Each year, the Durango Songwriters Expo serves as an apt example of why musicians often are referred to as the “songwriting community.” During the course of three days, new musical alliances are forged and old friendships are renewed, and Durango’s long-established Saturday night concert offers a prime example of all that. This year, perennial Durango favorite Chuck Cannon returns for another stint alongside Jill Sobule, Carlene Carter, Jim Lauderdale, and Big Al Anderson.
And while Saturday’s show might be the glittering jewel in Durango’s crown, the heart and soul of the weekend lies in the emerging songwriters who come to further their careers. While song-listening sessions offer folks the opportunity to hone their craft, various panel discussions shine some light on the inner workings of the industry. And with just 200 participants, Durango promises participants some quality one-on-one time. It’s also the reason S.B. musician Patty Castillo keeps returning.
“There are always new writers and industry people,” explained Castillo. “So not only do you have the people who have stood by Durango for many, many years, but you also have the new people who come, and that is always refreshing. : Being around people who are interested in the same things you are just percolates that whole process.”
While it’s a dynamic three days in Buellton, the Durango experience certainly doesn’t end come Saturday. “It has given me incredible connections,” explained Castillo. “There are all sorts of chances while you are there, but you also gather all these contacts and numbers to pursue after the event, and that’s a really great opportunity as well. I met Chuck [Cannon] at one of the expos and he liked what he heard and we started writing together. So it’s been great for me.”
The Durango Songwriters Expo takes place Thursday, February 26, through Saturday, February 28, at various locations throughout Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley. Visit durango-songwriters-expo.com for details.