1. Greetings: Greece! Mudslide!
2. News: Summer song retreats with Tom (California, British Columbia,) + new short TK prose + Tom takes group to Ireland in 2011!
3. Drawing Board: Waymores album progress and more
4. Perspective: Extraordinary poem by Eleanor Lerman
5. Food for Thought: Basho, Churchill & Wooden
6. Recommended: Summer reading!
7. Note from Shauna: TK house concerts & song coaching
I guess if you’re reading this aloud, “Greece, mudslide” might give the wrong impression! I am, however, referring to…
a) a trip my wife and I are making in a couple of days, and
b) the effects of Nashville’s recent monster flood on my family’s little hill.
There’s much to cover in this newsletter, however, so without further adieu, welcome everybody. Here we go…
2. News: Greece, TK summer song workshops, new short memoir
A. Off to Greece
Yes, Robin and I will soon be winging our way to Greece and on to island of Crete. Thank you to my talented Swedish friend Eva Hillered for inviting me to teach songwriting at her annual arts retreat. What a wonderful opportunity… to teach in this special setting and visit that part of the world for the first time!
B. Two (2) excellent West Coast Summer Writing Retreats with yours truly:
a. American River Acoustic Music Camp Aug 1-4
Join me for 3 days/4 nights at this annual retreat in the heart of California’s Gold Country. Instruction’s offered in string band music, voice and… songwriting.
For pricing, registration and info of all kinds, visit…
This will be my first time teaching at this retreat which is staged on the banks of the beautiful American River. I’m really looking forward to it.
b. “Writing Whole Songs,” a three day song camp in British Columbia Aug 8-10
Two summers back I was an instructor at a wonderful week-long songwriting retreat at this rustic resort, and I’m excited to return in August with my own workshop! Come camp with me by a gorgeous rushing river, roll up your songwriting sleeves for 3 full days, enjoy excellent health-conscious dining, and hang out and share songs… Even spend an afternoon of whitewater rafting with me! If that sounds like a great idea, here’s more info:
Note that cost is only $470 (US) for the mini-retreat including all meals, beverages, social hour, resort amenities, shared lodging and all of my sessions… a most excellent value. However you can get $100 OFF FOR EARLY REGISTRATION. (Early bird deadline is listed at website as June 15, but it will be extended for my fans and students who act soon.) Write Bryan at… email@example.com …and tell him you read about the retreat (and discount) in my June newsletter!
C. See the “REAL Ireland” with me in August-September 2011
My good friend Johnsmith has been taking groups to Ireland for these “backroads” tours for years, and group members I know have raved about their experiences. Now, by an unexpected stroke of luck, I’ve been given the opportunity to partner with John’s Irish tour manager, Tom Pigott and Enchanted Way Tours, to bring a 21 of my own friends and fans.
I traveled to Ireland 4 times in the early 90’s, and I fell in love with the country and its vibrant people. Last year I was fortunate to return and teach at 2 excellent writing retreats, and again I felt a deep connection there.
This tour will run from August 29 till September 6, 2011, and cost of will be $2,000 US per person, based on twin/double room occupancy. (An extra $350 will cover a single room, if you prefer.) This covers all ground transportation in Ireland, 9 nights bed and breakfast in 3 star hotels, all pub music and one private show, with some of Ireland’s best musicians and singer/songwriters.
Tom P. is now accepting deposits of $500 to insure your place in our group. We will then be looking for a $750 installment by March 15 and the balance on May 15, 2011.
I’ll have a tour web page added to my website very shortly. In the meantime, there’s a wealth of info at Tom Pigott’s site: www.enchantedwaytours.ie
Tom also has an Enchanted Way Tours Facebook Group: http://short.ie/iec735
I’m curious to see who’ll be drawn to join me, and I’m so looking forward to sharing truly extraordinary experiences!
[Note that I’m happy to help you find cost effective travel to and from Ireland.]
Very special thanks to Vicki Belinoski for her warm encouragement and support in making this tour a reality. I look forward to working with her!
D. Short memoir: How I got to Nashville
Thanks to Nashville poet Kelly Falzone, I recently had the good fortune of participating in an extraordinary music and literary event called “Spoken Word Census 2010.” Sponsored by an organization called Youth Speaks Nashville, it featured (over a period of three nights) a series of original songs and dramatic readings presented by a mix of young writers and adult professionals.
The young people were uniformly outstanding, as were my adult peers, which included Minton Sparks, Vinnie Santoro, Kent Agee, Jackie Welch and Vince Melamed.
Our assignment was to write a short (less than 5 minutes) original piece (poem, prose, song), which would relate on some way to Nashville.
Contemplating the assignment, it occurred to me that very, very few of the writers and artists I know in Nashville are FROM Nashville… which means that most everyone here at some point made the big decision to leave a familiar place behind. I began to think of the events that lead to my own decision to come, and my piece began to take shape.
(A Youth Speaks Nashville Spoken Word Census 2010 Selection)
In the summer of ’77 I’d parked my dream at a paper mill in Pine Hill, Alabama–a town you had to drive to on purpose because it wasn’t on the way to anywhere else. My job title there was Quality Control Engineer, and my responsibilities included creeping gingerly with an axe along a series of catwalks and chopping off large chunks of particleboard–which I’d then drop to the floor below and cut precisely with a table saw for testing later at the lab.
I worked what’s called a swing shift, which meant I was at the plant for a different eight to twelve hour schedule each week in a three week rotation. Graveyard shift meant I’d better get some sleep during the day, so summer months on graveyard I’d sleep days in the dark hallway of the old farmhouse my young wife and I rented near the river. I’d turn on the noisy attic fan, spread a sheet on a canvas army cot and doze fitfully in my boxers, usually waking up bathed in sweat.
Late one night, swinging the axe on the catwalk, I lost my balance and fell to the concrete floor below. Though badly bruised, by some miracle I was otherwise uninjured–and knew I’d lucked out. Then a few nights later I was cutting particleboard on the table saw when, half asleep, I extended my hand a tad too far….
(The full piece is included following Tour Schedule below…)
3. DRAWING BOARD
A. Waymores album progress report
My sister once had an ancient horse that plodded, head down, lead-footed, whenever she took him for a ride. Heading back to the barn, however, the old boy was transformed into a high-stepping, mane-shaking wild young thing–which is exactly the way the Waymores (Don Henry, Sally Barris and me) are feeling about our first album project.
We’ve set aside most of July for completing the record, and we’re very excited about it. Our goal is to have a “virtual EP” ready by August first and CD by Sept. 30.
BTW note that Waymores tour dates are listed along with my solo dates in Tour Schedule below. AND note that a free download of a song from the album is available now at our fledgling website: www.waymores.net
B. Solo album
I’ll begin it as soon as the Waymores record is done! I’ve got lots of new songs, so it’s a question of which ones hang together best.
Songbook’s on hold for the moment, but it’s behaving like my pup Wilson when he’s locked in the laundry room. It wants out!
My dear friend Linda Manning recently shared with me this exquisite piece of writing from poet and author Eleanor Lerman:
“A man is begging on his knees in the subway. Six-thirty
in the morning and already we are being presented with
moral choices as we rocket along the old rails, through the
old tunnels between Queens and Manhattan . Soon angels
will come crashing through the ceiling, wailing in the voices
of the castrati: Won’t you give this pauper bread or money?
And a monster hurricane is coming: we all heard about it
on the radio at dawn. By nightfall, drowned hogs will be
floating like poisoned soap bubbles on the tributaries
of every Southern river. Children will be orphaned and
the infrastructure of whole cities will be overturned. No one
on the East Coast will be able to make a phone call and we
will be boiling our water for days. And of course there are
the serial killers. And the Crips and the Bloods. And the
arguments about bilingual education. And the fact that all
the clothing made by slave labor overseas is not only the
product of an evil system but maybe worse, never even fits
so why is it that all I can think of (and will think of through
the torrential rains to come and the howling night) is
you, sighing so deeply in the darkness, you and the smell
of you and the windswept curve of your cheek? If this
train ever stops, I will ask that dark-eyed angel, the one
who hasn’t spoken yet. He looks like he might know.
“What the Dark-Eyed Angel Knows”
(for more on Ms. Lerman: www.eleanorlerman.com)
5. Food for Thought
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
–John Wooden (1910-2010)
“The temple bell stops… but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.”
–Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
–Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
6. Recommended: Summer reading!
I can’t recall recommending crime fiction, but Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s best-selling trilogy is too good to pass up.
If you don’t know his story, Larsson died suddenly at the young age of 50 before any of the books were published. Sad that he didn’t see how well-received they’d be.
Great stories, strong writing and excellent English translations. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” utterly captivated me. “The Girl Who Played With Fire” mesmerized me, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest” is just out in hard cover. I must have it!
BTW I’ve long loved Larsson’s countryman Henning Mankell. What’s up with the Swedes and their unique knack for great crime writing?
7. Notes from Shauna:
A. INTERESTED IN TOM’S SUPPORT WITH YOUR SONGWRITING?
Tom is available to teach/coach/mentor songwriters in one-on-one sessions (in person or long distance via phone, iChat or Skype).
Feedback from Tom’s students and peers is consistently outstanding. He’s not only a great writer; he’s a great teacher for writers.
“Thank you for the excellent job you did for us at Dallas Baptist University…. Our students did not want it to end… and later asked if we could have you back for a week!”
–Terry Fansler, Ph.D., Director of Studies in Music Business, Dallas Baptist University
“Your insights and thoughts on songwriting have really opened doors for me, and your encouragement continues to mean so much.”
–Aisling Kavanaugh, IMRO Workshop, Dublin, Ireland
B. INTERESTED IN HAVING TOM PLAY A CONCERT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM?
A “HOUSE CONCERT” is a unique way to hear Tom’s music in an intimate, personal setting. If you’d like to learn more about creating a night you and your friends will never forget, email Shauna Jamison.