A celebration of songcraft

This summer I’m collaborating on a new local project, the Washougal Songcraft Festival, which features regional songwriters. A related ongoing activity is the Washougal Song Circle, hosted by myself and my wife Stephanie.

Looking at it through the lens of Cult of Orpheus, there’s a clear connection between attention to individual songwriters working in a variety of genres and this project’s longtime focus on composition of lyrical vocal music and opera. As mentioned in my previous post, the name ‘art-song’ is at best pretentious and creates an artificial separation between practitioners of songcraft.

I want to continue to entangle, rather than disentangle, the threads of lyrical creativity around and within me. On this impulse, I feel called to kindle the Cult of Orpheus revival with more fires than just my own, and with more approaches to songcraft than just the through-composed.

What makes a wonderful poetic song work? This will be the immediate concern here, and I look forward to trying to explore my sense of it through celebration of specific works, with special focus on regional songwriters. There is no genre or process prescription, so this journey may include exploration of through-composed score-song as well as any other method of song creation. I will however focus on works emerging from the living, particularly in my region, as that’s the garden that needs tending and nourishing.

Check back for the first posts in this series! They will be tagged with ‘songcraft’.