abstract lyrics

Making the most of a three-chord song

On this program Bruce, Neel, and Phil, (and Linda) each brought a three-chord song to share. We looked at what each song needed to do (if anything) to compensate for the lack of chord diversity. We talked about:

Listen to the whole show

The lyrics

Download the chord/lyric sheets to follow along:

Ming-Tea-BBC

Now-You’re-Leaving_Lyrics

Radiohead-Street-Spirit

The-Joker

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

Blending Jazz and Soul with Avery Raquel

Teen-aged jazz/soul superstar Avery Raquel joined us to talk about moving from covers of jazz standards to her own blend of jazz and soul to better connect with her audience. We talked about:

  • Jazz standards by Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra
  • Listening to songs analytically
  • Tension and release in a song (and how Avery is amazing at it)
  • “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus” – or not?
  • Co-writing with producer Greg Kavanagh
  • Editing as part of your songwriting process
  • Overcoming writer’s block
  • Profanity in modern music

Listen to the show

Bruce, Phil, Blair, Vanessa, Neel, and Linda

Rhyme-a-rama with Blair Packham!

We figured it was time to talk about rhyme; a cornerstone of songwriting. So we invited one of our favourite singer/songwriters – Blair Packham – to take a closer listen to songs with a plethora of rhymes and one with virtually none! We talked about:

  • The songwriter’s personal approach to rhyme
  • Does rhyme distract from the the emotion of the song?
  • Kinds of rhymes – rhymezone.com
  • Perfect rhymes for something certain (e.g. right/might)
  • Assonance rhymes for uncertainty or negative feelings (e.g. around/down, blood/rush)
  • Pat Pattison – how do rhymes serve the song?
  • Rhyme schemes
  • Neel’s notes on rhyming from Pat Pattison’s Songwriting course on Coursera
  • The notion of the “illusion of authenticity” – stay tuned for a future theme show with Blair!

Listen to the show

 

Download the lyrics

Simple Twist of Fate by Bob Dylan

Cry Me a River by Arthur Hamilton

You’re the Top by Cole Porter

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

Neel, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Songs by the Hosts Special

For this special episode, each of the Song Talk Radio hosts shared one of their own songs for discussion. We talked about:

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The Songs

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. Includes a great instrumental hook. Patrick’s other pick was a song by Ian and Sylvia, “The French Girl”, in a very unusual version recorded by Gene Clark. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • Patrick’s new album – “Calendar”
  • Hearing songs of yearning at the age of 13
  • Joni Mitchell’s unique vocal style
  • adding a 2/4 bar in a 4/4 song
  • When the root chord is a 7, it creates tension
  • Led Zeppelin

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Bruce, Ed, Phil, Vanessa, and Neel

Ed Roman a Canadian original

Ed Roman is an award-winning singer/songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada.  Blurring the lines between pop, rock, folk, and country music genres, Ed’s uniquely crafted songs have received regular rotation on more than 100 terrestrial radio stations across North America and more than 400 stations, worldwide. On this program we had some lively discussions about:

  • What is “Canadiana”?
  • Being human and the influence of family on songwriting
  • Music as a way to deal with dyslexia
  • Forming a band at the age of 14 and writing original tunes
  • Lyrics have many meanings for the listeners (good!)
  • Emotions in the performance
  • Protest songs – what happens behind the scenes?
  • Holding onto unresolved chords versus fulfilling expectations

Download the lyrics

The Way She Goes

I Told You So

Listen to the whole show

Watch the performances

Bruce, Phil, Nolan, Raphael, and Neel

Nolan Hubbard and his happy summer tunes

Singer/songwriter Nolan Hubbard, originally from Gananoque, Ontario, brought us some summer sunlight through his stories and two of his catchy, tuneful songs – “Today” and “Sandbanks”. In this informative and entertaining program we talked about:

  • Douglas Romanow producer
  • Recording in Nashville
  • Organizing your own cross-Canada tour (with your Dad)
  • Metalworks recording studio and school – performance program
  • Covers on YouTube
  • “Today” – a call to action, no chorus, whistling, G to G Augmented, C to Cminor
  • Finding a publicist – Hype Music, Toronto
  • Collaborating vs. writing on your own
  • “Sandbanks” – lots of lyrics, variations, tempo changes, instrumental bridge

Here are the lyrics for Today and Sandbanks

nolanhubbard.com

@nolanhubbard

facebook.com/nolanhubbardmusic

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCehutQn4uLaof89VAtuAEQw

 

Bruce, Stephen, Phil, Hema, and Neel

Special Pride Theme Show

To celebrate Pride in Toronto this week, we brought in five LGBTQ-themed songs to play and talk about. The songs spanned from 1983 to 2017, and included a diverse range of songwriters and topics. Musical book writer Stephen Witkin joined us for the show. Special thank you’s to Hema for handling our social media, and @SharonRose2012 for tweeting in!

We talked about:

  • Bruce and Stephen’s own coming-out stories
  • Heavy-handed vs. light and fun approach with the “message” in LGBTQ-themed songs
  • Acceptance of LGBTQ songwriters and songs in popular culture
  • Universal vs. LGBTQ-specific messages in the songs
  • Stephen’s blog: From Here to Epiphany

We featured these songs (click on the titles to download the lyrics):

Listen to the show

Phil, Vanessa, Stacey, Bruce, and Neel

Waxing poetic with Stacey Dowswell

Singer-songwriter Stacey Dowswell joined us to talk about her literature-inspired and poetic take on songwriting with two original songs, Ties that Bind and Wax Wings. We talked about:

  • Poetic vs. more straight forward lyrics
  • How to add complexity to a simple 1-4-5 chord progression
  • How to incorporate a cliche
  • Contrast and space
  • Using dynamics in your performance
  • The benefits of noodling around to start a song

Check out Stacey’s EP release show at The Painted Lady in Toronto on June 15, 2017!

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for Ties that Bind and Wax Wings.

Watch the live performance

Connect with Stacey

Artist website:
http://www.staceydowswell.com

Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/staceydowswell

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/StaceyDowswellMusic/

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP0H6OEQCUyg1Fq3rXe7doA

Dave, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Patrick Ballantyne – master songwriter

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his well-crafted songs. “Where Things Used to Be” is great example of the skillful combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a strong feeling of longing in the listener. Listen to the bridge in particular and the completely surprising chord on the word “dreams”. Patrick’s song “Plans” starts with a great line, “In California there are dates in the trees…” and connects to “dates on my calendar”. The message of a man who sees that he must change is both poignant and honest. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • “Hit-a-month” project
  • Having a manager
  • How tasty an E flat chord can be in the key of G
  • The use of “pause” in songwriting
  • Co-writing and collaboration
  • Ticket sales and merchandise (how to make money in music)
  • Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, FACTOR
  • Lifting a song through chord progressions
  • Natural or loads of experience?
  • Rhymezone.com for alternative rhymes

Listen to the show here