Teachers & Classes

Click HERE to download our 2019 Class descriptions & HERE for our class schedule

The Tall Men Group

Ed Tree, Marty Axelrod, Jimmy Yessian, Severin Browne, & John Stowers

Jimmy Yessian  is a passionate live performer who connects instantly with his audiences. He has performed around the United States and Europe with artists as diverse as Brian White, Jeffrey Steele, Allan Rich, Steve Dorff, Al Anderson and Chuck Cannon to name a few.

He was appointed VP of Creative Development for Ash Street Music Publishing and was in charge of signing and developing young writers; he also signed an exclusive writers agreement with the company.  

Yessian was invited and performed in Venice,Italy for the World Global Party to help raise money for children’s charities from 180 countries.

His song "Stand Tall America," co-written with Gary Baker ("I Swear" and "I'm Already There") and Jerry Williams was the featured song in the PBS aired documentary film One Voice/ The Healing Pole and is the lead song on the Inspiration New York CD.  

Currently Jimmy is performing with the “Tall Men Group” and with Jeff Kossack as the duo - “From Different Mothers”.

He continues pitching songs from his personal catalog and is finishing up production on his new solo record titles ‘The Future’ with Jeff Kossack co-producing.





Edward Tree is a producer, engineer, guitarist and performing songwriter with over 40 years of experience working in the Los Angeles area.  His songs have been recorded by a number of artists including Spencer Davis, Lacy J. Dalton, Steve Kolander and others and have appeared on the Country Top 40 charts.  He’s produced more than 175 CDs in the Americana, AAA, Blues, Folk, and Country categories, including two top five Billboard Blues Chart CDs, 2 #1 singles on the European Country Charts, and winning a DIY Producer of the Year award.  He has recorded and/or toured with Spencer Davis, Rita Coolidge, Juice Newton, Al Stewart, Dusty Springfield and Booker T. Jones as well as sharing the stage with Jimmy Buffet, Aaron Neville and Bonnie Bramlett.   He also played on the Grand Ole Opry with his band The Bum Steers.  Edward is  a member of the songwriter collective Tall Men Group, who have released 4 critically acclaimed albums and are now working on their 5th.

Marty Axelrod is the keyboard player in Tall Men Group. Marty’s songs have been recorded by the likes of Judy Collins, folk legend Theodore Bikel, blues powerhouse Linda Hopkins, the country band Emerson Drive, and indie darling Kelly Fitzgerald.

Marty’s songs have adorned the soundtracks of HBO’s “True Blood”, “Friday Night Lights”, and a truly terrible Patrick Swayze movie…but Mr. Swayze did dance to his song! Marty is very proud to have produced and co-written the critically-acclaimed concept album “Songs of Shiloh”. As a human, his proudest accomplishments are a 35-year marriage and two amazing kids.  

Severin Browne was raised in a musical family where all the children were expected to play an instrument. He began with accordion, then moved to drums and saxophone before settling on guitar at the ripe old age of ten. His older brother Jackson, a talented singer/songwriter with many albums for the Asylum/Elektra labels, started out as first chair cornet in the elementary school band, where Severin soon joined him on the drums.

A former Motown recording artist and staff songwriter, Severin continues to enchant audiences with his clear voice, masterful guitar playing and finely crafted songs.  After leaving Motown in the mid-seventies, Severin spent his time writing and performing in the Los Angeles area, where his songs were recorded by Thelma Houston, Patti Dahlstrom, Colin Blunstone, Twiggy, The Dillards, and Pamela Stanley, who had a Billboard #15 hit with Severin’s “I Don’t Want To Talk About It.”

His two post-Motown CDs, “From the Edge of The World” released on Moo Records in 1996, and “This Twisted Road” self-released in 2001, have both gotten great reviews. With roots in pop, jazz, country, rock and R&B, Severin surprises his acoustic audiences with melodies.

John Stowers has been called one of the most promising singer/songwriters in Southern California.  “A Rootsy Pop Rocker with surprising soul. Songs filled with original thoughtful lyrics and melodies that soar.”  John’s songs reflect his passion for the music that inspired him back when he was growing up in rural Missouri. Unable to tune in radio stations from surrounding cities, John grew up listening to his older brother’s classic rock and soul collection.  He draws from this rich musical history when writing his songs. There are echoes of everything from Liverpool to Memphis in his music.

The songs streaming on this site represent a handful of the songs that John has recorded for his forthcoming self-titled debut release. “I’ve been writing songs for a while now and I felt it was time to put together my own album as an artist,” explains Stowers.  “I simply try to have fun and be honest. I very often pull things from my own life.” You can definitely hear the fun in tracks like “Everything You Do” and “Jimmy’s Song” - while longing and painful life lessons can be heard in the heartfelt “I Need You Here” and “Choose”: “We choose to live/ We choose to be/ When we choose to love/ Sometimes we have to see/ The world as it is/ And not how we want it to be.”

