bridge

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

Eric Walker, jazz/pop/blues fusion

Eric Walker is a singer/songwriter from Toronto and a member of the blakeley walker band. He was a founding member of the Toronto Songwriters Association which has met the second Saturday of the month for the past 17 years. We talked about:

  • playing Harry Belafonte songs on the ukulele
  • writing a song with 47 chords
  • master songwriting teacher Andy Krehm
  • composition teacher Gordon Dalimont
  • SONG – “Umbrella” – looking back at the beginnings of a relationship
  • SONG – “Renovations” – building and renovating love
  • short chorus – good or bad?
  • how the Toronto Songwriters Association events work

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Vanessa, Neel, Blair, Linda, Michael, and Phil

Canadian songwriters rock the nineties

Maybe you didn’t ask for it but we did it anyway – the 90’s song draft – this time with Canadian songwriters. Blair Packham sat in for a sick Bruce, Vanessa joined the gang for her song picks, and much fun was had. Of the many writers of the Great White North, here are a few highlights:

  • Alanis Morrisette
  • The Tragically Hip
  • Bruce Cockburn
  • Tal Bachman
  • The Odds

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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

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Linda, Bruce, Vanessa, Allister, Sean, Dave, and Phil

Fathers Day Special with Allister Bradley and Sean Bertram

For a special Father’s Day episode, we invited father and son Allister Bradley and Sean Bertram to share their experiences working on music together and independently. Friend of the show Dave Miner filled in for Neel – thanks Dave!

We talked about:

  • Sean starting out with piano lessons, Guitar Hero and Rockband
  • Allister finding the balance between helping his son and keeping out of Sean’s journey as a songwriter and artist
  • The role of music teachers and how to find the right one
  • Starting a song with the bassline
  • Sean’s song Holes
  • Key modulating in your bridge

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Download the lyrics for I’m No Good for You and Still Wild

Neel, Bruce, Dahlia, Vanessa, Phil, and Linda

DAHLIA, long-term views on writing songs

Songwriter DAHLIA stopped by after her tour in India to talk songwriting.

Listen to the episode:

What we talked about:

Download the lyrics

DREAMLOVA-LYRICS-D.FERNANDES
BROKEN-DAHLIA-LYRICS

Bruce, Vanessa, Linda, Rebecca, Nick, Frank, and Neel

Songwriting with a purpose; Rebecca Lappa

Part way through her cross-country tour which began in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, singer/songwriter Rebecca Lappa stopped in at the Song Talk Radio studio to share two original songs. She was accompanied on piano by the talented musician Nick Samoil. We talked about:

  • releasing your first album at the age of 12
  • FACTOR grants
  • Canada’s Music Incubator
  • metaphor list as a writing tool
  • co-writes
  • the story is the thing
  • a song about a Vimy Ridge hero
  • 1st or 2nd person in a song

Listen to the show

The Lyrics

Valiant-of-Vimy

Deep-Water

Watch the live performances

 

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?

Listen to the whole show

Robert-Priest-Lyrics

Watch the live performances

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

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for Caroline and I Think Too Much

Watch the live performance

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. We talked about:

  • conflict in break up songs
  • break up song experts – The Smiths, Jann Arden, Morrissey
  • Operator” chord progression – I, III, IV, V (Nashville numbering system), finger-picking, guitar riff
  • One More Minute” – original song in a doo-wop style, one idea repeated getting more extreme, a bridge might have helped
  • “I Don’t Love You…” – Key of E, lyric tune-up to bring clarity, needs a bridge?, Neel finds the word “hating” too harsh
  • White Blank Page” – maximum drama through arrangement, a religious song?, abstract songs let the listener interpret
  • remembering phone numbers in the age of the cell phone

Listen to the whole show

White-Blank-Page

Operator-Jim-Croce-Lyrics

One-More-Minute