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:  Feb. 09, 2020

Neel, Mike, Blair, Don, and Phil

This week SongTalk welcomed our old friend Blair Packham to our studio.

The Toronto-based artist, first gained attention for his work with ’80’s power pop band The Jitters. He is now an acclaimed solo artist and musician. Blair released two strongly-reviewed solo albums before shifting his focus to composing music for TV and films, teaching songwriting at the post-secondary level and in numerous special event workshops, and co-hosting a long-running major market weekly radio show about music (“In the Studio” on the BellMedia talk radio network).

Truth is Blair is more than just a friend of the show, he is more like the older brother who always turns you on to the latest cool music trends. This week, Blair dropped by talk about authenticity in popular music – is it a scam, is it necessary, can you get it, can you lose it? Take a listen and find out.

We talked with Blair about:

  • what authenticity actually means
  • was it always a selling point in pop music
  • how does authenticity benefit a musical artist
  • is it an attainable goal and should you even bother

On Amazon: Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music

Show date:  Feb. 02, 2020

About three months ago, we asked our listeners to suggest a songwriting challenge or prompt for us to explore. Organizations like the Toronto Songwriting Association often prompt their members with challenges such as “Take a cliche and turn it on its head”, or “Write a song about a home appliance.” Singer-songwriter and former Song Talk Radio crew-member Linda Lavender joined us as a co-host – thanks Linda!

We received several songwriting challenge suggestions, and chose one from listener Don Thompson (who is now our audio tech genius) to write a “happy or positive lyric in a minor key.”

We gave ourselves about a month (including the 2019/20 holiday break) to write a song to the challenge. Don even joined in on the fun!

Mike wrote a heartfelt lyric, arguably in a major key, while Neel tried his darnedest to not use any major chords, Phil wrote an inventive chord progression with a cool modulation into the chorus, and Don wrote a sweet lyric while starting each song section with a minor chord.

This episode has 40% more fat, without any added sugar. (It’s 20 minutes longer than our typical episode, kids).

We talked about:

Download the lyrics to follow along

Rich In Love by Michael Proudfoot

Sweetest Thing by Don Thompson

Music and Me by Neel Modi

All I do by Phil Emery