If you’re participating in the Yosemite Songwriting Retreat, this is where you can share a little about yourself, meet your fellow songwriters and find out where you rank alphabetically. To be added to this page, please complete the form below. If you’d like to include a photo, please send it to Adam at ajcburns@gmail.com

67183458_10214692602889624_3479999403362615296_nCharles Absher


I am a retired civil engineer who loves to write and play music. I first heard about the retreat at the Eliza Gilkyson songwriting retreat in August 2018 where Gail was also instructing. If not for Covid, I might have attended in person this year. Looking forward to the virtual version!

IMG_0354Brett Ahern

Hi All, thrilled to be joining back Songwriting retreat again! I’m an early morning guitar picker and sometime songwriter of simple songs. I currently live in the SF bay area with my wife and two daughters, but we are moving up to Camas, Wa at the end of the month. Look forward to connecting with you all and sharing some tunes!

Vera Marie Bridges


Hello Everybody! I’m thrilled to be with a community of creatives this weekend. Musically, I write, sing, and play fiddle/violin/viola, mostly. A woman of few words, I am also writing this in a hurry, as I just discovered this who’s who page.

lisa and rachel small sizeLisa A Burns


Lisa Burns has been playing and singing for as long as she can remember. She took up the guitar at age 12 but when she started studying upright bass in 1994 she found her true calling. Lisa has studied bass with Jim Edwards, Cindy Browne, Seward McCain, Dan Robbins and Jim Kerwin.

Lisa has been a finalist for Northern California Bluegrass Society’s Bass Player of the year each year since the award was instituted. She has won the award 5 out of 10 years: 2008, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2019.

AC PictureAmy Carder

Hi! I’m an educator from Bellingham, WA by way of the Midwest; I moved out here 13 years ago to be near the mountains. I experienced a prolific period of song-writing, performing and recording as a solo artist during the late 90s when I lived in Iowa, but haven’t written/finished a song in over a decade, (mostly because I haven’t tried to.) For some reason the COVID quarantine has lit a creative spark in me. There’s nothing like adversity and strong emotions to make me want to verbal vomit–in a poetic way of course–about what we’re all going through. I’m a huge fan of the Brothers Comatose and Ben Morrison, and heard about this retreat on his Instagram feed. Committing to trying to write songs again feel like a huge emotional risk for me, but it also feels necessary for my soul somehow. Thanks for partnering with me in this endeavor! I look forward to learning from all of you.

IMG_8639Cynthia Cohen

Howdy from the recently-threatened-by-wildfire-but-now-we’re-ok foothills of Monrovia, California (eastern LA County). I’m a recovering arborist, current academic librarian, and born-again songwriter mostly on ukulele, just learning what it’s like to actually put some effort into the enterprise, and this time around understanding what a difference doing so within a community makes. Looking forward to adding you all to mine.

barbee-at-ysr-1Barbee Corff

I studied voice and performance at Blue Bear School of American Music and joined a girl band called Chickwagon. We performed, produced and emcee’d All-Girl revues at Strawberry Music Festival and The Redwood Ramble for 15 years. I was honored to be invited to join Joe Craven’s Rivertunes music camp as official “bling queen” and emcee, and that’s where I got a start with my songwriting and met Gail. Every year I am so excited when YSR comes around. I get to drop my daily distractions and concentrate on finishing a song, which is so deeply satisfying to me.

PatPat Cronin


Pat Cronin is an American composer and musician based out of Camarillo, California. She plays Americana, Bluegrass, Country and Folk styles, covers and original songs. She spent 5 years as a solo artist, performing in Senior Centers, then joined music partner Bob Bueling to form a duet performance team called Sympatico Music in 2014. Sympatico Music plays for local senior centers, breweries, wineries and private parties. In March 2020, Sympatico Music produced their first CD titled “Musical Upholstery”, with 5 originals and 8 covers. Pat is a member of several music organizations and currently studies voice with Susie Glaze. She enjoys writing songs for performance and recording. She hopes to sell her songs to renowned performing artists and to Taxi for use in movies. She plays guitar, fiddle, mandolin, piano and ukulele. Pat is also an artist and illustrates children’s books.

The Cosmo Alleycats-10 small for web cropEmily Day



I’m a professional singer who has always skirted the opportunity to write my own songs (there are so many great ones that already exist!). I’ve been performing in the Bay Area since moving here from Vermont in 2012. My goal during quarantine was to make room for creative song writing time, but I have only one song to show for all these past months. Good thing there’s still more time 😉 I look forward to all of you holding me accountable. Can’t wait for the fun to begin!

