Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop


July 26-August 2, 2015
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

Join us for this annual country blues gathering! The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues workshop is held at Fort Worden State Park, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most stunning and inspiring landscapes.

Unique and compelling about this particular workshop is the focus and intention put on a narrow band of early blues music, with preservation as the goal while honoring the offshoots of that core style of music. The primary core is acoustic pre-war (1920s and 1930s) country blues, the African-American cultures it grew out of and their traditions. Steeped in the rich music and cultures of rural communities of the Southern USA, this workshop gives attention to styles typified by the different players from various regions (Piedmont, the Mississippi Delta, Hill Country, and Texas), the differences in technique as well as how to get the proper sounds of these styles out of your instrument. The music is the primary focus of the multi-generational in-residence workshop week but the downhome back-porch vibe of the country blues culture creates a community vibe that lends a family gathering feel to the week.

To preserve country blues we need new blues, new songs, new players and new sounds along with the originals, songs and sounds that move the genre forward while honoring its rich rural traditions. This week is designed to inform your playing with the traditions of country blues, and make you a better musician – you’ll hang out, jam and swap tunes with interesting, accomplished, and fun bearers of acoustic blues traditions. You’ll take part in daily classes and serious music making in the evenings with some of the finest acoustic blues players working today.

This generous community shares your passion and energy, and we can almost guarantee that by the end of the week you AND your playing will be heading into directions you didn’t predict just a few days earlier. Daily classes are offered in Hill Country, Delta and Piedmont styles, finger-picking, blues guitar, slide guitar, harmonica, violin, mandolin, banjo, blues piano, bass, accordion, blues singing, and gospel choir, all taught by masters of the traditions.

Please keep an eye on this website as details unfold. For information contact: Acoustic Blues Program Manager, Mary Hilts at mhilts@centrum.org, or 360.385.3102 x 116.

The schedule is still under development but here’s a general idea of what to expect:

Sunday, July 26, 2015: 3pm – arrive and settle in; 6pm – dinner; 8pm – welcome & orientation; and jamming after.

Monday – Friday: Breakfast; 2 morning workshop sessions; Lunch; 2 afternoon workshop sessions; late afternoon Gospel Choir and Back Porch Jam.

Evenings: entertainment, open jams, house parties.

There will be two public performances by the instructors on Friday and Saturday as well Blues in the Clubs both of these nights. Your workshop registration entitles you to prime seats at these shows.

Sunday August 2, 2015: farewell breakfast, check out of rooms by 11am.