conventions

Complexity in songwriting: When is it too much? with David St. Bernard

Singer / songwriter Davis St. Bernard stopped by and we explored the issue on complexity in one’s songwriting.

What we talked about:

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Watch the live performances:

Connect with David:

AND it was Vanessa’s birthday!

 

 

 

1972 revisited with Kirk Felix and friends

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:

Find more Kirk Felix:

www.Facebook.com/kirk.felix.73

https://www.youtube.com/user/Jensguard1968

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/KirkFelix

Read the lyrics here:

Whispering-Peace

Dusty-Roads

Listen to the whole program:

Watch the performance video:

Jordan Paul on Writing Trippy Tunes

Singer/Songwriter Jordan Paul stopped by with a couple of brilliant songs. His sound has been described as “if Queen, Mimicking Birds, Radiohead, and Led Zeppelin all had a beautiful love-child.” A clever songwriter at only 24–his writing and musicality is well beyond his years and his voice is otherworldly. Paul’s new single ‘Rain’ is coming out on limited-edition 7” vinyl from Leesta Vall Records, featuring Andrew Scott of legendary Canadian band Sloan on drums.   

Topics of Conversation

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All About Chords with Frank Horvat

Songwriter, composer, and music teacher Frank Horvat joined us to talk about scales, the different kinds and colours of chords, and using chords as a palette for your songwriting.

We covered:

  • Intervals (2 notes) and triads (chords with 3 notes)
  • Major and minor triads and their different tonal colours
  • The hardly-ever-used diminished (or seven) chord
  • The Nashville chord numbering system
  • The tonic (I) and dominant (V) chord relationship
  • A typical blues chord progression (I-IV-I-V-IV-I)
  • Chord extensions (7th’s and 9th’s)
  • Writing from the head vs. the heart

Listen to the full show:

Useful resources while you listen to the show:

Read more

1 Man + 1 Electric Guitar: TC Folkpunk

The always entertaining singer/songwriter TC FolkPunk returned to the show and played a couple of punky solo electric guitar songs and talked about playing solo without a band with just an electric guitar.

Some Stuff We Talked About

Twitter contributors:

@SharonRose2012

@heatherspratt

@ynoburns – Tony Burns

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The unusual world of songs with unusual lyrics

For this special theme show, each of the hosts presented a song with “unusual” or hard-to-decipher lyrics. We delved into a discussion around understanding the intentions behind and interpreting the songs. Download the lyrics here: Unusual Lyrics

  • Neel’s selection: A Self Called Nowhere by They Might Be Giants
  • Bruce’s selection: McArthur Park by Jimmy Webb (performed by Donna Summers)
  • Janice’s selection: Paranoid Android by Radiohead

We talked about:

  • The notion that once your song is released to the world, it’s no longer yours and open to multiple interpretations
  • Check out www.songmeanings.com to read user interpretations of songs
  • What is the purpose for communicating a story through unusual, hard-to-decipher lyrics?
  • Use of metaphors
  • Writing a song with unusual lyrics as a songwriter’s challenge – break the rules!

Listen to the complete show:

 

Getting (not so) personal with Faaria

Faaria was one of our first guests on Song Talk Radio (check out her first episode) and she joined us once again with new songs about relationships, where none of them are autobiographical (or so she claims).

Stuff we talked about:

  • writing from different point-of-views
  • relationship songs
  • how practicing songwriting can affect the enjoyment of listening to other songs
  • progressing the story or idea from verse to verse
  • spicing up chords using the Circle of Fifths
  • the value of collaboration and playing around with songwriting suggestions

Download the lyrics for Faaria’s songs.

Listen to the full episode:

Watch the performances:

 

Blair Packham packs emotional power

From the moment Blair Packham started to speak, we knew we were in for some great lessons from a master songwriter and experienced teacher. If You Were Mine featured a great bridge and instrumental break. In Her Dreams started out as a story of a woman in a call centre and moved to a daughter caring for an ailing mother. In our wide-ranging conversation we also touched on the following:

  • who are you writing for?
  • does the song connect emotionally with the listener?
  • collaboration is good
  • ask for feedback and use it
  • write from your creativity
  • the new singer-songwriter accent (Shawn Mendes song Stitches for example)
  • song-writing workshops (songstudio.ca)

Listen to the full episode

Exploring poetic lyrics with Liz Jaremyn

The ever talented Liz Jaremyn returned with two great songs. Here’s some stuff we talked about:

Listen to the whole show:

Talkin ’bout song structures

Bruce, Neel, Phil and Janice spent most of an hour on the subject of song structures with 4 different examples. We talked about:

  • the prologue verse (I Left my Heart in San Francisco)
  • writing for musical theatre (My Funny Valentine)
  • the connection between segment style and lyrical content (Band on the Run)
  • Sloan’s song with its many sections and its Beatles influence (Fading into Obscurity)

All in all, a fun and informative show. Thanks for the tweets Tony!

Further Reading:

Arranging Songs: How to Put the Parts Together