Songwriter Retreats

We offer incredible 3-Day Retreats with opportunities for individual attention for emerging songwriters, a chance to learn and create in a picturesque and tranquil setting, special performances and chances for you to perform, and interactive classes with Nashville's professional songwriters and musicians. Spots are limited to small numbers to ensure you get the most out of your experience.

Next Retreat will be May 16th - May 18th, 2013
Registration Open Now! Deadline is May 10th!

Cost $350

  • Retreat Price Includes: Meals, All Class Sessions, All Materials.
  • Convenient Lodging Available: For your lodging needs, please consider Natchez Hills Bed & Breakfast and music-oriented cottages located near the Retreat property. Overnight accommodations are not included in Retreat price.

Escape and Create!

Our Retreat takes place at Natchez Hills Vineyard and Concert Hall, located at 109 Overhead Bridge Road, Hampshire, TN 38461. MAP & DIRECTIONS

Just south of Nashville near the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, nestled in the ridges of Hampshire, Tennessee sits Natchez Hills Vineyard and the Concert Hall where Nashville Unleashed Shows take place. This enchanted property sits on 175 acres of nature. Natchez Hills celebrates the music of East, Middle, and West Tennessee. It's the perfect place for sunset gazing or watching wildlife. Hike to 10-foot Karen’s falls, take a tour of the Natchez Hills Vineyard & Winery and enjoy free wine tasting. Welcome to God's Country!

Nearby, Natchez Hills offers optional lodging in their beautiful Appalachian Lodge and three overnight hideaways: the Opry Room, the Beale Street Cabin and the Coal Miner’s Cabin. For information on lodging, please contact Natchez Hills directly at 931.285.2500.

Retreat Sessions


Distinguishing Factors - Led by Frankie Lackey (Publishing Director at ZMusic Publishing) and Shawn Bowling (Fmr. Song Evaluations Director at NSAI) - This class will offer the distinguishing factors that separate "good" songs from "great" songs, through the eyes of the professional music industry. Frankie is the Publishing Director of ZMusic Publishing and has been a song Evaluator and Workshop Coordinator for NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) for 15 years. Shawn directed the Song Evaluations Department at NSAI for over 5 years, as well as coordinated the popular "Pitch To Publisher Luncheons and Events" for NSAI, as well as serving as a one-on-one mentor to NSAI songwriters. Both of these guys are fantastic songwriters themselves and hold a special place in their hearts for guiding new songwriters. They introduce a unique set of questions that help songwriters look at their songs objectively and with proper discernment on their way to developing to their full potential as pro songwriters.

Playing The Rests - Led by Jack Untz (Co-Founder of Nashville Unleashed, Guitar/Mandolin/Lap Steel/Dobro, Toured with George Thorogood, Frankie Valli, Brian Setzer, Elvin Bishop) and Tony Marvelli (7-String Bass/Guitar/Percussion, Toured with Mark Shultz, Point of Grace, The Drifters, The Platters, among others). This class will teach serious songwriters about the importance of musical discipline, arrangement, structure, and timing. They will define the key elements that pro melody writers should always consider when crafting and performing their songs. Tony will offer instruction in the Nashville Number System/Professional Charts. Jack will teach tricks-of-the-trade and unique technique perspectives in an effort to engage listeners immediately and avoid common melodic pitfalls.

Mastering The Art - Led by Karen Staley (Hit Songwriter behind "Let's Go To Vegas" and "Take Me As I Am" recorded by Faith Hill, "Keeper of The Stars" recorded by Tracy Byrd, "On A Night Like This" recorded by Trick Pony, "Wicked Ways" recorded by Patty Loveless, among many others) and Steven Dale Jones (Hit Songwriter behind "One More Day" recorded by Diamond Rio, "He Gets That From Me" recorded by Reba McIntire, "10,000 Angels" recorded by Mindy McCready, "Little Things" recorded by Tanya Tucker, among others) - This class will offer an in-depth view of the craft of songwriting from the commercial perspective and how to be taken seriously in pursuit of a career as a songwriter among industry professionals. Many workshops will tell you what "to" do...this one will also tell you "what not to do". Songwriters will have an opportunity to hear Karen and Steven Dale perform, as well as receive some up-close-and-personal mentoring in small groups.

It's A Noisy World - How To Attract Fans vs Chase Them
- Led by Diane Untz (Co-Founder of Nashville Unleashed, Creative Director of ZMusic Publishing, Recording Artist/Songwriter) and Nicole Johnson (Recording Artist/Songwriter, "Team Blake" on NBC's The Voice) and Anna Johnson (popular Indie Artist - scholarship for her songwriting education by legendary band, Queen) - This class will dive deep into how to stand out in a very noisy and overly saturated musical world. With the technology today, it is easier than ever to get new music out there. But how do people know you are there? Why should they care about your music? Where will they find you? Where do you need to be investing your time to be seen/heard? Just how much social media should you really be doing? How do you keep up? How does this translate to winning new fans and earning a living in this business? Those questions and more will be tackled head-on.