conventions

Gilbert, Phil, Neel, and Mike

Creating a Concept Album with Gilbert Neal

This week Song Talk Radio welcomed Gilbert Neal to our studio.

A master song craftsman, Gilbert Neal – on his latest release Mistakes of Memory shows the depth and diversity of his influences: Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd, ELO, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Stephen Sondheim.…

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Alex Cuba, Phil, Neel, and Mike

Making complicated sound simple with Alex Cuba

Canadian Juno and Latin Grammy winning artist, Alex Cuba joined us to talk about his songwriting process and perform a new song, Solo Mia, live on the show.

We talked about:

  • Alex’s first visit to Canada as part of his father’s band
  • How a melody-first way of songwriting tells Alex what the song is about
  • The differences between solo writing and collaborating with others
  • How to develop unique and rich chord progressions (hint: jazz)
  • Writing in Spanish vs English
  • How Alex’s playing style is unique to him, and why this is important – this applies to everyone!

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Neel, Mike, Blair, and Phil

Be Better At Performing – Tips from Blair Packham

One of our favourite guests drops by to give practical advice on performing. Blair Packham – songwriter, teacher, performer and 80’s hitmaker – talks about the best practices to entertain and present your songs to an audience, live or on-line.

Blair also shows off his dulcimer, which is very impressive.…

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Neel, Mike, and Phil

The Best Songs Have Only 3 chords

This week on SongTalk we look at a simple songwriting technique that may be more complicated than you think – songs with one chord progression.

That’s right, no guest this week just the SongTalk team – Phil, Neel and Mike – talking about the ways songs with just one series of chords repeated over and over have become huge hits.…

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Don, Neel, Donna, Matt, and Phil

Donna Linklater: Songwriting and Composition, What’s The Difference?

This week SongTalk welcomed Donna Linklater to our studio.

Soprano and composer/songwriter Donna Linklater studied opera with Sylvia Richardson at Brandon University. Toward the end of her studies, she began to focus on new music and was especially taken with the aleatoric music of John Cage which gave her greater freedom of creative expression.…

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Neel, Mike, Blair, Don, and Phil

Keeping It Real with Blair Packham

This week SongTalk welcomed our old friend Blair Packham to our studio.

The Toronto-based artist, first gained attention for his work with ’80’s power pop band The Jitters. He is now an acclaimed solo artist and musician. Blair released two strongly-reviewed solo albums before shifting his focus to composing music for TV and films, teaching songwriting at the post-secondary level and in numerous special event workshops, and co-hosting a long-running major market weekly radio show about music (“In the Studio” on the BellMedia talk radio network).…

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Neel, Michael, Vanessa, and Phil

Songs by the Hosts: how we wrote ’em

For this host’s show, Michael, Neel and Phil brought in a song each and discussed how we wrote and some cool approaches in the songs. AND, Vanessa was in the house!!! What a fun episode!

Listen to the Episode

What we talked about

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Vanessa, Michael, Ritha, Taylor, Phil, Micah, and Neel

Making the most of your voice with Taylor Abrahamse

This week, professional singer/songwriter, voice actor & co-founder of Silverthorn Studios recording, Taylor Abrahamse joined us in the studio at SongTalk World Headquarters.  Taylor was a Top 40 finalist on Canadian Idol, has performed on stages across Ontario, has also written & produced musicals, and music for animated series and viral internet music through Corus, DHX & Super Planet Dolan.…

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Michael, Ritah, Robert, Phil, Micah, and Neel

Robert Ball: Giving Voice To The Personal

This week SongTalk welcomed Robert Ball to our studio.

A native Torontonian, Robert Ball is a multi-faceted singer who has traveled to and performed in over 60 countries around the world.
His sound has been described as soulful, jazzy, Neo-soul and he is a much in-demand session singer.…

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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?

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Bruce, Vanessa, Pete, Michael, Neel, and Phil

Peter Eastmure and writing his dreams

Singer-songwriter Pete Eastmure grew up on a horse farm, on the side of Blue Mountain. Needing to find something else, Pete at a young age hitchhiked out to California and entered into a personal musical journey that forever changed him. Pete honed his craft of songwriting from many years of exploring musical genres like folk, pop and jazz, only to go back to the well spring of his country roots.…

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Steven Taetz sharing jazz songwriting tips

Writing Jazz Standards: Songwriting Tips with Steven Taetz

Jazz songwriter Steven Taetz returns to talk about creating new “Jazz Standards”.

Listen to the show:

Stuff we talked about:


The Great American Song Book Buy The Great American Song Book 

Charts for The Great American Songbook
A “Fake Book” with just a lead line and the charts for the songs.

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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

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