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 Eliza Gilkyson, Laurie Lewis, Peter Rowan, Terri Roche and Joe Craven.

2018 Instructors

Laura LoveLaura Love

Laura Love is an award-winning “folk-funk” singer/songwriter/bassist who has been touring throughout the world since the early 1990s. Laura has released 11 CDs on major and minor labels; has performed at nearly every great music festival in North America and Australia; has composed commissioned music for dance and theater productions; and, is a published author. We are very excited that Laura will be teaching at the Yosemite Songwriting Retreat for the first time in 2018. Visit Laura’s website for more information.

DavidJS -credit_TaraLaidlaw-3-23-webDavid Jacobs-Strain

David Jacobs-Strain is a fierce slide guitar player, and a song poet from Oregon.  He’s known for both his virtuosity and spirit of emotional abandon; his live show moves from humorous, subversive blues, to delicate balladry, and then swings back to swampy rock and roll.  It’s a range that ties Jacobs-Strain to his own generation and to guitar-slinger troubadours like Robert Johnson and Jackson Browne.  “I try to make art that you can dance to, but I love that darker place, where in my mind,  Skip James, Nick Drake, and maybe Elliot Smith blur together.”  His new album, “Geneseo,” speaks of open roads, longing hearts and flashbacks of Oregon– a record of emotions big and small, and lyrics that turn quickly from literal to figurative.  “I’m fascinated by the way that rural blues inscribes movement and transience.  The music that frees a singer keeps them on the run; there’s a crossroads where a thing can be enchanting but dangerous; damaging but beautiful.” Visit David’s website for more information.

joe_cravenJoe Craven

Joe Craven is a musician in the broadest sense of the word. Contagiously curious about musical sound, Craven plumbs the depths and outer reaches of his creativity with a flair for both the whimsical and the profound, as well as a refreshing openness about the vehicle he uses to get there. A former 17-year-member of the David Grisman Quintet, Joe Craven is a one-man band and his tool box includes a wide variety of string and percussion instruments as well as found objects. For 30 years, he’s recorded and performed with an incredibly diverse list of artists, including David Lindley and Jerry Garcia.

A visual artist, former museologist, actor and award winning creativity educator, Joe has a unique gift for transferring his enthusiasm for music to audiences and fellow musicians alike (though the two categories are hardly separate: members of a Joe Craven audience can become musicians by the end of the show). Working with all ages from pre-schoolers to adults, Joe has made his workshops, lectures, and artist residencies the stuff of legend. Director of RiverTunes Music Camp and Co-Director of the Wintergrass Youth Academy, the multi-talented Craven also emcees music festivals nation-wide, performs session work, and contributes music and sound effects to projects ranging from computer games to film soundtracks. Find out more at Joe’s website

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. Adam combines rock, folk, ska and eastern European influences to create music that is both energetic and richly melodic. He performs regularly around California with his band, Bootstrap Circus, and teaches music in El Portal and Mariposa.

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.

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.

Will Morebeck

Will Morebeck is a local Northern California singer/songwriter. Will’s songs are guitar melody based with words befitting the feeling of the music. He utilizes many playing styles from strong driving rhythm to a soft finger style melody. Will recently finished his first C.D. “Your Place”

Billy 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