Stowers is supported on his album by some of L.A.’s premier blues and roots players: producer/guitarist Edward Tree, Bonnie Raitt percussionist Debra Dobkin, Lucinda Williams bassist Taras Prodaniuk, Dwight Yoakam keyboardist Skip Edwards, drummers Dave Beyer (Melissa Etheridge/Motels) and Tom Fillman, and harmony vocalists Teresa James, John Townsend and Molly Pasutti.  Stowers, however places himself firmly in the field of rock ‘n’ roll – his preferred musical realm because he believes, “it always reinvents itself”.

John won a 2004 Billboard World Song Contest award. “Jimmy’s Song” won 3rd place in the R&B/Blues category. It’s gratifying validation for a performing songwriter who’s been out there playing bars/coffee houses and patiently honing his craft. John’s currently completing production of his record which is due to be released by the end of this year.

The Honeysuckle Possums

Rebecca Troon, Lisa Macker, Susan Marie Reeves, & Ruth Alpert

Rebecca Troon is a multi-award winning singer songwriter and recording artist.  She plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, penny whistle, and percussion as a solo performer and in the all women band, The Honeysuckle Possums. She teaches music privately and at two music camps, Pacific Songwriting Camp and CA Songwriting Camp. Rebecca has been writing songs for more than 30 years.

Rebecca has two sons, Dan and Richard, and lives in Santa Barbara with her husband; underwater photographer, Richard Salas.  When she is not playing, teaching, practicing, and writing music, she likes to make and grow things. “I get happy when I see people in an audience laughing, and happier still when I see them crying….it’s a funny job.”  She has performed at Live Oak Festival, Songtree Concert Series, Trinity Backstage, Bodiehouse Concert Series, and Grass Valley Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival. (Photo: Richard Salas)

“Rebecca Troon is a force of nature” - Wendy Waldman

“A Monster Songwriter” - Kenny Edwards

Lisa Macker - is a talented multi-instrumentalist.  She began her career playing viola in orchestras and studying classical piano.  In the late ’70’s she was given a mandolin as a gift and learned all the basics for old timey and Irish tunes in friends’ living rooms and jams at parks.  In the 80’s she was a member of the band, “Hands On The Wheel”, based in Santa Barbara. Then she picked up the stand-up bass. Lisa met her husband through music and together with artist Mark Insley, formed the trio, “Last Roundup”, touring in Southern California.

Two decades and three kids later, Lisa returned to the music scene.  She warmed her feet as an accompanist for local classical singers, choruses, and instrumentalists.  Soon after, she was invited by her neighbor, Susan Marie Reeves, to join the Honeysuckle Possums. Lisa was more than happy to become a part of the wonderful melding of talent and heart found in this group of wild women. (photo: Richard Salas)

Ruth Alpert first saw flatfooting at Don West’s festival held at his homestead in Pipestem, West Virginia in 1968. It went straight to her heart and never let go! She began flatfooting regularly in New York City in 1978, dancing in the aisles of the Eagle Tavern to local and visiting old-time bands. She has taught workshops, danced with old-time Appalachian string bands, busked (street performed) in various cities in at least 6 states. She was a member of The Fast Peso String Band in Santa Fe, NM for 15 years, and currently is the percussion section of The Honeysuckle Possums. She is a two-time winner of the National Championship in Senior Buckdancing at Uncle Dave Macon Days Festival in Murfreesboro, TN, in 2013 and 2014. When not dancing, Ruth is a Movement Re-education specialist: she teaches The Alexander Technique and is certified in Pilates, GYROTONIC®, and The Trager® Approach. (Photo Credit: George Ancona)

Susan Marie Reeves is a creative soul, she’s a multi-instrumentalist and an award-winning singer/songwriter. She is an author, music producer, lyricist, & poet.  She won the Silverton Jubilee (2006) and the Kauai Music Festival (2010) songwriting contests. She toured for 6 years and released 2 CDs with her bluegrass band, Wild Sage, playing at both Telluride & Strawberry music festivals. She currently tours with her daughter, Sierra Reeves, and also with the acclaimed bluegrass band, the Honeysuckle Possums, who play music festivals all over California, Oregon, & Colorado. She completed her 2nd solo CD, “Young Heart”, to rave reviews, her music is currently being played internationally on internet radio, while she continues to create picturesque, melodic, music that flows across genres. Susan calls her original music “Gypsy Newgrass” which is a combination of bluegrass, mountain, folk, Irish, & alternative desert rock. Susan Marie lives in CA, has regular co-writing sessions in Nashville, and tours the U.S. throughout the year.

Aly Comingore at S.B. Independent - "Brimming with twangy guitar colorings, dusty folk meanderings, and strong emotive vocals, "Young Heart" is a true S.B. gem, and well worth a spin for fans of Alison Krauss & Sarah McLachlan.”

In the Top Five Songs for SongwriterUniverse "Best Song Of The Month" Contest.

“Young Heart” Featured Song on Renegade Radio Nashville

Telluride Music Festival -Troubadour Contest - Honorable Mention

Featured Songwriter on Beth Williams’ international weekly radio show - Indie Songwriter Show