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Songwriting Awards

Peace, love & understanding – Nick Lowe in Variety

Nick Lowe is featured in this Variety article after being honoured with the American Association of Independent Music’s Icon Award. A fascinating read from the Cruel to Be Kind songwriter/producer. A remembrance of Johnny Cash, working with Elvis Costello and the history of What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding…The song is a standard. Whenever I hear people do it now it’s almost like I had nothing to do with it! As for that song, Mr. Lowe opines: “The song is a standard. Whenever I hear people do it now it’s almost like I had nothing to do with it!”

May the Muse stay with you sir…

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…

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:

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