It’s not often that a Grammy-Award-winning songwriter lets you in on his performance techniques and also shares insights about working in the music business. But for students at McNally Smith College of Music, the year-long residency of Dan Wilson is making that happen in an intimate and informative setting April 16 at one of the country’s leading music colleges.
Fresh from a recent rare Minneapolis concert performance at the historic Pantages Theater with his brother Matt Wilson (a fellow member of the legendary 80’s band, Trip Shakespeare), Dan has broken out of his self-described winter songwriting hibernation. At McNally Smith, he will school what may be tomorrow’s leading singer-songwriters on his award-winning craft and perhaps inspire them to write harder and think smarter about the music business.
This will be Wilson’s final appearance of his four total classes given during his year-long artist-in-residency. Wilson will teach during Lori Dokken’s Artist & Industry class in the History Theatre and conduct a combined Master Class on Vocal, Guitar and Keyboard and performance, with an additional focus on the various challenges he’s faced and addressed.
Wilson is no stranger to McNally Smith students and faculty: He delivered the music college’s 2009 Commencement speech for 53 graduating students last spring. And you have probably heard him on the radio, or the songs he wrote for other recording artists. The Twin Cities-based musician won a 2007 Grammy Award for Song of the Year with the Dixie Chicks for the hit “Not Ready to Make Nice.” And he continues to write for his exemplary solo career and for other artists. His latest recording, the recent live performance with his brother, is titled Dan and Matt Wilson, Minneapolis 2010, and is available at Dan’s website, www.danwilsonmusic.com.
A multi-instrumentalist, Wilson has built over more than two decades a reputation as a writer of songs of uncompromising beauty and timeless artistry, a “songwriter’s songwriter” whose music nonetheless has many times graced the top of the popular charts. A onetime member of storied cult band Trip Shakespeare and the critically acclaimed Semisonic, he is now active as a solo artist, working with a collective of musicians from the Twin Cities and elsewhere.
Wilson’s new phase of late follows an intense period of songwriting collaborations. In the past few years he has written songs with the Dixie Chicks, Mike Doughty, Rachael Yamagata, Jewel, Jason Mraz and others. Wilson’s co-writing work with the Dixie Chicks earned him a “Song of the Year” Grammy® in 2007 for “Not Ready To Make Nice” from the album Taking the Long Way. He co-wrote six songs on the album, which won the Dixie Chicks a total of 5 Grammy® Awards, including “Album of The Year” and “Country Album of The Year.”
His first full-length solo album, Free Life, was released on American Recordings in late 2007. The collection of songs began as a self-produced project in Minneapolis, and was finished in Los Angeles by Wilson and executive producer and label chief Rick Rubin. Free Life features contributions from Sheryl Crow, Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), and Gary Louris (the Jayhawks). Eric Fawcett (N.E.R.D.) plays drums on many of the tracks, and Benmont Tench (Heartbreakers), provides piano on “Against History” and several others.
Don’t miss him as he closes out his terrific Artist-in-Residency gig.Newer: Every Art Crawl deserves a soundtrack!
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