Songwriters stage food bank benefit

VanWormer said that songwriters aren't afraid to speak up if the collaboration isn't going quite as they hoped. Just recently, for instance, she had to implore the drummer to slow down.

"He was speeding up," she said. "I just told him, 'You're pushing me.'"

It's important, she said, for songwriters to preserve their sound, but at the same time, she and her fellow songwriters are grateful for what the bassist and drummer bring to the table.

"You add that drum and suddenly the song has a heartbeat," she said. Add the bass, "and it kind of walks up your body."

VanWormer played a number of songs growing up, but these days she concentrates on the guitar, which she learned from her brother. After one lesson, her brother told her to write a song, and she protested that she wasn't a songwriter.

Anyone can write a song, he told her. The trick was to "look inside yourself," find a feeling and write a song about it.

So that's what VanWormer did. That initial effort wound up on her debut CD, and people often tell her it's their favorite of all her songs, she said.

She still takes that approach to songwriting, and she's often surprised at how easily songs come to her. More than once, she's wondered if she actually heard a song on the radio before she wrote it.

"Those songs come very fast," she said. "They would come in fully formed."

VanWormer's workflow slowed in recent months, though, as she battled an illness that left her unable to use her right arm. The benefit concert will mark the first time she's performed since February. She's excited to be doing it with the Songwriters Jam Band, crediting Wayne with bringing the group together.

"He's really trying to build a camaraderie," she said.

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