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:  Sep. 22, 2020

Rosh, Phil, Neel, and Mike

Rosh Grove is a R&B singer and songwriter from Toronto, ON, Canada. As an artist, Grove is a dreamer, believer and driven to be an achiever of success in the music industry. His music tells his story of perseverance and overcoming adversity regardless of circumstances. Grove is driven by passion for the art, and telling stories of heartbreak and personal struggles through insightful lyricism and pop influenced production. Grove is different from most r&b and hip-hop artists. He aims to create music that is relatable, incorporating melodic sounds with a message. From working as an independent artist to collaborating with Toronto-based artists and producers, including KYNGS and Bryan “BC” Cockett, Rosh wants to craft his sound to represent the city he’s from and to help keep Toronto’s music scene on the map.

We talked about:

  • What is means to make “modern” music
  • What’s the “Toronto” sound?
  • Writing songs from titles
  • The differences between R&B and Hip-Hop and Rap
  • Introducing nuance into relationship/love songs

Download the lyrics to Gotta Leh Go and follow along.

Show date:  Sep. 20, 2020

Michael Johnson, Phil, Mike, and Neel

Actor, playwright, filmmaker, and musician, Michael Louis Johnson shares his experiences with his improvisation bands Rambunctious and Little Rambunctious, 13-member and 5-member brass bands, respectively.

We talked about:

  • Michael’s approach to improvising a lyric for a song title suggested by an audience member
  • How to create lyrics based on who’s in the audience
  • The value of a band that only exists “in the moment”
  • How to get the audience dancing

Show date:  Sep. 17, 2020

Alex Cuba, Phil, Neel, and Mike

Canadian Juno and Latin Grammy winning artist, Alex Cuba joined us to talk about his songwriting process and perform a new song, Solo Mia, live on the show.

We talked about:

  • Alex’s first visit to Canada as part of his father’s band
  • How a melody-first way of songwriting tells Alex what the song is about
  • The differences between solo writing and collaborating with others
  • How to develop unique and rich chord progressions (hint: jazz)
  • Writing in Spanish vs English
  • How Alex’s playing style is unique to him, and why this is important – this applies to everyone!
  • Alex’s song Solo Mia, and its unique structure
  • “Talent is the ability to make something complicated sound simple” (borrowed from John Coltrane)

Download the lyrics (Spanish and English) for Solo Mia

Show date:  Sep. 13, 2020

Jeff returns to our show to talk about scoring for films and how you can start on your own journey. From Pickering, Ontario, he has written music for film, worked as a session keyboard player, orchestrator and arranger in Toronto, and has released his own original album Great Expectations, which received airplay across Canada.

We talked about:

Canadian Film Center

Berklee Online

East/West Orchestra VST instruments



Show date:  Aug. 14, 2020

Neel, Mike, Vanessa, and Phil

On this episode we are talking about the great John Prine. This American treasure, perhaps a modern day Mark Twain, a peerless songwriter and chronicler of the lives of regular folk sadly passed away recently – one of the many victims of the Covid 19 pandemic. Since his death, many of todays music’s stars have sung his praises as a musician and as a great human being.

Now it’s our turn to pay tribute to one of the great modern songwriters, John Prine. We look at three of his iconic songs and talk about what we have learned from him.

“Sam Stone” – an early song of Prine’s. By turns provocative, heartfelt and well-observed it tells the story of a drug-addicted Vietnam veteran.

“Souvenirs” – a song of loss that leads to a discussion of where inspiration for songs come from.

And “Angel From Montgomery”, perhaps Prine’s most famous song. A great tune that has been covered many times in many ways. Hear one of the most original covers of this modern songwriting standard.