2019-09-26 Linda at North ForkLinda L. Descoteaux

Well howdy! I’m a Californian by way of Massachusetts. I moved to San Francisco the day I turned 18 to be a superstar, but alas, only received free wine for singing at open mike nights. Who knew? In December, my 64th birthday present to myself is retiring from a very demanding work life and moving back up to the mountains (North Fork) with my husband and six cats. We used to love Cousin Jack’s potato-salad pot luck pickin’ song circles at the Chocolate Soup Butterfly Garden in Mariposa, and have made many wonderful musical friends over the years. I wrote songs as a child and after my second divorce–seems like they come easy when you’re on the precipice of change. I’m hoping to summon whatever’s left of my creative soul through this workshop and learn how to channel my heart and mind into song. Here’s to us!

GrantGrant Elgaard


I live in Powell River, Canada and I bought a guitar for my 60th birthday. Since then things have gotten out of hand and now I’m in too deep to stop. I play different genres but I try to stick to the folk music tradition of writing about real life events, both big and small. I have one album out called “Better Late Than Never”. The pinnacle of my career so far is when Mary Gauthier made a point of telling me how much she enjoyed one of my songs.

GrissomShannon Grissom
I’m a professional artist (painter) who loves to write. I’ve got a lot to learn about songwriting and I’m really excited about this workshop!

Adam FergusonI am a resident of the foothills in California, and now live in Midpines, Ca. I manage a rafting company and over the years of rafting started to pick up the guitar. Recently I started playing music with a few friends/coworkers as High Water Mark, and we were just starting to play more live shows when everything shut down. Lately I’ve been trying to improve my songwriting. Looking forwards to the weekend!

20201007_191613Beverly Greene aka BabyBee

BabyBee aka Beverly Greene started my career playing drums at a tender age and continued to play drums,
started and ran several jam sessions including music venue Zapps Park, I continued to create a few local bands. I played drums and sang for Ron Thompson from Fleetwood Mac, Blues icon Chick Willis, and many others. I am currently a member of the Oakland Blues Divas performing at the top Blues Festivals, such as The King Biscuit, in Helena Ark., Hayward Blues Festival, Yoshi’s and many more venues throughout the U.S. I have two CD’s predominately original.


Dan Gross


Lifelong Californian from Bakersfield to the Bay Area, I’ve sung and performed since the age of seven. I embrace live music, musical theater, and informal jamming. Mostly I play banjos; fortunately other instruments find their way into my hands and consciousness. Songwriting began with my first experience at Yosemite Songwriting Retreat in 2014. The friendships and musical connections have expanded exponentially since. Retired from Silicon Valley mechanical product design, I’m en route to a new home in Mariposa, California.

IMG-5246Howard Hall


I am a singer songwriter based in Santa Fe New Mexico. My first real career was in music. I use to tour 50 weeks a year before settling down to raise a family. I returned to music about 15 years ago and began writing my own music. I record under the name of Dr Hall. I have recorded three albums that are available through most digital music distributors. I also have a YouTube channel called Dr Hall’s Music. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and participating in this workshop as well as enjoying everyone’s music.

imageDavid Hansen

My day job is still interfering with my life. I live in Benicia California and write a song or two now and then. Can’t wait to share mine and hear yours!

Randall I Harris

Hello friends. I’m a songwriter based in Nevada County, CA (near Grass Valley). My songs are generally written around my acoustic guitar as the foundation. Currently working on my first recording project, and am grateful to have Joe Craven producing and playin on all the songs!

I’ve been very fortunate to have has Rita’s, Joe’s and other great songwriting coaches support and encouragement over the years.

Interested in exploring collaboration with others, particularly strong lyricists.

Dharmika in Burbank hi resDharmika Henshel


I’m glad to be able to spend this weekend with you all virtually from Eugene, Oregon! I’ve been writing and singing most of my adult life, although I slowed down while raising kids. Before I had my own kids, I wrote a kid’s album in the 90’s about rainforests. I came back into adult folk over the last bunch of years with strong purpose and intention. I like to write songs that have some kind of twist towards empowerment and inspiration, as that is how I want to feel from singing a song, and hopefully leave others with that sense as well.

