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Songwriter Spotlight: Maureen Blumenthal

I’m delighted to share our first songwriter spotlight! This month we are featuring Maureen “Mo” Blumenthal, whose song “For Crying Out Loud,” won best song of the month at the West Coast Songwriter’s Contra Costa chapter in December 2013.

Eight Amazing Female Acoustic Players

Being a simple strummer myself, I can fully appreciate the time these ladies have put into mastering their instrument. But it’s their passion that really shines through. I’ve met or seen most of these amazing players perform live, and let me just say, WOWZA!

Legendary Songwriter Steve Earle to Lead Weeklong Songwriting Retreat at Full Moon Resort in NY

Are you looking to spend a week on intensive songwriting instruction by a master craftsman in one of the most beautiful mountain resorts in the world? Read on! Legendary artist and songwriter Steve Earle will be presenting a weeklong workshop called Camp Copperhead at Full Moon Resort from July 7 to 11, 2014. The resort, nestled in the Catskill mountains in Big Indian, NY, offers a serene and lovely setting for what I'm sure will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Acoustic Nation's Holiday Gift Guide

I’ll admit it. I’m always looking for another gadget that will enhance my guitar playing. From simple capos and tuners to more complex apps, pedals and accessories, there’s a boatload of cool stuff that we guitarists crave. And don’t even get me started on picks. They seem to disappear on a daily basis.

Guitar Girl’d: Interview with Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses on New Release, 'Purgatory/Paradise'

As one of the most popular indie-rock acts of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Throwing Muses helped to pave the way for a host of female-fronted bands that came after them. Now after a ten-year absence, Throwing Muses have returned with Purgatory/Paradise, a release that easily contends as one of 2013’s most intriguing records

Lesson: Lee DeWyze Teaches Us How to Play His Single "Fight"

Even if you’re not a fan of "American Idol," I hope you’ve heard the music of season nine’s winner, Lee DeWyze. An avid fan of the show, I’ve watched pretty much every episode since day one, and DeWyze always impressed not only with his fabulous voice, but his obvious musicianship. He could often be seen on the Idol stage with a guitar in hand. So, of course, I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to meet with DeWyze in the Acoustic Nation studio. He spent some time teaching me the powerful single “Fight” from his new release Frames.

First Listen: Laura Zucker's 'Life Wide Open'

Singer/Songwriter and guitar instructor Laura Zucker has just released a new album of carefully crafted songs called Life Wide Open. Zucker, who just came back from the NERFA conference and was one of the winners of 2013’s West Coast Songwriters Association Best Song competition, clearly can construct a terrific turn of phrase. But it’s her compositions as a whole that make you feel like someone just wrapped you in a warm blanket.

Video Finds: Mike Dawes "The Impossible"

Some folks just know how to do amazing things with their instruments. Take Mike Dawes for example. He slaps, taps and caresses his way to brilliance in his video performance of "The Impossible." The song, from his album What Just Happened?, showcases this performer's innate melodic instinct.

Hurry! Enter by November 12 for a Chance to Play Live at NAMM

Now's your chance to not only attend the NAMM show, but to play there live on-stage! The John Lennon Songwriting Contest folks have opened up a slot in there yearly concert to two lucky winners! If you are chosen you get to go to the show, perform at their concert, and win some great prizes. Hurry! Entries close November 12.

Crowd-Funding Check List

I recently hosted a panel on a hot topic: crowd-funding. The consensus? Smart musicians can be very successful at raising money this way. But it's a job. Crowd-funding requires some ingenuity, a business plan, and truck-loads of dedication. There's so much more to running a successful crowd-funding campaign than meets the eye.