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Willie Nelson – Songwriter Extraodinaire

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Willie Nelson

Just enjoyed listening to an interview of Willie Nelson on NPR.  Mr. Nelson is promoting his new album, Band of Brothers, which is to be released today.  Here’s a little snippet of the interview:

ARUN RATH: Now you are such a great songwriter but it’s been more than a few years since you released an album and one with so much new material on it. I’m curious have you been writing songs the whole time or are all these very recently written?

WILLIE NELSON: I’m sort of a spasmodic writer I guess. Roger Miller said it pretty well. He said when a writer has to sometimes stop and let the well refill because you run out of things to write about or good things to say. So I think he’s right. Also you have to have some kind of challenge or goal. And there was this new album that we wanted to do. And I needed some new songs. And I said well you know why don’t I write something?

And when you’re Willie Nelson, you can do just that…

Listen to the interview now:

May the Muse stay with Willie and be with you (and that’s even funnier with the reference to Willie as the Yoda of songwriters)…

Yoda Willie!

Poet Asks Songwriters About Writing Process

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Award-winning poet, Ariel Gordon, is guest-editing the Arts column for the National Post and had an interesting interview of three diverse songwriters about their writing process (upon Ariel’s confession that their songs assisted in her writing process as a poet).  You can find the short-but-compelling interview here.

The songwriters: Amelia Curran, Craig Cardiff and Nathan Rogers

Just one brief sample:

Q: Do you have a songwriting tic? By which I mean particular language or particular images (or sounds, I suppose…) that always seem to be a part of the first draft of a song? I became preoccupied with writing poems about pears in the weeks that followed picking small yellow pears from a friend’s yard. I also re-used an image from my first collection in my second, because it’s still something that sticks with me…

CC: Most of my writing is me working through my knots, my mistakes, trying to frame them, share them, get them out of my head to make room for all the new knots and mistakes that come out of living and bumping through this world.

AC: I absolutely succumb to this as well and it seems to tie album to album. I produced one album that seemed littered with jewel imagery; there were diamonds and rubies everywhere. And another that eked out themes of construction and architecture. But these happened unbeknownst to me at the time.

NR: I always seem to gravitate back to hidden meanings and non-linear thinking. I ask a lot of my “readers” but I truly believe they can handle a more literary approach to songwriting. I refuse to dumb down any part of a lyric for anyone’s sake.

May the Muse be with you…

Lorenzo Policelli

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http://open.spotify.com/artist/29n8Ze55vAv9Eoeyx3CQr3

DistroKid!

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Okay, heard about DistroKid through TechCrunch…  Big kudos to Philip Kaplan for coming out with the easiest distribution system for songwriters/artists to get their music out there – and out there is where the people are listening to music nowadays – Google Music, Amazon, iTunes and Spotify…

I signed up and had Free Spirits online and selling within minutes…  Very easy to do… and only $19.99 to upload unlimited tracks for 1 year… Now, I’m publishing myself, recording myself and distributing myself (with DistroKid) as a tool…

If you’re thinking of signing up, please use this link if you found this helpful as it could mean an unlimited account for me…

Time to finish that album and get it online and see where the chips fall… May the Muse be with you…

Little time

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My failure to keep up with my blog and songwriting has me a bit down. A parental leave saw little time for me to pick up my guitar… But now I want to make some time to let the Muse in.  I’m helping my daughter with her guitar and, selfishly, I admit I’m hoping that will get me going again…  Wish me luck and may the Muse be with us all…

Petition to have Rush inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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So here’s a link to a petition that was started by your’s truly after years of Rush being ignored for induction into the Performers category in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.  Please pass it on and let’s get the quintessential Canadian prog rock band into the RnR HoF – where they deserve to be… It’s 2012 and too late for this year, but let’s put some pressure on for next year’s induction ceremony… Rush shouldn’t have to wait until 2112 when "the meek shall inherit the earth", modest rockers that they are. Let’s make it happen in 2013!…  May the Muse be with Geddy, Alex and Neil… and no opinions should be divided on Rush getting this recognition!

Juno 2012 Songwriter’s Circle Part 2

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From the Juno Awards site:

And here’s part 2 of the Juno Songwriters’ Circle courtesy of the CBC with Terri Clark, Max Kergan and Dan Mangan as host… May the Muse be with you as you listen and enjoy great Canadian (unsung) songsters!

 

Juno 2012 Songwriter’s Circle

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From the Juno Awards site:

JUNO Songwriters’ Circle brings together some of today’s most talented Canadian singer/songwriters, sharing songs and stories on stage. Host Dan Mangan hosted the discussion, perform some of his hit songs and got up-close with audiences in this truly unique setting and not-to-be-missed event.
Participating Artists: Host Dan Mangan will be joined on stage by fellow 2012 JUNO Award nominees David Francey, Kiran Ahluwalia, Lindi Ortega, Max Kerman (Arkells) and Terri Clark.
CBC has a great podcast of the circle and here’s part 1… May the Muse be with you as you listen and enjoy great Canadian (unsung) songsters!
 

Barrel of Monkeys and Photographs – Jim Bryson on Kathleen Edwards

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Well, Kathleen Edwards most recent release,  Voyageur, is the darling of critics, rightfully so, with its cathartic songs leading to new beginnings from a dissolved past.  I just wanted to share a quote from an interview by David McPherson in the latest Canadian Musician magazine (January/February 2012 edition).  The quote comes from a fellow Canadian singer-songwriter, Jim Bryson, who contributed to Voyageur via emailing parts and pieces of songs back and forth with Edwards (and is part of Edwards’ touring band and a proud new papa to boot – congrats!):

If Edwards chose not to use one of Bryson’s ideas, he didn’t take it personally. “I know how records work,” says the seasoned songwriter. “It’s like taking photographs. You take 100 and you may only use three of them. If it’s a signature part and you really feel connected to it you can have a discussion, but otherwise, if you are playing on someone else’s record, it’s theirs …at the end of the day, it’s her deal. It’s not like I can throw a barrel of monkeys down the stairs and mic it and expect her to use it.”

Now that’s an image that’s hard to get rid of… hmm… probably a novelty record in that idea… Don’t go calling the SPCA on my… I was only joking… But the lesson is to collaborate with respect for the song’s originator… now that I can work with and may the Muse stay with Kathleen, Jim et al…

ScoreAHit Web App – The Hit Equation

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Well, now we can take the guess-work out of wondering if the songs we write will be hits… The science behind the ScoreAHit web app can be found here.  It’s all mathematics and formulae and “I’ve got algorithms”… here’s a very brief overview from the site:

The underlying assumption is that popular songs are similar with respect to a set of features that make them appealing to a majority of people. These features could then be exploited by Machine Learning algorithms in order to predict whether a song will rise to a high peak position in the chart. Machine Learning is a branch of Artificial Intelligence concerned with learning to perform a task based on examples — in this case learning to predict hit potential based on past hits and non-hits.

And here are the factors measured by the algorithm in a tag picture format:

Kudos to Dr. Tijl De Bie for his work on this… it looks like a lot of fun and I’m going to submit a song or two to the Songometer when I get the link by email invitation…

I’ll report back on whether I’ve got algorithm or not… May the Muse (and Math) be with me…