Annapolis Songwriters Festival Q&A With Leann Rimes And Ray Weaver


Following last year’s inaugural Annapolis Songwriters Festival, the four-day event returns to the area this year with initial acts hitting the stage on September 14.

The festival is modeled after the Key West Songwriters Festival, now in its 27th year. Both festivals are designed to showcase and celebrate the crafts of songwriting and performing. The Annapolis Songwriters Festival aims to give music lovers a chance to get to know the names and faces behind the songs in an up-close and personal setting.

From some of the industry’s biggest hitmakers to prominent new acts, songwriters will visit downtown Annapolis over four days and nights of music on boats, hotels, restaurants and bars. The festival will close at Annapolis City Dock with an all-ages show featuring Grammy-winning artist LeAnn Rimes.

The “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” singer shared a preview of what fans can anticipate.

Q&A: LeAnn Rimes

What songs do you plan to perform at the Annapolis Songwriters Festival?

My set list changes a bit from show to show, depending on what I feel moved to sing that day, so you never know what you’re going to get. However, we do revisit almost 30 years of music, everything from “Blue” all the way through to my latest album, “God’s Work.”

And, with this being a special event celebrating songwriting, I will definitely dig deep into my catalog and pull some of my favorites that I’ve written.

In your opinion, what’s your most popular song amongst your fans? Is there a song that fans consistently sing the loudest when you perform?

My fans are so diverse in what they want to hear. You think it would be the hits, which it definitely is, but I find my fans really dig into the albums, and I’m always surprised by the deeper cuts that have imprinted on their hearts.

How do you plan to approach performing at a unique venue like Annapolis City Dock? Will anything change about your performance?

I always stay as authentically true to my heart as I can, no matter where I’m performing. I like to take the audience on a ride and into all the feels. Feelings that they otherwise may not touch, until the music pours into them. I believe my purpose is to provide a safe place for them to take me in and meet me at the core of the song, and we experience that joy or sorrow together.

Have you ever performed in or visited Annapolis? If yes, what do you think of the city?

I’ve been touring since I was 13 years old. It all runs together after a while. I honestly don’t remember if I have.

Any bucket list items you hope to do while in the area?

Wherever I go, I like to find delicious food. That always brings me joy when I’m on tour.

What is something most people don’t know about you? 

I’m an avid tennis player. I started playing about five years ago, and when I’m home, I play two or three times a week. I absolutely love it!

While Rimes, Blondie and Michelle Branch are well-known national performers, there are other acts to check out.

For one, seasoned musician and storyteller Ray Weaver, whose influences span across multiple genres, including country, Irish, blues and folk.

Weaver has played throughout the area for more than 50 years at pubs, honky-tonks and coffee houses.

Q&A: Ray Weaver

Are you from the area and if so, where?

I am a Pasadena boy, born and raised. I live in Denmark now, but I am a Chesapeake son!

What songs do you plan to perform at the Annapolis Songwriters Festival?

It’s hard to say exactly which songs I’ll play. It kind of depends on what the other writers on the rounds I am in do. If they are doing a lot of ballads, I’ll choose a fast one, and vice versa. I’ll almost always do “Confession” and “I’d Know You Anywhere.” And my song “Broke Down” that was used in the “Supernatural” television show.

In your opinion, what’s your most popular song amongst your fans? Is there a song that fans consistently sing the loudest when you perform?

The folks that follow my music most consistently request my song “Princess Years,” which is about my two daughters. It’s not a singalong, it’s a tearjerker.

Given the venue for this festival, will that impact your set list or overall experience for your fans? What can attendees anticipate?

The festival sets are short and sharp. I’ll be onstage with one or two other writers, so they get to hear my songs and songs by other great writers as well. Some of the best songwriters in the world will be in Annapolis. I’m looking forward to listening as much as I am to performing!

What is something about you that people would find surprising?

That although I’ve been performing for many years as an Americana singer/songwriter, back in the ‘70s, I was in a glam rock band and wore makeup and glitter high-heeled shoes.

Rimes and Weaver are just two of the 100-plus acts to look forward to at the Annapolis Songwriters Festival. Get tickets and learn more at


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