guitar

The 1st Annual Holiday Gift Guide: Great Gifts for Songwriters

With the holiday season just around the corner, we decided to help you out with some great gift ideas for songwriters and musicians in your life. We put them into four categories:

  1. Stocking Stuffers ( 0 – $15)
  2. Small Gifts ($15 – $100)
  3. Good Gifts ($100 – $300)
  4. WOW! Gifts ($300+) (the, gee if I only had a super-generous someone who had money to burn…)

Our suggestions ran the gamut from a cool Christmas tree ornament (under $15) to a Bob Dylan model Gibson guitar (WAY over $300).

So have a listen. It’ll make your holiday shopping a happier tune.

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Eric Walker, jazz/pop/blues fusion

Eric Walker is a singer/songwriter from Toronto and a member of the blakeley walker band. He was a founding member of the Toronto Songwriters Association which has met the second Saturday of the month for the past 17 years. We talked about:

  • playing Harry Belafonte songs on the ukulele
  • writing a song with 47 chords
  • master songwriting teacher Andy Krehm
  • composition teacher Gordon Dalimont
  • SONG – “Umbrella” – looking back at the beginnings of a relationship
  • SONG – “Renovations” – building and renovating love
  • short chorus – good or bad?
  • how the Toronto Songwriters Association events work

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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

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Linda, Bruce, Vanessa, Allister, Sean, Dave, and Phil

Fathers Day Special with Allister Bradley and Sean Bertram

For a special Father’s Day episode, we invited father and son Allister Bradley and Sean Bertram to share their experiences working on music together and independently. Friend of the show Dave Miner filled in for Neel – thanks Dave!

We talked about:

  • Sean starting out with piano lessons, Guitar Hero and Rockband
  • Allister finding the balance between helping his son and keeping out of Sean’s journey as a songwriter and artist
  • The role of music teachers and how to find the right one
  • Starting a song with the bassline
  • Sean’s song Holes
  • Key modulating in your bridge

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Download the lyrics for I’m No Good for You and Still Wild

Bruce, Linda, Angela, Vanessa, Phil, and Neel

Angela Saini: on preproduction, songwriting and being memorable

Singer/songwriter Angela Saini returns with a couple of great tunes and some pretty in depth talk about songwriting concepts.

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Stuff we talked about:

Neel, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Songs by the Hosts Special

For this special episode, each of the Song Talk Radio hosts shared one of their own songs for discussion. We talked about:

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The Songs

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, 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

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Download the song lyrics and follow along

BLEED

FLY

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Bruce, Phil, Vanessa, Robert, Dave, Bob, Neel, and Anthony

Robert Priest, songwriting poet

Multi-talented Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest brought two great songs to the show. He also brought two talented musicians to back him up – guitarist and vocalist David Hines and guitarist Bob Cohen. We talked about a wide range of things including:

  • the difference between poetry and song lyrics
  • collaboration in song writing
  • song structure
  • work habits
  • breaking down the inner critic
  • “highway” songs
  • writing for children
  • a poem about John Lennon
  • Robert’s website

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Neel, Bruce, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Anthony

Patrick Ballantyne’s Canadian song picks

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his favourite Canadian songs. “Help Me” by Joni Mitchell is a great example of her unique combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a casual conversational tone. Includes a great instrumental hook. Patrick’s other pick was a song by Ian and Sylvia, “The French Girl”, in a very unusual version recorded by Gene Clark. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • Patrick’s new album – “Calendar”
  • Hearing songs of yearning at the age of 13
  • Joni Mitchell’s unique vocal style
  • adding a 2/4 bar in a 4/4 song
  • When the root chord is a 7, it creates tension
  • Led Zeppelin

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