Shows

Phil, Linda, Mike, Vanessa, Patrick, and Bruce

Randy Newman’s “Cowboy” & “Somewhere” from West Side Story dissected with Patrick Ballantyne

Patrick Ballantyne stopped by to pull apart two of his fave songs. The open and emotive “Cowboy” by Randy Newman, and “Somewhere” from West Side Story by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein.

Stuff we talked about:

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Vanessa, Phil, Robert, David, Linda, Bruce and Neel

Robert Priest – how to write songs for children

We had the pleasure of having the prolific Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest (with David Hynes on guitar) back in the studio to share a couple of his children’s songs. We talked about…

  • testing a song on a 6-year old
  • moving from writing for adults to writing for children on the same day
  • chord choices for children
  • writing for younger and older children (the differences)
  • kids deserve quality songwriting
  • Inchworm” (an old favourite)
  • repetition in kids’ songs
  • using words that kids will have to look up (why not?)
  • the work habits of a prolific writer
  • Gilbert and Sullivan style (The Ships of Bath)
  • do you have to have kids to write for children?

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Bruce, Sean, Phil, Linda, and Neel

Bridging Jazz and Pop with Sean Bertram

Sean Bertram returned to the show following the release of his debut album, The Right Place. We talked about:

  • Sean’s studies at Humber College in Music Guitar
  • poetics in your lyrics
  • changing chords and melodic centre between sections of your song
  • contrast in pop songwriting
  • self-doubt in songwriting
  • Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson
  • how to change up your guitar playing from section to section
  • how to use an AABA structure in your verse
  • Sean’s new album The Right Place
  • Sean’s dad, Allister Bradley and his appearance on the show

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Download the lyrics for Caroline and I Think Too Much

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Vanessa, Phil, Linda, Bruce, and Neel

How to write a break-up song

True to form for Song Talk Radio, the day before Valentine’s Day seemed a good day to talk about break-up songs. So Phil brought “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)” by Jim Croce, Neel chose “One More Minute” by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Bruce performed a new original tune “I Don’t Love You Anymore”, and Vanessa selected “White Blank Page” by the band Mumford & Sons.…

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Phil, Bruce, Gravely James (Chris), Vanessa. Linda, and Neel

Gravely James: Rockin’ the blues with soul

Blues-rock-soul singer-songwriter Gravely James shares his journey from a trumpet-playing kid to a kickin’ singer-songwriter. He also treated us to two incredibly energetic performances of his songs. We talked about:

Download the lyrics for Farewell Anita and Snapchat Lady

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Neel, Linda, Blair, Mike, Phil, and Vanessa

Deep Dive: Penny Lane & Strawberry Fields – how do they work? with Blair Packham

Songwriting master Blair Packham stopped by and we gave a deep dive on The Beatles Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane. Friend of the show Mike MacInnes sat in for Bruce.

Stuff we talked about:

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Phil, Bruce, Avery, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

How to manage your own career with Avery Florence

Avery Florence stopped by the studio on the cusp of her first tour. She was excited! “Road trip!” Her songs were a treasure trove of musical delight, and her tips about managing her own career were helpful to anyone trying to make a living as a singer/songwriter.…

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Phil, Bruce, Jeffery, Linda, Vanessa, and Neel

Great songwriting tips from Jeffery Straker

Canadian and internationally-reaching singer/songwriter Jeffery Straker joined us to talk about his process, collaborations, and great songwriting advice.

We talked about:

  • Conservatory training vs. ear training
  • When not to give your chorus a conventional “lift”
  • Editing your song, even the main title and hook so it brings your idea to a better light
  • How to use space in your song
  • What does “prosody” mean?

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Bruce, Phil, Vanessa, Robert, Dave, Bob, Neel, and Anthony

Robert Priest, songwriting poet

Multi-talented Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest brought two great songs to the show. He also brought two talented musicians to back him up – guitarist and vocalist David Hines and guitarist Bob Cohen. We talked about a wide range of things including:

  • the difference between poetry and song lyrics
  • collaboration in song writing
  • song structure
  • work habits
  • breaking down the inner critic
  • “highway” songs
  • writing for children
  • a poem about John Lennon
  • Robert’s website

Watch the live performances

 

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Neel, Bruce, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Anthony

Patrick Ballantyne’s Canadian song picks

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his favourite Canadian songs. “Help Me” by Joni Mitchell is a great example of her unique combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a casual conversational tone.…

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Bruce, Hema, Neel, Frank, and Phil

Exploring non-standard time signatures & EDM with Neel Modi

Our very own Neel talks about creating non-standard time-signature based EDM music. Past guest and composer Frank Horvat co-hosted while Neel’s better half, Hema handled the social media.

Some stuff we talked about:

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Famous songs with odd time signatures

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Vanessa, Bruce, Michelle, Phil, and Neel

Michelle Thibodeau moves from opera to pop

Michelle Thibodeau is a pop-folk singer/songwriter from Moncton, New Brunswick, now based in Toronto. She performed live for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (2012) and David Foster (June 2017) as well as recently playing the leading lady “Nancy” in a professional production of Oliver the Musical.…

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