Workshop caters to songwriters

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 11, 2009

FERRIDAY — Crafting a good song isn’t always easy, but those who want to learn how to will have an opportunity to do so Oct. 24.

That’s when the second annual Ferriday Songfest Songwriting Workshop will be at the Arcade Theater.

The daylong workshop will feature professional songwriters organizer Tommy Polk knew from his career in Nashville.

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After listening to feedback from last year’s event, Polk said he has made a few changes.

“Last year the participants said there wasn’t enough critiquing of songs, so we’re going to go straight into that when we start,” Polk said.

Along with having songs critiqued by professional songwriters, the event will have panel discussions by the featured guests and question and answer sessions.

That evening, participants will have an opportunity to perform their songs at the Grand Soleil Hotel ballroom, and that will be followed by a show in which the professional songwriters perform their own songs.

The songfest is part of an ongoing effort to develop Ferriday as a music destination, and Polk said participants from as far away as Texas and Tennessee have registered.

“We draw from a large area, area,” he said. “We want to serve the needs of the people in this area, but we also want to provide a unique opportunity for those who will be willing to drive 10 hours to Ferriday, and this is one reason they would.”

Even those who aren’t songwriters would have a good time at the songfest, Polk said.

“Anybody who likes music and listening to the radio will get insight into how the hits are written and how the music business works,” he said.

The registration fee for the entire day is $20, and those who want to attend the evening events only can pay $10 at the door.

Online registration can be completed at

In addition to Polk, the professional songwriters at the festival will include Odie Blackmon, Tia Sillers, Mark Selby and Byron Hill.

Blackmon has composed such songs as Lee Ann Womack’s “I May Hate Myself in the Morning,” Gary Allen’s “Nothing on but the Radio” and George Strait’s “She’ll Leave You with a Smile.”

Sillers wrote “There’s your Trouble” for the Dixie Chicks and “I Hope You Dance” for Lee Ann Womack.

Selby has written four No. 1 hits, including Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s “Blue on Black.”

Hill’s songwriting credits include Alabama’s “Born Country” and George Jones’ “High Tech Redneck.”

The funds from the event will go to the Friends of the Delta Music Museum Foundation, Polk said.

Sponsors for the event include the Louisiana Lt. Governor’s Office of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, the Delta Music Museum, Entergy, First Natchez Radio Group, Country Boy Mark Porter and Solid Gold Saturday Night, the Ferriday Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Ferriday.