Folk Roots Radio Episode 576: Hillside Festival Girls & Guitars Songwriting Course 2021

Folk Roots Radio Episode 576: Hillside Festival Girls & Guitars Songwriting Course 2021

We’re giving over the whole of Episode 576 of Folk Roots Radio to the 2021 Hillside Festival Girls & Guitars Songwriting Course. We are joined by facilitators: Marie Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Hillside Festival and Guelph-based singer-songwriter Doris Folkens and three of their students: Halley McKeown, Missy Bauman, and Tania Joy who also share their songs with us. Girls & Guitars is a longstanding feature of Hillside Inside and part of an ongoing project designed to address the gender imbalance in the music industry and thus further Hillside’s mission of encouraging inclusion and equality. The songwriting course is a very special part of that initiative. This year because of Covid-19, the course was virtual and took place on four Friday evenings in January. Halley, Missy, and Tania also performed virtually at this year’s Hillside Inside. Check out the full playlist below.

Best 2020

Interview

Hillside Festival Girls & Guitars Songwriting Course is specifically designed to help aspiring female songwriters develop effective songwriting skills and strategies while gaining confidence in their own ability, and all within a supportive learning environment. As you will hear during these interviews, the music industry is currently skewed 70:30 in favour of men – not just in terms of performers, but also behind the scenes – in management, booking agents, tech crews, artistic directors, and critics.

Since 2011, the Hillside Festival has been running the Girls & Guitars project in three streams: (1) in the schools with female singer-songwriters teaching kids to write songs; (2) public performances as part of Hillside Inside, the winter festival; and (3) songwriting courses. The purpose of the project is to gradually change the face of the music industry, which is currently skewed toward males who are the booking agents, artistic directors, technical production crew, reviewers and critics, artist managers, and presenters. (Recent estimates suggest the ratio is 70:30, male to female.)

Hillside Festival started a songwriting course for women in 2016. The course is taught by Guelph-based singer-songwriter Doris Folkens and Hillside’s executive director, Marie Zimmerman, and this year, because of Covid-19, the course was virtual and took place on four Friday evenings in January.

The songwriting course isn’t just for girls but has included female songwriters of all ages. The most recent course included Halley McKeown, Missy Bauman, and Tania Joy, who share their experiences here.

This interview went out live on Facebook and YouTube as part of a new initiative we’re calling Folk Roots Radio Live. We’ve been recording video call interviews for a couple of years now, and often felt it would be great if our listeners could watch the interview in real-time. Well, that’s now a reality. Subscribe to our YouTube channel HERE to be notified about all upcoming live interviews.

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Best 2020

About the Hillside Festival
The Hillside Festival has been running since 1984, staging a summer three-day, multi-stage event with a broad artistic vision that emphasizes diversity: of culture, of musical heritage and style, of age, geography, and influence. Set in a beautiful, accessible conservation area with campgrounds on Guelph Lake, Hillside’s summer festival is world-renowned as one of Canada’s most progressive, environmentally conscious, completely non-commercial community celebrations set within its own island village that is filled with music, dance, drumming, food, crafts, and more. Hillside Inside is the winter version of the Hillside Festival taking place in a variety of venues across downtown Guelph since 2008. For more information about the Hillside Festival, visit hillsidefestival.ca.

Halley McKeown
Halley McKeown is a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Toronto. Since the age of 5, Halley has participated in multiple choirs, musical theatre workshops, as well as various programs with organizations like The Second City, and The Musical Stage Company. Halley started writing her own music this past summer. She hopes to record her first solo EP, “In Another Life” in the coming months. When writing, she draws inspiration from her favourite artists, such as Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, and John Denver. When she isn’t creating music, Halley is completing a Bachelor’s degree in Drama, double minoring in Music and English. With the help of Hillside Girls and Guitars, Halley has expanded her knowledge and song writing abilities, and is ready and excited to share her own music with the public for the first time.

Missy Bauman
Missy Bauman performs what she likes to describe as sad alt-folk. Her song “Two Sisters”, written during the 2016 Hillside Festival Girl & Guitars Songwriting Course, picked up a Songs from the Heart Award from Folk Music Ontario, was a finalist in the international John Lennon Songwriting Competition, and was nominated for an award from the Canadian Songwriting Hall of Fame. Missy Bauman released the nine-track album “Sweet” in August 2020.

Tania Joy
Tania Joy is a singer-songwriter from Uxbridge ON. Tania has been using her time in Covid-19 isolation to hone her songwriting, and finally follow up her 2013 EP, “I’ll Be Around”. A new EP, produced by Hill Kourkoutis (Digging Roots, Leela Gilday, Madison Violet), is expected later this year. Tania’s stories have so far focused on relationships, in all of their complicated forms. However, during the pandemic Tania found herself taking on a more complex narrative as the world around her shifted, bringing increased and global attention to Black Lives Matter. With mentorship from Hillside’s Girl and Guitars program, Tania has written her first protest song – an acoustic reflection, “Planks and Marietta”, which was released to coincide with Black History Month.

That’s all we have time for. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have lots of great music and interviews to bring you on future episodes.

If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!

Listen

You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)

Playlist

Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

Doris Folkens
Lonesome In The Grave No More
Doris Folkens (2018, Self)

Interview: Marie Zimmerman & Doris Folkens.

Interview: Halley McKeown.

Halley McKeown
Vices
(Live Demo) (2021, Self) CDN

Halley McKeown
Our Yearly Game
(Live Demo) (2021, Self) CDN

Interview: Missy Bauman.

Missy Bauman
Before You
(Live Demo) (2021, Self) CDN

Missy Bauman
Two Sisters
(Live Demo) (2021, Self) CDN

Interview: Tania Joy.

Tania Joy
Planks & Marietta
(Live Demo) (2021, Self) CDN

Tania Joy
The Drought
(single) (2021, Self) CDN

About the author

JAN HALL

Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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