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Songwriters Retreat at The DAG

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Tutors at 2019 DAG Songwriter Retreat

Yorkeys - Festival of the Knob - Shirley LynnThe 2019 Singer Songwriter Retreat at The DAG in Nundle just outside of Tamworth was an absolute blast.

With the acceptance of my application, I was stoked to be heading to this place I'd heard about set up for songwriters to meet and grow creatively with a program allowing artists to intimately work with prominent songwriters and well known established artists and musicians. The focus was on songwriting, recording, artist development, collaboration, stage presence and more.

An initial critique session kicked the retreat off and was followed by 5 days of songwriting with relevant workshops on the Saturday and performances at the Black Crow Cafe every night. It was just awesome to be there and have the opportunity to connect with so many other aspiring songwriters.

2019 DAG Group

Rural Writer's Retreat - Another Sellout.
[Click thumbnail to open article]

DAG Retreat ArticleJohn Krsulja, the owner of the Dag has been running songwriter retreats since 2013. The tutors at the 2019 year's retreat were: Felicity Urquart, Kevin Bennett, Jen Mize, Shane Nicholson, Geoff Gibson and Jeremy Edwards with special guest Lyn Bowtell.

Participants at the retreat were: Andrew Patrick, Joel McKay, Sammy Maddison, Ryan Daykin, Michelle Chandler, Michelle Parsons, Christine Kerr, Mary Harrison, Kelly Breuer, Brittany-Elise Johansen, Dianne Coombes, Kylie Gale, Harriet Kelly, Sarah/ Rae Leigh, Craig Lamond, Cheryl Anderson, Brayden Jeffreys, Logan Hoswell, Virgilla Walker, Hannah Pead, Shirley Lynn, Brendan Smoother, Billy Jo Porter, Larissa Uebergang, Bek Thornton, Kaitlyn Thomas, Renee Jonas, Mitch Lynham, Talya Rabinovitz. Plus the Dag's John Krsulja, Richo Richardson and Brendan Nawrocki.

Mary V I Harrison, Christine M Kerr and Shirley LynnGetting to the DAG, I was looking forward to catching up with these two awesome ladies. We've crossed paths before at the Australian Songwriters Conference as well as Carter and Carter retreat and we already have songs between us. So connecting again Mary and I have a co-write started and Christine and I have another song in motion now too. Good to see Brendan and Richo from other songwriting events again too.

Kevin Bennet and Shirley LynnHaving a tutor co-write with Kevin Bennett was like gold. No better way to gain songwriting insights than to write with an experienced writer. Our co-write session was in a funky caravan out the back of The DAG. In three hours our song, "Live and Let Live" was written. In a North Queensland context the song's perspective meets nature in a way realising that what has the potential to impact is also what's necessary to sustain life.

Cheryl Anderson, Joel McKay and Shirley LynnCheryl Anderson from Dalby is quite the entertainer and I so love her style. When we met and got chatting, it was inevitable that we were going to write a song together. We were both keen to kick into writing a bush ballad and with a title idea and Joel Bear McKay joining us, "Sons in the Saddle" was underway. The thing about writing songs is they each have a timeframe of their own and we'll see now how this song journeys.

Lyn Bowtell and Shirley LynnLyn Bowtell was a special guest at the retreat. It was awesome to catch up with her again and she generously gave time to sit with me to go through the song written with Peter Armstrong giving us most welcome feedback to shift it further forward. We met Lyn at King Lake, Melbourne at Carter and Carter songwriting retreat and began writing the song, "Love is the Shape it is", soon after from a pitch sheet brief provided.

Lyn Bowtell and Shirley LynnThe DAG PosterDuring the winter retreat at The DAG, Hats Off to Country was also happening in and around Tamworth with organised events at the Dag too. Songwriters at the Dag featured all the tutors from the retreat as per the poster with a Christmas in July feast. Songwriter's Live on the Deck featured songwriters from the retreat. [Click thumbnail on the right to open poster]

Lyn Bowtell and Shirley LynnBlack Crow Cafe came alive every night with performances of songs from participants and tutors alike.

On the first night, each participant was requested to put up a song for critique. As songs were performed, the tutors randomly provided constructive feedback to each songwriter with comments relative to the song itself and/or performance. It was a great way to break the ice at the event as we heard everyone share their tunes.

Names were put up on the board each night and we were treated to a concert from everyone there. As the retreat kicked in, some songwriters were performing their co-writes with their collaborators.

One of the songs I chose to share at the Black Crow Cafe was this song co-written
with David and Merelyn Carter, Mary Harrison, Robyn Hull, Sam Bellamy and John Collins.

Lucy Haslam and Dag TutorsA Special Invitation:
A special event project kicked in at the 2019 Winter Songwriter Retreat at The DAG. An invitation was taken up at the retreat to write a theme song for Australian Medicinal Cannibis Access movement. Lucy Haslem, a compassionate mother who lost her own son to cancer is instrumental in building a movement of change to address the access issue for patients.
After watching the film "High as Mike" featuring heartfelt personal stories impacted by the dilemma, a song was in the making. It is planned to record the song and use it in the follow up film, "Higher than Mike".
> " High As Mike" Film shares personal stories and their dilemma to face
> Pedestrian TV Documentary - Will this Doco push Medicinal Cannabis into Mainstream Australia?
> Article: The Northern Daily Leader - Theme Song for Australian Medicinal Cannibis Access

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