WE ALL AGREE: Music lovers can disagree on favorite bands and best business practices and whether new technologies will help artists. Music lovers can disagree and do, we should add. But one corner of the business that stays pretty much above the fray is the role of the singer-songwriter. Oh, sure, the singer-songwriter will take some gentle ribbing now and then as an overly self-reflective troubadour bent on secret-telling and story-spinning. Um. Like those bad things? Most people, however, are grateful for those artists who keep their styles pretty singular in an increasingly homogeneous world. That's one reason we're talking about The Songwriters' Performance Workshop at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. It's a multi-day, dig-deep song school with one of the masters of the form at the helm: Jim Messina.
DANNY'S SONG FOREVER: Did you just get "Danny's Song" in your head? Not only was it one of Loggins & Messina's biggest hits, it stands as one of the biggest smashes of singer-songwriter history and set the tone and style for several guitar-strummy hits to come, both from the duo and other artists. Mr. Messina may talk about that big hit during the six-day intensive at the Solvang-close ranch, or he may talk about his time in Buffalo Springfield, or he may just get down to a lot of strumming and instructing. The nearly week-long February workshop costs $3,000 and all participants must stay at the ranch (lodging and meals are additional). An alternative if you aren't pursuing a singer-songwriter career? There's a weekend package where you can see the participants and Mr. Messina perform an acoustic gig. That's $1,395 for two. For more information check out Jim Messina's site or contact Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort.