Editors Note: The talent showcased at the Durango Songwriters Expos each and every year is truly fantastic. And yet, as great as ALL the performers are, at each event there are always one or two acts that really stand out. This can be for a number of reasons: The time at which they play and the "mood" of the audience; the subject and/or style of the material they perform; the spirit and energy of the performance...there are lots of factors.
At the 2007 Santa Barbara Expo it seemed like everyone was talking about Kathrin Shorr. Even the hit songwriters like Al Anderson and others, commented on how special she is. But make no mistake, it was not Kathrin alone that won the day. Her musical partner and husband, Tim, plays a crucial role in delivering a sound that is at once soulful, sensitive, deep and yet immediately accessible. Quite a rare and pleasing combination.
"This is an artist who deserves to be heard"
—Performing Songwriter Magazine
I was born in London and raised in Los Angeles. I'm honored to say that I have opened for Kelly Joe Phelps, Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) and Colin Hay (Men at Work), have toured both here and abroad and have had many of my songs placed on prominent television shows and independent films. Most recently, I performed on the main stage at The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Colorado. For the past year I've been working on my upcoming record which will be released in late 2007 and several of these songs will be featured in a soon to be released feature film starring Melora Hardin (The Office).
• Won ASCAP’s prestigious Sammy Cahn Lyricist Award
• Won the 2005 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase
• Played the main stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, broadcast on WAM TV, Scotland
• Appeared on CNN for a story focusing on House Concerts and artists in demand
• Appeared on Good Morning Denmark, filmed in Copenhagen
• Music featured on Joan of Arcadia (CBS) and Beautiful People (ABC Family)
• Music featured in a trailer for the Academy Award Nominated film, The Hours
I'm currently listening to: Ryan Adams...always Ryan Adams, Damien Rice, Jeff Buckley, Bruce Springsteen, Mindy Smith, Gillian Welch, The Killers, Jamie Lidell, Simon & Garfunkel, Ray Charles, KT Tunstall, Michael Buble and Patty Griffin.
"If you're a songwriter and you're looking to connect with people on the business end of music, you HAVE to seriously consider going to the Durango Expo. After you've considered it, call someone who's already attended. I guarantee that shortly thereafter, you will have bought your plane ticket and shortly after attending, you will be kicking yourself for not going sooner. What made it stand out in my eyes was the accessibility, the focus on 'the song' and the willingness of these accomplished people to reach out and help you if they hear potential in your work. Once you've made connections, you MUST, MUST GO TO NASHVILLE or wherever they are to follow up. That is probably the single most important thing you can do to solidify your new friendships with these folks. If you don't go, they'll forget about you. It's up to you to glue it all together. Invest in your songs. Go to Durango!"—Kathrin Shorr
James Grey has become a familiar face and popular performer at the Durango Songwriter's EXPOs.
When home in Orange County, James opens for national touring acts at leading concert venues, in between regular trips to Nashville to collaborate with top songwriters, like Jimbeau Hinson (who was present during DS.com's Interview) and other notable writers and performing artists.
A cross-pollination of styles influence Grey's music to consistently and effortlessly capture listeners from across the musical spectrum. James has caught the attention of such acclaimed artists as Chicago, Go West, Gladys Knight, and Kenny Rankin. When he’s not traveling up the road to L.A., or up in the sky all over the country, you may very well find him walking Huntington Beach Pier aimlessly... one of his favorite pastimes.
DS.com's mrJack caught up with James at Jimbeau Hinson's (and his lovely wife Brenda's) home near Nashville to share stories of the EXPO, life as a songwriter and more than a few laughs!
Chuck Nash is a Florida native. Born In Gainesville, raised in Jacksonville, Chuck wrote his first song at the age of eleven. At nineteen, he began playing as a solo act and in bands around Northeast Florida. Chuck’s distinctive vocals, poignant writing style and self-effacing sense of humor have earned him the reputation as one of the premier performing songwriters in the region. His talents also helped him sell over 14,000 CDs, prior to his label debut (Dressed In Yellow Light), and in 1998 earned his band (Kingpins) Musician Magazine’s Best Unsigned Band competition (chosen from over 1800 bands nationwide).
With such a track record, it is little wonder that fans have been clamoring for the definitive break-out Chuck Nash CD release! One need not listen long to Chuck’s music to get a taste of his unique, entertaining and provocative slant on life. His style combines elements of modern rock, pop, folk, and punk with insightful, sometimes biting lyrics to bring his listeners down a road all his own. Nash's songs range from straight-ahead rockers to artsy, ethereal ballads. With his infectious melodies, wry wit and "hey wake up!" social commentary, Chuck offers an intriguing and most compelling musical journey, both live and on record. A rare personality...a true individual...a great new voice in music!
The Scoldees' latest CD, Nightcap World, has received airplay on more than 330 radio stations across the country and was lauded by the press. This banner year for The Scoldees included a performance at The Mountain Stage NewSong Festival, and the licensing of several songs: to E!TV's FashionTrance, and to MTV's popular reality show Made (the second season premiere episode).
