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August, 2008:

New Songwriting Promotion – Songs of Salamon

Daria Salamon’s debut novel, The Prairie Bridesmaid, comes with its own soundtrack! What a wonderful idea…

Nathalie Atkinson of the National Post wrote yesterday in article entitled Songs of Salamon (cheeky title that) about the groundbreaking development put forth by the first-time author and her mid-size Canadian independent publishing company Key Porter.

It also helps that she has great music connections through her husband, Rob Krause, founder of Smallman Records. Anyway, great kudos for the idea and a little snippet from Ms. Atkinson’s most interesting article (after her remark that “Somewhere, Nick Hornby is kicking himself” for not having thought of this himself!):

It’s the kind of marketing campaign you’d expect from a big publisher like Random House, perhaps conveniently featuring artists chosen from Sony BMG, its sister company in the Bertelsmann media conglomerate. Except that it comes from Key Porter, one of Canada’s mid-size independent publishers. The soundtrack won’t make the artists rich: Wach received only a “very nominal” mechanical royalty, and Salamon is making a donation to Osborne House, the nonfictional Winnipeg women’s shelter mentioned in the book, as well. But in light of rampant downloading, shifting industry business models and the recently announced cuts by the federal government to arts funding, Canadian writers and musicians — two groups on the endangered list –have to think fast about ways to expand their audience.

And if there’s film option interest, Salamon’s already done the soundtrack work.

May the Muse stay with Salamon… and long live Canadian ingenuity…

M-Audio Proudly Supports the 2008 International Songwriting Competition

Okay, this is just a news release… but I enter this contest annually, and as you can see by my blog profile, I do use and enjoy M-Audio gear… Maybe, I’ll win me some this year if the Muse is with me…
Contest features an A-list panel of judges-plus over $150,000 in cash, prizes and M-Audio gear
Are you a talented songwriter looking to gain international exposure? Would you welcome a chance to have your songs heard by the most influential decision-makers in the music industry-and win thousands in cash and gear prizes? If so, check out the 2008 International Songwriter Competition. Now in its sixth year, the annual ISC provides both aspiring and established songwriters with an opportunity to have their songs heard in a professional, international arena. To choose the winners, ISC has gathered the most prestigious panel of judges ever assembled for a songwriting competition-including industry luminaries Tom Waits, Chaka Khan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Robert Smith, Black Francis, James Cotton, Natalie Grant, Paul Van Dyk, Amy Doyle, Steve Lillywhite, Renee Bell, Peter Strickland and many more.
Participating songwriters will have a chance to win a grand prize consisting of $25,000 cash, plus a gear package that features the M-Audio ProKeys Sono 88 digital piano and Studiophile® BX5a Deluxe studio monitors. In addition, first, second, and third place winners will be chosen in each of the 20 musical categories.
Entries must be postmarked on or before October 15th, 2008. For more information, visit songwritingcompetition.com.

2008 Americana Music Festival & Conference

The Americana Music Association, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, and Nashville Public Television have teamed up to present a packed weekend of special programs during the upcoming Americana Music Festival and Conference (Sept. 17-20), including a film screening and Q&A with Country Music Hall of Fame member Glen Campbell in the Museum’s Ford Theater on Saturday, September 20 at noon; and a Campbell tribute concert at 8:30 p.m. at the Cannery Ballroom. Other events will feature singer/songwriters Carlene Carter, Jerry Douglas, James Hand, Dave Insley and the music of Blind Alfred Reed.

May the Muse continue to be with Glenn and all the other wonderful country troubadors listed… Hope the Muse stays with them in Nashville and hope they have a wonderful “tune-ful” time…

Three Gemini Nods for Dazzling Performances and Brilliant TV Direction

The following is a news release from the CSHF:


The one hour CBC TV special Words to Music: The Canadian Songwriters Hall of ame, which features highlights from the CSHF 5th Annual Gala, has been nominated for three Gemini Awards, including two nominations for “Best performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series”: Oliver Jones, Dione Taylor, the Faith Chorale and Lou Pomanti for their breathtaking rendition of Oscar Peterson and Harriette Hamilton’s Hymn to Freedom; and Emilie-Claire Barlow, Lou Pomanti and Vern Dorge for their jazzy performance of Alex Kramer’s Ain’t Nobody Here but us Chickens.

The third nomination, for “Best Direction in a Variety Program or Series”, recognizes the exceptional talent of award-winning Director Shelagh O’Brien, who has contributed to the show’s success since 2006.

Previously, Words to Music: The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame has been honoured with eight nominations and two wins: k.d. lang’s heart-wrenching version of 2006 inductee Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and Measha Brueggergosman’s breathtaking interpretation of 2007 inductee Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now.

To learn more about this year’s nominations, please visit
http://www.geminiawards.ca/

The CSHF Team
Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
56 Wellesley Street West, Suite 320
Toronto, ON M5S 2S3
Tel: 416.926.7953/ Fax: 416.926.7958
http://www.cansong.ca/

What It Means To Be Published – Andrea Stolpe

From one Italian-American female songwriter (see today’s other post on Ms. DioGuardi) to another… Andrea Stolpe writes on the topic of Publishing Your Own Songs in a recent post.

Andrea rightly defines “published” as really meaning having our songs recorded by an artist and in the public eye… as she relates: “Being ‘published’ may seem like a goal, but it’s actually just a means to an end.”

And after equating any attention to get our songs public – playing them at any sort of function for others to hear – that’s what we need to do as songwriters to promote ourselves: “The end result is that our songs are out there in the mix, floating upon the ears of those who need the music we create.”

