Cyd Smith

Cyd Smith

Singer/songerwriter/guitarist Cyd Smith calls her brand of music “progressive folk.” With a background in classical guitar, swing jazz, and American folk and pop music, she enjoys exploring the unexpected–lyrically, harmonically, and melodically. Steve Wacker describes her latest album, Wide Open Night,  in a rave review in Victory Review:  “Cyd’s musical intelligence and awareness shine throughout each of these songs…they are filled with gorgeous melodies, spry rhythms and lush harmonies.”

She began studying classical guitar in her early teens, then majored in music at Stanford University. While living in the Bay Area, she was introduced to the rich treasury of American folk music, especially bluegrass and vintage country music.  From there it was a smooth transition into 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s swing music, and she has delved deeply since into the guitarists, vocalists, and songwriters of that era. All these influences feed into her own highly inventive songwriting. She has produced two albums featuring her songs as well as the playing of some of the Northwest’s finest acoustic musicians.

A versatile guitarist and bassist, over the years she has performed with many luminaries of the national acoustic music scene, including Mary Flower, Laurie Lewis, Bob Brozman, Russ Barenberg, and Rebecca Kilgore. She has been a cornerstone of many Northwest bands in a wide range of styles from Americana to Classic Rock.

Cyd is also well known as a music educator and teaches at prestigious music camps around the country, including Puget Sound Guitar Workshop,California Coast Music Camp, and WinterSongs West.

 

August Watters

August Watters

AugustWattersAugust Watters is a multi-stylistic, improvising mandolinist, composer/arranger, and teacher in the Boston area. He has performed with some of the leading figures in today’s revival of this most elegant instrument, and the advancement of its musical traditions. His work as an interpreter, improviser, composer and arranger bridges contemporary classical music, jazz, folk music traditions, and the historical concert mandolin repertoire.

As an international clinician and soloist, Watters has performed in Italy, Germany, England, the Czech Republic, England, Canada, and the United States. He is also an Emmy award-winning arranger, with dozens of studio credits as arranger, orchestrator and conductor for television and film music. He is the founder of Boston Mandolins, the New England Mandolin Ensemble, the Festival of Mandolin Chamber Music, and Cape Cod Mandolin Camp. Watters holds a Masters of Music Education from Boston University, and a Bachelor’s of Music from Berklee College, majoring in Jazz Composition and Arranging, summa cum laude.

Watters teaches at Berklee College of Music, where he earned his current rank of Associate Professor of Ear Training by developing and teaching new curricula designed for the needs of improvising string players. His New Acoustic Music Ensemble has trained successive generations of jazz-bluegrass improvisers since its inception in 2000. In addition, Watters has taught Berklee classes in harmony, composition, arranging, and performance, as well as private mandolin lessons.

Brooks Williams

Brooks Williams

 

Ranked one of the Top 100 Acoustic Guitarists, singer-songwriter Brooks Williams writes groove-laden songs and delivers them with an easy-going vocal style and monstrous guitar chops. Walking the line between blues and Americana, [creativ_pullright colour=”light-gray” colour_custom=”” text=”Absolutely beyond criticism! (fRoots)”] Williams has worked stages worldwide for over 25 years, amassing a staggering back-catalogue of songs, recordings and tales. With nearly 20 CDs to his name – and more on the way – this Statesboro Georgia native is, according to americanaUK, “impossible not to like.”

“I’ve known Brooks for many years. He’s a lovely player, a lovely singer, and a great writer and a lovely man. The real thing” (Martin Simpson)

“I suggest you get out and buy this album [New Everything] as soon as you can!” (R2)
“The masterly Brooks now proudly presents his latest solo set [New Everything], a typically classy mix of blues, raggy Americana and healthy new originals, impeccably played and sung as ever. Self-recommending and absolutely beyond criticism!” (fRoots)

“How soulful a solo guitarist can be when he has talent, taste and astonishing technique.” (Blues Revue)

“A slice of Americana at its finest!” (fRoots)

“Go see him live!” (NetRhythms)

“…classy, tasteful, bright, and hugely enjoyable!” (Blues Matters)

http://www.brookswilliams.com

Joyce Woodson

Read Interview with Joyce Woodson

 

BIO

Joyce Woodson’s roots are in acoustic folk as well as in vintage 1930’s cowboy music. Her songs, though, are about what she knows – the southern California farmlands and the ranches that surround it. Joyce’s upbringing on her family’s farm makes for a rich background, giving her a strong sense of place. Woodson’s lovely voice and striking stage presence sometimes lead people to compare her with the late Kate Wolf or Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Joyce’s songs have been recorded by over 27 western and folk recording artists including Rounder recording artist Kristina Olsen, western artist Belinda Gail, and the songbird of the west Liz Masterson. She is the recipient of both Song of the Year in 2008 and Songwriter of the Year in 2014 from the Western Music Association.

