Neel, Phil, and Susan
Neel, Phil, and Susan

Intersecting fairy tales and emotions into a song with Susan Cattaneo

With her powerful voice, captivating melodies and finely-crafted lyrics, Susan Cattaneo is one of Boston’s most respected singer/songwriters. A compelling performer and vivid storyteller, Susan’s music blends folk, rock and blues with hint of country. Following up on the success of her chart-topping double album. The Hammer & The Heart, Susan Cattaneo is released All is Quiet in April of 2022. Critics, audiences, and fellow artists have instantly connected with the personal nature of Susan’s songs. Susan is a three-time Kerrville New Folk Finalist and a three-time nominee for Best Americana Artist at the Boston Music Awards, and she won the 2018 CT folk Festival. Her last album The Hammer and The Heart charted #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and yielded a #1 song on folk radio and a top 10 album of 2017.

Susan taught songwriting at Berkeley for 20 years, and she had some awesome tips for songwriting. We talked about:

  • Our Songwriting Challenge
  • moving from idea to metaphor to song
  • scrapping your first draft of a song and starting fresh for a new RE-VISION
  • using minor and major chords to cast shadow and light, and borrowing chords from other keys
  • using melody, instrumentation, voicings, and everything else to support prosody
  • how to tell if you need a bridge
  • variation vs. repetition, and varying your verses to spotlight phrases

Download the lyrics to Blackbirds to follow along.

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