April News 2017
Are you ready for adventures above the bridge? 

We are!  
It's not about how many songs you've written since last summer.  It's not about having reached all your goals and still not being exactly where you'd like to be yet.  
This is a time just for you - without the distractions of every day life to make new goals, find exciting new ways of creating, and a plethora of opportunities to experience the joy of being or becoming a songwriter.   And hey...what about the charming town of Curtis, the amazing people, the delicious food and Chamberlin's Ole Forest Inn?  Please share this with anyone you think might like to come!  In this issue; meet the staff and take a peek at the scheduled workshops!   Space is limited and slots are filling up!  
Weekend #1 June 15 - 18, 2017

Weekend #2 June 22 - 25, 2017
Weekend Session I - June 15-18

Rod and Annie Capps
Annie & Rod Capps
The Artistry of Arranging

So you've just written a song. You got great lyrics and some nice music to back it up. You're done, right? Nope. We're
going to discuss the next essential step in songwriting - the artistry of arranging your song for performance and
recording. You'll hear tips on how to step up the emotional impact with dynamics, harmony, phrasing & delivery, whether you're a solo artist or perform with a band.   

Biography:  Returning staff members, Annie and Rod Capps have been on a musical journey since 1982. TheyĆ­ve earned sincere praise for their songwriting and musicianship, with two albums topping the Folk-DJ charts, multiple Detroit Music Award nominations, and as 2-time Kerrville New Folk Finalists (2012 & 2010). Fitting into no single genre, their musical
style is a moving target as they work continually to evolve with surprising new influences and inspirations, always striving for true musical and songwriting maturity. Read more  here!

Pat Bergeson
Pick Your Patterns

Pat will be teaching guitar inspiration for songwriters. The goal is to show students basic Merle Travis and Chet Atkins style fingerpicking and rhythm guitar patterns that will hopefully inspire your songwriting process and help you accompany yourself as performers! 

Biography:  Pat picked up a Jazz Studies degree in NYC at William Paterson University and then moved to Nashville upon the request of Chet Atkins who heard Pat on a demo tape. Chet invited him to play on his album "Sneakin' Around" with Jerry Reed, and later featured Pat's guitar and compositions on his 1994 releases "Read My Licks" and "Simpatico" with Chet Atkins and Suzy Bogguss. Pat continued to tour and record with Chet for several years, and was named as one of his top twelve favorite guitarists in the Oct. 2001 issue of Vintage Guitar magazine. Read more here!

Sigrid Christiansen
Love Is A Many Splendored Thing or Love In 3/4 Time

Being in love can be ecstatic, joyful, lonely, painful and so many other things. As songwriters we have words AND melody
to express and describe this harrowing, fabulous, and universal experience. That's what makes love songs so great. 
Let's explore all the things that make our favorite love songs outstanding, the ways they grab you and make themselves your favorites and ideas to help you write your own great love song.

Biography: Since the first ATB retreat in 2008, Sigrid has actively pursued the songwriter's path, performing solo, with friends, in the duo The Hilltillers with Bill Edwards in 2013, and since 2013, in the band Taller Than They Appear with Lauren Crane, Bobby Pennock and Jere Stormer. Now with 2 CDs of original songs, In The Cradle of the Moon,(2009) and Little Vixen, (2016), Sigrid has unearthed a mythology of restless gypsies, vulnerable lovers, animals, spirits and flirtatious
cavorters.Sigrid is honored to return to ATB in an official capacity this year and is eager to help attendees discover and give life to their stories.   Read more here!

Jamie-Sue Seal
Workshop TBA
Weekend Session II - June 22-25

Jan Krist
Why Whimsy?

Songs that are whimsical take the listener to places their minds may not usually go in a way that let's their guard down.
Whimsical songs remind us of simpler times, they pull at the listener in wistful ways. Whimsy can help us to connect our
story with the story of others through a shared vocabulary of imagery from art, movies, television, comic books, and literature. In our workshop we'll explore songs written with a sence of whimsy and discuss ways to explore this in our own writing.  

Biography:  Jan is a four-time Detroit Music Award winner, and a two-time Kerrville New Folk Finalist. Krist has been a featured artist and speaker at numerous events including Festival of Faith and Writing and the Festival of Faith and Music, at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Glen Workshop, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters, Harbor Springs,
Michigan, and The Grunewald Guild Song School, Leavenworth, Washington. Krist has released 13 CDs to date and is currently working on a new solo release, and a children's music project. Read more here!

