Join us each week for songwriting tips and techniques, and the occasional gumbo recipe. But seriously, take a listen! You’ll have so much fun, you won’t know you’re learning stuff.

Fresh Content

Show date:  Nov. 22, 2022

Allister, Phil, and Neel

Allister Bradley, Canadian singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, and technical director of the Song Studio Songwriter’s Workshop in Toronto, and co-host of the Hooks & Ladders youTube show with Blair Packham, joined us to talk about three songs with great bridges.

We talked about:

  • How the bridge differs from the verse and chorus
  • How a good bridge changes the viewpoint, the key signature, or uses something you haven’t used in the song yet
  • How do you know if a song needs a bridge or not?
  • Short songs vs. long songs
  • How modern songs lack contrast between sections, especially harmonically
  • Is a breakdown section a bridge?

The song selections:

  • JEALOUS by Labrinth
    • The massive key change and tone change going into the bridge
    • Using unconventional, jazzy chords in the bridge
  • THE MAYOR OF SIMPLETON by XTC
    • How the bridge can be the energy and emotional high point of a song
    • Changing up the lengths of your song sections can be one way to contrast them
    • How the bridge lyrics are less story and more feeling, and look at the story from the “side”
  • EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE by The Police
    • How Sting turned conventions around by not including a chorus and making the verse more like a chorus, and how the “B” section is more like a bridge
    • How the bridge turns the narrator from a creep to expressing his feelings of loss for the relationship

Show date:  Nov. 18, 2022

Mike, Phil, and Neel

AKA our 9-year Anniversary!

Our ex-co-host Mike Proudfoot joined us to reflect on the awesome year we had on Song Talk Radio. Our highlights included:

Show date:  Nov. 09, 2022

Neel, Phil, and Joey

Joey Cofone is Founder & CEO of Baronfig and an award-winning designer and entrepreneur. His work has been featured in Fast Company, Bloomberg, New York Magazine, Bon Appétit, Quartz, Mashable, Gizmodo, and Print, among others. Joey was named a New Visual Artist and, separately, Wunderkind designer, by Print magazine.

He is the author of the new book, The Laws of Creativity: Unlock Your Originality and Awaken Your Creative Genius.

We talked with Joey about everything creative:

  • How to master your ideas
  • How Joey’s book did a great job of breaking down the creative process into discrete pieces
  • How Phil’s experience with design and marketing made him a better musician and songwriter
  • A story from the book about Herbie Hancock and Miles Davies
  • Plagiarism vs. Inspiration, and how art is about combining things, not creating things
  • Is it possible to know too much about your craft?
  • The role of the ego in creativity
  • The great thing about being “weird”
  • The value of specificity in your creative acts

Win a copy of the book!

Tell us what creativity means to you as a songwriter to win a copy of The Laws of Creativity: Unlock Your Originality and Awaken Your Creative Genius! Drop us a comment on this page below or send us an email at feedback@songtalk.ca by December 1, 2022, and we’ll pick a winner at random. Enter today!

Show date:  Nov. 02, 2022

Neel, Phil, Dave & Meghan

Filled with incredible vocals and musicianship often compared to the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Canadian Americana/Roots band Bywater Call has made their unprecedented mark on the Canadian and international Blues/Roots scene with their brand-new album, “Remain”. From explosive television performances to radio play across the country, their distinctive sound blending Rock, Americana, and Soul is highlighted by the explosive vocal talent of lead singer, Meghan Parnell, with a voice coined as one of the “best in Roots and Blues today” by European press, often compared to Susan Tedeschi. Their debut album in 2019 spent 11 weeks at #1 on the Roots Music Canada charts, and was prominently featured on Stingray, Global TV’s “Your Morning”, and Canadian campus radio.

The primary songwriters of Bywater Call, Meghan Parnell and Dave Barnes, joined us to talk about:

  • Bono Apologizes for 2014 iTunes Album Dump, Calls It ‘Overreach’ (spin.com)
  • Writing and arranging songs in band context
  • What constitutes a “long” song?
  • Getting a large band together for rehearsals, and getting band members to work out their parts at home sometimes
  • Writing melodies first
  • Technically perfect singers vs. singers with character
  • Where does creativity stop and sales begin?
  • Finding your audience in a niche market
  • Recording to a click vs not (or somewhere in between)
  • Writing your lyrics clearly AND with poetics

Download the lyrics to Left Behind to follow along.

Follow Bywater Call:

Show date:  Oct. 27, 2022

Neel, Phil, and Susan

Singer-songwriter and music educator Susan Cattaneo joined us once again, this time to talk about tips for overcoming writer’s block for songwriters. We talked about:

  • writing in a different mode, on purpose
  • a great video on understanding modes – The Modes Ranked by Brightness – YouTube
  • lists of contemporary songs using modes, courtesy of Susan and her Berklee colleague Sarah Brindell:
  • how “not writing” can be seen like a rest in music, rather than a paralyzing feeling of never being able to write again
  • how learning about more paths through writing a song can be helpful in overcoming a block
  • letting ideas marinate before becoming a song
  • how there are two kinds of writer’s block: “I can’t write” and “I don’t want to write”
  • The Inner Game of Music (book)
  • listen to music you don’t normally listen to or don’t like, but listen actively and analytically
  • ingest more media like art, movies, TV shows, the news, a good meal
  • On Writing (book)
  • Writing Better Lyrics (book)
  • have a bag of words – pick two at random to start a song
  • keyword exercise: finding groups of rhyming words to start a lyric
  • writing something dumb or silly to get started
  • learn and perform cover songs to learn more about songwriting
  • go to a food court and eavesdrop on conversations
  • collaborate with others to overcome blocks