727A1440-C7A5-40E8-A7EB-3027666B51EB_OriginalBrad Hoshaw


Bio (100 words or fewer): I’m an Americana/Folk/Singer-Songwriter that recently moved to Northern California from the Midwest. I’ve written for theatre and film as well as my own self-released albums. Since my move to California I’ve been struggling to find a community and establish a writing rhythm. I love chatting about songcraft and listening to music.

dianehubka_2363Diane Hubka


Bio (100 words or fewer): Singer/guitarist, Diane Hubka is getting back to her musical “folk” roots, diving deep into the rich Americana melting pot, creating her own interpretations of songs by John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Johnny Cash. Growing up in the panhandle of Western Maryland, this Blue-Ridge Mountain-bred artist learned violin, trombone and guitar from an early age. After studying jazz guitar in college, she developed a passion for singing jazz that would lead her live and perform in New York, and later Los Angeles. Diane has six internationally acclaimed CD’s, and has performed throughout the US as well as Turkey and Japan. Award-winning vocalist Susie Glaze says “Diane’s jazz ‘chops’ are being gracefully integrated into the folk and Americana genre with grand results!”

IMG_2366Karla Hutton


I caught the songwriting muse when I attended my first YSR retreat 5 years ago and haven’t let her go. I’d mostly only written poetry as a teenager…then advertising copy as a ad agency principle and videographer when I showed up there for my first retreat with a guitar I barely knew how to play. I was instantly brought into the frock and to this day the relationships I formed at YSR are some of my dearest. Since then I’ve written dozens of songs, attended many other songwriting retreats, played open mics and a few larger venues and am now working on my first CD. Looking forward to getting to know everyone…

FBphotolgjLynne Jolitz


Hello everyone! I’ve been playing and writing music since I was a teenager. I taught myself to play a guitar as a teen so I could sing my favorite songs, but gradually I’ve spent more time writing my own songs for myself. I’ve worked in the computer industry for many years which left little time to pursue this seriously, although I always wrote songs as the mood caught me. Now I have the time, and I’d like to go back to my roots. I am also spending time working on novel writing (I’ve written textbooks, but fancy something more fun) and mentoring women in technology and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.

IMG_0454.CR2Emily Kener


Hey, I’m Emily! I grew up in Fresno, CA and am currently living in El Paso, TX. I took a songwriting class during my last semester of my undergraduate for my music minor and loved it. Now, several years later, I’ve been trying to consistently create time for songwriting for about a year now. I’m also trying to strike up a friendship with music production as of late. Excited to be with & learn from you all this weekend!

image0Stacy Koleszar

Hi! My name is Stacy. I’ve loved to sing for as long as I can remember, and my mom says I started singing before I started talking. I also play a little piano, guitar and handbells. I was recently gifted a banjo and just started taking lessons, and am having so much fun learning a new instrument. 🙂 I’ve attempted to write songs a few times but haven’t really finished anything. I’m looking forward to this event and hope it will inspire me to actually finish one of them, or start something new.

Brian Lawley


Brian is a songwriter, vocalist and guitar player who lives in Los Gatos, CA. He started playing guitar and writing songs when he was fifteen years old. His primary styles are acoustic rock and folk, with some pop and country interlaced. In 2019 Brian cashed out from being a CEO and Author for 20 years to focus on writing, performing and recording music. His first CD is due out in the Fall or 2020 – sign up for his mailing list to be notified when it becomes available.

GoatHillGirlsLG1 copyLinda Maki


I’ve written a few songs over the years. Currently I’m singing and playing guitar with the Goat Hill Girls and love to arrange and sing my songs with their backup vocals and fine instrument playing. I’m also a painter and have included my art website. I’m in Menlo Park CA. I want my songs to be fearlessly from the heart but also entertaining. I’m thrilled to be working with such amazing musicians this weekend!

promophotoJodie Jean Marston


Bio (100 words or fewer): I have been performing singer/songwriter/folk/old-timey/cosmic cowgirl music since I was ten years old in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Over the years, I have lived and performed all over the country, sometimes as a opener at large venues and other times in small coffee houses, art collectives and house shows. Within the past five years I have been finding joy and harmony with an all female old-timey/bluegrass band, ‘Wild and Blue’ in my home town in Talent, Oregon. I am raising two amazing kids on our family farm, ‘Wildflower Farm’, which includes a small flock of sheep. When I am not writing or performing, I am spinning wool and making handmade brooms which I sell at the farmers market. This will be my third time attending YSR and I am super excited and grateful.