"...a compelling collection of original tunes that make the listener want to hear them over and over." —FMQB
"...an update of the mystical Buckingham-Nicks sound; indeed, few bands but Fleetwood Mac could begin an album with four tracks as strong as the first four here." —Allmusicguide.com
"Nightcap World is a foaming, thirst-quenching crawl..."—Allentown Morning Call
For more information, check out The Scoldees at Broadjam!
Watch The Scoldees "Cocoon" video:
With 3 independent CDs and a growing performance and radio presence regionally and nationally, this Ithaca, NY based artist is attracting the attention of critics and fans alike. Since her debut self-release in 1999, Patti has won more than 30 awards and honors from an impressive list of international and regional competitions that includes the Billboard, Mid-Atlantic, UNISONG, Great American and SIBL song contests.
Growing up in small-town Connecticut, Patti studied violin and flute and taught herself to play guitar. She dropped out of music school and turned her attention to literature while playing in a handful of New York bands as a sideman on alto flute, backup vocals and rhythm guitar.
But in 1990 Patti abandoned the world of bands and bars after illness and calamity took the lives of an alarming number of friends and family. She then dusted off her guitar and began writing songs. Shortly afterward she was invited to attend an intensive workshop with Grammy winning singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash. It would change her life.
"I first met Patti when she took my songwriting workshop at the Omega Institute in 1997. I was struck from the first verse I ever heard her play. She is a gifted, original songwriter who delivers her songs with a clarity and strength that are quite rare. All too often in folk-based music, there is a preciousness or affected vulnerability that sours the song, no matter how poetic. Patti is completely free of such affectations, both as a singer and as a writer. Her influences have been assimilated in her work in a way that informs it, and inspires her originality. She is not derivative. She inhabits herself and her music, alive and present, whole and beautiful...[I] am delighted and honored to be a permanent member of her audience." —Rosanne Cash
Your conference is impossible to beat! It's the best one around. I wish I could be there. I want to thank you again for the opportunity to write with Glen Phillips. We finished the song and are in the middle of passing it back and forth to record it. I'm thrilled with it and so happy to have had the opportunity to sit in a room with him. He's great...And you are great for making it happen!!beth
DSE Note: Beth won the Pop category in the 2011-1 WWAHM contest and a co-write with our great friend and super talent Glen Phillips from Toad The Wet Sprocket fame!
Beth Thornley is earning a reputation as a profound songwriter in the underground pop world. Recognized for inventive melodies and intelligent lyrics, her songs keep the listener intrigued from beginning to end.
Compared to Sheryl Crow, Aimee Mann and Beth Orton by writers such as Bruce Brodeen of Not Lame Recordings, Beth's sound has been called, "pop with modern rock wrapped in a package of addicting hooks...Her music is filled with a delightful and most serious commitment to making things interesting at every turn."
The Alabama-raised musician broke away from traditional music training determined to develop her own sound. Raiding the record collection of her best friend's brother as a young teen, Beth listened to everything from The Beatles and Bowie to The Police and Pretenders. What began to take shape was a passion for lyrical storytelling accentuated with pop hooks and unexpected twists.
Releasing her self-titled disc independently in early 2003, Beth's music has Hollywood taking note. Her songs can be heard on episodes of The Chris Isaak Show, The New Ride with Josh and Emily, the CBS film Crazy For You and on the new DVD releases of Dawson's Creek: Season 2 and Roswell.
Says Performing Songwriter Magazine - "Beth Thornley's self-titled debut is one of the most professional and fully realized records to cross [our] desk in a while. Breathless, cool, sexy and just about any other superlative adjective you can imagine..."
Hatfield Rain creates music that crosses multiple genres and although influenced by decades of America's most respected artists, they manage to do it with an unprecedented style. Rock, country, blues and jazz fuse and mingle to create an eclectic and inspired sound.
The band is fronted by Dawn Jackson, the granddaughter of Nashville's legendary pedal steel guitar builder, Shot Jackson. Unique cross-instrumentation marks Hatfield Rain's debut CD, "Matter of Time," released October 2002 on Jackson's own Sho-Bud Music label.
A percussive, soulful alternative country/rock album, capable of leading highway truckers down a two-lane winding road, leaving New Yorkers talking with a twang, Type-A personalities wanting to give up control, and rockers wanting to pick up a mandolin, Matter of Time is the essence of spectacular contradiction.
With thick layers of instrumentation fronted by Jackson's relaxed yet passionate vocals, Hatfield Rain is able to combine the simplicity of Lucinda Williams with the crispness of Van Morrison and the Pretenders, all with an underlying melodic swoon of Bonnie Raitt. The result is a tightly produced, hook-laden rock sound appealing to blues, folk, country and pop fans alike.
Though based in San Diego, the band members have roots spanning the country, from here to New York, Boston, Nashville and Texas. Fearless and richly creative, Hatfield Rain tells musical stories that cross genre, political and gender boundaries with a vibe that seeps into your blood stream.
THE BAND: Robert Fedeli — Hammond Organ Kyle Ince — Lead Guitar Dawn Jackson — Lead Vocals, Guitar Bob Sheehan — Drums & Percussion Ted Stern — Violin, Pedal Steel Guitar, Slide Guitar Mark Tucker — Bass Guitar