Tom DeMarchi, Director
Sanibel Island Writers Conference
Reed Hall 242
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565
Over the last three decades, singer, songwriter and guitarist Gary Louris has built a deeply compelling body of music whose artistry and integrity has won the loyalty of an international audience and the respect of both critics and his peers. Best known for his seminal work with The Jayhawks, Louris is one of the most acclaimed musicians to come out of Minnesota’s legendary music scene.
After spending nine years as an architect, Gary began his recording career with the fabled Minneapolis rockabilly/roots rock combo Safety Last in the early 80s before co-founding The Jayhawks with Mark Olson in 1985. The Jayhawks’ two-decade plus career saw them rise from humble indie roots to international prominence and acclaim. After Olson left in 1995, Louris and a reconfigured The Jayhawks shifted direction and made three extraordinary albums. During this time, The Jayhawks Mark II toured extensively before quietly going on hiatus in 2005. Concurrent with his time in The Jayhawks, Louris was a charter member of the part-time alt-rock supergroup Golden Smog, which at various times also included members of Soul Asylum, Wilco, The Replacements and Big Star.
Along the way he also found time to lend his writing, performing and production talents to albums by acts as diverse as The Black Crowes, the Dixie Chicks, Counting Crows, Joe Henry, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Roger McGuinn, Maria McKee, Nickel Creek, Carrie Rodriguez, Tift Merritt, The Sadies, The Wallflowers and Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. He also contributed music to the Wordplay soundtrack as well as being integrally involved in creating three albums and two EPs with Golden Smog. In almost three decades of playing with The Jayhawks, he’s performed live at Farm Aid, headlined The Beacon Theater in NYC, The Barbicon Theater in London, and numerous other high-profile concerts as well as sharing the stage with the likes of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. He has been a part of two Grammy-winning albums, co-writing four songs with the Dixie Chicks for their last record Taking The Long Way, and co-writing two songs with Tedeschi & Trucks for their album Revelator.
Gary attended the Sundance Film Composer’s Lab in Park City Utah in 2004 and continues to co-write and collaborate with other songwriters and artists worldwide.
Following his first-ever solo album (Vagabonds in 2008) and a duo album with his former Jayhawks partner Olson (2009′s Ready For The Flood), the band released their first career retrospective, Music From the North Country.
Louris is looking to the future and busier than ever—writing songs, exploring new collaborative opportunities, performing well-received solo shows featuring both new material and selections from every phase of his career, and embracing a wide array of challenges with newfound vigor and enthusiasm.
Everything about Jen McClung—from her folk music roots to her MFA in Writing to her current career in American Indian Studies—speaks to a deep connection to culture, song, spirit and story. Because of this training and this lived experience, Jen approaches all the genres and media she works in with a sense of interconnectedness and multimodality. Currently, Jen teaches at Iowa State University and lives in Ames, Iowa, with her husband, son, and stepson. Her third studio album, Wildfire, was released in Spring of 2014. For more, go to www.jenmcclung.com.
Wesley Stace was born in Hastings, Sussex, in 1965, and educated at the King's School, Canterbury, and Jesus College, Cambridge. He released 17 albums under the name John Wesley Harding. His new album, Self-Titled, for which he has returned to his given name, is released by Yep Roc, September 2013. He has also published three novels.
Wesley Stace's Cabinet of Wonders, his variety show based at City Winery in NYC, has recently launched on NPR. Since the Cabinet's inception in 2009, the show has become a virtual who's who of contemporary performers, writers, and comedians. It's "one of the finest nights of entertainment this city has to offer" (New Yorker), "a brilliant evening of laid-back fun" (Village Voice), and "one of the most whip-smart variety shows on the market" (Portland Tribune). Additional shows will air in 2014.
Stace has been joined onstage by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, John Prine, and Bruce Springsteen (with whom he recorded a duet on his album Awake), among many others. He has appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. His songs have been featured in films (including High Fidelity) and covered by other artists. Most recently, he co-wrote Eleanor Friedberger's Personal Record.
Stace teaches a course ("How To Write A Song") at Princeton University with poet Paul Muldoon. He has also taught literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he curates the Words & Music Festival.
His first novel, the international bestseller Misfortune, was published to great acclaim in 2004. It was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, listed as one of the books of the year in the Washington Post and the Boston Phoenix, and was one of Amazon's Top Ten Novels of the Year. His second, By George, (2007) was one of the New York Public Library's Books To Remember of 2007, and Booklist Editor's Choice for books of the year. His third, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, (2010) was called "the most confident musical fiction I have read in years" (New Statesman), and an "Inventive black comedy unfolding with Nabokovian precision" (Financial Times).
Stace's fourth novel, Wonderkid, was published in February 2014 by The Overlook Press.
He has lived in America since 1991, and resides in Philadelphia with his wife Abbey, daughter Tilda, and son Wyn. For more on Stace, visit: