Celebration of NC Songwriting
Five award-winning songwriters gather for the 5th Annual Celebration of NC Songwriting. Dean Driver, Wyatt Easterling, Rebekah Todd, Kirk Ridge, and Isabel Taylor perform country, folk, rock and blues in an entertaining full band format with noted session players bassist Bobb Head and drummer Jonathan Wilson
A few years ago, Dean Driver started hearing songs in his head, calling him to pick up his old guitar and learn to play it in completely new ways. The inspirations continued until he felt the need to produce an all-original acoustic album at age 50, which he aptly called Late Bloomer. In 2011, with the generous help of friends and family, he and his partner Laurel built a music venue and arts center called Doodad Farm just east of Greensboro, with the goal of making live music more accessible and intimate, and fostering collaboration among artists of all types.
Leading Atlantic Records’ A&R Department began Wyatt Easterling’s two decades of platinum and gold winning releases. He later partnered with Miles Copeland (The Police & Sting) then moved out on his own writing with songs like his title track for Dierks Bentley’s chart-topping, million-selling album Modern Day Drifter. Wyatt’s 2014 release, Goodbye-Hello, was lauded as rich with wisdom, acceptance and optimism. Once again getting ready to launch a new album, Wyatt is headed back to the studio this summer.
Rebekah Todd, born and raised in Benson, NC, now hails from the coastal city of Wilmington. With her roots in folk, soul and classic rock, her sound is rich and endearing. Vocals that flow like a whiskey/honey combo and an attitude that forces the audience to stop and listen, she is one to keep your eyes on. Her full band, Rebekah Todd & the Odyssey have been playing all around NC and other regional areas. Recently a part of festivals including Shakori Music Festival, they were named the first place winner of the “On The Rise” series of Floyd Fest. On the rise, indeed, Rebekah Todd is a force to be reckoned with.
Kirk Ridge’s songs tell tales of life’s irony, humor, and frailty. He performs with his bands Black Dog Syndrome and Kirk Ridge & Friends. His lyrics have been published in American Songwriter magazine, and he writes for Cary Playwrights Forum productions. Kirk’s music has been featured on NPR’s Car Talk and he won Belfast’s Celtic Roots Radio competition. He co-hosts “Pass The Hat” on WHUP radio, featuring local performers and is events coordinator for the NC Songwriting Co-op as well as the Durham Arts Council.
Isabel Taylor recently celebrated the release of her debut CD Awake Again, produced by Jon Shain and engineered by FJ Ventre. She has been performing in Triangle venues, festivals, and on the NC coast for several years. After joining the open mic scene in 2010, where she performed rarely-heard covers by artists such as Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, and Bob Dylan, her focus turned to writing and leadership of the NC Songwriters Co-op. Taylor connects with her audience through common ground experiences.
Bobb Head is a talented multi-instrumentalist who will play bass in tonight’s production. A native Texan transplanted to North Carolina, Mr. Head has performed at national and international festivals and has graced the stage of A Prairie Home Companion. He has played in ensembles including Big Medicine, Sidetrack, and Stillhouse Bottom Band.
Jonathan Wilson has been playing drums for 30+ years. Full time drummer with Individually Twisted and Rosies. Plays with other local musicians, such as Black Dog Syndrome, Willie Painter Band, and Rebecca Newton, to name a few. Grew up in Durham, resides in Raleigh, and is always surrounded by music.