Diane McIntire

I live in the sweet town of Nevada City in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Calif. My partner, Andy and I have an acoustic duo focusing on interwoven harmonies and playing primarily covers of songs we love sprinkling in a few originals. We want to turn our song list around to include more originals. I am always so touched by original songs where the songwriter has an opportunity to tell their unique story. I have dabbled in songwriting for several years now but really need guidance and support. I get stuck and in end up in ruts and want to connect with other songwriters to learn how to move beyond the obstacles – what works and doesn’t work for others. Thank you so much for putting this on!

Singing with Jim at KWNicole

I have a day job (GIS analyst) but am only truly happy when I’m singing. I sing with our local community choir, Sierra Chamber Singers and have been lead singer in several local bands. I’m a novice guitar player, but I haven’t found an instrument that I connect with enough to really commit to it. I love a variety of music genres including chamber-pop, avant-garde electronica, ska, folk-punk, and Celtic trad. I’m looking forward to writing my first song (even if I’m not even sure what genre it’s going to be). Thank you Modesto Unplugged for sponsoring my attendance.

Anne PhalenAnne Phalen


Bio (100 words or fewer): Hello! I live in Seattle and have been writing songs for about 6 years. For most of my adult life I have been a physician and mother. Discovering that I love songwriting and singing has given me the greatest unexpected pleasure. Before the pandemic I would play with music friends for the public. I have always wanted to go to Yosemite National Park. I am excited to join this group of songwriters virtually this time. Maybe next time in person.

IMG_0328Jennifer Plevel


Hi! I am one of the lead vocalists for the Sierra Gypsies Band in South Lake Tahoe, Ca. I play ukulele, banjolele and hand percussion. My boyfriend, Brian Garrett, and I, co-founded our band in 2015. We play at 90% of the venues here in town during non-COVID days. Our music is a cross between Americana, Blues, Classic Rock, Pop and Jazz. We have written about 15-20 songs and perform about half of those with our 6 piece band. My training is mainly in Great American Songbook Jazz. I attended the Berkeley Jazzschool, LTCC Music program, Deanza College Jazz studies and Foothill College Music program. Please friend us on Facebook!

Brian Garrett


I began my journey into song writing in late 2014 and brought and performed the my first song to the 2015 YSR (Oct 2015). I enjoyed that experience, but being new to writing and performing, I found myself focused on jamming with new friends and ended up forming a band with with my now girlfriend Jennifer Plevel. That experience has been very rewarding and we have played hundreds of shows in the Lake Tahoe and Placerville areas since. After being primarily a cover band, we have been focused on song writing and transitioning to performing more original songs.

imageMaree Reedman

Watch Maree on YouTube

Becoming a songwriter was the culmination of over ten years of creative writing, six years of ukulele, and my yoga teacher who said if I’m writing poems I need to be writing songs. What a lady. My first influence is Bruce Springsteen and my latest is Townes Van Zandt. And there are hundreds in between. I find it hard to not just cover other people’s songs because I love them. My biggest obstacle is finding the courage to perform. I’m a sensitive introvert and could easily be a shut-in if I didn’t want to share my music so much.

1602104353940blobBen Rivera

Been playing guitar and bass since high school. I love all kinds of music and instruments. I would love to learn folk music from around the world to really learn about the people and their music. I am currently learning how to sing and I have been always interested in song writing. I am ok with the music part of writing but not great with the lyrics. Looking forward to joining my first Yosemite Songwriting Retreat.

SarahCadeGuitar-Sarah Cade Rooney


This whole music thing was a (surprise) gift to myself. When I turned 49 a few years ago, I decided to do a 50th birthday challenge. I picked a bunch of things I wanted to do during the year before I hit the big birthday. Things like: spend 50 nights away from the house, see 50 live bands, and try 50 new things. One of the new things was to take vocal lessons because I was too shy (not shy for anything else) to sing where strangers could hear me… not conducive to fun around the campfire in our camper. My vocal coach turned to me one day and said, “You’re a writer, you should be writing songs.” I laughed, I had a busy year. Write a song? Nah. A few weeks later, I walked in and said, “I think I wrote a song.” Many songs and an album later… I’m currently working on a 55th birthday challenge. This year, 55 songs! I’m a newbie guitar player, but writing, singing, and playing (even poorly) is absolute JOY incarnate. I’m all about joy! I can’t wait to meet my fellow songwriters, and bask in the good vibes, and creative collective. I live in Bastrop, Texas, just outside of Austin with my Irish hubs and 2 scruffy dogs.

