At the Yosemite Songwriting Retreat, we chose instructors that are not only great musicians but also gifted educators. These individuals bring diverse skills and perspectives to teach practical skills through stimulating curriculum. Previous instructors include Laura Love, Eliza Gilkyson, Laurie Lewis, Peter Rowan, Terri Roche and Joe Craven.

Spring 2020 Instructors

mary-gauthier.jpgMary Gauthier

“With songwriting as powerful as hers, there’s no need to go looking for qualifiers. She’s a unique, intrinsically valuable musical voice. And there’s never a surplus of those.” — Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Time

The Associated Press named Mary Gauthier as one of the best songwriters of her generation and we are very excited that she will be joining us at the 2019 Yosemite Songwriting Retreat. Her songs have been recorded by dozens of artists, including Jimmy Buffett, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Bettye Lavette Mike Farris, Amy Helm and Candi Staton, and have appeared extensively in Film and Television, most recently on Yellowstone, ABC’s Nashville, HBO’s Banshee, and Masterpiece Theater’s Case Histories. Her second album, Filth and Fire was named Best Independent CD of the year by the New York Times. She was signed to Universal Lost Highway, and her following 3 records were listed in both the LA Times and NY Times top three releases of the year. Her record Mercy Now was named in the top 5 records of the decade by No Depression magazine. She was awarded New Artist of the year by The Americana Music Association in 2005. Visit Mary’s website for more details.

keith_greeningerKeith Greeninger

Keith Greeninger paints intricate portraits of the human condition with powerful melodic images, deep engaging guitar rhythms and warm heart wrenching vocals. He is a multi award winning singer songwriter and this year’s winner of the prestigious Telluride Troubadour National Song Writing Competition. Is it his deep, textured voice, his rich, engaging songwriting, or his deft yet unpretentious playing? With nothing more than a guitar in hand and a song with a story to tell, Keith can completely captivate an audience. His husky heart-felt vocals and aggressive acoustic guitar style offer more than the standard bill-of-fare for most folk singers and more musicality and sensitivity than today’s average rock band. Keith Greeninger is that rare performer for whom people lean forward in their seats, eager to capture every note and every word. Visit Keith’s website to find out more.

gail_dreifusGail Dreifus

Gail Dreifus bought her first guitar at“Goodwill” at the age of 14 and has been writing songs since she could string a series of basic chords together. Starting with songs of protest and heartfelt love songs, Gail also writes about nature and history. Inspired by  living in YosemiteNational Park, she developed a program of original songs  about the park which has been performed for over 25 years for children and their guardians. Her songs are catchy, appealing and it is surprising  to note how much information is incorporated in the lyrics.

Gail has  produced seven CDs for National Parks across the United States and has  performed them with her children’s band, “Recycled String Band.” This  band was formed in 1990, and continues to delight audiences with songs about nature and ecology. Her writing credits include an award from the  National Park Service in Washington, DC for her musical Interpretation and  presentation of national parks and monuments.  Gail has performed at  conventions, libraries, schools, museums, radio and television and for her  students.  She teaches English and History in a one-room school in El  Portal, CA. Aside from writing and performing children’s music, Gail is part of Meltwater Bridge Band, which performs Gail’s original music throughout California. Find out more at Gail’s website.

adam_burnsAdam Burns

Adam Burns is a musician and educator based in Mariposa, California. He draws on art rock, post-punk and new wave influences to create dynamic and melodic songs full of rich imagery and wry humor. His lyrics celebrate the strange and magical things that thrive beneath the surface of everyday life in a world where superheroes, witches and arsonists rub shoulders with bored housewives and small town hustlers. His dynamic and agile guitar playing beautifully compliments his gritty vocal style. 

Adam grew up in rural England and moved to California in 2004. He worked as a Field Science Educator for NatureBridge in Yosemite for seven years before transferring his education skills to music. In 2010, Adam launched the Beat Harvest music education program with a mission to inspire people to make music and teach them the skills they need to do so. In his teaching, Adam focuses on unleashing creative potential and collaboration with other musicians. His goal is to teach his students not only to play their instrument, but also how to use music to express themselves and build community.

Visit Adam’s website to find out more.

Sleepy John

(Sleepy) John Sandidge

Sleepy John, Born on a mountain top in Tennessee! Well really in Santa Monica, lived in Los Angeles til the late 70’s and then moved to Santa Cruz and got involved with radio (KAZU (Moved on), KZSC (Current), KHIP (Fired), KUSP (Fired), KSCO (Really Fired), KKUP (Current) and KPIG (Current (Not Fired Yet)). I have been a broadcaster since 1983.  I am also involved in the concert promoting field for  about the same time frame.I currently do a LIVE  music show (Please Stand By) on KPIG. We have completed over 1000 shows. I have been involved in the music business for almost 40 years. I enjoy good food, bad movies and long walks on the beach.

Bday pic copyBilly Buckman

Billy Buckman is a singer songwriter story-teller with a simplistic guitar style that allows the vocals to be in the for front of the performance . He utilizes pleasant finger styles and simple rhythmic chops to sell the song. Billy currently has two C.D.’s