chords

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

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The Lyrics

Valiant-of-Vimy

Deep-Water

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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?

Listen to the whole show

Robert-Priest-Lyrics

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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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Linda, Bruce, Neel, Paul, Vanessa, and Phil

On composing jazz songs with Paul Novotny

Paul Novotny (born Peterborough, Ontario, 1958) is a composer, bassist, producer, and engineer. He is the bassist on the international runaway hit video-game, CUPHEAD; over 50,000 sales in 2017.

As a producer, his record label has achieved three Juno nominations and one Juno win for Joe Sealy’s Africville Suite. He has composed music for feature films, commercials and TV including CBC The National, CBC The Hour (G. Stroumboulopoulos) and CBC News Now.

He has a Masters in music composition and in 2017 presented a lecture in Stockholm to the International Art of Record Production conference on music production in immersive multi-channel surround sound.

He owns the independent record label Triplet Records Inc. and audio production company, The Audio Producers Inc. He also works in TV post production as re-mixing/mastering engineer; recently working on Gord Downie’s Secret Path project.

Paul Novotny is endorsed by Universal Audio and HHB Canada.

He will be performing in concert at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre on March 3rd at 7:30 pm with friends Robi Botos-piano, Alison Young-Sax, and Daniel Barnes-Drums.

Here is what we talked about:

Listen to the show:

Connect with Paul

https://twitter.com/Paulnovo

https://twitter.com/TripletCanada

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009135371068

https://www.facebook.com/tripletrecordscanada/

https://www.youtube.com/user/tripletjazz

https://soundcloud.com/tripletrecords

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

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

Listen to the whole show

Watch the live performances

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.

Here are some of the things we talked about:

  • the music business
  • The Harris Institute
  • touring, booking your own gigs
  • The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
  • writing when inspired
  • collaboration
  • recording “live off the floor”
  • guitar or piano?
  • breaking up with a band

Listen to the show!

Download the song lyrics and follow along

BLEED

FLY

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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?
  • Economy of lyrics
  • Does your song need a bridge?
  • Collaborating with Royal Wood and Lawrence Katz
  • Keeping track of and building a bank of your song ideas

We also welcome Linda Lavender who will be helping out on the tech board in the future. Thanks and welcome aboard Linda!

Listen to the show

Download the song lyrics and follow along

Beauty in the Grey

Deliver Me