Louisa Branscomb


Called the "songwriter's songwriter," Louisa is one of the most-lauded songwriters in acoustic music, with three International Bluegrass Association Awards, several additional nominations, two Grammy cuts (Alison Krauss and John Denver), 2014 Song of the Year ("Dear Sister,” co-written and sung by Claire Lynch), well over 200 recorded original songs by artists including Claire Lynch, Krauss, John Denver, Dale Ann Bradley, and others. Her classic “Steel Rails” is one of the longest-running chart hits in bluegrass (also a Billboard country hit), while "Dear Sister" topped charts in bluegrass, Americana, and folk music and “Will I Be Good Enough,” sung by Karen Lynne, soared on country charts in Australia.

Louisa is viewed as a pioneer in bluegrass as a woman performer, having co-founded the prominent group Boot Hill in her early 20s – likely the first woman to front a band on banjo while also writing much of the band’s repertoire. Louisa, who wrote her first original composition at age 5, said, “I have always translated life as I know it into songs. Once someone asked me why I write songs, I could only think: ‘Why do you breathe?’”

Beyond a lifetime of performing, Louisa conducts songwriting retreats at her own farm in the Blue Ridge Hills and has mentored countless others in songwriting. Her unique approach to understanding and teaching songwriting is informed by her research and clinical work with others in the area of trauma, creativity, and resilience.

As sure as her songs are an arrow to the heart, Louisa has one message: “The song is the most powerful art form to reach heart and soul and transform lives in the space of only a few minutes of clock time.”