Gordie Sampson Songcamp places 2nd for the Softchoice P2P Fundraiser


The Gordie Sampson Songcamp is thrilled to have come in at 2nd place for the North American-wide Softchoice P2P Fundraiser Challenge. Thank you to all our supporters who have helped us achieve this monumental goal!

The Chronicle Herald CD Pick of the Week

One of the best times I had during Nova Scotia Music Week in Sydney in November was the gathering of Gordie Sampson Songcamp participants on one stage, sharing songs, stories and collaborations. Hearing performers like Carleton Stone, Molly Thomason, Kyle Mischiek and Mo Kenney singing together and displaying a raucous artistic community spirit gave at least some sense of what happens each summer in [Ingonish] as they put their musical ambitions to the test.

Some of the flavour of that experience is captured on a new CD featuring some of the province’s best young musicians singing together, over a broad range of styles. Dana Beeler gets dark and tough on “Where Have You Been”, while teaming with Willie Stratton and Natalie Lynn on the bone-rattling boot stomper “Black Water”. At the other end of the spectrum, there are some stellar modern pop performances, like Laura Roy’s heartwrenching “Fall Out of Love” and the trouble-times-three combo of Barb Cameron, Elijah Wohlmuth and Nicole Curry on “Last Night’s Party”.

Listening to this CD is like getting to eavesdrop on an exclusive club, except ultimately these songs are meant to be shared.

The Chronicle Herald

Compilation CD in stores in Cape Breton and Halifax

The Gordie Sampson Songcamp compilation CD are available to purchase at TAZ Records in Halifax and at the Cape Breton Curiosity Shop in Sydney, Cape Breton. These make great gifts!

Port Hawkesbury locals featured on Gordie Sampson Songcamp CD

A new compilation CD featuring the output of a Cabot Trail songwriting camp includes several tracks written and performed by Strait area composers.

Grand River native Barb Cameron, StFX music student Breagh MacKinnon, and former Antigonish mainstays Jenny MacDonald and Molly Thomason are all featured on The Gordie Sampson Songcamp Volume One, which includes 15 songs created at the annual young composers’ retreat hosted by Sampson over the past four summers.

Designed for songwriters aged 15-24, the camp began with six participants but has grown to quadruple that number since that time. For Cameron, who has attended every Sampson camp and will return for a fifth straight year in 2014, the experience was originally “intimidating” but had helped her grow as an artist since the camp’s debut in 2010.

Read more…

The first Gordie Sampson Songcamp compilation is available now


“Let’s get the best young songwriters in Nova Scotia and take them to the most inspiring place we can think of (Ingonish) and see what happens. Four years and roughly 150 songs later, the idea now has a mind of its own. Maybe it’s the simple math of how blind faith multiplies.” – Gordie Sampson

For the past four summers, some of Nova Scotia’s most promising songwriters have been hand-picked to take part in an intensive five-day series of co-writing sessions which are conducted by Cape Breton’s own Grammy award-winning Gordie Sampson, along with leaders Steve MacDougall (Slowcoaster) and Carleton Stone. The result is a motivating experience, a growing sense of community, and an inspiring collection of songs. In 2013 it became apparent that these songs deserved to be shared.

The first Gordie Sampson Songcamp compilation consists of 15 songs representing the work of 22 Nova Scotia songwriters. The songs were chosen from over 150 songs written during Songcamp from 2010-2013 and range in style from the fine folk of “Harbourtown” to the contemporary pop/rap of “All The Time In the World” to the infectious reggae groove of “Flip Flops”. What these songs share is that they are stepping stones in the careers of many fine young writers.

Some of these are studio recordings, where the song has already found its way to a record… the rest are versions that were demoed at camp and then mixed later.

The Gordie Sampson Songcamp is run by volunteers and participation is free. If you’d like to support our efforts to help young Nova Scotia songwriters, here is how you can become a Friend of Songcamp:

Click Here to donate $10 and immediately receive a digital copy of the new Gordie Sampson Songcamp compilation.

Click Here to donate $20 and immediately receive a digital copy of the new Gordie Sampson Songcamp compilation + a physical copy of the CD in the mail.

Gift wrapping is available on orders placed by December 1, 2013.

“What a GREAT song!”

We’ve all had that sentimental moment when a piece of music rushes from the speakers on the dashboard or through our headphones and connects with us as if it were being written for that moment. Now imagine chasing that moment down, getting to the heart of what makes that song move you, channeling that feeling and then writing your own song that sings to the rest of world. This is what the Gordie Sampson Songcamp is all about.

Every year some of the Maritimes’ most promising songwriters are hand-picked to take part in an intensive writing weekend conducted by award winning Canadian songwriter, Gordie Sampson. Sampson, along with musical heavy weights Steve MacDougall (Slowcoaster) and Carleton Stone as they apply equal parts good-times and pencil-grinding to help new writers discover the limits of their talents. And the proof of the camp’s success is in its history. Over the past four years the camp has grown from 10 songs and a handful of students to an all-out powerhouse weekend yielding over 100 tunes among 24 writers.

