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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…

What A Tale My Thoughts Could Tell…

Canadian Songwriters Hall Of Fame Newsletter

cansong

Press Release:

On Thursday, October 21, 2010, two of Canada’s most celebrated songwriters, Ian Tyson and Jim Cuddy, will be live in performance and in conversation for the second episode of the innovative new master series, “If You Could Read My Mind” created by the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Through conversation and music “If You Could Read My Mind” contemplates the continuation of the Lightfoot lyric, “what a tale my thoughts could tell” and digs deep to unearth why Canada is such a hot bed for songwriting talent. The series got off to a phenomenal start this past February with its inaugural sold-out show, featuring the Canadian legends Gordon Lightfoot and Gord Downie.

Hosted by CBC Radio’s Laurie Brown, the October 21st event will also feature emerging Canadian artist Wayne Petti from Cuff The Duke, who will bring his unique blend of alt-country singing-songwriting to the stage for a special performance.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see Jim Cuddy and Ian Tyson in an intimate setting at the world class, acoustically spectacular George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Contact TicketMaster today!

If You Could Read My Mind” featuring Ian Tyson & Jim Cuddy
Thursday, October 21, 2010 – Showtime 8:00 p.m.
The George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre of the Arts, 5040 Yonge Street
Tickets: $30, $40, $50 – On Sale Now
Available on TicketMaster.com or by calling 416-872-1111.
www.cansong.ca

Songwriting Strategies

isw.netTom Slatter of Indiesongwriter.net is putting together a series of “songwriting strategy podcasts”.  Episode One was delivered by Tom himself and dealt with key changes, while Episode Two covered Nadia Cripps’ process to compose a new piano instrumental in one of her songs.

Check out the Songwriting Strategies podcasts and may the Muse be with you…

Recent Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala

_48108056_009572690-1[1] Last weekend, singer Phil Collins received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame gala.  The singer, who has sold over 100 million records as a solo artist and with the band Genesis, said writing a popular track is "a complete accident".

This year’s inducted songwriters included Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, David Foster, and R&B band Earth Wind and Fire.  Singer Taylor Swift received the Hal David starlight award.  The link above has all the awards and inductees for 2010.

Speaking on the red carpet, Collins said: "For a songwriter, it’s a huge honour. I was very surprised when I got the news."  The musician revealed that when organizers contacted him about the award, he had originally assumed he would have been presenting it, instead of receiving it. "That’s something that I never thought I’d be qualified to get, I still don’t think I’m qualified to get," he said.  The award is the second major honour this year for the 59-year-old, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.

Phil Ramone was given the hitmakers award, which is given to songwriters who have written a number of hit songs over an extended period.  Billy Joel, who cited the producer as a major influence on his music, presented Ramone with his trophy at the ceremony in New York.

Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Water was also honoured to commemorate its 40th anniversary.

May the Muse stay with all the worthy inductees…

Acoustic Guitar: Jakob Dylan

JakobDylan[1] I really enjoyed the article in the latest edition of Acoustic Guitar magazine that featured Jakob Dylan.  He discusses his latest, Women and Country, and waxes poetic on songwriting in general.  Here’s a little snippet, but check out the whole article:

When you’re working on a song, do you feel as if you understand what you’re writing about, or do you even want to understand?
DYLAN No. I think the people who are really good can’t explain how they do it or why, and you should be very suspicious of people who can. Truthfully, when I am asked to explain a song, I always find it an awkward question because I think the song is the explanation. But that’s just the kind of songs I write. If you were able to ask Phil Ochs what his songs were about, he could probably tell you because they are very specific.

Some people aim for a kind of writing where words fall out that on some level make no sense.
DYLAN But what’s unique about that is he or she is the only one who had that idea drop out. You know, a lot of times you let that happen, and you look at the page and you wonder, “I don’t know, is that right or not? Does that make perfect sense?” But if you question it too much and try to use too much logic, it’ll slip away.

Do you ever share songs in progress with your father (Bob Dylan)?
DYLAN No, I never have, and really for no other reason than that I was always confident, especially when I came up in groups—we were chasing our own ideas. I don’t know that somebody like him could truthfully give anybody . . . I think if you’re that good, it’s very difficult to put into a dialogue how [someone else] can also do it. It’s very hard to point somebody in that direction.

I don’t mean necessarily that you’d ask him to explain or teach, but just simply to be an audience.
DYLAN No, I honestly don’t do that with anybody. Also, I really like writing a song and keeping it until the very last moment of playing it for who is going to be playing it with you, because there’s a snapshot that happens one time. There’s an exciting moment when you first record a song; that’s probably the most lasting impression anyone will have of a song, but really it’s just the way you wanted to record it one day, one afternoon, and who knows why.

And now for a treat… a mini-office concert put on by Mr. Dylan and his cohorts in the NPR offices…

 

May the Muse be with you…

Rush As Songwriters – Jacob Moon Tribute

Well Rush was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 28, 2010.  From an article in Monday’s Toronto Sun, Neil Peart discusses the song Subdivisions:

“It’s a very unusual song construction lyrically and musically that we managed to make work,” [Peart] said. “It was written at a time when we weren’t working, so to speak. We were mixing a live album and we just started playing around and wrote a song for fun. Although it’s very serious in it’s musical structure, one of the most complicated actually that we’ve had in terms of arrangement drum part alone, it’s a really intricate drum part to play and consequently I still love playing it almost 30 years later and that’s a good testament.”

