As Joe, Pat, and I (Brother Sun) get ready for SummerSongs at the end of this week, it brings a flood of memories and expectations. I will never forget my writing class with Sloan Wainwright, my notation class with Ritt Henn, working individually with students on their songs, hanging with the likes of Julie Gold and Cliff Eberhardt, sitting almost all night long next to Penny Nichols singing harmony to every song ever written and Mark Dann knowing the bass part to every song ever written. It’s impossible not to mention David Roth’s great care in making sure every student is in the mix, happy, and getting what they need. Certainly, I’ve left out names and a hundred other unforgettable moments. Always, always the greatest moments are when someone who had no idea they could accomplish something – singing in front of people, writing a song they actually love – is empowered to do it. It’s magic.

It is a rare and cherished environment. Being a songwriter is a solitary art for most – certainly me. No one every gives you a merit badge or colored belt of progress, and when you’re as off the beaten path as I am, it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever receive any industry acknowledgement. So it’s all about what happens when I sing my songs. So, a long time ago I decided to follow my own star and accept the consequences. Then, being at a place like SummerSongs where people are interested in knowing about my process, how I work, it is enthralling. I am so happy to take the time to fully develop these ideas for someone who doesn’t have the time to fail as much as I have. Failure is a large part of writing, as is will. Will is the single largest element.

So, all of these things lie waiting at SummerSongs. And Penny, David, and Sloan have created a culture there of nuture, fun, work, and togetherness. Brother Sun has shows every night of the following weekend, so Joe, Pat, and I have to include sleep in there somehow. I, personally, am in the middle of a bunch of new ideas that are waking me up at night. So, I’m very excited to be in that environment. It’s a songwriters dream to be in a place so conducive to creativity. Hopefully, I’ll see a lot of you there.

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