2020 KFF Songwriter School Faculty
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.
Vance Gilbert burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90's when buzz started spreading in the folk clubs of Boston about an ex-multicultural arts teacher who was knocking 'em dead at open mics. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Vance started out hoping to be a jazz singer, and then discovered his affinity for the storytelling sensibilities of acoustic folk music. Noted not only for being the ever consummate performer, Gilbert has recorded 12 albums, including 4 for Philo/Rounder Records and a duo album with friend Ellis Paul. Along with being opener of choice for artists as varied as Aretha Franklin, Arlo Guthrie, and Anita Baker, 2006 and 2007 found Gilbert opening 140+ shows for comedian George Carlin. Most recently he’s the opener of choice for Paul Reiser and The Subdudes.
Considered by many to be an integral part of the national folk scene, Gilbert's approach to the acoustic singer songwriter idiom is significant. Gilbert's compositions, while frequently employing sophisticated melodies and harmonies that attest to his jazz roots, remain sublime attestations to the storyteller's craft.
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.
Seth Glier studied at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School PVPA in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He attended Berklee College of Music for a year before dropping out to be able to tour full-time. Since then, he has averaged over 200 shows a year, and shared stages with artists such as James Taylor, Mark Knopfler, The Verve Pipe, Edwin McCain and Ani DiFranco. He has appeared as a mainstage artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (NY) and the Kerrville Folk Festival (TX).
Glier's 2011 album, The Next Right Thing, for which he recorded his own vocals in his parents’ basement was nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2015, he released If I Could Change One Thing, his fourth album on MPress Records. The album was considered a successful move into mainstream pop, a departure from his previous, more acoustic albums. In 2016, Glier gave a TEDx talk sharing his insight on the challenges and gifts of care giving for a family member, and how it influences his life, art and music awards. Birds (2019) is Glier’s fifth album, and the latest entry in a burgeoning career that has included a Grammy nomination and a pair of Independent Music Awards while touring with artists including Ani DiFranco and Marc Cohn.
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.