piano

allister-with-the-team

Thoughtful lyrics and music with Allister Bradley

Pro songwriter Allister Bradley joined us for an hour to talk about two of his catchy, thoughtful songs and his process for getting them done. Stuff we talked out:

  • Toronto’s Song Studio
  • Making it in the music industry
  • Writing with your secondary instrument
  • Using session musicians
  • Why you should whistle your melody
  • Chord progression tip: make each chord in your progression a perfect fifth above the previous one

Download the lyrics for the songs.

Connect with Allister

Listen to the full show

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

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Useful resources while you listen to the show:

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Jacob Moon a song writing star

With 10 albums over a 20-year career, Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist Jacob Moon dropped into the studio to share a wealth of helpful tips and clear insights. “Live a Little” is a truly exceptional tune, a perfect marriage of lyrics, melody, theme and variation.  “Is That All You Got” is a gutsy rocker that looks at calamity with defiance and a “bring it on” attitude. The hour just flew by as we discussed –

  • live performance looping
  • putting cover songs on YouTube
  • social media
  • how to reharmonize your chords using the same melody
  • the influence on Jacob of songwriters Paul Simon, Ron Sexsmith, Joni Mitchell, and Jackson Brown
  • the benefits of writing a song using only a bass guitar (or the bass notes on piano)
  • open (alternate) tunings including the ever-popular DADGAD
  • how a great song requires hard work and lots of rewrites

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Check out Jacob Moon’s engaging and heartfelt performances

“A song is good if you like it,” says Patrick Ballantyne

Bruce, Neel and Phil were all happy to have Patrick Ballantyne back in the Song Talk Radio studio for the third time. He always brings great songs (listen to “Make Believe” and “Sky” for proof) and lots of experience to share about the songwriting process for our listeners. When writing a song, he starts with the music – almost always on the guitar. For contrast, he has started writing on the piano where he has less competency and is forced to “keep it simple.” After writing solo for many years, he recently joined a group of collaborators and enjoyed the process.

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See the live performance:

Tips on Creating Songs for Musical Theatre with Andrew Seok

Pianist, producer, and songwriter Andrew Seok stopped by and talked about the process of creating music for his new Musical “Echos”. Andrew Seok (also known as just SEOK) has written music for Television, Recording Artists, Movies, and pretty much everything including the music you hear when call a company and you’re put on hold. He began his career as a Musical Theatre singer and composer, moved onto Vocal Coach, then Singer / Songwriter,  and finally TV / Film Composer and Record Producer / Mixing and Mastering engineer. Throughout his career he has worked with / for Jully Black, Jeff Healy, Feist, Raine Maida, and produced God Made Me Funky’s Juno nominated album.

We talked about:

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Jeff Greenway finds his own way

Jeff Greenway returned to the Song Talk Radio studio to share his thoughts on song writing. His approach to writing is through a feeling, not a theory. This was amply demonstrated in the two songs he shared with us. The first, Cavalry, evoked the sadness and confusion you feel when a relationship just isn’t working any more. No one is coming to save the day and there’s nowhere to hide. The second tune, I Need describes the two opposing sides of possible reconciliation. Notice the lyric shift from “don’t come home” to “please come home”. We discussed:

  • collaboration
  • home recording with a good microphone and Logic
  • modulation
  • background vocals
  • the use of silence in a song
  • chord substitution
  • teaching music to children

Listen to the entire show here:

 

Adding musical interest with chord subsitutions

Have a listen to an informative and lively discussion on chord substitutions. In this show we talked about:

The art of songwriting with The Sun Harmonic

Songtalk Radio welcomed multi-talented artist The Sun Harmonic (aka Kaleb Hikele) back to the studio for a second sharing of his song writing skills. “Born (I Have Awakened)” is a stream-of-consciousness, spiritual/traditional style a capella song that captures the losses we all endure as we grow up. “When the Well Runs Dry” switching from 4/4 to 2/4 and back again, prompted lots of discussion among the hosts about its meaning. Here’s a hint – it’s something all writers fear – have a listen! “I Will Sleep Again” was written on a long commute and sung into a cell phone. Its powerful bridge near the end is just one of the highlights of this song.

Neel Modi and Sonja Seiler show us creative collaboration and more

Neel Modi is a multi-talented songwriter, drummer and keyboardist with an eclectic collection of recordings from the quirky to the imaginative. On this show, he presented “Depend on Me” – based on a challenge to write a song about a car accident from the brake pad’s point of view – it’s a “brake-up” song ;-), and “Nature’s Lullaby”, a collaboration with singer/songwriter Sonja Seiler, a touching poetic take on the interconnection between all things in the natural world. The third song was “I Never Write Her a Song”, a catchy response to a request from Neel’s spouse. She loves it!

Topics of discussion ranged from anthropomorphism to collaboration and descants,to the power of modulation to lift a song to a whole new level of energy.

We also talked about:

Jeff with the team

He sang us good songs, he’s the piano man – Jeff Alan Greenway

Jeff Alan Greenway, backed by Cheryl Beatty on guitar and vocals, rocked our little studio with some powerful piano chops and heartfelt sounds. With a background in piano, jazz improvisation, cover and original bands, Jeff draws on his relationships to inspire his song writing. Whether it’s a call for closeness (Open These Doors), an on-again, off-again affair (No More Hellos), or a bitter missive to a friendship that always ends up in conflict (Eye for an Eye), Jeff’s songs grab you by the heart and won’t let go. Have a listen!

Website: http://www.jeffalangreenway.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeffalangreenwaymusic

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/jeffalangreenway

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jeffalangreen

Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/jeffalangreenway

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/jeff-alan-greenway/id370523776