Vance gives Scott some hands-on instruction at NESR III (Photo: James Lee Baker)

A Letter From Ellis: ENROLLMENT OPEN!

March 25, 2019

Hi Everyone—

I’m very excited to announce that enrollment is OPEN for the 4th Annual New England Songwriters Retreat (NESR IV)! We’ll be at the Guest House Retreat Center in Chester, CT on Labor Day weekend from Friday, August 30th through Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019.


We do expect the Retreat to sell out again. Please consider enrolling so you can hang with this tribe of incredible people, This year’s staff of 8 Instructors will include 4 familiar faces from NESRs past (including yours truly), as well as 4 brand new faces, with years of songwriting and performing experience.


The new Songwriting Instructors are Sam Baker, Antje Duvekot, and Tracy Grammer. Sam Baker is a revelation—his songs are powerful, insightful, perfectly-worded movies. Not a single word is misspoken. His songs hit me like a hammer swung by John Prine—succinct in nature, but huge in impact. Antje Duvekot's use of poetic imagery, her melodic sense, and her believability make her one of my favorite artists on the planet. I hold her in the same regard as Joni Mitchell; I think you will be mesmerized by her. Tracy Grammer brings not only her talents as a songwriter and musician to us, but her deep experience learning the craft beside her partner the revered American tunesmith, Dave Carter. In the aftermath of Dave’s passing, Tracy has become one of folk music’s finest voices.

The Elective Instructors include returning staff, Laurie MacAllister, Abbie Gardner and Craig Akin, plus newcomer Jim Henry. Laurie MacAllister has been performing both solo and as a member of the band Red Molly for 22 years. She'll be Retreat Coordinator again, as well as bringing her experience to an Elective course on giving your best performance. Abbie Gardner will be with us for the third year in a row, and will be sharing her multiple gifts in an Elective course on co-writing. Craig Akin, bassist extraordinaire, will be holding down the low end in the song circles, as well as teaching an Elective. And newcomer Jim Henry is joining us! Jim is a gifted producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who brings decades of experience as a working musician.


I’m thrilled at how far the Retreat has come in just three years; it’s truly living up to what I had dreamed. I hope you’ll join us again! Enrolling is very simple—just click on the "Prices/Enroll" button above.

Please note that once again we will be offering 3 tuition scholarships ($500 each) to 3 Students, based on need and merit. The deadline to apply is May 20, 2019 and info is here.

See you soon!


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