Congrats to all of our Campers!

Six of our fellow Songcampers have been nominated for nine 2015 ECMA Awards!

And the nominees are…

Mo Kenney
Pop Recording of the Year – In My Dreams
Song of the Year – “Telephones” (Written by Mardeen, Prod. Joel Plaskett)
Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year (Fans can vote here:

Molly Thomason
Rock Recording of the Year – Columbus Field
Songwriter of the Year – “Buttons”

Corey Lerue
Producer of the Year
Electronic Recording of the Year – “Blinders” (Neon Dreams & Dezza ft. Laura Roy)

Laura Roy
Electronic Recording of the Year – “Blinders” (Neon Dreams & Dezza ft. Laura Roy)

Willie Stratton and the Boarding Party
Rising Star Recording of the Year – Deserter

Carleton Stone
Solo Recording of the Year – Draws Blood

Congrats, Everyone!

gordie sampson songcamp now accepting submissions

At the Gordie Sampson Songcamp, emerging writers come from all over the province of Nova Scotia to collaborate and co-write songs with their peers, mentor with award-winning artists, and learn from music industry leaders.

We are now accepting submissions for songwriters to attend the Gordie Sampson Songcamp, which takes place in Ingonish, Cape Breton in early July 2015 (exact dates to be determined).

To be eligible to apply, you must:
– currently live in Nova Scotia
– be between the age of 16-24
– have links online to where we can listen to 3 songs you’ve written (on your artist website, YouTube, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, are most common) OR email us MP3 recordings/demos

There is no fee to attend the Gordie Sampson Songcamp. Accommodations and meals are provided at no cost to the songwriters. Only 5 songwriters will be selected to attend. Only successful candidates will be notified.

To apply, please send an email to [email protected] with the following information:
– Your first and last name
– City/town where you currently live
– Links online to where we can listen to 3 songs you’ve written (on your artist website, YouTube, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, are most common) OR email MP3 recordings/demos
– Lyrics for the 3 songs you are submitting, in a Word document
– 1 to 2 paragraphs explaining your musical background

You can include 3 additional websites like your Facebook fan page, Twitter, and links to videos and press online.

Deadline for submissions is: March 15, 2015

The Gordie Sampson Songcamp Song is an annual event, conceived by Gordie Sampson, a multiple-award winning Canadian songwriter and artist, as a way to “give back” to the community that has supported him. The intent is to nurture young songwriters, give them access to knowledge, and to help them develop tools that will benefit their writing careers.

Past songwriters include Molly Thomason, Dylan Guthro, Carleton Stone, Mo Kenney,Evan Meisner, Breagh MacKinnon, Barbara Cameron, Brandon Johnson, Elijah Wohlmuth, Jenny MacDonald, Natalie Lynn, Dave Sampson, Dana Beeler, Seamus Erskine, Willie Stratton, Laura Roy, Nicole Ariana, and Kyle Mischiek.
Thank you to our sponsors and partners for your generous support: Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage; Music Nova Scotia; The Ceilidh Cup; SOCAN; and the SOCAN Foundation.

Three songcampers join forces to create new band

Halifax musicians put solo careers aside, join forces for new band ‘Port Cities’
Port Cities
Carleton Stone, Breagh Mackinnon and Dylan Guthro pose for a photo at the Carleton earlier this week.

For a musician, there’s nothing like being on the road with your friends.

Especially when your friends are artists you used to be in competition with, said local musician Carleton Stone of Dylan Guthro and Breagh Mackinnon.

“There’s a lot of singer-songwriters, especially in this community. We were kind of doing our own thing but also competing against each other,” said Stone, sipping beers with Guthro and Mackinnon in the back room of the Carleton Music Bar and Grill in Halifax.

“We just thought, there’s such a great chemistry between us, why not try to join forces and do something that’s bigger that any of us could do on our own?”

Stone, Guthro and Mackinnon are putting their solo careers on the back-burner and forming the band Port Cities.

Although all three have found success on their own, it wasn’t a hard decision to leave that behind, said the 23-year-old Guthro.

Read more…

songcamp’s east coast influence featured in the guardian

Nova Scotia: oceans of music at the edge of the Atlantic

Drawing on music from the Gaelic folk brought by Scottish refugees to hip-hop imported from New York, the Canadian province has a sound all of its own

Nova Scotia’s dynamic music scene is filled with a distinctive array of musical influences and an eclectic mix of genres. It is centered around Halifax, a city with a large student population. Sitting on the edge of the world’s second-largest harbour, it is a city steeped in history, from the Halifax explosion in 1917 that killed thousands, to the hundreds of bodies laid to rest there after the sinking of the Titanic. It’s a place that has inspired many musicians and singer-songwriters (Sarah McLachlan spent her formative years here, while folk singer Anne Murray based her career in Nova Scotia), and has deep ties to Scotland and Ireland, dating to the Gaelic diaspora who first settled there in the late 1700s.

The rugged sea coast of Cape Breton Island forms the northernmost tip of the province. It is a place of vast, winding valleys that lead you into the heart of Celtic culture and tradition. Acclaimed fiddler Natalie MacMaster is one of the region’s most celebrated musicians, while Ashley MacIssac broke new ground with his distinctive rock-infused fiddle sound.

Singer and songwriter Gordie Sampson was born and raised on Cape Breton Island. He earned a Grammy for co-writing the country hit Jesus, Take the Wheel, performed by Carrie Underwood, and has written for some of the biggest names in country music, including Keith Urban, Blake Shelton and Hunter Hayes. Sampson’s invitation-only songwriting camp is a choice destination for a select group of promising young musicians each year, who make their way up to Cape Breton hoping to glean what they can from his years of industry experience.

Read more…

Truro Daily News features Songcamp Circle

It might be the only showcase during an upcoming music festival where you can see more than a dozen artists on stage at once – the Gordie Sampson Songcamp Circle.

“Officially, it started, I think, two years ago at Nova Scotia Music Week, but on smaller stages, and it’s really started to gain momentum,” said Sampson, the Cape Breton singer/songwriter that started the songcamp five years ago. “Last year, it took a really big leap. We took over the ballroom in Sydney and couldn’t fit everyone in.”

Over the years, the songcamp has been bringing a number of musicians – including former Truro resident Nicole Curry – to Ingonish for the songwriting circuit.

During Molson Canadian Nova Scotia Music Week, which runs Nov. 6 to 9 in Truro, 15 of those musicians will be participating in the songcamp showcase.

Read more…

Songcamp Writers at Nova Scotia Music Week

Nova Scotia Music Week is just around the corner, and the Gordie Sampson Songcamp is proud to have 10 Songcamp writers showcasing this year at Nova Scotia Music Week. All of these artists have had a busy and productive year – with new albums, tours, and award nominations.

Here is the list of their showcases:

Breagh Mackinnon
Friday / 11:00–11:30pm
Split Crow Pub

Carleton Stone
Friday / 10:15-10:45pm
Holiday Inn – Elm/Oak Ballroom

Sunday / 7:00pm – all ages
Big Dog/Cat Country Present: Blue Rodeo

Carmen Townsend
Friday / 10:00-10:30pm
Royal Canadian Legion Br 26

Corey LeRue
Friday / 8:45-9:15pm
Holiday Inn – Ballroom Stage

Corey LeRue – Neon Dreams
Thursday / 11:15-11:45pm
Holiday Inn – Elm/Oak Ballroom

Friday / 7:15-7:45pm
Royal Canadian Legion Br 26

Dana Beeler
Thursday / 9:00-9:45pm
Split Crow Pub

Dave Sampson
Saturday / 8:45-9:15pm
Split Crow Pub

Dylan Guthro
Saturday / 11:00-11:30pm
Holiday Inn – Elm/Oak Ballroom

Kyle Mischiek
Friday / 6:30-7:00pm
Royal Canadian Legion Br 26

Friday / 11:45pm-12:15am
Holiday Inn – Elm/Oak Ballroom

Molly Thomason
Friday / 12:30-1:00am
Holiday Inn – Elm/Oak Ballroom

Seamus Erskine – The Brood
Thursday / 1:30-2:00am
Holiday Inn – Elm/Oak Ballroom

For more information about the schedule of events, visit

Musicians search for the write stuff at Gordie Sampson Songcamp

If you’re going to write a hit song, you might as well try and do it in a place that looks like paradise. That’s Gordie Sampson’s rationale for bringing Nova Scotia’s youngest and brightest musical talent to the Cape Breton Highlands for a week every summer, to find inspiration in the hills overlooking Ingonish Harbour and to ease them into the songsmith’s equivalent of military training.

