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7908 The Aspen Songwriter's Festival: Great Expectations from Aspen's Great Indoors

Jamie Lynn Miller's picture

Throughout the festival, the artists touched on the craft of songwriting and the inspiration behind their songs. “Music is always asking us questions”, said Rayburn; “now why is that?” The New Voices Songwriters Circle featured a round robin of songs about just about anything, from some of today’s rising, and hovering, singer-songwriter talents. Nathan McEuen played a song about being out working and wanting to be back home, with the one who makes you feel whole; Reed Waddle, with a terrific sound - a little Amos Lee, a little Brett Dennen - sang about visiting Colorado from the Florida Panhandle and marveling at the “Velveteen Skies”; Mason Reed sang about driving 37,000 miles in a 12 month period, with a smile. ‘I’ve been driving a lot this year,” said the artist from Tucson, Arizona. Jill Andrews sang about relationships and the people who break them up, and the new people who come into the mix to start new relationships: “That’s what my songs are about…they’re about globs of people”, she declared, to a room full of laughter

Master songwriter Jeff Barry, who’s penned many a perennial pop song, from "Tell Laura I Love Her" to "River Deep, Mountain High", wrote his first little diddy at 8 years old. “Fortunately, my mom wrote it down,” he told the audience, with a chuckle. Barry shared the secret to a really good lyric in his Saturday afternoon songwriting workshop. “People need to relate to it. If it moves you, it’s gonna move someone else. We’re writing to the common brain and the common emotion and you need to make ‘em feel something, by the end. If you leave ‘em like you found ‘em, you blew it!”
MIke Rayburn Plays HimselfMIke Rayburn Plays Himself
Mountain man and roving troubadour Sam Bush joined many of the performers onstage, as did John Oates, a role model and inspiration for several of the weekend’s featured performers. North Carolina’s Tift Merritt charmed audiences with her affinity for the Wheeler’s piano, while her haunting melodies stilled the audience. Merritt’s music has something for the searching soul, with sad, stark lyics and moving, authentic observations on life, love and everything in-between – stuff we can all relate to and so, respond to.