Ms. Stolpe is wise and encouraging and backed by the Muse… as she imparts: “But, it’s also true that with determination and creativity, and a shining personality, you can begin to connect the dots yourself. Don’t let a publishing deal or a label deal hold you back from the true goal – getting your songs to the artists who want to record them and the listeners who want to enjoy them.”

From Songwriter Extraordinaire to Idol Judge – Kara DioGuardi

I’ve written about Kara DioGuardi before (see this post) and her phenomenal success as a professional songwriter and pop tunesmith. She’s done everything the right way – always keeping her own publishing and starting Arthouse Entertainment with her manager and business partner to manage and publish other artists.

Well, now the woman behind the songs will be front and centre on one of America’s most popular “popularity” contests (no, not the 2008 presidential election – sorry Obama and McCain, you will not be publicly judged by this fine lady) – American Idol will be the benefactor of Mr. DioGuardi’s wisdom and hopefully the contestants, being graced with the presence of a true songwriter (no offence Paula) will learn a thing or two about writing and arranging tunes…

May the Muse continue to be with you… you can read the press release about Kara’s inclusion as a judge here… and there’s a video interview here… (though I wasn’t able to watch it…)

Cropper on Stax


Some recent thoughts put forth by Blues Brothers member, the ultimate rhythm guitarist, Steve Cropper…

The rhythm guitarist did a bit of everything in his time at the legendary record label from comparatively menial jobs, to acting as producer, engineer, A&R man, and songwriting partner to the likes of Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, and dozens more on all-time classics such as (Sittin on) The Dock of the Bay, Knock On Wood, and In The Midnight Hour.

He was also a founding member of Stax Records’ house band Booker T and the MGs and helped form the Blues Brothers Band with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in 1977.

“I got my first record cut when I was 16,” he recalls. “I’d been writing since I was 14 or 15 and it just so happened a friend of mine’s dad worked for the record producer Sam Phillips. I got him to listen to one of my songs and that’s how I cut my first record. I got a cheque in the mail and went through the roof. I knew then what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

“It was a lot of fun,” Steve recalls. “And none of it was planned.

“I was the only guitarist so I ended up playing on every record by default and I was the only guy who wanted to listen to new material coming in off the street so I became the designated A&R man.

“But I really would do a bit of everything from literally sweeping floors, changing lightbulbs and working in the record shop to working with the artists in the studio.

“The songwriting came about because I wasn’t really accepted as a lyric writer, but I was accepted as an instrumental writer, so I came up with the idea of going up to Jim’s No.1 artist at the time and co-writing a song with her. The song was a hit and surprisingly enough I got to co-write pretty much everything after that.”

During this period, Steve’s incredible list of songwriting credits included (Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay with Otis Redding, Knock on Wood with Eddie Floyd and In The Midnight Hour with Wilson Pickett.

“Whenever I hear (Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay I think of Otis. It’s pretty phenomenal to have co-written a song like that, which will last forever…”

Man, I loved playing those Stax records when I was growing up (over the more widely accepted and cleaner Motown records – no comparison at all on the soul factor). Otis Redding’s music still shines bright 41 years after his death. I remember learning to play guitar and wishing I could be like Steve Cropper… Good on you Steve! May the Muse stay with you…

Measure for Measure – Demos

Peter Holsapple has recently blogged in the Measure For Measure blog at NY Times entitled “Demo Shakedown“.

He fondly remembers his 4-track analog days and opines about the hazards of falling into the digital demo world with all of its offerings…

I include just a couple of paragraphs of his post here:

At present, my hope for any song demo is that it will really focus on melody and chords. Drums and bass are fine, and I’ve written so many songs that hinge on bass progressions; but an unadorned song is more easily heard by anyone (other than the songwriter, maybe).

I wish I could train myself to just do acoustic guitar and vocals for my demos. I had thought doing solo shows would help me see my way, to simplify and direct my creativity to a fine focus. The untidy mind that I keep resents being told to not come up with horn parts and string lines and choral vocals, especially in light of the unlimited number of tracks afforded the digital recordist.

Ah, even the pros fall into the trap… May the Muse be with you as you demo…

Hockey Night in Canada Anthem Challenge

Well, I uploaded my song finally after Jeff helped me with his fine singing and some ideas about keys & tempo…

Please have a listen to We’re In The Game (Hockey Night) and let me know what you think, or better yet, give me a nice high rating on the CBC Hockey Anthem Challenge (click the pic).

Here is the song itself, embedded here:

And here are the lyrics… May the Muse be with me…

A nation gathers for the night
It’s for the game that we unite
Each hope their team will hit the heights

Each goal that’s scored could lead to fame
It’s hockey night we’re in the game
It’s hockey night we’re in the game!

From north to south and coast to coast
We are engaged – We are engrossed
It’s for our team we’ll cheer the most

Each save that’s made leads to acclaim
It’s hockey night we’re in the game
It’s hockey night we’re in the game!

When our team succeeds – that’s why we came
So we can share their deeds – We’re in the game! We’re in the game!

We know their hearts – We know their names
It’s hockey night we’re in the game
It’s hockey night we’re in the game!

©Words and Music by Lorenzo D. Policelli
July 2008

Home Recording Forums

I recently joined this site (click here) for home recording enthusiasts. I will add the site to my sidebar on the blog and hope you get a chance to check it out and get some pro feedback on your home recordings without fear of “backlash” sentiments and pretentious condescensions that come from some other home recording sites…

May the Tech Muse be with you as well as the Song Muse…

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