Colorado College hosted a symposium this past weekend. I wish I had known about it before, I would have participated as it was open to the public… as per the symposium’s website:
“It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” is a scholarly symposium on the music and lyrics of Billy Joel, the consummate singer-songwriter whose compositions translate larger cultural concerns into accessible and compelling musical narratives. In the spirit of Joel’s music, this public musicology conference aims to share academically oriented insights on this popular figure and his output in an accessible and approachable manner.
Thankfully, someone (Pianomanross) recorded the keynote event, which was actually a phone call with Billy Joel himself! Here’s the content of the call with Mr. Joel and it adds a heap of colour to the art and craft of songwriting… enjoy the listen and may the muse be with you…
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
Canadian Music Week ended last weekend with Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart talking about songwriting.
Stewart, appeared on Saturday, March 13 with Toronto singer Cindy Gomez to talk about songwriting. Stewart told the audience that the split in his romantic relationship with singer Annie Lennox led to a majority of the band’s best-known songs. Broken hearts (or agitated ones at least) can inspire…
The session also included American singer Paul Williams, the songwriter behind hits for the Carpenters and others, as well as Canadian Dan Hill, a prolific songwriter who co-wrote "Sometimes When We Touch."
I enjoyed reading this article from a Nova Scotia local newspaper about songwriting as an art that can be passed along. Kudos to songwriter Steven Bowers (pictured) who is working with youth and passing along the craft/art of songwriting:
Equipped with good information and persistence, young musicians can forge a path as a songwriter – even if it’s not the career that a guidance counsellor would typically suggest. Singer/songwriter Steven Bowers has been at the trade for about a decade, and still he says it’s a continual learning process. But at this point, he’s comfortable imparting some of the experience he’s earned at a songwriter’s workshop for several high school students this Saturday at Glasgow Square.
“We want to teach them about the business of songwriting. It’s not really something that’s focused on around here – basically how to connect with other songwriters, how to get your stuff heard,” he says.
He remembers back at the very beginning – writing music but not really having any idea of how to get people to listen to it. In high school he had an outlet through school programs, but without knowing anywhere else to look for performing, there was little opportunity.
“When you’re in high school, you can’t play a lot of the pubs. So, with the exception of local groups that put on coffee houses, you don’t really know many avenues to get your stuff out there,” he said. “The open-mic circuit was really big for me in Halifax. A lot of kids, if they are going off to university or to college, most will have open-mics at the local campus bars they can take advantage of.”
But even with the local notoriety that comes with frequenting an open-mic – or hosting one, as Bowers did – there’s still a distance to travel between pub staple and marketable songwriter. That involves networking with other musicians and knowing organizations which exist to put people in the music business in touch with funding opportunities and information. And it’s those angles Bowers, along with fellow musician Christina Martin are hoping to impart. “Now that you’ve established yourself as a performer, you have to have some kind of product. If you want to sell your music – and if you want to be a professional songwriter versus someone who’s a hobbyist, you might not be interested in recording your stuff,” he said.
“But, from there, you need a venue to sell your music, people aren’t going to buy it sight unseen. And even if you want to go the radio route and not perform in your life, you still need to connect with the organization.”
The Muse is with you Steven… Inspirational! Keep the faith!