Mining the Gold Within: WinterSongs’ Susan Marie Reeves

WinterSongs and SummerSongs are all about encouraging the creative soul within us to be free! So, we’re thrilled that multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Susan Marie Reeves will be part of our teaching staff at WinterSongs this year in beautiful Cambria, California (January 26-30, 2017)!

She’ll lead a songwriting class on mining those beautiful gold nuggets of writing creativity; and also teaching a harmony singing class with her musical partner Rebecca Troon.

Susan has some serious bonafides as a songwriter and performer: She won the Silverton Jubilee and the Kauai Music Festival songwriting contests. She toured for 6 years with her bluegrass band, Wild Sage, playing Telluride and Strawberry music festivals. She tours with her daughter, Sierra Reeves, and also with the acclaimed bluegrass band, the Honeysuckle Possums. Susan continues to create picturesque, melodic, music that flows across genres. Susan calls her original music “Gypsy Newgrass” which is a combination of bluegrass, mountain, folk, Irish, and alternative pop/rock.

Here’s what Susan had to say about her musical influences and when she started to get the playing-music bug!

“I grew up in a household where my parents created a whole music room (huge) just for my brothers and me. There was a piano, a drum set, love beads, electric guitars and strobe lights. Being the youngest, I followed my brothers lead and learned to play piano when I was 7, I wrote my first songs on the piano when I was 11 and as I grew up I was influenced as my brothers played the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix.  When I was 15, my oldest brother, Charles, taught me how to play the guitar. I was motivated and influenced by Cat Stevens to endure the first month of sore fingers (I played until my fingertips were bleeding!). I had one of Cat Stevens’ song books and learned to play every song. So, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Mamas and The Papas, Creedence Clearwater, ELP, and yes, The Monkees, I learned to play their songs and started writing my own on the guitar back then.”

For Reeves, teaching has been a part of her life for over three decades:

“I’ve been a pre-school teacher, home school teacher, and a special-ed teacher. I’ve been teaching kids how to play music for at least 25 years, but I became more of a “songwriting” teacher over the last 16 years. It started when my former bluegrass band “Wild Sage” was asked to teach a songwriting workshop at the Strawberry Music Festival in 2000. I saw how enthusiastic the people were to learn.  I love to write songs and am passionate about all aspects of the process, so I find it really easy to want to teach and inspire creativity. I am very interested in helping bring songs to as high a level of completion as can be for every artist, because that’s what I do for myself!

Finally, here’s what Susan has to say about her WinterSongs West classes:

“I am thrilled to be continuing the journey into the depths of our own writing to find the gold nuggets.  Hence, the name, “Finding the Gold Within Our Writing” (And the gold within ourselves).  I will be giving some soul searching prompts and inviting students to share their writing to find the gold words and phrases that naturally occur when you go deep into the mine. I will also be teaching a harmony class with the ever so talented Rebecca Troon, we’ll gather a group together and perform some great tunes after learning how to harmonize with each other and have fun as a group!!  There will be some classic moments and creativity will abound.”

Check out Susan’s current album, “Young Heart.”
And, a new original tune inspired by Leonard Cohen in this video!