On this November 11, may we present former Song Talk Radio guest Jeffery Straker and his beautifully haunting Remembrance Day song, Little Red Flower. Heartfelt and earnest songwriting at its best. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=526340348229878…
This week, SongTalk welcomed jazz pianist and teacher Steve Koven. Steve is a composer, performer, producer and educator. He has one of the longest standing trios in Canada, performing, touring and recording together for over 26 year. Aside from performing and recording with his trio – Steve Koven Trio – Steve also has other recording projects such as the Koven Collective and Koven & Law as well as Lazersuzan
We talked with Steve about:
- his process for writing
- how he communicates his song ideas to his bands
- the touring opportunities available through consulates and embassies
- where he finds inspiration for his music
- what improvising can bring to songwriting
This week singer-songwriter and Hamilton Arts Award for Emerging Artist winner (2019) Alex Whorms joined us to talk about her sophomore EP, Burgundy, and two of the songs.
We talked about:
- FACTOR grants and Canada’s Music Incubator (check out our episodes on grants and music royalties)
- how long to take to get to the chorus
- finding the right amount of instrumental activity when you’re singing
- how Alex always gets through the skeleton of a song right away when writing
Listen to the show
Download the lyrics to follow along:
There are many benefits to your musicianship when you learn and master playing an instrument. You increase coordination, cognitive skills that include better memory, and create a higher level of social awareness.
The piano works as a wonderful starting point for most musicians, as it provides a good base in music theory, and it helps make identifying chords and key signatures a much easier task.…
This week SongTalk welcomed our pal Matthew Reid to our studio to talk about movie soundtracks.
We chose our favourites and talked about why they made the cut and what were the runners up.
We talked about:
- what are the criteria of soundtracks – are they a collection of songs from other sources, are they custom music made specifically for the film project or is there a grey area in between?
This week SongTalk welcomed Jeff Alan Greenway to our studio.
Greenway is a film composer, singer/songwriter and pianist from Pickering, Ontario. He has written music for film, worked as a session player, orchestrator and arranger, released his own original album “Great Expectations” and wrote the score to the international documentary The Secret Life Of Frogs, which won a Nature award at the Cannes Media and TV festival.…
This week SongTalk welcomed Matthew Reid to our studio. Matthew is a critically acclaimed, award winning composer for film, television, games and theatre. His funny songs have delighted almost a million people during his tenure as composer for Toronto’s world famous Second City comedy theatre.…
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
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
Jazz songwriter Steven Taetz returns to talk about creating new “Jazz Standards”.
Listen to the show:
Stuff we talked about:
- Steven’s first appearance
- @steventaetz on Instagram , Facebook, Twitter
- Steven on YouTube
- The Great American Songbook (Wikipedia)
- More shows about Jazz
- Jazz Safaris
- Get your suggestions in for The First Song Talk Radio Gift Guide
- Submit for tracks
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:
Here’s an easy to understand video that explains modes.…
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:
For this special episode, each of the Song Talk Radio hosts shared one of their own songs for discussion. We talked about:
- a Gaurdian article about the Hall & Oates song I Can’t Go For That
- our upcoming show on key modulations
- Bruce’s experience with his producer
- an email we got about our Comedy Songs episode
- writing a song from the bassline (Phil’s song example)
- our episode featuring Blair Packham’s deep dive on two Beatles songs
- are songs being inspired by the #meToo movement (like Neel’s song example)
Listen to the show
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?
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.…
The always surprising, risk-taking, gear-shifting, soul-belting Oh Chays are beholden to no single genre. Currently writing and recording their second album, The Oh Chays are a husband and wife duo raised on trad jazz, rockabilly, gospel, and the Detroit radio of the 70’s and 80’s.…
Multi-instrumentalist and back up vocalist Sintja Baba has been playing alongside various Toronto acts and is currently playing that role in Marlon Chaplin’s band. She started her own band THE NAIVE, where her music has taken the shape of various genres.…
Jenny Perez is a classically trained pianist and vocalist. She’s recently begun her journey as a singer-songwriter, bringing her classic flavours to her modern songwriting. For this show, Jenny was accompanied by Sherry Jacoby on guitar and backup vocals.
We talked about:
- the difference between classical and modern pop singing
- the learning your technique debate: how much technique is too much?
Producer, composer and Blue Rodeo founder, Bob Wiseman stopped by to share tips on pushing your songwriting approach to get out of a songwriting rut.
Listen to the episode here:
Some stuff we talked about:
- Working with songwriters
- Blue Rodeo
- Bob Wiseman on Wikipedia
- Download lyrics for “The Reform Party at Burning Man
- Download the lyrics for mothfaceatyahoo.ca
- The new Songwriters Meetup Page
- Bob’s upcoming video for Mothface@Yahoo.ca
- Bob Wiseman’s facebook page