Backwoods Beat

Songwriting Workshops with:

Slaid Cleaves and Rissi Palmer

Workshops will be held at the

Alleghany JAM House at 360 N. Main Street, Sparta, NC 28675

Slaid Cleaves

Saturday • June 25, 2022 • 10 am to Noon

photo of Slaid Cleaves

When you ask knowledgeable music fans for their list of classic American singer-songwriters, it is a fair bet that Slaid Cleaves will appear on more than a few lists. Above all, Cleaves is a master storyteller. In his stories he describes characters with vivid imagery. The characters in Cleaves’ songs live in unglamorous reality. They work dead-end jobs, they run out of money, they grow old, they hold on to each other (or not), and they die. These characters include a Canadian logger whose gallant death is remembered by the “echo of a mighty yell”, a depression era jockey still grieving, after 60 years, the death of his young friend and remembers the two of them “sailing by on horses 8 feet high and quick as dreams”, and a down on his luck rancher looking back and wondering—“if it weren’t for horses and divorces”. With an eye for the beauty in everyday life, Cleaves tells their stories, bringing a bit of empathy to their uncaring world. His songs are short stories—stories worth hearing.

Slaid’s workshop will focus on the art of songwriting and some practical steps to getting music into the studio. His workshops are loose and open to participant preferences.




Rissi Palmer

Saturday • June 25, 2022 • 1-3pm

photo of Rissi Palmer

Rissi Palmer’s gift lies in reaching across all musical boundaries. While she made her mark in Country Music, she is equally at home in R&B music, bringing the entire spectrum of popular music to bear on music she calls “Southern Soul.”

In 2007, she released her debut album Rissi Palmer, charting singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air.” Since then, Rissi has independently released a Christmas single, her first children’s album, Best Day Ever and an EP titled The Back Porch Sessions. Her most recent album, Revival, was released in 2019 and has been critically hailed as her most personal and uplifting work to date.

A few highlights throughout her musical career includes performances at The White House, Lincoln Center and the Grand Ole Opry. She has toured extensively across the country, sharing stages with Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Chris Young, Charley Crockett and many more. Rissi has made national guest appearances on Oprah & Friends, CNN, CBS Early Show, Entertainment Tonight, FOX Soul’s “The Book of Sean,” and the Tavis Smiley Show.

Since writing her first song at 6 and receiving her first publishing deal at the age of 19, Rissi has taken her years of songwriting in Nashville and New York City and created a curriculum for students who are interested in lyric and music composition. She is passionate about helping her students find and develop their own unique voice and style by teaching the differences and similarities of various genres (i.e. Country, R&B, Pop, Rock, Indie, etc), encouraging students keep a journal, and using various exercises to dissect and learn the techniques of great songwriters of yesterday and today.

Rissi’s workshop will include her guitarist and allow for questions and answers, one on work sessions in a classroom setting and song critique.

Cancellation refunds allowed only if space can be filled from waiting list.

This workshop is funded, in part, by a grant from South Arts in

partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North

Carolina Arts Council.

If registration is sold out and you would like to be on the waiting list, please complete the form below:

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Alleghany Arts Council

Welcome to the Alleghany Arts Council! We’re a group dedicated to supporting and promoting the arts in Alleghany County, North Carolina. We’ve got a lot going on – sign up for our mailing list or check our website often to stay up to date! 

Alleghany Arts Council • PO Box 962 • Sparta, NC 28675

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