rhythm

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

The show with more cowbell!

OK, so we’ve got a thing for the cowbell. Or maybe that was just Phil. In any case, the under-appreciated cowbell gets the most love it’s had since Christopher Walken’s fever.

We talked about:

  • the history and distinctive sound of the cowbell
  • the heyday of the cowbell in 70s rock
  • syncopated vs. straight rhythms
  • the Song Talk Radio outtro music (written and performed by our very own Phil Emery!)
  • an interesting 5 minutes on the cowbell, courtesy of NPR’s All Things Considered

Listen to the show:

The example songs:

Other songs that feature the cowbell:

 

Bruce, Sean, Phil, Linda, and Neel

Bridging Jazz and Pop with Sean Bertram

Sean Bertram returned to the show following the release of his debut album, The Right Place. We talked about:

  • Sean’s studies at Humber College in Music Guitar
  • poetics in your lyrics
  • changing chords and melodic centre between sections of your song
  • contrast in pop songwriting
  • self-doubt in songwriting
  • Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson
  • how to change up your guitar playing from section to section
  • how to use an AABA structure in your verse
  • Sean’s new album The Right Place
  • Sean’s dad, Allister Bradley and his appearance on the show

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics for Caroline and I Think Too Much

Watch the live performance

Vanessa, Phil, Bruce, Anthony, and Neel

Exploring songs with “talk-singing”

We featured songs on this episode that use the unique “talk singing” technique. For the most part, we agreed that talk-singing meant that the singers were using short notes without too much melodic range, but still consciously in the key of the song.

We talked about:

  • how the ends of talk-singing musical lines work
  • the differences between rap and talk-singing
  • how talk-sung songs have interesting music beds
  • how you have a melody even when you’re speaking
  • how the late 70s and 80s saw a lot of talk-singing songs
  • our theme episode on Unconventional Singers

Listen to the show

Check out the songs

 

Bruce, Hema, Neel, Frank, and Phil

Exploring non-standard time signatures & EDM with Neel Modi

Our very own Neel talks about creating non-standard time-signature based EDM music. Past guest and composer Frank Horvat co-hosted while Neel’s better half, Hema handled the social media.

Some stuff we talked about:

Listen to the show

Famous songs with odd time signatures

The Oh Chays: the ins-and-outs of making a living as a songwriting couple

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. Consistently wowing audiences with their versatile musicianship, songwriting, and razor-sharp wit, The Oh Chays are not to be missed live.

Since their inception in 2014, The Oh Chays have racked up an impressive list of accomplishments winning the Canada South Songwriting Competition in August 2017 for their song The Glass, competing in the 31st Annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee, and reaching the finals of the Toronto Blues Society’s talent search with their song Big Old World.

The Oh Chays have backed friends of the show, Blair Packham and Patrick Ballantyne

Listen to the show:

Neel, Bruce, Erik (Scrape), Phil, and Vanessa

Industrial music according to Scrape

The Song Talk Radio team of Bruce, Neel, and Phil received an education in Industrial music with Eric Scrape. Here’s some of what you can learn by listening to the show:

Have a listen right here!

 

Joel, Phil, Carmen, Emily, and Bruce

Doin’ that Blues Thang with Emily Mac

Emily Mac is a singer-songwriter and a regular at our Songwriter’s Roundtable Meetup. She joined us with piano player Joel to perform and talk about two of her songs, Back to the Rhythm and When It’s Gone. Special guest host Carmen Toth filled in for Neel. We talked about:

  • how learning to play an instrument helps to ground your accapella writing
  • why it’s good to be the stupidest person in the room (when collaborating)
  • how songwriting is like working a muscle
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Muscle Shoals
  • Carmen’s (best ever) explanation for millennial whoops in pop songs: “You have to write lyrics that a drunk person can sing”
  • opportunuties for changes through lyrics, arrangements, and musical centres
  • why you should hold back if you’re a strong singer

Listen to the whole show:

Connect with Emily:

Website

Instagram

Twitter

youTube

Facebook

Neel, Bruce, Jeremy, Vanessa, Phil, and Etain

Writing blue-eyed soul with Jeremy Voltz

Crazy talented Jeremy Voltz joined us with his Stevie Wonder inspired, but totally original songs, In the Clear and Wrong With Me.

We talked about:

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics

In the Clear

Wrong with Me

Watch the live performances

Connect with Jeremy

Artist website:
http://jeremyvoltz.com

Twitter:
http://twitter.com/jervoltz

Facebook:
http://facebook.com/jeremyvoltzmusic

YouTube:
http://youtube.com/user/yardapeJV

SoundCloud / MySpace:
http://soundcloud.com/jeremy-voltz

Bruce, Neel, Vanessa, Phil, and Etain

Love Songs we Love to Love (Valentine’s Day Special)

For our Valentine’s Day special, each member of the Song Talk Radio team brought a favourite love song too woo our listeners. All the songs were very different, and we each had a different take on what makes a good love song:

  • Bruce appreciates authentic, honest expressions of love
  • Neel likes it when there’s a nuanced message
  • Vanessa looks for a specific emotional response in the listener
  • Etain likes sincere and from the heart love songs that you can dance to
  • Phil likes honesty and originality in his “happy” love songs, and
  • favourite twitter follower of the show, Sharon (@SharonRose2012), said “Love songs should make you remember what it’s like to be in love.”

We also talked out:

  • writing songs from a gay perspective
  • modern songwriting melodies
  • ska music vs. reggae
  • verse / refrain / B section song structure
  • Putting a twist on the default “I love you” message

Listen to the whole show:

Check out the love songs we love to love:

Here’s the team’s top picks, and even some great love songs that didn’t make it to show!

Bruce’s pick for the show was a song written by a gay songwriter:

And Bruce’s runner-up pick, a classic love song:

Etain’s pick for the show was a quirky and cheeky 80’s song:

Neel’s pick was an earnest and upbeat, catchy love song with a twist:

and Neel’s second choice (not featured on the show) was a quirky duet about loving in the biggest way possible:

Phil chose the first song he ever heard when he realized “that’s a great song”:

Phil also considered a beautiful new wave song for the show:

Vanessa brought a gorgeous, folky ballad by Jewel:

She also considered a collaboration song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

And our twitter followers contributed to the conversation with their favourites:

Tony Burns (@ynotburns) favourite love song:

and Sharon’s (@SharonRose2012) favourite love song:

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: