singer-songwriter

Bruce, Phil, Blair, Vanessa, Neel, and Linda

Rhyme-a-rama with Blair Packham!

We figured it was time to talk about rhyme; a cornerstone of songwriting. So we invited one of our favourite singer/songwriters – Blair Packham – to take a closer listen to songs with a plethora of rhymes and one with virtually none! We talked about:

  • The songwriter’s personal approach to rhyme
  • Does rhyme distract from the the emotion of the song?
  • Kinds of rhymes – rhymezone.com
  • Perfect rhymes for something certain (e.g. right/might)
  • Assonance rhymes for uncertainty or negative feelings (e.g. around/down, blood/rush)
  • Pat Pattison – how do rhymes serve the song?
  • Rhyme schemes
  • Neel’s notes on rhyming from Pat Pattison’s Songwriting course on Coursera
  • The notion of the “illusion of authenticity” – stay tuned for a future theme show with Blair!

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Simple Twist of Fate by Bob Dylan

Cry Me a River by Arthur Hamilton

You’re the Top by Cole Porter

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

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

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The Lyrics

Valiant-of-Vimy

Deep-Water

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Vanessa, Phil, Robert, David, Linda, Bruce and Neel

Robert Priest – how to write songs for children

We had the pleasure of having the prolific Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest (with David Hynes on guitar) back in the studio to share a couple of his children’s songs. We talked about…

  • testing a song on a 6-year old
  • moving from writing for adults to writing for children on the same day
  • chord choices for children
  • writing for younger and older children (the differences)
  • kids deserve quality songwriting
  • Inchworm” (an old favourite)
  • repetition in kids’ songs
  • using words that kids will have to look up (why not?)
  • the work habits of a prolific writer
  • Gilbert and Sullivan style (The Ships of Bath)
  • do you have to have kids to write for children?

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Robert-Priest-Lyrics

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Vanessa, Phil, Linda, Bruce, and Neel

How to write a break-up song

True to form for Song Talk Radio, the day before Valentine’s Day seemed a good day to talk about break-up songs. So Phil brought “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)” by Jim Croce, Neel chose “One More Minute” by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Bruce performed a new original tune “I Don’t Love You Anymore”, and Vanessa selected “White Blank Page” by the band Mumford & Sons. We talked about:

  • conflict in break up songs
  • break up song experts – The Smiths, Jann Arden, Morrissey
  • Operator” chord progression – I, III, IV, V (Nashville numbering system), finger-picking, guitar riff
  • One More Minute” – original song in a doo-wop style, one idea repeated getting more extreme, a bridge might have helped
  • “I Don’t Love You…” – Key of E, lyric tune-up to bring clarity, needs a bridge?, Neel finds the word “hating” too harsh
  • White Blank Page” – maximum drama through arrangement, a religious song?, abstract songs let the listener interpret
  • remembering phone numbers in the age of the cell phone

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White-Blank-Page

Operator-Jim-Croce-Lyrics

One-More-Minute

Phil, Bruce, Avery, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

How to manage your own career with Avery Florence

Avery Florence stopped by the studio on the cusp of her first tour. She was excited! “Road trip!” Her songs were a treasure trove of musical delight, and her tips about managing her own career were helpful to anyone trying to make a living as a singer/songwriter.

Here are some of the things we talked about:

  • the music business
  • The Harris Institute
  • touring, booking your own gigs
  • The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
  • writing when inspired
  • collaboration
  • recording “live off the floor”
  • guitar or piano?
  • breaking up with a band

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Download the song lyrics and follow along

BLEED

FLY

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Phil, Neel, Vanessa, and Bruce

The 2017 Year End Wrap-Up Show!

Join the gang as we go over our favourite bits of the last year and lots more stuff!

We talked about:

Listen to the show:

Bruce, Phil, Vanessa, Robert, Dave, Bob, Neel, and Anthony

Robert Priest, songwriting poet

Multi-talented Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest brought two great songs to the show. He also brought two talented musicians to back him up – guitarist and vocalist David Hines and guitarist Bob Cohen. We talked about a wide range of things including:

  • the difference between poetry and song lyrics
  • collaboration in song writing
  • song structure
  • work habits
  • breaking down the inner critic
  • “highway” songs
  • writing for children
  • a poem about John Lennon
  • Robert’s website

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Neel, Bruce, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Anthony

Patrick Ballantyne’s Canadian song picks

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his favourite Canadian songs. “Help Me” by Joni Mitchell is a great example of her unique combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a casual conversational tone. Includes a great instrumental hook. Patrick’s other pick was a song by Ian and Sylvia, “The French Girl”, in a very unusual version recorded by Gene Clark. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • Patrick’s new album – “Calendar”
  • Hearing songs of yearning at the age of 13
  • Joni Mitchell’s unique vocal style
  • adding a 2/4 bar in a 4/4 song
  • When the root chord is a 7, it creates tension
  • Led Zeppelin

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Neel, Bruce, Vanessa, Phil, and Anthony

It’s The 4th Anniversary Show!

The gang celebrates 4 years of Song Talk nerd-ery! Station tech genius Michael Newton stops by too.

What we talked about:

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Bruce, Ed, Phil, Vanessa, and Neel

Ed Roman a Canadian original

Ed Roman is an award-winning singer/songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada.  Blurring the lines between pop, rock, folk, and country music genres, Ed’s uniquely crafted songs have received regular rotation on more than 100 terrestrial radio stations across North America and more than 400 stations, worldwide. On this program we had some lively discussions about:

  • What is “Canadiana”?
  • Being human and the influence of family on songwriting
  • Music as a way to deal with dyslexia
  • Forming a band at the age of 14 and writing original tunes
  • Lyrics have many meanings for the listeners (good!)
  • Emotions in the performance
  • Protest songs – what happens behind the scenes?
  • Holding onto unresolved chords versus fulfilling expectations

Download the lyrics

The Way She Goes

I Told You So

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