creativity

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, Blair, Linda, Neel, and Phil. Front row: Ritah and Micah

This Is Spinal Tap: 35 Years Later

This week SongTalk Radio has a special episode celebrating the 35th anniversary of the classic film, “This Is Spinal Tap”. And joining us in our trip down memory lane is one of our favourite guests on the show Blair Packham. We talk about where and when we first encountered this classic cult comedy and how true it was to our own experiences in the music business (hint: very!)

On this episode, Neel, Phil, Michael and Blair talk about:

  • how the film was made
  • what has made the movie so popular many decades later
  • our favourite Spinal Tap moments
  • why this early mock-umentary was so influential
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:

Neel, Linda, Vanessa, Phil, and Patrick

What’s the hook of a song?

Ever wondered why hit songs are so memorable? You know, the ones that you can’t get out of your mind for weeks (or years). Well, it could be the hook. In this episode the Song Talk Radio team does a deep dive into the many and various ways that songwriters have created memorable passages in songs. These include:

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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

Neel, Mike MacInnes, Michael Proudfoot, Vanessa, Linda, Bruce, and Phil

5-Year Anniversary Spectacular!

For our 5-year anniversary, we visited moments past and our favourite bits. Song Talk Radio Superfan Mike MacInnes joined us (for the 5th time!)

Listen to the show

Some of our favourite theme shows:

Some of our favourite guest shows:

We talked about:

  • How to write lyrics that are specific but open enough to allow the listener in
  • The distance between being inspired to write a song and developing it with craft
  • What the heck is polytonality?
  • We’ve done 47 theme shows in that last five years! Thanks to Mike MacInnes for the research
  • The growing Song Talk Radio Team
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

Listen to the whole show

Julian Taylor – dual roots and great songs

Julian Taylor is a Canadian singer-songwriter formerly with the band Staggered Crossing. His songs have appeared in television series including Degrassi: The Next Generation.  He now fronts the Julian Taylor Band. Julian dropped by the studio with his daughter Ella. We talked about:

  • Skookum Music Festival, Vancouver
  • Basic core band members together for 24 years!
  • Music first or lyrics first?
  • Finding a “treasure chest” of memorabilia in the attic
  • New album called Avalanche
  • Checking the quality of the melody – whistle
  • Sweeter – unusual song structure, lots of Canadian references
  • Love Connection – cool structure
  • started writing songs at age of 4
  • Mohawk/West Indian musical background

Listen to the whole show