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Richard Thompson adds Darden Smith to 'Frets and Refrains' faculty

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Richard Thompson is gearing up for his third Frets and Refrains acoustic guitar and songwriting camp, to be held June 23-27 at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, N.Y., near Woodstock.

"The first two were wonderful,” says Thompson. “Such a great community of fellow musicians from beginners to experts--mostly guitarists and songwriters, but a few non-participants and a sprinkling of other instruments. The environment at Full Moon is perfect--just the right size for classes, jam circles, open mike nights. There's 'alone time' if you want it, plus we're in the Catskills, so there is hiking and swimming, with generally good weather at that time of year.”

“Oh, and the food is excellent!” Thompson adds.

Frets and Refrains is part of Full Moon’s Music Masters Camps offerings, and is open to approximately 120 campers.

“Darden Smith is joining us as a songwriting teacher this year,” continues Thompson. “We’re thrilled to have such a fine musician on the faculty.”

Smith joins “the great Shawn Colvin” in the songwriting department staff. Thompson, of course, is involved in guitar classes for all levels, along with Martin Simpson, Happy Traum, and Bobby Eichorn, who also handles guitar repair and maintenance.

Singing and stage craft will be taught by Sloan Wainwright, with Simon Tassano, Thompson’s longtime sound man, handling live sound. Additionally offered are “very specific” yoga classes for musicians and massage for musicians.

“I love teaching in this environment,” says Thompson. “This is one of the most rewarding things that I do, and I think many of the teachers feel the same. It’s a special place, and a special mix of attendees. There is a great feeling of camaraderie at the camp, and this helps with the learning process. Sitting in proximity to so many people with musical ideas and abilities, you’re going to pick up as much from the environment as you are from the scheduled classes.”

But will students learn how to play “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”?

“I did a fairly thorough breakdown of ‘Vincent’ last year, so this year I’ll be looking at some other songs,” says Thompson, “but I will absolutely be teaching the styles and techniques needed to play ‘Vincent’ and many others.”

[The Examiner contributed an essay to the booklet included in the box set Walking on a Wire: Richard Thompson (1968-2009).]

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