Steve Earle’s Songwriting Bootcamp

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Manage episode 169082813 series 1301466
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Legendary country singer-songwriter Steve Earle unveils the secrets of composing a great song. Every year he runs a four-day intensive training session in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. Journalist and aspiring songwriter Hugh Levinson joined around 100 other would-be balladeers to see what they can learn from Steve and his fellow teacher, Shawn Colvin. Everyone comes for a different reason. Ange Leech travelled all the way from Kalgoorlie in Australia, saying "I want to learn how to really tell a story simply but effectively - pass on a message or ideas through words". Karen Dahlstrom from Brooklyn came looking for "hints, tricks, magic… Steve sets the bar really high and I want to approximate something close to what he does". Steve tells Hugh that he "can't make anyone a song writer who wasn't a song writer before they got here - but they will be better song writers when they leave". And he rebuts the theory that you have to live a life like his – which includes a serious heroin addiction, a spell in prison and eight marriages – to become a great songwriter. Find out if Hugh managed to write a song good enough to perform at one of the camp’s nightly open mic shows. And listen in for stories of dreaming, methadone, guns, jail, death and betrayal. All the good stuff. Image: Steve Earle, Credit: BBC

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