Jayne Monkey House CUJayne Schabel

A prose writer by trade, I have been following my passion for writing songs since 2006. Over that time, it has become an essential part of my life. I love joining song circles and song crafting workshops. I am looking forward to this retreat and spending time in virtual community with others dedicated to embracing both the joy and effort it takes to write a good song.

Suzanne Schrag

I’m an actor/improviser from the Santa Cruz mountains. Years ago, I wrote a sketch for my Dangerous Neighbors comedy troupe about my country singer alter ego, Polly Lynn Barton, which included two songs she’d written, as well as many silly titles referencing her past “hits.” I then became obsessed with having actual songs to go with those titles. Since then, PLB has continued to write songs, mostly funny ones. Our grand ambition is to do an album of her work. I’m also nervous but excited to work on some songs of my own that aren’t necessarily in the comedy mode.

Betsy Scott

No spring chicken. Came up through theatre, musical theater, opera and dance. Studied, Directed and taught In LA, SF, Anchorage Ak. Picked up a couple of awards in SF. Worked with the late Sam Shepard and The Alaska Repertory Theatre, may it rest in peace. A song popped out of my mouth one day..literally. Went to River Tunes. Did a CD with Keith Greeninger 2014. A flurry of songs, then the life tide pulled me out. Back on the beach now finding my singer songwriter feet.

Virgil Stanford

Played in various bands playing blues and rock. In early 2000’s became interested in bluegrass and americana music. Currently studying Jazz at the University of Arkansas Community Music Program.

Interested in learning songwriting in all types of styles.

Lived in California for 13 years, now in Northwest Arkansas. Main instrument is bass. Also play several other instruments.

Working with others to get JamKazam software going so we can jam from our homes.

Looking forward to this learning experience.

Susan Terris

Here to listen and learn! When I was in 7th and 8th grade, a friend and I used to write songs about our teachers. For special occasions, I have rewritten the words to a standard song for fun. I’ve been learning to play the fiddle for a little more than 5 years. I love the experience of singing harmony with others, took one of Laurie Lewis’ harmony singing classes over a year ago.

118143966_10224272129096899_7669609351383341750_nGeorge Thompson


Hello, my name is Coyote George, as my friends like to call me. First and foremost I am a professional gardener and a very active artisan bread baker. I live in the town of Sonoma California. I am the host of Coyote Road Radio on KSVY radio in Sonoma for 16 years. I am married to my lovely wife Janice who is an herbalist and book-keeper. I am the proud father of two sons in their twenties. My wife has two daughters in their thirties. I travel as often as I can to my favorite wilderness spots where I chill out in the wilderness. Oh yeah, I play the banjo and like to make up songs.

IMG_4200David Toy

Www.midnightbluebayarea.com (under reconstruction currently)

I’m a very happily retired guy who loves all genres of music. I started singing at 10, in the church. I’m self-taught on many instruments. I studied music and performed in a few college musicals (singing and dancing) and a professional “summer-stock” Broadway musical revue.  I sang and played guitar in local groups for many years.  I’ve produced and managed many types of local jams and a few charity events with multiple groups of performers. My main interest is bass, guitar, harmonica, and vocals. I currently play with Midnight Blue (Bay Area).

Lee Travis

Newbie here. I signed up for this and it got cancelled… twice. Then you moved forward online… and I moved forward over my bike and sprained my finger – and it’s my middle finger, so it looks like I’m flipping you off – plus, I can’t play. Should I take the hint and retreat from the retreat? Well, two things: 1) I can’t play well anyhow; and 2) Bet I’ll get $125 worth of learning from you all, even if I spend the whole weekend sitting on my hands. Looking forward!


Al Zagofsky


I was born in New York City, spent my adult life in Allentown and Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and currently live in Sacramento. I retired as a project engineer and freelance journalist. I’ve been playing basic guitar since the 60s, plus I noodle around with piano, harmonica, native flute, and baritone ukulele. Two years ago, I took a class in protest songs and started writing protest songs. Since then, I wrote well dozens of songs and will be teaching a songwriting class at Sac State Renaissance Society. My other hobbies are kayaking and biking,

Topanga - 2019 - 1Mary Zangerle

I’m a retired web designer/computer programmer. I play guitar and mandolin and during this quarantine, I have been working on dobro. I have placed on mandolin in several fiddle contests around LA over the past few years. This year, I was awarded the “Spirit of Topanga” in the songwriting contest at the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle contest for my song, “The Church and the Station”. I have played in several bluegrass bands and with my husband, perform Americana/Folk songs around Ventura at open mics. I have many song snippets/lyrics and I need some guidance on completing a song.