Some of the songs have already found homes on albums made by the participants while others were sketched out on work-tapes and demos during camp.

We’re looking forward to sharing The Gordie Sampson Songcamp compilation CD with you all very soon! Stay tuned for a release date in November 2013.

Gordie Sampson Songcamp wants your help!


The Gordie Sampson Songcamp and Ceilidh Cup team up for Softchoice Cares Power 2 the People

The Gordie Sampson Songcamp is fortunate to have The Ceilidh Cup golf tournament choose to donate funds from their annual event to assist Songcamp in expanding its activities throughout the year.

In addition to this great news, The Ceilidh Cup’s primary sponsor, Softchoice, has been very generous with Songcamp. This year both The Ceilidh Cup and Softchoice have worked to ensure the Gordie Sampson Songcamp qualified for the Softchoice Cares for their Power 2 the People $50,000 Challenge.
This means that the Gordie Sampson Songcamp has access to a $25,000 matching dollars fund where every dollar fundraised in 2013 has the potential to be matched by Softchoice Cares on a first come first serve basis for Ceilidh Cup 2014. Songcamp is also competing in the “P2P Challenge” for the remaining $25,000. First place receives $15,000, second place receives $7,500 and third place receives $2,500. Being a part of this Softchoice Cares is an excellent opportunity for future Songcamp funding.

To earn points in the challenge, we created a Facebook page called Ceilidh Cup for Gordie Sampson Songcamp. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/ceilidhcup.

Now it’s time to connect to our community through social media initiatives to spread the word – and we need your help! Here’s how:
1. “Like” our page (we get 1 point for each)
2. “Share” our posts with your friends on Facebook (1 point for each)
3. “Comment” on our posts and page (1 point for each)
4. “Post” any pictures, videos and comments on our page and your pages (5 points for every post – these could be posts of any of our musical guests’ songs, videos, pics)
5. Encourage all your friends on Facebook to Like, Share, Comment and Post on our page
6. “Tweet” a link to our page, videos, pics that we post on Facebook to encourage more people to check us out

This challenge goes to October 18th and we are confident that together we can really make some impact!

Camp Sampy

Gordie Sampson is the first to admit that he lives the ideal life for his temperament. He spends the lion’s share of the year collaborating with some of the world’s best musicians and songwriters in Nashville and beyond. And the balance is spent back home enjoying summer in the Maritimes and recharging his batteries with a relatively relaxed schedule.

But Sampson has paid his dues and earned his musical chops, from his time with the pop band Realworld in the early 1990s to his role as a touring musician to his work as a musical director for stage and television productions to his incarnation as a solo musician.

And that was all before he won a Grammy Award in 2007 for best country song of the year for Carrie Underwood’s smash hit “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” which Sampson wrote with Brett James and Hillary Lindsey. Not to mention all of Sampson’s other hit songs.

He’s also been given a leg up, and he acknowledges that.

Read more…

Gordie Sampson sets up camp

Some of the region’s best songwriters have set up shop in Ingonish for the week, crafting songs together and learning a few tricks of the trade from each another along the way.

The annual Gordie Sampson Songcamp got underway Sunday at the Keltic Lodge and runs until Thursday when it will conclude with a public concert featuring the camp instructors and participants performing some of their new material.

Led by Big Pond native Gordie Sampson, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter who lives in Nashville, Tenn., the camp is also facilitated by respected Cape Breton songwriters Carleton Stone, Steven MacDougall and Stuart Cameron.

“We try to stay away from preaching about any how-tos because songwriting is a lot like painting pictures, as I’ve said numerous times, and it’s hard to teach somebody how to paint. You have to have a knack for it,” said Sampson. “But there are things along the way you can share with people, that can help.”

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A summer homecoming for Gordie Sampson

Even in the middle of one of his busiest years, Gordie Sampson can always make time for Cape Breton.

The fringe benefit for fans of the Nashville-based songwriter is that his annual pilgrimage home to host his summer song camp in Ingonish also means he’ll set aside a few days for shows around the Maritimes in July, when he can share some of his latest compositions and stories of his recent Tennessee adventures.

And with his name on tunes for Dierks Bentley — his current single Bourbon in Kentucky — Hunter Hayes, finalists from American Idol and The Voice and the new Keith Urban album Fuse, possibly dropping on Sept. 10, the past several months decidedly go into the plus column.

“This year has been really good, really exciting,” says Sampson, chilling with an iced tea in the backroom at the Carleton, where he performs on July 16.

“With what I do, the peaks and valleys are just incredible. You can go for a year, maybe two, with very little activity and then it will just kind of come, boom, boom, boom, and you’ll be like, ‘Whoa, WHOA, WOW!’

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