Recommended age: 14+
Capacity: No max
Have you ever wondered what makes your favorite song tick? "Anatomy of a Song" will help participants answer this question by exploring techniques for songwriting and song accompaniment. The workshop will be led by Shane Leonard (Field Report, Kalispell) and Simon Balto, as they discuss writing lyrics, finding chord progressions, creating thoughtful arrangements, making instrumental choices, and singing harmony. Together with the participants, Shane and Simon will focus on one song and build it from the ground up, demonstrating how different choices in each of these areas create a song's identity.
About the instructors:
Multi-instrumentalist Shane Leonard's collaborations include work with Field Report, Sara and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), Ben Sollee, Evan Ziporyn (Steve Reich), Sean Carey (Bon Iver), Kristin Andreassen (Uncle Earl), Jefferson Hamer, MIT's Balinese Gamelan and Berklee College of Music's Ensemble Robot, among others. Shane grew up playing drums with jazz combos and big bands before studying classical percussion and English education in college, later learning clawhammer banjo and old time fiddle in the homes of masters Clyde Davenport and Lee Sexton. He has taught West African drumming and American roots music through the Exploration School at Yale University, Augusta Heritage Center, and Eau Claire Music School. His debut solo album, Westbound, made many Best Of 2012 lists, was featured twice in No Depression's favorite new music, and dubbed "timeless ... some of the best folk out there" by Slowcoustic.
Simon Balto is a writer of folk and altcountry songs from southern Wisconsin. His music draws from a range of influences, both musical and not. More than anything, the style and storytelling are especially informed by the hills of western Wisconsin that were his early home, and by the people he’s met there and in travels around the country. An avid writer and reader, Balto's songs focus on narration: workers and lovers, mothers and sons, the dying and mourning, and the prideful and the abused. The Irish music publication Deadly Music! has compared his songwriting to top-of-his-game, Blood on the Tracks-era Dylan. The Chicago-based music curator Music Means Family said the following: “An unbelievable talent, his layered folk ballads are reminiscent of Baez and Dylan, Guthrie and Prine. There is a deeply satisfying component to each of his songs – a reminder of home, woodsmoke, and the first traces of your breath as winter begins to settle.” He has opened for and shared stages with a wide range of acclaimed artists in recent years, from Jason Isbell to Field Report, Count This Penny to Horseshoes & Hand Grenades.