Singer-songwriters to hold workshop, perform at Down Home

The power of the written word matched to melody and presented with soul is what singing is all about.

On Saturday, March 25, two dynamic singer/songwriters come to The Down Home, 300 W. Main St., Johnson City to deliver both a songwriters’ workshop and a duo performance. The occasion is a celebration of Women On Air’s 30th anniversary of radio broadcast on NPR member station WETS-FM and radio IQ station WEHC.

B-005-standing-jpg“This is a sort of ‘west-coast-meets-east-coast-in-the-southern-Appalachians’ with playlist favorites,” says Susan Lachmann, host and producer of Women On Air.

“They are both highly accomplished and skilled in the craft of songwriting as well as stage performance. It’s an honor to bring musicians of such high caliber here for live performance. It’s what my show is all about: supporting, promoting and illuminating women’s voices.”

Hailing from Boston, Catie Curtis has become something more than a songwriting star. Her career spans 14 albums, songs featured on TV shows “Dawson’s Creek,” “Chicago Hope,” and “Felicity,” and movies like “Finding Graceland” and “A Slipping Down Life.”

For over 20 years, she’s been a perennially popular headliner, appearing at performing arts centers, concert halls, folk clubs, music festivals, Lilith Fair, Carnegie Hall and the White House.

“Any fool can write a love-gone-wrong song; it takes a genius to write a love-gone-right song. No urban songwriter does that better than Catie Curtis.” Rolling Stone wrote.

“With her deceptively gentle voice, she can turn on a dime and thrill the listener with unforeseen power and emotion. Intricate acoustic picking sometimes recalling Joan Armatrading … but Curtis is very much an original.”

New York Times magazine called her a “folk-rock goddess.”

Los Angeles producer and performer Maia Sharp has equal share in stage spotlights as well as national radio and television. With a keen sense for lyrics and storylines, she has penned songs for Bonnie Raitt, The Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Cher and many more.

She’s co-written with Carole King, Lisa Loeb, Jules Shear and David Wilcox, and worked studio consoles to produce for Art Garfunkel, Edwin McCain and others. Her touring credits include Keb’ Mo’, Patty Griffin, Garfunkel and Jonatha Brooke.

Many of Sharp’s songs come from her own experiences and observations. In the case of “Standing Out in a Crowd,” she speaks to the loneliness that young girls in particular can feel when ostracized for being “different.”

Trisha Yearwood released this song several years ago; Sharp included it on one of her own solo releases.

“I don’t have one style of instrumentation that’s always right,” Sharp said. “I love to incorporate some new, signature sound that maybe you didn’t hear on the last song. Could be strings, horns, piano, organ, just some new color every time.”

A songwriters’ workshop will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, at the Down Home, where students have access to both Curtis and Sharp. All skill levels are welcome. Participants are encouraged to get comfortable, get creative and gain skills. The instructors’ fee of $145 includes a ticket to the evening performance.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for the show at 8. Tickets for the show are $20, available for purchase at the door or from www.brownpapertickets. For more information, see Facebook public event pages for each event, or call 423-444-2972. The workshop is limited to 18 participants — call to register.