collaboration

Phil, Michael, Pena, Neel, and Micah

Pena Hughes-John

Visiting from the United Kingdom, Pena Hughes-John joined us with two of her original songs. We talked about:

  • Steampunk as a culture, fashion statement, and musical style
  • Writing songs on the ukulele
  • How many chords is too many?
  • Collaborating with others
  • Writing a song from a writing prompt
  • Using time signature changes to introduce tension
  • Our show all about rhymes with Blair Packham
  • Using reverse vocals in your recordings

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for:

College Radio: How Do I Get My Music Played?

This week SongTalk welcomed Adriel Smiley to our studio. Adriel is the Music Director of CJRU – Ryerson’s Radio station – and Adriel brought a wealth of information about college radio and the best way musicians can get their music played on these stations.

On this episode, Adriel gave a lot of tips and best practices for artists to follow and explained the process of how songs are chosen to be played on college radio. He also brought in a track from a great new artist he discovered through his role as Music Director – Haviah Mighty.

We talked with Adriel about:

  • the best way to approach college radio stations
  • how to prepare a package to showcase your music
  • what he looks for in new artists
  • how often new music is added to college playlists
  • which musical genres are most likely to get attention
Back row: Michael, Alon, Ivan, Neel, and Phil. Front row: Ritah and Micah.

Audio Insurgency on video game music, pop music, and well, everything music

Audio Insurgency returned to the show to talk about a boat load of music stuff, as well as showcasing two of their pop songs. We talked about:

  • Vox’s Earworm videos, in particular the one in support of fade-outs in recordings
  • Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast episode about country music, The King of Tears
  • writing and placing music for video games
  • getting your songs into placement for TV or movies
  • the role of the producer in the creation of songs for maximum impact
  • writing a song completely in the digital realm (Abelton Live, in this case)
  • why deadlines are a good thing

Listen to the show

Back row: Gerrod, Mike, Cecil, Christian, Linda, and Phil. Middle row: Ritah and Micah. Front row: Michael, Neel, and Vanessa. Whew!

One in the Chamber on their debut EP

Indie rockers One in the Chamber joined us following the release of their first studio EP, I’ve Got Something To Say…. We talked about:

  • One in the Chamber’s first appearance on Song Talk Radio
  • difference between their demo EP and their studio EP (hint: pre-production)
  • writing as a band collaboration
  • thwarting conventions around song structure
  • guitar solos: a good thing or a bad thing? (hint: it’s a good thing)
  • giving yourself permission to write a bad draft of a song
  • giving your songs the right titles

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics to follow along:

Itchin Back

The Ballad Of Captain Jack

Watch the live performance

Phil, Michael, Patrick, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

Patrick Ballantyne: An album of longing

This week Song Talk welcomed Patrick Ballantyne back to our studio. Patrick is a veteran songwriter and musician who has worked with many top-selling artists such as The Trews, Meredith Shaw and Big Sugar.

On this episode, Patrick brought in a few songs from his upcoming new release so our Song Talk audience got to hear the premieres of two tracks – Vicious in Your Vanity and Beneath Your Skin.

We talked with Patrick about:

  • the origins of the songs on his new album
  • the difficulty of writing lyrics
  • his collaboration with Colin MacDonald from the Trews
  • how to organize songs for an album
  • the way lyrical inspiration changes as the songwriter ages
  • Patrick-Ballantyne-Lyrics
  • Patrick Ballantyne on WikiPedia
Bruce, Neel, Blair, Vanessa, Linda, and Phil

Blair Packham: From song inception to development

One of our favourite guests and friend of the show Blair Packham returned to the show to share his song ideas, from titles to bits of songs, and how he develops them into full-fledged songs.

We talked about:

Listen to the show:

Michael, Bruce, Angela, and Linda

Angela Saini: Writing and collaborating on her new album

Angela Saini returned to Song Talk Radio with a new album and a fresh bunch of earnest and optimistic songs.

We talked about:

  • Structured vs. casual collaborations
  • When should an artist make a trip to Nashville?
  • Making a personal connections to songs you’re performing, even if you didn’t write them totally by yourself
  • Live performance vs studio recording
  • Using a “weirdo” chord change for the bridge of your song
  • Should melody trump the natural shape of the language in your lyrics?

Listen to the show:

Download the lyrics to follow along:

Black Sheep

My Once Upon a Time

Neel, Bruce, Clem, Linda and Phil

The organized chaos that could only be White Cowbell Oklahoma

BEHOLD! The triumphant latest release – Seven Seas of Sleaze – from Canada’s legendary rock armada White Cowbell Oklahoma – now in it’s 20th glorious year!

WITNESSETH! The 70s-inspired boogie-prog army’s seventh full-length release, featuring seven blistering tracks, brought to you by seven heavily-perspiring musicians.

CRY OUT WITH JUBILATION! Two brand new studio tracks – “Into the Sun” and “Harder Come, Harder Fall” – that blast off into varying realms of rootsy-yet-spacy, guitarmony-laden grandiosity and stoner rock minimalist-maximalism.

We’re now speaking with White Cowbell Oklahoma bandleader/spokesman/lead alchemist, Clem C. Clemsen.


The guys at Song Talk Radio couldn’t understand half of what our guest was talking about, but when he randomly cries out, “It puts the lotion in the basket!” you know you’re in for some genius level talk about songwriting (sort of) and being in a crazy, over-the-top band (the stories are likely true, but we’re still conferring with our legal team).

Listen to the whole show

Download the lyrics

Into the Sun

Harder Come Harder Fall

Linda Lavender on song development

Singer/songwriter Linda Lavender shares the story of her song They Won’t Catch Me Again. Follow her journey from it’s birth on a five-hour road trip to its studio recording. We talked about:

  • Linda’s album The Rosseau Sessions with Often Running
  • Bluegrass music
  • Influencers like Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, Alison Krauss
  • People on the run, rebels, a female protagonist

Listen to the whole show

Vanessa, Bruce, Frank, Phil, and Michael

Frank Horvat and music for Human Rights Defenders

Award-winning and critically-acclaimed composer, songwriter, pianist, music educator and frequent Song Talk Radio guest, Frank Horvat returned to the show to talk about his latest project, The Thailand HRDs. Frank wrote 35 two-minute compositions for string quartet, where each movement was written for a Human Rights Defender in Thailand as part of photographer Luke Duggleby’s compelling photo essay., For Those Who Died Trying.

We talked about:

  • getting your music licensed for film and TV
  • how imposing creative parameters can free your writing experience
  • classical vs. modern composition and orchestration
  • using your time signature to sound like there’s no time signature

Listen to the whole show

Download the scores to follow along: