While thinking about events for the 2015 John Hartford Memorial Festival, I came up with this concept purely out of curiosity. What if I selected three or so songwriters who specialize in story songs, and host a presentation/panel discussion consisting of original story songs and individual processes? The idea being, give the audience (and me) an idea about the individual creative process. I have an idea how mine works and I am curious to the extreme that I wrote a book about it.

 Story Songs Workshop is not a "hands on" workshop. It is a performance/panel discussion about creativity. Keep reading to learn exactly what this is about. "Story Songs with Ernie Hill" has grown in popularity as folks who love stories are given a look inside the heads of folks who "make them up". Since it's premier, Story Songs has grown in popularity and appearance, now being presented also at the Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield Kansas, and The Pickin' On Picnic held at St. Clair Mo! Guest songwriters include and have included Chris Jones and Gina Furtado of Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, Chicago Farmer, Ryan Spearman of the Short Round Stringband, Juni Fisher, Wil Maring, Colin O’Brien, Old Man Luedecke, Ginger Boatwright, Nathan Blake Lynn, Giri and Uma Peters, Micahlan Boney, Kenny Cornell, and Mike Oberst of the Tillers, Andrew Morris and Julie Bates (aka The Matchsellers), Alaina Hawf of The Whispering Willows, Bill Poss, Kelly & Donna Mulholan(aka Still On the Hill), Willi Carlisle, Lily B Moonflower, Xaris Waltman and Walter Greiner.

 How does it work? I start the set with an original story song and then open up a discussion. We pass it on down the line and in the time allotted we each perform original story songs with enlightening discussion.

 Aren't all songs Story Songs? Well, no. A large percentage of top 40 mainstream songs are "feeling" songs. Songs that express love or the opposite. A story song is just that. It tells a story, sometimes taking you to a different environment. It's that simple, but where do they come from? How does a songwriter "get" their story? That's what these sets are all about. It really is different with each songwriter. I've written a book, a short introspective look inside my own mind, the minds of a few others, and some research opinions. It's called "The Cosmic Path to Melody and Lyric". Click here to read more about it. This little mind journey is illustrated by the artist Jon Griffin. Please ck it out and consider talking with me about presenting this concept at your event whether it's a great big festival or a tiny intimate listening room. Email me at or find me on Facebook.

Chris Jones and Gina Furtado with the Night Drivers

Story Songs on Stage 3, 2017 Walnut Valley Festival with Juni Fisher and Kenny Cornell

Left to right- Ernie Hill, Ryan Spearman, Cody Diekoff a.k.a. Chicago Farmer

To read more about past Story Songs sets, click here.

2018 JHMF 8 Story Songs- L to R, Ernie, Micahlan Boney, Mike Oberst and Cody Diekoff a.k.a. Chicago Farmer

Story Songs, 2016, John Hartford Memorial Festival. L to R, Ernie Hill, Wil Maring, Colin O'Brien, Old Man Luedecke.