Michelle Thibodeau is a pop-folk singer/songwriter from Moncton, New Brunswick, now based in Toronto. She performed live for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (2012) and David Foster (June 2017) as well as recently playing the leading lady “Nancy” in a professional production of Oliver the Musical. Her most recent single “Checkmate” (Oct 2016) was played nation-wide on CBC and Michelle is currently working on her third album of original music. At the age of 16, Michelle began writing songs on both guitar and piano, and 10 years later it is still her primary passion. For more information on her upcoming releases and performances in the GTA and the Maritimes, visit michellethibodeau.ca.
Kirk Felix arrived at our little studio with a whole band; bass, violin (fiddle), and cajon. As we did our sound check the Song Talk crew all savoured the gentle, soothing and heart-warming sounds of a folk ensemble. Patrick Ballantyne sat in for Neel Modi who was on assignment. In addition to two very authentic folk songs (Dusty Roads and Whispering Peace), we talked about:
- Family focus and finding time for music
- Songwriters’ Cafe Roundtable
- Fat Albert’s open mic in Toronto
- Open mics in York Region
- Winterfolk Festival
- Gordon Lightfoot
- Authentic voice, honest music
- Personal or universal writing?
- Folk versus country
- Enunciation, pronunciation – being understood
- Chord substitutions
Find more Kirk Felix:
Read the lyrics here:
Listen to the whole program:
Watch the performance video:
What can you say about the exceptionally talented poet, novelist, and prolific singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen.that hasn’t already been said? Well, the Song Talk Radio action team didn’t worry about that. Bruce, Neel, and Phil simply dove into their memories and had a close look at three of his many, many songs. Bruce brought the poetic Bird on a Wire (1969), Neel shared the dark and foreboding Everybody Knows (1980’s), and Phil had us pay attention to one of Cohen’s last recordings, the prescient Leaving the Table (2016).
Have a listen!
Okay, so we couldn’t get Bob to come to the studio for the show. Not surprising considering how the Nobel Prize people can’t find him either. On this show about Bob Dylan we discussed:
- The new film from Ron Howard – The Beatles, Eight Days a Week
- How the Beatles wrote songs
- Should the Nobel Prize for Literature have been given to Bob Dylan?
- What was Bob Dylan’s contribution to the music world?
- Bob’s lyrics and melodies
- How much his early career was influenced by the times (early sixties)
- His long career
- Two of his songs: “Shelter from the Storm” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
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:
For our latest theme show, we take a look at some of our favorite Protest Songs and try to figure out what makes an effective one. We looked at River Runs Red by Midnight Oil, Eve of Destruction by P.F. Sloan, and Phil talks about how his band The Parkdale Hookers, went about writing their punk-anthem Multi-Media Word and talked about how not to date a protest song.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Stuff we talked about:
- Pathetic Fallacy: The phrase pathetic fallacy is a literary term for the attributing of human emotion and conduct to all aspects within nature. It is a kind of personification that is found in poetic writing when, for example, clouds seem sullen, when leaves dance, or when rocks seem indifferent
- Objective correlative: a literary term referring to a symbolic article used to provide explicit, rather than implicit, access to traditionally inexplicable concepts as emotion or color.
- Producer Eric Ratz
- The Parkdale Hookers
- The Parkdale Hookers on iTunes
- Midnight Oil
- Eve of Destruction Lyrics
- River Runs Red lyrics
- Multi-Media World – The Parkdale Hookers lyrics
The ever talented Liz Jaremyn returned with two great songs. Here’s some stuff we talked about:
- Liz Jaremyn’s previous show in 2014
- Download the lyrics for Liz Jaremyn’s songs
- Overcoming writer’s block vs forcing it
- exploring song structures
- How many sections should your song have?
- Liz Jaremyn’s YouTube Channel
- Writing Better Lyrics – Pat Patison
Listen to the whole show:
Brian Sasaki, a musical force of nature, swept into our little studio with three band members (Michael on bass, Stanley on violin, and Kyle on drums) and really rocked the joint. His energetic and all-out-there tunes hook you right from the start. Look Out the Window featured Brian on guitar and kazoo (check out Tomasz Sacha on YouTube, says Brian).
Favourite lyric – “Anything’s a sundial if you leave it in the sun for a while.” On Life’s a Pest Brian added a very convincing mouth trumpet that helped lift the darker lyrics into the light (e.g “Life is just a pest… no one goes untested, unmolested by this mess …”).
That’s Alright had a 30’s jazz/blues feel with more of Brian’s off-the-wall lyrics including “I clean my ears, I blow my nose, I trim the nails on my fingers and toes…” that was loved unanimously. If there is one word for the songs of Brian Sasaki’s song writing, it’s “entertaining”. Have a listen!
Some stuff we talked about:
Young singer-songwriter Callie Deacon shared her exceptional songwriting talent, impressing the guys with her ability to spin familiar phrases and ideas into original ones. Callie takes strong cues from Taylor Swift and Sam Mendes.
We talked about:
- why writing on the guitar is more fun than the piano (please note: this is the sole opinion of the guest, and does not necessarily reflect that of the Song Talk Radio Action Team)
- song structures
- how to include a “Morrissey” lyric
- when to include a pre-chorus
James talks about the use of metaphor and subtext in his songs, and performs “Devil’s Punchbowl” live in the studio. Be sure to check out his band the James Clark Institute!