Woodson started out playing the local folk music scene in southern California soon gaining recognition playing the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, the Napa Valley Music Festival in northern California, and the Western Music Gathering in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is also a regular performer at the Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles. She makes her home in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill
Alan Thornhill
’s unpretentious nature could be misleading. You might think upon meeting him that he’s simply the modest legendary finish carpenter from the artist colony of Ojai, CA. That myth evaporates when he picks up a guitar and beautiful hands reveal what they were born to do. Long recognized as a notably brilliant player (winner of the prestigious Telluride Fingerstyle Guitar Championship), his distinctive sound has been featured on numerous recordings (Kate Wolfe, Chris Hillman, Hoyt Axton, The Rincon Ramblers). While his melodic playing captivates audiences of all ages, from concert halls to festival stages, it is simply a stunning accompaniment to what is called by many “one of the most beautiful voices ever heard.”

This award-winning songwriter (American Song Festival, Mavric Music Awards) has been well-covered by artists such as Kenny Loggins, The Desert Rose Band, The Cache Valley Drifters, Chris Hillman, Michael Parks and Jim Messina.

His place among the best was confirmed with the release of his solo album, Sittin’ Out the Rain, a spectacular showcase of Alan’s definitive songwriting, guitar playing, and vocal flair. The album, recorded in Nashville and produced by Pat Flynn (New Grass Revival) has quickly become a fan favorite and won the 2008 Mavric Music Awards’ Album of the Year.

Alan’s latest release is Guitarpenter’s Dream, an album of eleven original instrumental pieces. Recorded at home, this record has captured the warmth and melodies of his unique guitar style, as well as an occasional crackle of the fireplace, and the warmth of the 1928 stone house where it was recorded. Guitarpenters Dream was nominated for 2008 Mavric Music Awards Instrumental Album of the Year.

 

Jill Knight

SOS

Jill Knight’s soulful sound is unmistakable. India Arie once said, “I love great voices and when I heard Jill sing it stopped me in my tracks, and I had to listen.” She later asked Knight to be her opening act.

Knight has been a finalist at many songwriting competitions, including the Telluride Troubadour competition; the National Academy of Songwriters “Songwriter of the Year” competition; and Billboard Magazine’s “Best Unsigned Band” contest.  She has also toured and shared stages with other notable songwriters including India Arie, Shawn Colvin, David Wilcox, Michael Hedges, Phoebe Snow, Richard Thompson, Little Feat, and many others.

 

Nicola Gordon

Nicola with ukeNicola writes lots of songs. She plays guitar, ukulele and fiddle. She is a life learner and a joy facilitator, cultivating and sharing her process through music and workshops and coaching. Inspired by nature, acts of kindness, and a growing appreciation of life’s twists and turns, her intention is to grow in aliveness and inspire those around her to do the same.

There’s 5 CDs and presently a ukulele-inspired CD in the hopper. 3 CDs are original material; The last two are songs based on the poetry of Hafiz–an amazing 14th century Sufi poet (similar style to Rumi)- as translated by Daniel Ladinsky. She shares her creative flow with others teaching songwriting at the local college and doing workshops on creative flow and writing around the country.

Besides doing her solo shows and teaching, Nicola also plays in an ol’ timey girl-grass band called the Honeysuckle Possums: herself plus Susan Reeves, Lisa Macker, Ruth Alpert and Rebbecca Troone. They make a rowdy, genuine noise of foot-stomping glee. Three songwriters w/ three-part harmonies, fiddles, ukulele, banjo, mandolin (plus the usual guitar and base) and an o’l timey clogger…yep, they have fun.

Pat Wictor

Pat WictorPat Wictor took a convoluted path to folk music, winding his way through rock, heavy metal, and jazz. He started with guitar, shifted to bass, moved to saxophone, and then quit music entirely before a return in 1993, a time when he also began composing songs. By 2001, he left a teaching career to pursue music full time and does so in the broadest way possible. An adept improviser and accompanist, he is sought after as a collaborator, sideman and session musician, with numerous recording credits to date. His monthly e-mail column, “A Few Choice Words,” is read by thousands of subscribers. He is a music educator of note, teaching workshops on writing, interpreting, and rearranging songs, on slide guitar and other guitar techniques, and various topics of music history.

His performances–part fireside chat, part meditation on matters earthly and transcendent–feature his originals. In addition to his own tunes, he is quick to offer up a newly-discovered lyric from another performer, or a fresh arrangement of a traditional song, delighting in introducing his audience to innovative material. With flowing red hair and zen-like calm, Pat embraces his audience with the sincerity of his music and the clarity of his voice, inviting them in.

Pat views his life and his music as a journey, populated with an ever-shifting landscape of people, places and emotions. It is a journey he is eager to share with others, knowing that it is the experiences along the way, not the arrival, that initiate the most profound changes.

Pat’s fifth CD, Heaven Is So High…And I’m So Far Down, was released in July ’06, and received nationwide airplay on folk and specialty radio programs.  His previous CD, Waiting for the Water, also received wide radio play, reaching #4 on the FolkDJ charts in February 2005, and remaining on the charts for months afterward.

 

 

Beth Fitchet Wood

Beth Fitcher Wood

Beth Fitchet Wood is a singer, guitarist, composer and producer. Her main influences are in the folk, pop, musical theatre, jazz and rock ‘n roll genres. She was in the Southern California band, Honk in the early seventies, who released three albums and toured nationally with Loggins and Messina, Chicago and the Beach Boys. After Honk, Beth played in just about every conceivable musical format, in most kinds of venues. She also toured the world as a background vocalist and assistant producer.

