chorus

Neel, Bruce, Piper, Phil, and Vanessa

Piper Hayes, from Broadway to Hamilton

Piper Hayes is a New York born singer/songwriter currently living on the outskirts of Hamilton, Ontario – home to a burgeoning arts scene. Piper started writing her own songs because she couldn’t play other people’s songs on her guitar. On this fast-paced and informative show, she sang “You’re Gone” and “Honey” and we talked about:

  • musical theatre training and the singer/songwriter
  • the influence of Stephen Sondheim
  • specific versus ambiguous lyrics
  • using the rhythm guitar to drive a song
  • the right mood for writing

Connect with Piper

http://pipersings.com/

https://twitter.com/pipercansing

https://www.youtube.com/c/piperhayes

https://itun.es/ca/15fSL

https://piperhayes.bandcamp.com/

https://soundcloud.com/piperhayes

Listen to the full show

Watch the live performances

Neel, Phil, Jacob, Bruce, Nicole, and Janice

Jacob Moon a song writing star

With 10 albums over a 20-year career, Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist Jacob Moon dropped into the studio to share a wealth of helpful tips and clear insights. “Live a Little” is a truly exceptional tune, a perfect marriage of lyrics, melody, theme and variation.  “Is That All You Got” is a gutsy rocker that looks at calamity with defiance and a “bring it on” attitude. The hour just flew by as we discussed –

  • live performance looping
  • putting cover songs on YouTube
  • social media
  • how to reharmonize your chords using the same melody
  • the influence on Jacob of songwriters Paul Simon, Ron Sexsmith, Joni Mitchell, and Jackson Brown
  • the benefits of writing a song using only a bass guitar (or the bass notes on piano)
  • open (alternate) tunings including the ever-popular DADGAD
  • how a great song requires hard work and lots of rewrites

Listen to the whole show

Check out Jacob Moon’s engaging and heartfelt performances

Man holding guitar in front of crowd

Protest Songs: What makes a good one?

For our latest theme show, we take a look at some of our favorite Protest Songs and try to figure out what makes an effective one. We looked at River Runs Red by Midnight Oil, Eve of Destruction by P.F. Sloan, and Phil talks about how his band The Parkdale Hookers, went about writing their punk-anthem Multi-Media Word and talked about how not to date a protest song.

Listen to the Full Episode:

 

Stuff we talked about:

Jeff Greenway finds his own way

Jeff Greenway returned to the Song Talk Radio studio to share his thoughts on song writing. His approach to writing is through a feeling, not a theory. This was amply demonstrated in the two songs he shared with us. The first, Cavalry, evoked the sadness and confusion you feel when a relationship just isn’t working any more. No one is coming to save the day and there’s nowhere to hide. The second tune, I Need describes the two opposing sides of possible reconciliation. Notice the lyric shift from “don’t come home” to “please come home”. We discussed:

  • collaboration
  • home recording with a good microphone and Logic
  • modulation
  • background vocals
  • the use of silence in a song
  • chord substitution
  • teaching music to children

Listen to the entire show here:

 

Collaboration do’s and don’ts with Janice Ho

The ever lovely and talented (and what a voice!) Janice Ho, Song Talk Radio’s very own tweeting songbird, talked about two early collaborations she worked on and what to look out for when collaborating. Download the lyrics for the show.

We talked about:

Listen to the complete show:

Blair Packham packs emotional power

From the moment Blair Packham started to speak, we knew we were in for some great lessons from a master songwriter and experienced teacher. If You Were Mine featured a great bridge and instrumental break. In Her Dreams started out as a story of a woman in a call centre and moved to a daughter caring for an ailing mother. In our wide-ranging conversation we also touched on the following:

  • who are you writing for?
  • does the song connect emotionally with the listener?
  • collaboration is good
  • ask for feedback and use it
  • write from your creativity
  • the new singer-songwriter accent (Shawn Mendes song Stitches for example)
  • song-writing workshops (songstudio.ca)

Listen to the full episode

New standards by Steven Taetz

Multi-talented singer songwriter Steven Taetz turned the Song Talk studio into a smoky nightclub with his perfect renditions of his own songs. Waiting for Wishes (co-written with Emma-Lee) had so many “hooks” we lost count (listen for pre-chorus one and two, and the first chorus!). Lately (co-written with Gavin Bradley) had us enraptured as Steven delivered the plaintive lyrics of a man who fears his lover may have strayed. Listen to the awesome bridge!

Listen to the entire show here!

holiday team

Holiday Special 2015

For our third holiday special, it was the Song Talk Radio family only – Bruce, Neel, Phil, Janice and Etain (on tech).

Phil shared some interesting holiday song trivia and a Christmas jingle from his old punk-pop band, The Parkdale Hookers. Bruce shared a childhood memory of the holiday season with the Beatles, and Neel shared a quirky musical number from A Nightmare Before Christmas.  Bruce and Neel also took up the challenge to write a song under 60 seconds in the days just before the show. Check out Neel’s blog post about the songwriting process, and his demo recording.

Happy Holidays to all our listeners!

 

 

Eric Sorenson, Finding his Directions Home

Singer-songwriter and occasional co-host of Song Talk Radio, Eric Sorenson, returned to the show to showcase tunes from his upcoming EP, Directions Home, and a crowd-pleaser from his live shows.  Eric was joined by his bandmates Liz Jaremyn and Andrew Ages.

Stuff we talked about:

  • International Songwriting Competition (deadline extended to November 5)
  • IMSTA Festa Event  – October 17, 2015 at Ryerson University (say hi to Phil and Neel while you’re there!)
  • How to create a concept album
  • Is it a bridge or a pre-chorus? (Who cares? It sounds good!)
  • When your song may not need a chorus
  • When to consider a key change / modulation in your song

Be sure to support Eric’s indiegogo campaign to help him cover production expenses for his new album.

 

 

Exploring the art-rock strangeness that could only be Frank Horvat

Frank dropped by Song Talk Radio again, this time with songs from his recent release, Strange Machine.  We talked about:

  • using wikiloops for free backing tracks
  • unconventional time signatures, and unusual uses of 4/4
  • the differences between art songs and pop songs
  • a modern twist on the protest song
  • Frank’s experimental writing process using Logic

Listen to the show:

About Frank Horvat

With a Broken Social Scene-like attitude, Toronto’s ambient-edged art rock band, The Frank Horvat Band, uses a colourful canvas to create songs for a dynamic and intoxicating aural experience. Their latest album, Strange Machine, was crafted more like a playlist than an album with 10 songs, 5 singers and 13 musicians taking part. But the constants were producer Jean Martin who was part of the team for Tanya Tagaq’s 2014 Polaris win, and songwriter and pianist, Frank Horvat, with his own brand of protest songs.

Frank’s links