piano

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
Bruce, Blair, Vanessa, Michael, and Neel

What’s a cover song anyway?

Our own Michael Proudfoot proudly stepped into the world of cover songs. He uncovered a treasure trove of examples and ideas. Have a listen as the Song Talk Radio team plus Blair Packham (The Jitters) tackles:

  • when everything was a cover
  • the difference between 45, 78, and 33 1/3 rpm records
  • professional songwriters writing for professional singers
  • How The Beatles shifted pop culture by both writing and performing their own songs
  • Jimi Hendrix covers All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan)
  • authenticity (Sarah McLachlan) and self-expression
  • Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Carole King, Leonard Cohen
  • singing someone else’s song – making it universal
  • Husker Du, Love Is All Around (Sonny Curtis)

Listen to the whole show

 

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.

 

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

Phil, Neel, Jeff, Bruce, Michael, and Vanessa

All about Modes with Jeff Alan Greenway

Composer, singer-songwriter, and piano virtuoso Jeff Alan Greenway joined us to talk about musical modes — what they are and how they are used in songs.

Jeff went through each mode and sang a well-known song live with his piano.

Listen to the whole show:

Additional resources about modes:

https://ledgernote.com/columns/music-theory/musical-modes-explained/

http://openmusictheory.com/scales2.html

http://openmusictheory.com/popRockHarmony-EverettSystem2.html

Here’s an easy to understand video that explains modes.

Here’s a list of songs for each mode that Jeff provided.

Not specifically about modes, but BBC’s History of Music in 50 Pieces podcast is excellent to learn about the development of scales, thirds, and harmonies in Western music over the centuries, and a lot more!

Linda, Neel, Bruce, Michael P, Michael Thorner, Vanessa, and Phil

Michael Thorner turns a webcast into an album

Toronto singer/songwriter Michael Thorner dropped by the studio for a chat about his music. He brought two catchy tunes from his recent webcast/album release The ehMTee Show; Don’t Let it Go and Point Edward Fair. We talked about:

The Lyrics

Don’t Let It Go

Point Edward Fair

The Links

Facebook

Soundcloud

Spotify

Get the DVD

Listen to the whole show

Phil, Bruce, iLLvibe, Linda, Vanessa, and Neel

All about hip hop with iLLvibe

Toronto-based hip hop recording artist iLLvibe dropped by to share his music and his thoughts. Runner up to Drake for Toronto Rapper of the Year in 2016 and winner on “Canada’s Smartest Person” it was indeed an entertaining and informative hour!

We talked about:

Listen to the whole episode

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:

Listen to the show

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

Listen to the show

The Lyrics

Valiant-of-Vimy

Deep-Water

Watch the live performances

 

Phil, Bruce, Jeffery, Linda, Vanessa, and Neel

Great songwriting tips from Jeffery Straker

Canadian and internationally-reaching singer/songwriter Jeffery Straker joined us to talk about his process, collaborations, and great songwriting advice.

We talked about:

  • Conservatory training vs. ear training
  • When not to give your chorus a conventional “lift”
  • Editing your song, even the main title and hook so it brings your idea to a better light
  • How to use space in your song
  • What does “prosody” mean?
  • Economy of lyrics
  • Does your song need a bridge?
  • Collaborating with Royal Wood and Lawrence Katz
  • Keeping track of and building a bank of your song ideas

We also welcome Linda Lavender who will be helping out on the tech board in the future. Thanks and welcome aboard Linda!

Listen to the show

Download the song lyrics and follow along

Beauty in the Grey

Deliver Me