Song Writing Camp ~ Meet Your Instructors


Suzie Ungerleider

Born in Northeastern US and raised in Western Canada, Suzie Ungerleider began performing under the name Oh Susanna in the mid-1990s, winning instant praise for striking voice and poetic songcraft. Suzie had been quietly working as a clerk at a Vancouver library when in 1996 she self-released a cassette tape of seven songs recorded for just $200, and found herself besieged by music industry executives and agents after performing a tiny set at a local club. For over two decades, thousands of shows, and ten critically acclaimed albums, Suzie’s gloriously emotive, crystalline voice, her bewitching performances and her fierce song-writing have consistently captivated audiences, her peers and the press. Suzie has led songwriting classes, sessions and workshops as part of the Winnipeg Folk Festival Mentorship program, the Calgary Folk Festival Songwriting Bootcamp, Island Mountain Arts Songwriting workshops in Wells, BC, and more. “I like to use sensory experiences and prompts to inspire people to remember or to create stories – whether they be something that really happened or feels like could have happened. I find writing starts with a fragment, a seed, or a sense memory and then grows, revealing itself cell by cell. I like to help people discover those little seeds that they hold in the folds of their imagination. Over the last 10 years, I have had the good fortune to teach people how to write songs – some with no experience and some with a lot. When I teach, no matter how experienced the students are, this is my goal: to get people to tap into their stories that are literally true or emotionally true for them.” ~ Suzie

Jim Bryson ~

Jim Bryson is a Canadian Songwriter, Singer and Record Maker. He has released 7 critically acclaimed solo recordings, the most recent being 2022’s “Country Wifi”. Jim latest unintentional project is a series of $30 singles he calls the “Survival Tactics Series”. Meant as an offset to the offset of the Spotify/Streaming world we now live in. As a producer, records Jim has helped with have been nominated for Americana Music Awards and Juno Awards and have gained Canadian National Folk Awards. Most recent projects fired up in his Fixed Hinge Studio Shed include the Juno Nominated Suzie Ungerleider’s “I am Suzie Ungerleider”, Caroline Marie Brooks “Everything At The Same Time” and Kathleen Edward’s Total Freedom, which he co produced along with Kathleen and Grammy Award collector Ian Fitchuk (Kacey Musgraves).

Jenny Whiteley ~ Camp Director ~

Critics have compared Jenny Whiteley’s striking vocals and songwriting to Emmy Lou Harris and Lucinda Williams, raving that she “swings effortlessly from black-hearted back-porch Americana to Laurel Canyon country” (No Depression). Jenny got an early start playing music with her father and uncle, Chris and Ken Whiteley, who formed the popular Original Sloth Band in the heyday of Toronto folk. Throughout Jenny’s childhood, she and her brother Dan were along for the ride at countless concerts and festivals, and before long they were singing and playing washtub and washboard alongside their dad and uncle in The Junior Jug Band. Jenny founded Old School Bluegrass Camp in 2015, and has been producing camps, concerts and events alongside music throughout her career.

Joey Wright ~

Ask Joey Wright to describe his music, and he’ll tell you “cinematic quasi bluegrass jazz compositions”. That description is hard to argue with. Joey has played guitar and mandolin with Sarah Harmer and was part of legendary Toronto bluegrass outfits “Crazy Strings” and “Heartbreak Hill”.

Kristine Schmitt ~

Kristine Schmitt is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter, specializing in material both drawn from and influenced by music from the early part of the twentieth century. Whether it’s a fifties country ballad, an old mountain tune, a salty twenties blues number, a swinging thirties jazz tune, or belting out one of her own, you’d better hang on tight! Kristine brings her writing advice and tips for those who would like to venture into performance to Old School Song Writing Camp.