Steelgrass Ranch hosts music workshop

Steelgrass Ranch, a music and art center in Kapa‘a, hosts a songwriting and music recording workshop starting next Saturday.

Entitled “Songwriting and Recording: Tools and Strategies,” the three-day event will be led by award-winning recording artists Kathy Mattea and John Vezner, and Pat Pattison and Stephen Webber, heads of the songwriting and music production and engineering programs at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

“Really, the highlight of the workshop is Kathy Mattea,” said Tony Lydgate of the Steelgrass Ranch. “She is a big name in country music and a big name in the environmental groups as well.”

Designed for songwriters and recording musicians at any stage in their careers, the workshop will provide inspiration and in-depth training in both fields.

Songwriting teachers Mattea, Vezner and Pattison, working one-on-one and in small groups, will show workshop participants ways to stimulate their creative energies and sharpen their lyric skills, as well as techniques for mastering the elements of structure, and organizing rhythms and rhymes into compelling verses, bridges and choruses.

Emmy-winning producer Webber will teach the latest recording and mixing techniques in a state-of-the-art recording studio, equipped with ProTools HD3 version 7.1, a full complement of outboard gear and an extensive microphone cabinet.

All workshop sessions will be held at Steelgrass Ranch.

The ranch is nestled in a meditative environment between Sleeping Giant and Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale, and offers picturesque mountain and ocean views in every direction.

Traditional Hawaiian plantation-style architecture shelters the instructional and performance spaces and the new professionally designed and fully equipped music recording studio, as well as tranquil indoor and outdoor areas for gathering and dining.

Jazz and folk artist Maeve Gilchrist, the gospel group Dixie Hummingbirds, international recording artist Debashish Bhattacharya — who recorded with slack-key artist Jeff Peterson — and singer, songwriter and cellist Lindsay Mac have all recorded there.

About the presenters

• Pat Pattison is a professor of lyric writing and poetry at Berklee, where he developed the curriculum for the only songwriting major in the country. In addition to his lyric writing courses for Berklee, Pattison has written three books, “Writing Better Lyrics,” “The Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure” and “Essential Guide to Rhyming.” Pattison has published over 40 articles for Home & Studio Recording Magazine, The Performing Songwriter and LASS Musepaper.

• Kathy Mattea was signed to her first recording contract in 1983, and since then has given a score of now-famous songwriters their first hit, including Nanci Griffith, with Mattea’s recording of “Love at the Five and Dime” in 1986. She’s won two Grammy awards and two Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year awards, and her song “Eighteen Wheels And A Dozen Roses” was named CMA Single of the Year.

• John Vezner moved to Nashville in 1986, and within that year had songs recorded by Reba McEntire and Ronnie Milsap, followed by Lorrie Morgan’s first single in 1987, “Train Wreck of Emotion,” which Vezner co-wrote with Alan Rhody. Vezner has also won a CMA award, an Academy of Country Music award and a Grammy.

• Stephen Webber is an Emmy-winning composer and professor of music production and engineering at Berklee. In three decades as a record producer, engineer, session player and studio designer, Webber has recorded with Ivan Neville, Meshell Ndegeocello, the Manhattan Guitar Duo and the Turtle Island String Quartet, and performed with Bela Fleck, Mark O’Conner and Emmylou Harris. A writer for Electronic Musician, Remix and Mix Magazine, Webber is the author of “Turntable Technique: The Art of the DJ,” the first book to teach the turntable as a musical instrument. Webber has been profiled on the “Today Show,” National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and in The New York Times and Rolling Stone. He is the designer of the recording studio at Steelgrass Ranch.

For more information, contact Lydgate at 821-1857.


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