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Songwriting with David Francey, Jenny Whiteley & Joey Wright

Instructors: David Francey, Jenny Whiteley & Joey Wright
Tuesday, July 31 – Friday, August 3, 2018, 9am – 3:30pm each day
Early Bird Fee: $469 + GST (Must pay in full by June 1)
Regular Fee: $525 + GST
Deposit: $130 + GST

Songwriting Workshop
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Scholarships and Bursaries are available for all Island Mountain Arts Programs, Link here for details.

Link here for information about accommodations for students

To register call 1-800-442-2787 or online below.
You can also mail a cheque to Island Mountain Arts, Box 65, Wells, BC, V0K 2R0

Musicians with their songs registered through SOCAN are eligible to apply for a Songwriting Workshop Grant through FACTOR for up to $750. Deadline is ongoing so get yours in as soon as possible, at least 3 months prior! Check all the requirements, songwriters must be writing music for other artists to be eligible for the FACTOR funding.

Workshop Description:

Join these three critically acclaimed songwriters for a four-day intensive workshop. Participants will spend time defining and examining those “fundamental ingredients’ of a song through performance, discussion and hands-on writing. Whether you are writing for yourself, or writing songs for other musicians, this workshop will give you valuable skills to move forward in your songwriting. If you play an instrument, bring it along, but the ability to play a musical instrument is not required. Participants will have the opportunity to perform their newly created songs as part of the ArtsWells Festival, which begins on the final day of the workshop.

Instructor Biographies:

David Francey


David Francey is a Scottish-born Canadian carpenter-turned-songwriter, who has become known as “one of Canada’s most revered folk poets and singers” (Toronto Star). Born in Ayrshire, Scotland to parents who were factory workers, he moved to Canada when he was twelve. For decades, he worked across Canada in rail yards, construction sites, and in the Yukon bush, all the while writing poetry, setting it to melodies in his head and singing it to himself as he worked.

A truly authentic folk singer, Francey is a documentarian of the working person who never imagined earning a living from his music. But when he was in his 40s, his wife, artist Beth Girdler, encouraged him to share his songs and sing in public. The reaction was instant. His first album Torn Screen Door came out in 1999 and was a hit in Canada. Since then, he has released eleven albums, won three Juno Awards and has had his songs covered by such artists as The Del McCoury Band, The Rankin Family, James Keelaghan and Tracy Grammer.

Francey also had the honour of receiving the prestigious SOCAN Folk Music Award as well as taking home the Grand Prize in both the International Acoustic Music Award and in the Folk category for the John Lennon Songwriting Award.


Music critics have compared Jenny Whiteley's striking vocals and songwriting to Emmy Lou Harris and Lucinda Williams, raving that she “swings effortlessly from black-hearted back-porch Americana to Laurel Canyon country” (No Depression).

Jenny got an early start playing music with her father and uncle, Chris and Ken Whiteley, who formed the popular Original Sloth Band in the heyday of Toronto folk. Throughout Jenny’s childhood, she and her brother Dan were along for the ride at countless concerts and festivals, and before long they were singing and playing washtub and washboard alongside their dad and uncle in The Junior Jug Band.

Fast forward to a brief brush with academia to study anthropology at Concordia in Montreal, Jenny returned to Toronto where she taught herself to play guitar in her early 20’s and pursue her songwriting career in earnest. After several years performing and recording with her bluegrass band Heartbreak Hill, Jenny recorded and co-produced her first solo effort, a self-titled album, in 2000. The album won the Juno Award for Roots Traditional Album of the year. Jenny’s follow-up record Hopetown was her first with producer and friend Steve Dawson. Remarkably, this record won the Juno for Roots Album in 2003, making Jenny one of only a few artists to win Juno Awards for their first and second records. Her next two albums Dear (2006) and Forgive or Forget (2009) also earned glowing reviews from critics in North America and Europe.

Whiteley has co-written songs with Colin Linden, Fred Eaglesmith, and her musician husband Joey Wright, among others, and has collaborated with many other renowned Canadian artists, recording vocals on Sarah Harmer’s hit song “Basement Apartment,” Melwood Cutlery’s Campfire and Prairie Oyster’s re-release of “Man In The Moon."

