writing

Bruce, Stephen, Phil, Hema, and Neel

Special Pride Theme Show

To celebrate Pride in Toronto this week, we brought in five LGBTQ-themed songs to play and talk about. The songs spanned from 1983 to 2017, and included a diverse range of songwriters and topics. Musical book writer Stephen Witkin joined us for the show. Special thank you’s to Hema for handling our social media, and @SharonRose2012 for tweeting in!

We talked about:

  • Bruce and Stephen’s own coming-out stories
  • Heavy-handed vs. light and fun approach with the “message” in LGBTQ-themed songs
  • Acceptance of LGBTQ songwriters and songs in popular culture
  • Universal vs. LGBTQ-specific messages in the songs
  • Stephen’s blog: From Here to Epiphany

We featured these songs (click on the titles to download the lyrics):

Listen to the show

Phil, Bruce, Bob, Vanessa and Neel

Bob Wiseman on pushing your songwriting envelope

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:

 

 

Neel, Bruce, Melanie, Vanessa, and Phil

All about the pre-chorus

The show you’ve all been waiting for…or maybe that was just Neel. The Song Talk Radio Team tackles the subject of the pre-chorus; what it is, what it does for a song, and why have one? Singer/songwriter Melanie Peterson joined us to perform one of her songs as an example, “Been So Long.” To add a few more examples to the mix, Phil brought “Buddy Holly“, a short catchy tune by Weezer, Bruce brought Beige Shelter‘s latest release “Light Your Way” (by Adi Aman and Neel Modi), , and Neel presented “Head Like a Hole” by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

We talked about:

  • How the pre-chorus relates to song structure
  • How is a pre-chorus different from a bridge?
  • How it amps up the energy
  • How is the pre-chorus different from the verse and the chorus?
  • Neel and Adi’s co-writing process for Light Your Way – check out Neel’s blog post on this

Download the lyrics for:

Listen to the show

See the live performance

Patrick Ballantyne – master songwriter

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his well-crafted songs. “Where Things Used to Be” is great example of the skillful combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a strong feeling of longing in the listener. Listen to the bridge in particular and the completely surprising chord on the word “dreams”. Patrick’s song “Plans” starts with a great line, “In California there are dates in the trees…” and connects to “dates on my calendar”. The message of a man who sees that he must change is both poignant and honest. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • “Hit-a-month” project
  • Having a manager
  • How tasty an E flat chord can be in the key of G
  • The use of “pause” in songwriting
  • Co-writing and collaboration
  • Ticket sales and merchandise (how to make money in music)
  • Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, FACTOR
  • Lifting a song through chord progressions
  • Natural or loads of experience?
  • Rhymezone.com for alternative rhymes

Listen to the show here

 

Vanessa, Bruce, Sean, Lindsey, Phil, and Neel

Unleashed Dreams – music with a message

Unleashed Dreams brought their epic, new age, neo-classical music to Song Talk Radio. Lindsay Walker (lyricist/singer) and Sean Michael Paddison (composer, producer, and pianist) have a mission. They want to create and distribute music that empowers people to transform their lives and live their dreams. Their first song, “Deep”, is powerful. It recounts the challenges of going inside for some serious soul-searching. “Trust” had a meditative quality. It uses a wash of repeating lyrics and multi-layered production. We talked about:

  • life coaching
  • coaching through music – it touches hearts and souls
  • seniors experiencing dementia
  • suggesting reading – “This is Your Brain on Music
  • “epic songwriting” – Hans Zimmer
  • symphonic power
  • how to stay connected to your true self
  • music libraries: Cinesamples, Vienna Symphonic Library, Spitfire Audio, EastWest
  • cello and the human voice
  • down-to-earth lyrics in an epic piece
  • when to improvise a vocal and when not to
  • “meditainment”

Listen to the entire show

Connect with Unleashed Dreams

www.UnleashedDreams.com

Facebook

Twitter

You Tube

The ambient sounds of Louis Moon

Moody, original and unexpected are three words that describe the song writing of Louis Moon.

He started his musical life when he took piano lessons at age seven. Three years ago, influenced by Korean Hip Hop artists, he began to create his own beats. More recently he added lyrics and his own voice to the mix. On this program you’ll hear two Louis Moon songs; “With You” and “Morrissey Love”. We talked about:

Follow the lyrics here:

With You by Louis Moon

Morrissey Love by Louis Moon

Listen to the program here:

Leonard Cohen, the late great Canadian troubadour

What can you say about the exceptionally talented poet, novelist, and prolific singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen.that hasn’t already been said? Well, the Song Talk Radio action team didn’t worry about that. Bruce, Neel, and Phil simply dove into their memories and had a close look at three of his many, many songs. Bruce brought the poetic Bird on a Wire (1969), Neel shared the dark and foreboding Everybody Knows (1980’s), and Phil had us pay attention to one of Cohen’s last recordings, the prescient Leaving the Table (2016).

Have a listen!

Dan Edmonds making it up in the moment

The Song Talk Team had the distinct pleasure of spending an hour with the very talented and original singer/songwriter Dan Edmonds. His fresh takes on music and how it’s made were both illuminating and engaging. He played two of his intriguing recordings – “Love Can Be a Tunnel” and “To Be That Needle”. We talked about:

  • improvising lyrics in the recording studio
  • letting the listener make their own meaning from the words
  • the two-chord song
  • the fun and challenge of touring
  • finding management

Here’s the show. Have a listen!

 

Where’s Bob Dylan?

Okay, so we couldn’t get Bob to come to the studio for the show. Not surprising considering how the Nobel Prize people can’t find him either. On this show about Bob Dylan we discussed:

  • The new film from Ron Howard  – The Beatles, Eight Days a Week
  • How the Beatles wrote songs
  • Should the Nobel Prize for Literature have been given to Bob Dylan?
  • What was Bob Dylan’s contribution to the music world?
  • Bob’s lyrics and melodies
  • How much his early career was influenced by the times (early sixties)
  • His long career
  • Two of his songs: “Shelter from the Storm” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues”

Writing for musicals with Stephen Witkin

Lyricist and librettist Stephen Witkin returned to Song Talk Radio for a highly informative hour on writing for musical theatre. Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • what is the “book”  and the role of the book writer for a musical?
  • collaboration with the muscial’s composer
  • the purpose of the book in relation to the songs

Website: Stephenwitkin.com

Blog: stephenwitkin.wordpress.com “From Here to Epiphany”

Twitter: @StephenWitkin

Linked In: Stephen Witkin

Facebook: Stephen Witkin

Listen to the full show: