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Joe Crookston

Songwriting, Finger-Style Guitar, Singing, Creativity

Joe Crookston is a master storyteller & he is seeking the creative edge.   His music swirls with themes of lightness, darkness, clocks ticking, fiddle looping, weeping willows, slide guitar bending, cynicism, hope, and the cycles of life and rebirth. If you love a moving song and musical madness, Joe Crookston delivers it all, the melodies, the lyrics, the energy, and a deep passion for exceptionally well-written songs.  

Songwriter, guitarist, painter, fiddler, slide player and believer in all things possible. Named 2016 Folk Alliance International Artist-in- Resident, he’s played with Suzanne Vega, Dar Williams, David Francey, John McCutcheon, John Gorka, Judy Collins and 100’s more. His songs are cinematic and are being made into award winning films.

He’ll  surprise you and awaken the cynics.   He’s plumbing for lyrical gold like a social archeologist.  His songs are universal, his rhythm infectious and in concert, he is funny as hell one moment and transcendent the next.  

Joe says, “I’m learning to trust my voice as a songwriter. Be who I am. Trust the stories and follow no trends. More and more I find that when I tell my true story, it has wider breadth, deeper impact, and resonates more clearly.” His music has been recorded and performed by Irish harpers, a cappella gospel choirs, solo artists, and bluegrass bands.

Joe has taught at many retreats including SummerSongs, The Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina, and the Yearly Quaker Gathering in Rhode Island. He was named the 2016 Folk Alliance International Artist-in-Residence.

Joe's Workshop Descriptions

Guitar Tricks that Give Goosebumps: In this guitar workshop, we’ll discover new sonic ideas, chord variations and musical tricks for adding interest to your guitar playing. We’ll learn ways to present songs with more feeling, tonal color and explore alternate chord variations, melodic accompaniment, and fingerpicking techniques to make your songs shine.  We will deconstruct a song and build it back with new sounds and variations. This workshop is for all skill levels and will send you home with a grab bag of new ideas.

Extending Our Nuts - An Intro to Slide Guitar: In this SLIDE guitar workshop, we will discover the fretless greasy rhythmic aspect of slide guitar playing.  Metal nut extenders will be available for trial and purchase. We’ll practice right hand picking techniques, blues riffs, contemporary arrangement ideas, using fingerpicks, holding a steel slide, palming, vibrato and basic open chord shapes.  This workshop is open to all skill levels and can be a great experience for beginning players as well as advanced guitarists looking to try something different and inspire new sounds. Bring your guitar. There will be a limited number of nut extenders, fingerpicks and metal slides available for participants.

Intro to Fingerstyle Guitar:  Joe studied classical guitar in college from Cuban guitarist Jose Pochedley. He has made his living fingerpicking and singing his songs…In this workshop we’ll learn the basics of fingerstyle technique, healthy hand position, Travis-picking style, classical techniques, minimum movement, left hand hammer ons, pull offs and how to create a rhythmic pulse and melodic orchestra using strings and our fingers. We’ll play open tunings, blues and grow our ability to create bass, rhythm and lush sonic landscapes.

STRINGBAND - Join the Gravel Gertie Old Time String Band!: This workshop is all about us being a band…sitting in a circle, learning a couple tunes, honing the groove, tightening the melody and pulse and creating a full band sound.  Mandolins, fiddles, bass, banjo, guitar… You bring it together we will play it. This is a great workshop for those who love to jam with others and would like to grow their ability to play with an ensemble.  This workshop will be informative and FUN. We’ll talk about dynamics, when to lay low and when to play more, deep listening and locking in to the rest of the group. Tune up, rosin up and let’s make some joyful noise together!

The Art of Songwriting 1 & 2:  (That Isn’t Self-Absorbed Nonsense): Joe has made his living for 20 years writing and singing songs. He was given a Rockefeller Songwriting grant and was awarded Album of the Year from Folk Alliance International.  Based and rooted in traditional music, his songs are specific AND Universal. In these workshop we will write. You will journal and develop a song. We will explore imagery, nouns, subconscious association, metaphor and most of all, lyrical honesty. “Get to the point”. “Not a word wasted”. Songs come from you but they should be about ALL of US. This workshop will be a personal and musical exploration as we discover the John Prine, Towns Van Zandt and Gillian Welch inside you.  Bring instruments & notebooks.