2019 Songwriter's School Faculty
Steve Seskin, Director
Steve Seskin will have you wiping away a tear one minute and laughing out loud the next. His songs all have messages that touch the hearts of everyone: from the feelings of a little boy missing his father, to growing up and being true to yourself, to one of his most well-known themes of being considerate to and respectful of one another. Steve has written seven number one songs, including the Grammy-nominated Grown Men Don’t Cry, No Doubt About It, For a Change, No Man’s Land and You’ve Got Love, Daddy’s Money, and Don’t Laugh at Me. Don’t Laugh at Me became the impetus for the Operation Respect/Don’t Laugh at Me Project, a curriculum designed to teach tolerance in schools. The program has been implemented in more than 20,000 schools across the country. He is also a well respected songwriting teacher entering his 5th year as director of the Kerrville song school.
We are honored to have Kathy joining us on the Songwriter School faculty this year.
Twice named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association, Kathy Mattea established herself in the late 1980s and 1990s as an artist at ease with both country tradition and
free-ranging innovation. In 1990, she won the first of her two Grammy Awards, earning the Best Female Country Vocal Performance award for “Where’ve You Been,”. She’s presented vocal and songwriting workshops for Berklee College of Music, North House Folk School, and the Swannanoa Gathering, and has presented topical and motivational talks about a variety of subjects. Kathy’s long history of activism has led her to bring public attention and civil discussion to climate change issues, and to the controversial practice of “mountaintop removal” mining in her native Appalachia.
Bonnie Hayes had her music featured in movies such as the 1983 movie Valley Girl and had her songs recorded by such notables as Cher (“Some Guys”), Bonnie Raitt (“Love Letter” and “Have a Heart”) and Bette Midler (“Bottomless”). She has toured with Huey Lewis and the News, Belinda Carlisle and Billy Idol. She has taught at the Berklee College of Music, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the REO Songwriting Retreat outside of Vancouver B.C, the ASCAP workshops in Los Angeles and at the WCS Conference at Foothill College. In 2013, Hayes became chair of the songwriting department at Berklee in Boston.
Recently picked by Acoustic Guitar magazine as one of Texas’ 20 essential contemporary singer-guitarists, she routinely holds her own both onstage and in the studio playing with some of the best musicians in Texas. She’s taught numerous workshops at such notable places as Berklee School of Music (MA), Swallow Hill (CO), Mountain Stage Newsong Festival (PA), Old Number Nine (TX), Kerrville Folk Festival (TX) and South Plains College (TX). She also hosts, along with Lloyd Maines, the Life’s a Song Workshop and Retreat, the longest running songwriter’s retreat in Texas. Along the way, she’s also co-written a Grammy-winning instrumental (the Dixie Chicks’ “Lil’ Jack Slade”), and garnered such honors as a star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame, the Art of Peace Award by Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio, the Distinguished Alumni Award at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, and a 2015 induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame in San Marcos, Texas
Few people are as important to the development of Texas music over the last 30 years as Lloyd Maines. As a Grammy award-winning producer and musician, the Lubbock-born Maines has played an instrumental role in the creation of some of the Lone Star State's most famous and beloved albums. Maines began his recording and producing career in 1974. Over the past 40 years, Maines has worked on approximately four-thousand albums alongside some of the most significant figures in country, rock, and Texas music. In addition to his producing credits, Maines is an A-list steel guitar player and multi-instrumentalist. His work has been heard on countless recordings. Maines has been inducted into the Buddy Holly Walk of Fame in Lubbock, Texas, individually and as a member of the Maines Brother's Band. He was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame June 2014. He has made more appearances on the PBS show than anyone else in the history of the program.
Bill Nash - One Day Special Session
Bill Nash has been a musician all his life. He was a 5-year-old boy soprano, a 4th grade french hornist (played horn all through college), a 15-year-old beginning guitarist and then an 18-year-old guitar teacher, and a graduate of Bradley University's School of Music, majoring in composition studying under the tutelage of Professor Dean Howard, and an almost master's degree from time at the University of Colorado (just one semester short!). Bill began writing music and lyrics in his early teens and his roots are firmly embedded in what is now known as the singer/songwriter acoustic music genre. He has performed styles as diverse as rock 'n roll, fusion, country, polka, folk, and even old-time western music, ala the Sons of the Pioneers. He’s won accolades such as WildFlower! Festival Songwriter contest finalist (2003 & 2006), Regional Award Winner at the Kerrville Folk Festival (3 times), 2002 BW Stevenson finalist, 2002 IAMA Park Cities, UT Cheryl Wheeler Workshop award winner, 2002 Northern California Songwriter's Association honorable mention, and Rose Garden Coffeehouse Songwriter contest finalist.
Cosy Sheridan - One Day Session
Cosy Sheridan has been called "one of the era's finest and most thoughtful singer/songwriters" She first appeared on the national folk scene in 1992 when she won the songwriting contests at The Kerrville Folk Festival and The Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Since then she has released 10 cds, written a one-woman-show and her music has appeared in books and film. She has taught songwriting, guitar and performance workshops at music camps for the past 15 years, including The Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and The Swannanoa Gathering. She is the director of The Moab Folk Camp in Moab, Utah.
Steve Gillette - One Day Session
In a musical age created by the singer-songwriter, Steve Gillette has long been considered to be one of the finest. His music has inspired glowing reviews from the critics and the deep loyalty of his fans. Since Ian and Sylvia first recorded Darcy Farrow in 1965, Steve's songs have been sung by dozens of major artists including Garth Brooks, John Denver, Nanci Griffith, Waylon Jennings, Anne Murray, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Spanky and Our Gang, Don Williams, and Tammy Wynette. In addition to performing in 31 countries, Steve has performed on over 100 college campuses and has taught numerous workshops and seminars on songwriting, guitar theory, and record production. Steve is the author of the book SONGWRITING AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS, published by The Sing Out Press (1995). His film credits include writing and singing the main title theme for M.G.M.'s The Outfit, Walt Disney's The Pond, The Grass Is Greener, Summer Run, and Door To Door. Steve has also written songs for the Walt Disney characters Jiminy Cricket, Dumbo, and Winnie the Pooh.
Jon Vezner - One Day Session
Vezner has won a Grammy for “Best Country Song” and the Nashville Songwriters Association “Song of the Year” in 1990, for “Where’ve You Been”, co-written with Don Henry, and recorded by Kathy Mattea. “Where’ve You Been” was also honored as “Song of the Year” by the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM). His songs have been recorded by artists such as Martina McBride, Janis Ian, John Mellencamp, Nancy Griffith, Faith Hill, Clay Walker, Diamond Rio and Native American recording artist, Bill Miller. Singles written by Vezner include “If I Didn’t Love You” by Steve Warriner, “Has Anybody Seen Amy” by John and Audrey Wiggins, “Then What” by Clay Walker, and “You’re Gone” by Diamond
Don Henry - One Day Session
Grammy Award winner Don Henry's songs have been recorded by legends like: Ray Charles, Patti Page, Conway Twitty, Gene Watson, John Conlee and B.J. Thomas, as well as young hit makers like Blake Shelton, Lonestar and Miranda Lambert. He’s shared the stage with performers as diverse as Joey Ramone to Keith Urban. Henry has won a Grammy for “Best Country Song” and the Nashville Songwriters Association “Song of the Year” in 1990, for “Where’ve You Been”, co-written with Jon Vezner and recorded by Kathy Mattea. “Where’ve You Been” was also honored as “Song of the Year” by the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM).