6th Annual Songcamp a great success!

We had the best time ever in Ingonish this past week. We made new friends – five new writers to Songcamp and two special guests from Nashville – and together we wrote over 40 songs! Thank you to everyone involved and everyone who helps to make Songcamp a possibility!


Congrats to new Songcamper Reeny Smith for winning the second annual Casino NS AiR Program!

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 3.32.18 PMCongrats to Reeny Smith for winning the title of Casino Nova Scotia’s Artist in Residence and $20,000 in funding for career development! Music Nova Scotia received over 35 applications from artists around the province and judges narrowed it down to ten for interviews, six for the performance and one for the residency.

“I was the first performer that night – I guess I was lucky number one,” stated Smith. This was an incredible experience. I am happy that I made the decision to pursue what I am truly passionate about.”

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A warm welcome to our special guest writers

The Gordie Sampson Songcamp is very pleased to announce that Caitlyn Smith and Rollie Gaalswyk will be attending Songcamp this year.

Chances are you’ve heard songs by Caitlyn Smith and just didn’t realize it. The country artist has been a welcome addition to the music scene with her powerhouse vocals and fresh songwriting. She co-wrote every song on her latest project, Everything to You, which released last year and includes the hit radio single, “Wasting All These Tears,” (single of Cassadee Pope). The release continues to gain momentum, with national media attention from Rolling Stone Country, Radio.com, SIRIUS XM and Country Weekly, to name a few.

Caitlyn has toured alongside iconic artists like Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson. Her repertoire as a songwriter includes a long list of songs she has penned for her peers like multi-platinum artist Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, Garth Brooks and Meghan Trainor.

Minnesota native Rollie Gaalswyk has already made quite the mark in Music City. He started taking trips back and forth every month from Minneapolis to Nashville to write and network, while continuing to play in bands and write/produce for various singer/songwriters back home. Eventually, like the story so often goes, he packed it all up and made the move south in 2013. Shortly after, he garnered his first top 10, platinum-selling hit, “Wasting All These Tears” for Cassadee Pope. As well as songwriting, Gaalswyk has produced for a good handful of upcoming artists (Caitlyn Smith, Laura Nicholson, Jeremy Lardani) and works out of his studio just south of Nashville.

Cape Breton Post: Songcamper Kyle Mischiek among finalists for Casino Nova Scotia artist in residence

kylemBy Cape Breton Post

Cape Breton musician Kyle Mischiek is among the finalists for Casino Nova Scotia’s artist in residence 2015.

Jurors made the selection following interviews last week. There are five candidates, plus a wild card pick, moving onto the performance round of the selection process June 12.

Music lovers and fans will have their chance to vote from June 1 – June 5 during the online voting, which counts towards the selection of the finalist. Go to www.musicnovascotia.ca to vote. The public is welcome to come to the Showcase on June 12 at Casino Nova Scotia. Free admission.

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Tickets available now for the 6th annual gordie sampson songcamp circle!

We are very excited to announce our 6th annual Gordie Sampson Songcamp Circle in Ingonish, Cape Breton at the Keltic Lodge on June 26th! Get your advance tickets at Doucette’s Rite Stop and Ingonish Home Hardware Building Centre!

Keep up with Songcamp on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, and get your tickets here:

Doucette’s Rite Stop
37867 Cabot Trail
Ingonish, Nova Scotia
(902) 285-2861

Ingonish Home Hardware
37692 Cabot Trail
Ingonish, Nova Scotia
Open Mon – Sat: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
(902) 285-2323


2015 Gordie Sampson Songcampers!


We’ve just returned from Nashville where we listened to all of the Songcamp Submissions for this year. We’d like to thank you all for taking the time to submit.

We heard some great songs and a whole lot of potential, but we only have spots open for 5 new writers so, sadly, we can’t include everyone.

If you were not invited to Songcamp this year, please do not be discouraged. Part of our challenge is finding the right balance of styles. Not being included on the list below does not mean that you didn’t rate well in the submissions.

We encourage you all to keep writing and to submit again next year!

NEW 2015 Writers:
Reeny Smith
Jahmal Wellington aka Frank Kadillac
Eric Stephen Martin
Jodi Guthro
Brandon Miller Davis

Returning Writers:
Nicole Ariana
Laura Roy
Kyle Mischiek
Dave Sampson

Gordie Sampson
Steven MacDougall
Carleton Stone
Dylan Guthro
Breagh Mackinnon

Due in part to the increasing number of submissions we receive, we have raised the minimum age to 18.

Three Songcampers – One awesome band!

Have you heard the news? Three of our Songcamp instructors have formed a band called Port Cities!


Stellar songs, dynamic vocals, and superior musicianship marks the emergence of Port Cities onto the Canadian music scene. An exciting new group from the east coast, Port Cities brings together the award-winning talents of Carleton Stone, Breagh Mackinnon, and Dylan Guthro. The outcome is a rootsy pop sound with an emphasis on powerful harmonies, outstanding songs, and an engaging camaraderie onstage and off. Making music reminiscent of the best of The Civil Wars, Fleetwood Mac and Crosby Stills Nash, Port Cities promises to offer a harbour for lovers of great music with heart.

Port Cities 2

The trio is currently in Nashville for two weeks of writing sessions preparing for their debut album to be released later this year, produced by Gordie Sampson himself.

Keep up to date with Port Cities on social media:
Twitter (@Port_Cities)

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: www.thetelegram.com)

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.

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