It's country, pop, rock and even "Rockabilly."
Deadwood’s Wild West Songwriters Festival offers tunes and lyrics for music lovers of all genres.
And this year’s festival -- the sixth -- brings the writers behind the lyrics of some of our favorite artists: Taylor Swift, Lionel Ritchie, Keith Urban, Jewel and many many more.
Among the notable list of writers are: three time Grammy award winning producer and songwriter Nathan Chapman; Marc Beeson, whose cuts have been performed by Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, LeeAnn Rimes, and Jason Aldean; and Kevin Kadish a three time Grammy nominated songwriter/producer/engineer/multinstrumentalist.
Also appearing are Atz Kilcher, songwriter and father of performing artist Jewel, and Ruby Stewart, songwriting daughter of rock icon Rod Stewart.
The Wild West Songwriters festival gets underway Thursday and runs through Saturday, Oct. 12-14 at venues throughout Deadwood featuring performances, panels, parties and even a chance for local song writers to present their pieces to the pros.
The Wild West Songwriter's Festival is a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the lyrical creation of some of today's hit songs, and the writers who penned them, said Susan Kightlinger, general manager of Deadwood Mountain Grand Resort, which organizes the event in partnership with the Deadwood Chamber & Visitors Bureau.
There are successful songwriter festivals in other locations,” Kightlinger said. But until 2011, there were none in the hills.
“This is a great fit for Deadwood,” she said. And the festival spills out to venues throughout the city.
“The first year we brought in national songwriters and they fell in love with Deadwood and the Black Hills,” Kightlinger said.
Now, word of mouth brings in writers, producers and musical artists.
In the beginning, the toughest thing was trying to explain what the festival was supposed to be, she said.
Now with a handful of years under its belt, the festival and its reputation speak for itself.
Although the festival has grown, it definitely has not outgrown that sense of intimacy which makes it so special for songwriters and audience members. Kightlinger said.
“It is so unique to see these people up close, and hear the stories behind the songs we hear on the radio,” she said.
Artists perform in their songs “in the round,” the way they were originally written. Writers rounds take place in six venues: Buffalo Bodega, Paddy O’Neil’s Wild Bill Saloon Hall & Theater, Saloon 10, Deadwood Mountain Grand, Silverado Franklin, Eagle Bar, and Scott Jacob’s Gallery.
In these settings, people listen as three or four songwriters share their stories about their songs, why they wrote them and how they were recorded.
Best of all for -- writers rounds are free to attend.
In fact, only two Wild West Songwriter’s Festival events are ticketed: the Oct. 13 Jewel concert (long sold out), and Saturday’s finale on the Deadwood Mountain Grand mainstage featuring Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown at 7:30 p.m., followed by the All Star Jam at 8:30 p.m. Tickets for the All Star Jam are $20 general admission. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com, The Company Store at Deadwood Mountain Grand, Flanagan's Irish Pub in Spearfish, or Haggerty's Musicworks in Rapid City.