In addition to her two Juno wins, she has been nominated four times as a solo artist and with The Junior Jug Band and Heartbreak Hill. She has a SOCAN No. 1 Song Award for her song “Baby, I” as performed by Amy Millan, a gold record for her family band's recording and has toured all over the U.S., Europe and Canada, performing at nearly every major music festival including Edmonton Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Mariposa, Stan Rogers Fest, Stardust Picnic, and many more.


Joey Wright


Growing up in Toronto, Joey began his musical journey by sneaking in to iconic clubs like Chicago’s and Grossman’s Tavern, underage, to see guitar luminaries like Jeff Healey, Madagascar Slim and David Wilcox. Joey recounts: “When I first saw those great players in bars in Toronto it shocked me. Music had always seemed like magic to me and that everything I’d heard to that point was played by a type of super hero. When I saw that people could make similar sounds to the ones I was hearing on record I was changed forever and knew then what I wanted to do.” 

“ Having older siblings was great for my musical exposure too…by the time I was thirteen I knew albums by Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens.  At the same time, I was being exposed to jazz greats through my father’s love of 50s and 60s jazz…his massive collection of piano greats like Art Tatum, Fats Waller and Oscar Peterson… looking back now I feel lucky to have been exposed to such a wealth of music.”  

As a natural progression of Joey’s guitar obsession, he discovered the music of Doc Watson.  This new favourite, led him, on a whim, to MerleFest in North Carolina in 1993. “This was another massively formative experience. Bluegrass was still a pretty small scene back then. I was exposed to so many pillars of that music. People who would become some of my musical heroes…that weekend I saw Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, the Tony Rice Unit, John Hartford, The Seldom Scene, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Mark O’Connor, Stuart Duncan… I was truly floored that music that amazing could have evaded me until then. I think I still continue to learn that lesson to some extent.”

Inspired by all of his musical discoveries, Joey became an integral part of the burgeoning bluegrass, old time and traditional country scene in Toronto in the late 90’s.  This artistic explosion spawned many talented and eager players:  Heartbreak Hill, Chris Coole, High Lonesome Wednesdays, Dan Whiteley, Chris Quinn, John Showman, Marc Roy and heaps of others were all intermingling to create the scene that has become one of the richest in the land.  

Joey joined Jenny Whiteley’s band in 1999, and her first two albums (Jenny Whiteley & Hopetown) both garnered Juno awards for Best Roots Traditional Album. In 2005 Joey joined Sarah Harmer’s band to record the album I’m A Mountain which earned him a gold record. In 2007 Joey collaborated with Jesse Zubot, Steve Dawson, Dan Whiteley and Joe Phillips to create his own album, Jalopy. All of the compositions on Jalopy were written by Joey and composed to feature the improv skills of the stellar personnel. Jalopy received a Juno nomination for Best Instrumental Album.  Joey’s record Hatch was released in 2010 to critical acclaim and features his songwriting, production and arrangements.  “…subtly sweet melodies and the stellar instrumental work of Wright and his accomplices…a dreamy, psychedelic folk vibe permeates.” Exclaim Magazine.


Special Events included with Tuition:

  • Monday, July 30, 7pm: Student Welcome Reception, IMA Gallery (2323 Pooley Street) – Meet your instructor and pick up your student information packages.

  • Tuesday, July 31, 5:30pm: Student BBQ, School, free for students

  • Wednesday, August 1, 8pm: Instructor Concert – Sunset Theatre, $20, free for students

  • Friday, August 3, 6pm: ArtsWells Festival Opening

  • Saturday, August 4: students performance venue and time TBA.

  • The ArtsWells Festival Of All Things Art runs from Friday, August 3 – Monday, August 6, 2018 and features over 100 musical acts on 10 stages throughout Wells and Barkerville. See for details. Consider sticking around after your workshop! Workshop participants save 50% on an ArtsWells Weekend Pass!

IMA students also receive free admission to Barkerville Historic Town and many discounts to local businesses.


Earlier Event: July 23
Summer Painting & Drawing Residency
Later Event: July 31
Liquid Stream Of Sound