Thursday, September 08, 2011

Songwriters gather in Minnesota

It has been ten years since top Nashville based songwriter Jon Vezner first came across the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. A Minnesota native himself, Vezner found that the school's setting in historic buildings on the shore of Lake Superior and its mission resonated with his life and the way he approaches writing his songs. That mission is to enrich lives and build community by teaching traditional northern crafts, and to use heritage crafts as a way connect past, present, and future. So the idea for benefit concerts was born.

kathy mattea copyright kerry dexterTen years on, there’s a celebration called Northern Harvest coming up on 15, 16,17, and 18 September, with performances by many artists you’ve met here along the music road. In addition to Vezner, those include his fellow Minnesota native Sally Barris, also a top songwriter whose work has been recorded by many artists in country music, and well known folk and Americana musician John Gorka. Top notch guitarist and composer Bill Cooley will be there, along with Grammy winning singers and songwriters Tim O’Brien and Kathy Mattea. Cathie Ryan, whose thoughtful and thought provoking original songs which draw on her Irish American heritage are one of the reasons she has been honored as Irish Voice of the Decade, will join in as well.

Grand Marais is about half way between Duluth, Minnesota, to the south, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, to the north, and it’s a trip well worth the making. If you’ll not be making it out to the shows, however, there’s an especially nice touch: while they are all gathered in Grand Marais, Vezner, Mattea, O’Brien, Barris, Cooley, and Ryan will join up to share their music at a taping for the public radio show Mountain Stage. The show will be broadcast nationally in the US at a later date with excerpts available online by pod cast at that time as well. For more details on when the show will be bill cooley copyright kerry dexteravailable, keep an eye on the Mountain Stage web site.

Meanwhile, go explore the North House Folk School web site too. Just looking at the photographs will take you there, and there’s plenty to learn and explore.
Classes are are offered on timber framing, basket making, quilting, northern ecology, and many more subjects, with, as the school’s mission says, an intention to inspire hand, heart, and mind.
cathie ryan copyright kerry dexter

photographs of Kathy Mattea, Bill Cooley, and Cathie Ryan were taken with kind permission of the artists (in Nashville, Glasgow, and Portland respectively) are and copyrighted. thank you for respecting this.

you may also wish to see
Music Road: Kathy Mattea: Coal
Music Road: Tim O'Brien’s Americana: Chameleon
Music Road: Cathie Ryan: Songwriter


Delicious Baby's Photo Friday, where travelers offer new insights to the world each Friday.

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Anonymous Alexandra said...

What a great idea for a benefit concert! Wish I lived closer and could offer my support.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Living Large said...

This sounds like a great time!

12:45 PM  
Blogger MyKidsEatSquid said...

I love Kathy Mattea's voice.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Sheryl said...

I'm sure this will be a very successful concert. Sounds like a great time.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Alisa Bowman said...

This sounds so fun.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Jane Boursaw said...

Nice! And as a Michigander, here's my official invitation for you to come to BlissFest sometime in the near future, Kerry.

4:16 PM  
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