melody

Nicole, Phil, Marlon, Dave, and Neel

Songwriting as craft with Marlon Chaplin

The extraordinarily talented singer-songwriter and producer Marlon Chaplin joined us to talk about his crafty approach to songwriting, and share two songs. Dave Miner also joined us to fill in for Bruce as co-host. Thanks a million, Dave, you were great!

Download the lyrics for Marlon’s songs to follow along as you listen.

We talked about:

  • different approaches to co-writing
  • how to tell if a song was written by a drummer
  • the “one little thing” to mess up your chord progression (in a good way)
  • sure, it’s a country song, but there are elements of rap too
  • how letting ideas simmer for a while affords you some objective perspective before you start writing
  • why the world needs more bad songs
  • songwriting as craft
  • Gary Wood’s episodes to see more interesting capo setups
  • how to develop different guitar parts from verse to chorus
  • going from a Major I to a Minor V when you’re feeling a bit of melancholy

Listen to the whole show:

Watch the live performance:

Link to Marlon’s channels:

Bruce, Patrick, Phil, and Neel

“A song is good if you like it,” says Patrick Ballantyne

Bruce, Neel and Phil were all happy to have Patrick Ballantyne back in the Song Talk Radio studio for the third time. He always brings great songs (listen to “Make Believe” and “Sky” for proof) and lots of experience to share about the songwriting process for our listeners. When writing a song, he starts with the music – almost always on the guitar. For contrast, he has started writing on the piano where he has less competency and is forced to “keep it simple.” After writing solo for many years, he recently joined a group of collaborators and enjoyed the process.

Listen to the whole show:

See the live performance:

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:

 

1 Man + 1 Electric Guitar: TC Folkpunk

The always entertaining singer/songwriter TC FolkPunk returned to the show and played a couple of punky solo electric guitar songs and talked about playing solo without a band with just an electric guitar.

Some Stuff We Talked About

Twitter contributors:

@SharonRose2012

@heatherspratt

@ynoburns – Tony Burns

Listen to the Show

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:

Getting (not so) personal with Faaria

Faaria was one of our first guests on Song Talk Radio (check out her first episode) and she joined us once again with new songs about relationships, where none of them are autobiographical (or so she claims).

Stuff we talked about:

  • writing from different point-of-views
  • relationship songs
  • how practicing songwriting can affect the enjoyment of listening to other songs
  • progressing the story or idea from verse to verse
  • spicing up chords using the Circle of Fifths
  • the value of collaboration and playing around with songwriting suggestions

Download the lyrics for Faaria’s songs.

Listen to the full episode:

Watch the performances:

 

Letting songs steep with Carmen Toth

Carmen Toth / Social Potion joined us for the second time to talk about a new song, and an older one, both of which are appearing on her upcoming album.

Stuff we talked about:

  • writing lyrics first, songs first, or improvising on the fly during a jam/collaboration
  • journalling / creating a “lyrics bank”
  • starting a song from an emotion
  • marketing to promote other artists
  • memorable titles in the world of singles
  • working with a producer to focus the song structure and strengthen commercial appeal
  • writing universal, relatable lyrics
  • using a bridge to bring a new perspective into the song

Download Carmen’s lyrics for the show.

Listen to the complete episode:

Scott Neary – Tools, tips, and some very cool things

Seasoned professional guitarist, singer-songwriter, and all-around nice guy Scott Neary shares some of his best kept songwriting secrets. Scott also accompanied the talented jazz songwriter Steven Teatz for his appearance on Song Talk Radio. We talked about:

  • The great chorus debate – to repeat it verbatim or not?
  • Why you should whistle your melody
  • Why, sometimes, you need to ask, “Why does there have to be a chord?”
  • Why you should re-harmonize your chords after you develop a great melody on conventional chords
  • Symmetry, or lack thereof

 

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!

Adding musical interest with chord subsitutions

Have a listen to an informative and lively discussion on chord substitutions. In this show we talked about: