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CDL Song Fest 2019

September 14, 2019
All Day | All Ages | Open to the Public

Join us for a music-filled day celebrating the art and craft of songwriting at the our third annual CDL Song Fest. Whether you're a music maker or a music lover, this is your day! We are featuring family fun, along with opportunities to hone your songwriting skills and share your music with the community. This year, we are thrilled to feature past Rolling Stone Male Vocalist of the Year, Grant-Lee Phillips in performance and conversation, too! (Read Phillips' in-depth interview below.) The Fest is family-friendly and open to the public.

Song Fest Schedule


Frank Allison's Fun Family Concert & Junior Troubadour Instrument Parade

Join Chelsea musical legend Frank Allison for an hour of energetic kids' music culminating in an interactive instrument parade covering the library grounds. Frank Allison was the founder of the popular Ann Arbor band Frank Allison & the Odd Sox in the late 1980s through the late 1990s. Today he focuses on kids' music, photography, and running the historic Clinton Theater.

Reading Garden | Drop-in


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Songwriting Mentor Sessions

Get advice from seasoned local songwriters! From nailing down a bridge to fine tuning your lyrics, they'll help your music really sing! This year's mentors include Ben Daniels, Judy Banker, and Annie Capps. To register call (734) 475-8732 x219.

Study Rooms | Registration Required
Register for your 25-minute slot by calling 734.475.8732 x219 

photo of Ben DanielsBen Daniels: “My songwriting ranges from simpler blues songs to more of a mouthful hip hop lyrics. More often than not I find myself blending the two to find my own voice. And sometimes I write Americana style.”

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Image of Judy BankerJudy Banker: Described by Pulp Magazine as “A singular unique talent and stage presence, her music …organic and soul-driven”, Ann Arbor-based musician, Judy Banker, quickly established herself as a songwriter/performer with the release of her first studio album of original songs, Without You, in 2014, followed by the release of her well-received sophomore studio album, Devils Never Cry (2016). Currently at work on her third studio album, Buffalo Motel (January 2020 release), Judy is taking a creative turn that incorporates her roots in 60’s folk and vintage country rock into an innovative, contemporary rock sound; her songs continuing to dive deep into emotionally complex themes and compelling, memorable melodies.

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Photo of Annie CappsAnnie Capps has earned sincere praise for her songwriting with multiple award nominations, accolades from Folk Radio, and as a 2-time finalist for the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition (2012 & 2010.) Her “style” never ceases to be a moving target as she continually evolves with surprising new influences and inspirations, always striving for true musical and songwriting maturity.

“Annie’s songs range from quirky to profound. Not only is she a masterful lyricist, but also a wonderful singer with a unique voice that delivers her stories in a seemingly effortless way…” – Elaine Mahon, Sandhill Stage (Gainesville, FL).

Dave Siglin of The Ark says “[She] writes complex winding melodies … sliding you into the middle of lives and situations that are always interesting and dotted with real insight.”

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Song Performance at Variety Showcase

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Play with the Band

Attention local songwriters! Do you daydream of the Wrecking Crew or Funk Brothers backing you on your song? Well here’s your chance to make that dream a reality, performing your song backed by Chelsea’s own Mo’ Easy! Submit a tab sheet with song chords and lyrics to by Sep. 2. If you have a recording of the song, send that, too (but it’s not a requirement). Three submissions will be selected for the “sessions” treatment: rehearsal and a live performance with Mo’ Easy at the Song Fest’s Variety Showcase.

Song Performances at Variety Showcase | Submit by Sep. 2 for Selection


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Variety Showcase

Grab your 10 minutes of fame! All amateur musical performers from the Chelsea area are invited. Slots are limited, so sign up early!

Reading Garden | 10-minute slots | Registration Required
Register by calling 734.475.8732 x219


Grant-Lee Phillips Live!

Chelsea First Congregational Church | 121 E. Middle St., Chelsea | Drop-in

Join us for an intimate acoustic concert with past Rolling Stone Magazine’s Male Vocalist of the Year Grant-Lee Phillips. Prior to his concert, Martin Bandyke, annarbor 107one’s morning host, will interview Phillips in an up-close and personal conversation about his career, influences, and craft. Event includes a Q&A with audience.

Grant-Lee Phillips’s gifts for reconciling classic touchstones with an adventurous sensibility has distinguished his work since he first emerged as the frontman of the acclaimed trio Grant Lee Buffalo in the early ‘90s. At once cinematic in scope and disarmingly intimate, the band’s music set the table for a varied, captivating solo career that embraced electronic soundscapes (Mobilize, 2001), reimagined country-rock (Virginia Creeper, 2004), faced fatherhood (Little Moon, 2009), delved into his own native American heritage (Walking in the Green Corn, 2012), and reflected upon his own life-changing move from Los Angeles to Nashville (The Narrows, 2016). Whether fronting a band or performing solo, he is a riveting live performer – which many discovered through his role as the town troubadour on the cult television hit The Gilmore Girls (both in its original run and the 2016 continuation). Click here to read Phillips's entire bio.


Song Fest Meet and Mingle

Zou Zou’s Cafe | 101 N. Main St., Chelsea | Drop-in

Continue the celebration of songwriting with Phillips and fellow music lovers after the Concert! CDs will be available for purchase and signing.

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Click here to read an in-depth interview with Phillips, written by Chris Berggren, CDL Administrative Assistant.

Download the Interview

Special Thanks to the Friends of Chelsea District Library for their support of this program.