Jim Bizer
You Sound Funny

Jim explores the craft of writing humorous songs. Using examples from some of his favorite funny songwriters (and a few of his own), he will offer strategies and highlight some of the differences in approach from more serious songwriting. Some good writing rules are best broken when going for a laugh. Structure, rhyme schemes and the particulars of writing parody songs will be discussed, all in an effort to inject a little absurdity into your creative process. 

Biography:  Gigging professionally since age 14 and a career musician all his adult life, Jim Bizer has been around the musical block. He's been songwriting since his early teens and has released numerous CDs worth of original music by himself, with his duo partner Jan Krist, the writers collective The Yellow Room Gang and as part of Floyd King & the Bushwackers. Grand Prize in the Great American Song Contest and his selection as a Kerrville New Folk finalist (four times!) are among the accolades Jim has received. He still finds the process of songwriting to be something of a mystery.   Read more here!

Whit Hill
Your Voice Is An Amusement Park

From a lifetime of teaching various forms of performance improvisation, Whit Hill has developed a series of voice-based
exercises that will get us singing together in new, brave and utterly delightful ways. Working in large and small groups,
we will create chords the world has never heard, bake sonic layer cakes of rhythm and melody, then see how these liberating techniques might affect our writing and performance selves.   

Biography:  Born and raised in New York City, Whit Hill lived in Michigan for 30 years before moving to Nashville in 2008. A winner of the 2012 Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition, Whit is a prolific writer in multiple genres whose songs mine unusual but ultimately universal themes. She has taught songwriting at Interlochen and Lamb's Retreat and is a host of
the weekly East Nashville Song Salon critique sessions. She dearly loves coaching beginning songwriters, encouraging them to find their writer-voice and to push past their comfort zones. Whit is thrilled to return to Chamberlin's for another Above The Bridge!   Read more here!

Mark Jewett
Arrangement;  An Oft-Unrecognized Dimension Of Every Song

Have you ever been drawn to a song when you couldn't even hear the lyrics? Had a wordless riff become an earworm that
loops in your head? Been moved by the texture or mood of the music playing under the lyrics of a song? Struggled to keep your songs from sounding too similar? These, and other aspects or powers of songs, may be coming from the arrangement applied to a song. Every version of every song has one. We often fail to recognize arrangement as a powerful tool for the songwriter or producer. In this session, we will explore the power of arrangement!

Biography:  Mark Jewett is a Detroit area singer-songwriter whose work has been recognized by American Songwriter Magazine. In a relatively short time, he has traveled from "I've never written a song or performed alone" to recording 2 CDs, the most recent receiving multiple nominations for 2017 Detroit Music Awards. He eagerly gives significant credit for his achievements to Above The Bridge Songwriters Weekends, having attended the event every year since its inception. Through this wonderful event/institution, he has learned much and developed relationships with other attendees and staff that proved to be life changing. Mark's influences and song styles defy a singular genre description and range from folk to rock and pop to country and blues. Read more here!

Your Weekend Coordinator; 
John Latini - Weekend I & II

Biography:  John released his 5th record of songs at the end of December in 2016. This one is his first full length blues album called "The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good."  Within 10 days of the release to radio, it was included in Goldmine's Cool Rootsy Releases of 2016 and received 41 shining reviews to date including one in No Depression. The record debuted at #12 on the RMR Top 50 All Blues Chart, #5 on the Top 50 Contemporary Blues Chart, and #1 on the Michigan All-Genre Chart in the same week. John has been on the staff of Above The Bridge Songwriters Weekend Retreats all ten years and has been the Weekend Coordinator for the last several years introducing new and exciting traditions and activities each year. John will be your Weekend Coordinator for both retreats once again!   Read more here!

Jamie-Sue Seal
ATB Marketing Coordinator - Weekend I & II

Biography:  Jamie-Sue is the Founding Artist and Senior Agent at Smokin' Sleddog Records, a boutique record label and national booking agency based in Michigan. Her esteemed and diverse roster includes 3-Time Detroit Blues Champ John Latini, Irish Music Award nominees Siusan O'Rourke & Zig Zeitler, festival faves The Moxie Strings, National Jazz artist Annie Sellick, renowned guitarist and harmonica player Pat Bergeson, 38-time Detroit Music Award Winner Jill Jack, guitar virtuoso Elden Kelly, and sled dog race champ Tasha Stielstra as part of the educational outreach division. This year Jamie-Sue pushed herself away from her computer screen to release her first album in 12 years called "The Post-Victorian Woman's Guide To Reckless Flirtations."   She trained in vocal performance for 10 years and is certified in Arts Management and has a degree in dance.   Read more here!