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:  Jun. 20, 2022

Neel and Phil

It’s always great to hear from our listeners, and we loved getting your submissions to our latest songwriting challenge to write from the title Why Do You Cry?

We showcased four of our listener songs, and there are more to come in the next few weeks. So if your song is not featured on this episode, stay tuned, it’s coming soon.

Download the lyrics to follow along:

Thanks for taking part in our challenge!

We also talked about:

  • Andrew Haung’s composition challenge to use a specific chord
  • Being consistent with the point of view in your song
  • Using spotlighting techniques to improve your song’s changes and meaning
  • What is Shoegaze?

Show date:  Jun. 17, 2022

Phil, Susan, and Jack

You’d be hard-pressed to find a life, a career or a body of work quite like that of singer/songwriter/composer H. Jack Williams. 

Jack himself credits equal parts luck, talent and tenacity. “My whole life, I’ve gone out and gotten stuff done,” he says. “I think I have unique emotional connections within me, and I’ve always found a way to make that connection musically.” But for one of Nashville’s hardest working songwriters and most in-demand co-writers – and now with flourishing work in film and television – it’s been a one-of-a-kind 40+ year ride with some of the biggest names in Folk, Rock and Country. And in many ways, he’s just getting started. 

We talked about:

  • learning about the difference between a poem and a song from Peter Gabriel
  • moving from writing through emotions to craft to a balanced approach
  • songwriting as a job – does it stop being fun?
  • is your song too long?
  • make sure you’ve got a great opening line
  • playing with line lengths
  • “when you start clever-ing stuff up, you loose the emotion”

Download the lyrics to One More Day.

Show date:  Jun. 13, 2022

Mike, Neel, and Phil

This week, Phil shared his out-of-his-comfort-range approach to tackling this year’s songwriting challenge to write from the title Why Do You Cry?

Download the lyrics.

We talked about:

Show date:  Jun. 07, 2022

Neel, Mike, Phil, and Gilbert

This week, Gilbert Neal joined us again to talk about his latest album, and how he had to dig deep into himself to write the songs. We feature and talk about his new single Vapor Girl.

Now, in the wake of a pandemic that waxes and wanes but never quite vacates, Neal delivers the provocative and bitingly personal I’ll See You When I See You, an obliquely passionate salvo that feels alien yet warmly familiar. On one level, it maps the dissolution of a (virtual? long-distance?) romantic entanglement. On another, it explores the mystery and dread suddenly framing the global perception of Russian culture.

We talked about:

  • Rick Beato’s first podcast video: A Warning On the Future of Music: with Author Ted Gioia
  • Softening deep painful emotions through metaphors
  • Writing nursey rhyme melodies over chord progressions with lots of key changes
  • Writing a song around the whole tone scale
  • Writing with a balance between complexity (scales, modulations, big words) and simplicity (melodies, rhymes)
  • Reusing melodies in different keys and with different instruments

Download the lyrics to Vapor Girl to follow along.

Show date:  Jun. 01, 2022

Neel, Phil, and Mike

For our second host answer episode for our 2022 Songwriting Challenge, Mike shared his journey with the structure, arrangement, and production of his song.

Download the lyrics.

We talked about: