In this music city, there is no shortage of songwriters and guitar players. For those of you with music types on your Christmas lists, I’ve got a suggestion that comes with a level of exclusivity and endless creative possibilities.
Noted songwriter and recording artist Kevin Welch — whose list of Americana tunes includes the hit Too Old To Die Young — lives in a log home in the woods near Wimberley. A few times a year he shares it with other songwriters, giving them an opportunity to learn from his broad experience in the music business, which includes 25 years as a staff writer in Nashville. During that period, he says he gained “a lot of daily experience with getting up and confronting the beast.”
Welch hosted his first songwriting workshop in 2010 and has since held nearly a dozen more. He says he got the idea after teaching at the Sisters Folk Festival in Oregon in 2009. “They ask you to come in a week early and live in a camp in the woods with 12 other teachers and 50-60 students. I found I really liked what I was doing, and it was something I could do,” he says.
Welch calls his own songwriting workshop a haven, a school and a retreat. The next one is being held January 26th to 29th, and the intimate experience is limited to half a dozen guests. Each gets time to share songwriting fellowship with the group and to work one-on-one with Welch. The workshop covers lyrics, licks, melody and rhythm. If writers have some tunes that are ready to roost, they also get access to Welch’s on site recording gear to lay down a demo.
Over the four days, writers can enjoy the serene country setting, staying at Welch’s comfortable log cabin home and eating what he calls "soulfully prepared" food. In addition to the main cabin and a smaller guest cabin, Welch says he’s also just finished building a giant teepee, complete with fire pit. “I’ve got this large property with room to stretch out, flop out and hang out,” he says.
He hopes the writers who attend take away new insight. “I hope they’re gonna leave here more focused on what they’re actually doing when they’re writing. I also hope things we talk about will go off like time bombs down the road…that they’ll come to make sense as time goes by.”
But Welch says he gets as much as he gives at the workshops. “It’s good for my own personal chops just spending time kind of analyzing what makes songs work. I have always enjoyed talking with other writers about the process.”
The price for the four-day songwriting extravaganza ranges from $1,000 to $1,500, depending on whether participants stay offsite or in the cabin. This unique experience allows attendees to pick guitars with — and pick the brain of — a man who's had success as a songwriter, a recording artist and an independent record label owner. A truly original Christmas gift fit for writers looking to cultivate a writing career — or those who just want to feed their souls.
Find more information at www.kevinwelch.com