Peart is also stoked that YouTube sensation Jacob Moon, who plays Subdivisions entirely by himself on a Hamilton building rooftop, is among three artists paying tribute to Rush Sunday night.

“We all shared Jacob Moon’s performance of Subdivisions quite a long time ago and sent it to each other, ‘Hey have you seen this?’ because it’s such a beautiful cover. The imaginative way that he uses the little cassette player to get my voice in there. It’s superb. And it is that kind of song. It’s a singer-songwriter’s song. I loved to see his version of it and I loved the idea that song has endured to his generation.”

And here is the YouTube video… May the Muse be with you Neil, Rush and Jacob:

Jay-Z on Songwriting

n77852784853_5696[1] Absolut Vodka’s Facebook Page is promoting the premiere of NY-Z, a concert plus documentary from Madison Square Garden with Jay-Z.  It will premiere online on Monday, March 22.

In September 2009, Absolut and Madison Square Garden announced the Absolut Concert Series, a three year partnership between the two iconic brands, dedicated to giving music fans the ultimate concert experience through a series of high-profile performances.

Here’s a clip of Jay-Z from his NY-Z gig discussing his songwriting process:

Ryan Bingham – Oscar For “The Weary Kind”

“Crazy Heart’s” Ryan Bingham continued to add to his awards season cache with his first Oscar for “The Weary Kind (Theme From ‘Crazy Heart’).” Backstage, where he addressed the press without fellow songwriter T Bone Burnett — who wasn’t feeling well and returned to his seat — Bingham said he has come a long way from living in a Suburban four years ago. Asked if writing sad music would be challenging now that he’s married, Bingham noted that the past is always with him. “We have stuff from the past that is always there. Songwriting is venting and getting the past off my chest.” Bingham also noted that co-star Colin Farrell originally performed the song with an Irish accent. “We were all rooting for him to be an Irish country singer in the movie, but it didn’t work out,” he said.

Enjoy the YouTube video below with Ryan’s performance… and may the Muse be with him (‘cos Oscar is…)

Neil Young and Elton John

Neil Young will be working on Elton John’s upcoming studio release.
Billboard reports that legendary Canadian singer songwriter will be one of a number of guests who’ll be featured on the album.

Sir Elton will be collaborating with fellow pianist/singer Leon Russell and adding other guest performers that will include organist Booker T Jones, guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Jim Keltner.

The “I’m Still Standing” hitmaker’s long-time songwriting partner Bernie Taupin has also been working on the record.

A statement on Taupin official website says, "It’s varied in scope and drenched in a rich tapestry of atmospherics. Don’t expect to hear the old EJ/BT sound; this is organic recording unlike anything you’ve heard from our duo before."

A release date for the album has not been set.

Neil Young was honoured last month with a tribute at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and performed “Long May You Run” during closing ceremonies. Enjoy it below and long may the Muse be with you…

Gordon and Gord – Easter Day Broadcast

Earlier this month in Toronto, a master class in songwriting was offered up by two of the greatest Gords in Canada – folk icon Gordon Lightfoot and Tragically Hip rocker Gord Downie in the inaugural concert of a new six-part series, If You Could Read My Mind, named for Lightfoot’s 1970 breakthrough song.

Sponsored by the Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, the two Gords perform stripped-down versions of some of their work and discuss their craft in an intimate setting that was perfect for the animated, funny, revelatory and – at times – touching discussion between the two men and host Laurie Brown.

It was hard not to notice Downie’s admiration of the 71-year-old Lightfoot – whose "austerity and economy of words" he praised – as The Hip’s lead singer got downright emotional early in the show which was being taped for later broadcast on CBC Radio 2 on Easter Sunday.

From a Canoe article on the concert, here are some quotes about songwriting provided by the Gords at their concert earlier this month:

[T]he Orillia, Ont-born Lightfoot said he first began writing songs in Grade 12 – his first ever was a novelty tune called The Hula Hoop Song which was inspired by a Life magazine cover – and was inspired more seriously later by Dylan but admitted that "recording was like going to the dentist."

He said he still has a technical rehearsal with his band every Friday to keep his guitar skills up.

When Downie asked Lightfoot about dealing with writer’s block, the onetime drinker didn’t miss a beat: "Alcohol."

Downie, who hails from Kingston, Ont., couldn’t remember the first tune he wrote but said he first sang at a house party – The Doors’ opus The End of all things – "trying to infuse it with 15-year-old angst."

Later, he recalled, he and his Hip bandmates hung out at The Prince George Hotel catching travelling blues legends like John Lee Hooker in concert but Downie admitted he didn’t learn to play the acoustic guitar until he was twenty.

Both men agreed their songwriting had been hugely inspired by nature over the years, helping to forge the Canadian identity, with Lightfoot revealing he went on massive canoe trips in Northern Ontario and Quebec, sometimes a month at a time.

The only problem – and it’s a good one to have – the CSHF now faces is how to make the next five concerts as entertaining as Thursday night’s premiere deluxe edition.

Lightfoot and Downie’s natural chemistry set the bar high.

May the Muse stay with you Gords…

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