In the 1980s, Beth recorded and co-produced two children’s albums with her co-Honk members Will Brady and Steve Wood, her husband. These were recently re-released on her CD entitled “Autumn To May.” She also recorded an album with her girls group, The Girls in 1988 entitled “That’s What Dreams are For.”

During the 1990’s, she recorded an album with her guys group Zero Ted entitled “Sacred Cow,” and her album “Silos,” featuring 8 original songs, has the same cast of characters. She most recently recorded a CD of pop tunes and Honk favorites entitled “Angel On My Shoulder,” with unique instrumentation. The basic tracks for that CD were recorded in Slovenia, with a string/accordion band! Beth will take just about any excuse to sing, and has been given many wonderful opportunities to do that, singing background on hundreds of albums, IMAX soundtracks and commercials.

Since the turn of the millennium, Beth has accompanied her husband Steve on his worldwide production adventures for Sony Classical, striving to make herself useful at concerts he produced at the Colosseum in Rome, and Central Park in New York (with their son Nate!), and has been fortunate to assist at recording sessions with some of the best new tenors of our time. In 2005, she was production assistant for Steve’s Greek IMAX soundtrack, “Greece – Secrets Of The Past,” which featured 5 of the biggest Greek recording stars. She also co-wrote the title track for the IMAX film, “Hurricane On The Bayou.”

Then she comes home to Laguna Beach, teaches music to her students, runs her Tuesday Night Songwriter’s Showcase, plays live with her group The Girls and occasionally does concerts with her old pals in Honk.

It has been suggested that I write a more thorough bio, ala the modern blog idea, so here goes: I was born in Port Washington New York and moved to Phoenix Arizona when I was 2. I grew up there, and as my parents embraced the heat and the horses and the desert, so did I. My mother and father loved music and were aspiring actors in musical comedy, so that was my first main musical influence, along with Burl Ives, the Sons of the Pioneers, Harry Belafonte and Mary Martin. In fact, they were my first heroes, along with Betty Crocker. I always sang, and first appeared on stage when I was 3, singing “Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell – a,” a fine song.

A lot of stuff happened in between, and when I was 14 I first heard the Beatles on the car radio riding to school with my brother Philip. Though I had always been pathologically shy, this event knocked me out so fiercely I burst into P.E. shouting about it. Life changing! At barely 15, I went to a party and my friend Jan let me try out her Gibson, properly tuned, and I fell onto a road I never fell back out of. Then, Mary Ann Jones lent me her Bob Dylan “Freewheelin'” album, and after thinking how weird and bad his voice sounded on “Blowin’ In The Wind,” that next song started, which was “Girl From The North Country,” and I sobbed on the floor for the rest of the time. I don’t know why I knew how good it was. Luck.

I met some other musicians in Phoenix, Doug Haywood and Jeff Gilkinson, and we decided to work together and take Hollywood by storm. Doug was (is) a wonderful songwriter, guitarist, singer and bass player, and Jeff had (has) a strange conglomeration of talents, including playing telepathic harmonica, banjo and ripping cello. After a brief practice session in Washington, we all moved to Hollywood and started playing the various Hoot Nights.

That was 1969, and Monday nights at the Troubadour were magic. About the first four or five Mondays, I first heard Jackson Browne, Longbranch and Pennywhistle (Glenn Fry and J.D. Souther), Carla and Lisa Bonoff, Penny Nichols, then Judee Sill and Tom Waits. Incredible to come across that music without warning. I’d stumbled into the motherlode. Our band played several times on Mondays, and thus developed a passing acquaintance with those people, which resulted in Doug landing a twenty-year gig with Jackson Browne. I simply had to learn his songs, and since the only way to do that in those days was to memorize like crazy and get busy with the bar napkins, that’s what I did. I’d play those wonderful songs for anyone who would listen, including the folks at Criterion Music, a publishing house in Hollywood. They agreed that Jackson Browne’s songs were very special but they didn’t think his voice was so great, so they asked if I would sing some demos of his songs for them to shop. The Criterion folks thought the songs needed a little fleshing out musically too, so it was suggested that I team up with this new band to accompany me. The band was Honk.

Strangely enough, I’d met Honk a few months before at a Hoot night at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach. I’d seen that Jackson Browne had gotten a gig there, so I thought I’d try my luck too. It was another Monday night thing and Honk had just formed, and there were some other brand new acts, namely Cheech and Chong, and the Ice House Blues Band. Honk played fascinating music: “My Analyst,” by Lambert Hendricks and Ross, and some crazy original music, written by them and also by Mark Turnbull. They were extremely cute, especially the keyboard player. Woody. Surfer dude with long hair.

Both Honk and I got the gig, for the same night. It was a strange pairing of acts: me, a skinny curly haired shy, introverted folksinger; and Honk, a ripping rock and roll band with jazz roots and the happiest, most energetic attitude I’d ever come across. Somehow it worked very well.

More later.