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John Prine, Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan honoured for songwriting

John Prine

The Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, awarded biennially, was created by PEN New England a few years back to celebrate the craft of songwriting, specifically the lyrics.  So it’s no surprise that John Prine and the husband/wife team of Tom Waits/Kathleen Brennan were honoured for their lyrical prose this year! This year’s honorees were chosen by a committee that included U2’s Bono, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello and Salman Rushdie.

These songwriters create such wonderful lyrical tapestries, fulfilling PEN’s description of the award:

Long before we were able to articulate our thoughts, we expressed joys and sorrows by singing. Patterns emerged, becoming language and making the world intelligible. That’s why the ancients depicted Orpheus, demi-god and singer, playing his lyre with animals around him in a peaceable kingdom, and it’s why we chose the lyre on the award medallion.

There is an unbroken lineage from that breakthrough Orphic moment, down through all the bards, troubadours, and balladeers to the present. Every literary genre is a tributary of that great river.

Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan

Here are some quotes from the event:

Prine’s lyrics are “sophisticated but simple… Who writes songs like that? Two people come to mind – God and John Prine.”  – John Mellencamp

“It’s not always fun writing together. Sometimes the fur flies. It’s not an easy enterprise, but it’s satisfying… We’re different. If two people know all the same things, one of you is unnecessary.” – Tom Waits on writing with his spouse and fellow honouree, Kathleen Brennan

May the Muse stay with these 3 wonderful songwriters…

SOCAN Songwriting Prize 2016

Check out this year’s SOCAN Songwriting Prize shortlist of 20 contestants (10 for the English language prize and 10 for the French language prize).  Listen to them all, choose your favourite and vote!

For two weeks, from June 9-23, 2016, SOCAN invites music fans to vote for their favourite song from the nominees lot by visiting www.socansongwritingprize.ca or through Twitter using the hashtag #mySSPvote and identifying the performer’s name in the tweet. Fans can vote once daily through each platform for each of the English and French prize competitions.

The winning songs are planned to be announced the week ofJuly 4, 2016.

Winners will receive $10,000 in cash, a choice between two brands of Godin Guitars (a Seagull Artist Studio CW guitar or Godin 5th Avenue Jazz guitar), a Yamaha PSR-S970 keyboard, and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade.

Support your Canadian songwriters and may the Muse be with you…

SOCAN’s Music is the Food of Fun

“Eat, drink and be merry…” becomes “eat, sing and be merry :)  – just thought the graphic was interesting… click on the diagram for the SOCAN article about this poll… and may the Muse be with you…

 

The SAC Songwriting & Blogging Challenge 2015

Check out the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) Challenge 2015.  Participants in the Challenge complete a weekly and blog about their experience.  As part of a private Facebook group, challenge participants may collaborate with other SAC songwriters.

The first challenge? Write a song to pitch for the next Matt Dusk album.

So, if you’re a SAC member why not register for the challenge (check out the link above).

Good luck and may the Muse be with you…

Billy Joel receives the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Tune into your PBS stations on January 2, 2015, for the gala event that was held earlier this week in Washington. The Library of Congress awarded Billy Joel, one of my favourite songwriters, the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Tony Bennett, John Mellencamp and Kevin Spacey were among those on hand to celebrate the music legend, while Barbara Streisand, James Taylor and past Gershwin winner Paul McCartney appeared in video greetings.

Huffington Post wrote about the event here and this is just a snippet from that piece:

Joel’s tunes were enough to have Republican and Democratic congressional leaders sitting side by in the divided capital, clapping to the same beat.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor saluted Joel, a fellow New Yorker, for creating an enduring lyrical and musical legacy for the nation.

“For more than five decades, Billy Joel has inspired new generations of performers, musicians and singer-songwriters,” she said. “Tonight we recognize Long Island’s favorite son, even if he is a Mets fan.”

May the Muse stay with you Billy!

Here’s a video snippet from Euronews with Kevin Spacey on the harp with the Piano Man:

DistroKid!

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…

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

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

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


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!
 

Juno Awards Adds Electronic Music Category

Canada’s Juno Awards has added an electronic music category for next years awards… and the site is open for submissions now…

If only I could compose an Electronic Album, then maybe I could have a shot at a Juno… NOT!  Of course, I’m dating myself but I start thinking of Kraftwerk and Vangelis… I’m sure I’ll be listening for the nominees in this category and learning a few things… why have all these toys with Reaper and VSTs and such if I don’t open my mind to other kinds of music and songwriting… hmm… a side project I guess…

Here’s the category as outlined by the Juno Awards:

The new category is defined as album-length original recordings composed with electronic equipment as the essential songwriting tools and defined by their electronic elements. Musical genres and respective subgenres such as (but not limited to) techno, house, electro, trance, drum’n’bass, dubstep, grime, electro-acoustic, turntablism, sample-based music, ambient and downtempo are eligible for this category.

Well, may the Muse be with you electronic mixers…

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