Instead of the lonely late-night bedroom, or a fluorescent-lit office on Nashville’s Music Row, they get the sweeping grandeur of Cape Smokey as a backdrop and the comfy surroundings of historic Keltic Lodge. Read more…

Songcamp Writers nominated for 16 Music Nova Scotia awards

We are thrilled to have the Gordie Sampson Songcamp writers nominated for a total of 16 Music Nova Scotia awards! The awards will be handed out during Nova Scotia Music Week, which takes place from November 6-9 in Truro Colchester County.

Here are the list of the Music Nova Scotia award nominees:

Carlton Stone – Entertainer of the Year
Carleton Stone, Draws Blood – Male Artist Recording of the Year
Carleton Stone, Draws Blood – Recording of the Year
Carleton Stone – SOCAN Songwriter of the Year
Carleton Stone, Draws Blood – Pop Recording of the Year
Dave Sampson, No Pressure No Diamonds – Pop Recording of the Year
Gloryhound (Evan Meisner, lead singer/guitar), Loaded Gun – Group Recording of the Year
Gloryhound – Digital Artist of the Year
Gloryhound – Rock Recording of the Year
Mo Kenney – Entertainer of the Year
Molly Thomason, Columbus Field – Female Artist Recording of the Year
Molly Thomason, Columbus Field – Rock Recording of the Year
Neon Dreams (Corey LeRue) – Digital Artist of the Year
Nicole Ariana, 4 Seasons EP – Urban Recording of the Year
The Brood (Seamus Erskine, lead singer/guitar), All Debit No Credit – New Artist Recording of the Year
The Brood, All Debit No Credit – Alternative Recording of the Year

We’ll be hosting our annual Songcamp Songwriter’s Circle at Nova Scotia Music Week and we’ll share more details with you about the show closer to the date.

Congratulations to all the nominees; we’re looking forward to celebrating together!

Songcamp goes to Germany with Dave, Breagh, and Carleton!

photo 5

Songcamp in Germany is great so far! We’re staying in a beautiful castle that used to be a prison during the war. Winston Churchill’s son was actually a prisoner here. Writing some cool songs – bit hard to get over the language barrier initially but everyone seems to be enjoying the cowriting and collaborating.

Facilities are amazing.. grand pianos in every studio room, Anika has been great to deal with and has been super helpful with everything!

From Dave, Breagh & Carleton

SOCAN-supported Gordie Sampson Songcamp celebrates fifth anniversary

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Gordie Sampson — who’s had his songs recorded by Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Willie Nelson and Bon Jovi, among others — hosted the fifth annual version of his Gordie Sampson Songcamp from July 13-19, 2014, in Ingonish, Nova Scotia.

Taking part this year were 15 returning writers (including Molly Thomason, Dylan Guthro and 2013 SOCAN Songwriting Prize winner Mo Kenney); four instructors (including Carleton Stone and Steven McDougall); three special guests (including Donovan Woods and Chris Noxx); and Sampson himself.

In five years, the songcamp has become an annual tradition for aspiring songwriters, Sampson — who spends a portion of each year living and writing songs in Nashville — has made it his business to nurture emerging songwriters from across Nova Scotia; allow them to network with their instructors and each other; give them access to useful knowledge; and help them develop tools to benefit their careers.

In 2013, the songcamp released its first compilation album, of 15 songs created by 22 songwriters. They were chosen from more than 150 written during the songcamp from 2010-2013, and ranged in style from the folk of “Harbourtown” to the pop/rap of “All the Time In the World” to the reggae groove of “Flip Flops.”

Read more…