October 5, 2010 (Ferriday, Louisiana)
-- On Saturday, October 23rd, the world of hit songwriting
comes to historic Ferriday, Louisiana, as three of the
music industry's top hitmakers headline the third annual
Ferriday Song Fest.
"This is a rare opportunity to learn songwriting tips
from professional writers who do this day in and day out,"
explained festival organizer Tommy Polk. "Our panelists
are professional songwriters with Top 40 and Grammy Award-winning
songs on their resumes."
Held at the Arcade Theater (part of the popular Delta
Music Museum), the Ferriday Song Fest provides an opportunity
for burgeoning songwriters to learn both the art and business
of songwriting from experienced industry insiders.
This year's featured panelists include Grammy-nominated
Odie Blackmon, Grammy-winner Kenny Greenberg and three-time
Grammy-winner Ashley Cleveland. They will discuss the
craft of songwriting, techniques in the creative process
and insight into the music business. This detailed, highly-personal
workshop will delve into the dos and don'ts and the ins
and outs of songwriting. It will also include a critique
of one song by each attendee.
"Our event attracts kindred spirits -- writers, singers,
musicians, studio owners," said Polk. "It's a wonderfully
varied group that's interested in the creative process,
the music business and how money is made with songs. We
expect attendees from coast to coast."
Ferriday Song Fest kicks off bright and early on Saturday,
October 23rd at 9am and runs all day long. At 6pm, workshop
attendees move to Bowie's Tavern in nearby Natchez, Mississippi,
for a special open mic event.
In addition to sharing a passion for song, festival attendees
typically have something else in common. They are passionate
about the event itself.
"The Song Fest workshop has been the highlight of my
fall for the last two years," said past attendee Taylor
Craven. "This is an intimate, first-class event. It should
be the envy of similar events around the U.S."
Fellow attendee Ron Eckert concurred, saying, "Ferriday
Song Fest gave me the confidence I needed to record four
of my songs in Nashville."
And Jamie Burley, Director of the Vidalia Chamber of
Commerce, added: "Not only do you get great tips and tricks
for songwriting, you also get to hear and enjoy experiences
of songwriters who have written many top hits."
One such songwriter is Grammy-nominated Odie Blackmon
who returns as a workshop panelist. Perhaps best known
for Lee Ann Womack’s CMA single of the year “I May Hate
Myself In The Morning,” Gary Allan’s chart-topper “Nothing
On But The Radio,” and George Strait’s No. 1 country hit
“She’ll Leave You With A Smile,” Blackmon has turned teaching
into a second career.
"In addition to Ferriday Song Fest, I've been teaching
songwriting at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of
Music," Blackmon explained. "I also released an instructional
DVD recently on Amazon.com called 'The Craft of Writing
Hit Songs.' I'm always looking for new ways to help teach
and inspire up-and-coming songwriters."
Another previous panelist, Ralph Murphy of ASCAP, said
that in addition fo the creative aspects, he appreciated
the business side of the Song Fest workshop. "Watching
aspiring songwriters and artists discover the opportunities
and pitfalls of the music business is a wonderful thing,"
he explained. "Arming them for success now saves them
time and money later."
The Ferriday Song Fest is organized by Tommy Polk, also
a hit songwriter and panelist at this year's event. Polk
has written songs for everyone from Crystal Gayle to Bobby
"Blue" Bland. Three years ago, he created the fest at
the behest of Ferriday Mayor Glenn McGlothin to help shine
a light on the town's rich musical heritage.
"Ferriday is the birthplace of Jerry Lee Lewis and home
to the Delta Music Museum," according to Polk. "Back in
the day, musical icons like B.B. King, Fats Domino and
Irma Thomas played here regularly. It makes perfect sense
to hold our event here as well."
Advance registration for the Ferriday Song Fest is $20
per person and includes the workshop and entry to open
mic night. The event is $25 at the door -- first come,
first serve (with no guarantees).
"We're looking forward to another successful year and
expect to see plenty of new faces," Polk said. "Our event
is a both a truly enjoyable and memorable event that also
happens to be amazingly helpful and educational. Folks
really seem to get a lot out of it."
Sponsors of Ferriday Song Fest include the Town of Ferriday,
State of Louisiana, Delta Music Museum, Friends of Delta
Music Museum, Phat River Studios, 95 Country, Solid Gold
Saturday Night, Natchez Grand Hotel, Bowie's Tavern, Louisiana
Economic Development (LED), BASF, Tipitina's Foundation,
Fox 48 (WNTZ), Budweiser, Representative Andy Anders,
Stan's Strings, Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and Walmart.
For more information or on-line registration, please
go to www.ferridaysongfest.com