We had that "difficult 2nd album" feeling about running the 2nd Masterclass. Would anyone buy it? Would they like it? How would it compare the 1st one? But we didn't need to worry.
Based on feedback from Masterclass #1 we wanted to provide some chillout time for the attendees, so this timr around there was an optional Thursday night and Sunday night option to extend the weekend. As a special bonus we had also organised an intimate concert by Constant Follower on the Thursday night. Shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year, Constant Follower are gaining a big fanbase and it was great for us to host the last night of their Scottish tour at The Hollies.
When the Masterclass proper started at Friday lunchtime we had 12 keen songwriters ready to spend a weekend with like-minded souls, plus James and Bobby.
Again, we had quite a diverse group with different levels of experience. Peter and Steven are professional/semi-professional musicians. Alison, Ray, Ed, Gerry, Dougie, Lyn, Graeme, Stevie and Linda write songs as a hobby and Tom doesn't play an instrument and only started writing songs a few months before the Masterclass.
The Friday afternoon session followed the same format as before, with each of the songwriters talking thorugh and playing what they had brought with them as a song idea. Through a process of feedback from James and Bobby, everyone starts to relax into the process and the supportive environment becomes palpable.
The food is always a hit at the Masterclasses and Friday dinner was fresh, local languostines for starters followed by a choicer of Chicken Jalfrezi, Vegetable Daal and Thai Salmon. Dinner was very relaxed and we were treated to unexpected duet of 'Young at Heart' from Bobby and James. When posted on Twitter, it exceeded 23k views! As usual after dinner entertainment was lots of great storytelling from everyone and some varied pool playing.
Following a day of polishing their songs, for Saturday evening we all relocated to Five West cafe in the village for our 'showcase'. A big highlight of the evening. Following another beautiful dinner of Lamb Goulash, Thai Curry or Aubergine Curry, each of the songwriters gave a rendition of their songs - ably supported by James, Bobby and other fellow songwriters. All the songs were of an exceptional standard, and we finished with a very theatrical/gothic performance from Lyn, ably supported by James on guitar and Gerry singing the "Jonny Cash/Nick Cave" part! A great way to complete the showcase.
On returning to the house in good spirits, the evening turned into a riotous singalong to everything from show tunes, to Abba, Boney M to Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machine!
Sunday focussed on recording demos of everyone songs with Steve, our student sound engineer working hard to get great versions on the songs with James and Bobby accompaniments. In the days following the weekend, these demos will be sent out by Steve through our WhatsApp group.
Another brilliant weekend with some fantastic feedback and lots of promises to keep in touch and ideas for a Christmas/New Year get together. Friendships made and beautiful songs written and performed.
"An amazing experience with amazing people in an amazing venue. James and Bobby just make music better. I’ll never forget it!" - Gerry
"A surreal bucket list moment sharing the weekend with two legends of the Scottish music scene, learning, developing and growing as a budding singer/songwriter in lush surroundings with glorious food... Beautiful people, beautiful place, The Secret Coast Songwriting experience is my very own take-home pot of gold. If I can do it anyone can" - Dougie