Monday, July 28, 2008

My Songs from Scratch 2 Entry

Well, here's the Songs from Scratch entry... It's called "Oz" and it's rather lengthy, but then again, so is the subject matter. Anyway, give it a listen sometime and let me know what you think...

BTW, these were the 4 lines that had to be included in the song:

From the ends of the earth to your own back yard
Mouth and mind drink all but won't fill an empty heart
It's all within - energy & matter, namaste & ohm
Myriad formulas, nostrums and prayer -- all roads lead to home
Not an easy task... but may the Muse be with you...

Friday, July 25, 2008

International Acoustic Music Awards

***IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) ACCEPTING ENTRIES

The 5th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) is now accepting
entries. IAMA promotes excellence in Acoustic Music Performance and
Artistry. Acoustic artists in various genres can gain exciting radio and
web exposure through this competition. Participating sponsors include
D'Addario Strings, New Music Weekly, Loggins Promotion,,, Acoustic Cafe Radio Show and XM Satellite Radio.

IAMA is open to all independent artists and labels. Unlike other music
industry competitions, IAMA focuses on developing new markets for Acoustic
artists, labels and with or without CD releases. Past year's winners
include Charlie Dore (UK), Randy Kohrs & The Lites (USA), Craig Bickhardt
(USA), etc.

Win prizes in 8 different categories: Folk/Americana/Roots,
AAA/Alternative, Instrumental, Open, Bluegrass, Best Male Artist, Best
Female Artist, Best Group/Duo. There will also be an Overall Grand Prize
winner awarded to the top winner worth over US$11,000, which includes
radio promotion to over 250 radio stations in US and Canada. Winning
songs will be heard on radio! Winners and runner-ups will be featured on
our CD compilation. Also, we feature up to 10 different artists get
featured and promoted on IAMA website every month, which provides a
review, ratings, CD information and more. The sooner, you enter, the
sooner you get featured!

Judging is based on excellence in music performance,
songwriting/composition/song choice, Music Production and originality.
(Please note that IAMA is a different competition from USA Songwriting

All entries must be postmarked by November 10 or earlier. Ways to enter:

** For the regular entry form, please go to:

** Or enter online here to get the FREE Sonicbids subscription worth $18
here, *FREE EARLY ENTRY BONUS: First 1,000 entrants will each receive a
FREE subscription to Sonicbids worth $18.00 (first 1,000 entrants, must
be entered by Oct 31st or earlier, so hurry!) :

Monday, July 21, 2008

RFD Deal: Beethoven on Demand: 130,000 Free High-Quality Streaming Audio Tracks

Found this great freebie at

To view this article, please visit here:

Get instant access to a huge 130,000 track library of classical music when
you sign up for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's E-Mail Club. The e-mail
club will send out concert reminders, program notes, exclusive offers, and
announcements on occasion. It's a small price to pay to get access to the
Beethoven on Demand library with high-quality streaming classical tracks
from the Naxos Music Library.

It really is a wonderful library of not only Beethoven, but other classical, jazz, folk, pop and rock, blues and other styles too! I'm a big fan of RedFlagDeals and this is one of those deals you just can't pass up...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Peterborough Songman - Cyril Rawson

Cyril Rawson appeared in a recent local newspaper article out of Peterborough, Ontario by Paul Rellinger. It's rather lengthy and detailed, so I won't post the entire article here, but I did want to include the following quote:

The common thread that ran through Rawson's early playing days was an interest in, and penchant for, songwriting - something that no doubt had its roots in his family background. His mother taught piano, his father taught accordion and both operated Rawson's Music Store, here in Peterborough and in Lindsay. Eventually young Cyril worked in the family business, managing one of the stores after high school graduation.

"But retail wasn't for me, so I packed my bags and went to Toronto" says Rawson.

Before the 1980s dawned, Rawson added songwriting to his growing list of accomplishments, writing his first song, The Heritage, for Michael T. Wall and Hibbs. Come 1987, he was signed on as a staff writer for Millhouse Music in Nashville. The Music City became his home as he subsequently toiled for Glen Campbell Music (writing there with, among others, a young Alan Jackson) and Balmur Entertainment. By the time he parted ways with the latter in 1999, more than 200 of Rawson's songs had been recorded in Canada; more than 25 in the U.S.

That's a pretty impressive number of cuts... may the Muse stay with Cyril and us all... and as Cyril relates on the Songbridge interview:

Use and trust your imagination and emotions first, then balance it off with the craft. Get your thoughts and feelings out on paper and then step back, look at it again and let the craft of songwriting step in when you rewrite but DON'T rewrite until you write yourself right out of the song, learn when to be satisfied that the song is finished. Listen to hits and try to figure out why they were hits but DON'T try to write that same idea, find an idea that has as powerful a meaning or groove or whatever but make it your own, remember you heard that other hit and so did millions of other people so it's old news. Write up, in other words try to surround yourself with writers that in your mind can teach you or help you in your weakest area and yet still compliment what you do best. If you are a lyricist first then find a great melody writer to work with, if you do both equally well in your mind, write with someone who has had some commercial success writing for a variety of artists, not just themselves, writers whose songs have reached a lot of ears in the industry and still had success. DON'T settle for mediocrity and DON'T after writing your first few songs think you know it all, you DON'T. Of course, learn the basics of rhythm, rhyme, format, melody, etc. first.

Halifax singer going to Olympics ... on NBC

I read this article (Halifax singer going to Olympics ... on NBC) in our local freebie paper by Dean Lisk for metronews. It's certainly a "feel-good" story from a songwriter's perspective:
It’s not the same as competing at the Summer Olympics, but for a musician it’s even better.

Halifax singer Jon Mullane’s song Make You Move is being used by NBC Television in a promo ad that will air on late night television leading up to the start of the Games.

“Personally, it is very fulfilling. Professionally, this is fantastic because I am getting my music exposed to the U.S.,” said Mullane – not to be confused with In-Flight Safety singer John Mullane.

“When they heard Make You Move, they loved it, and they saw some action on the airwaves in Canada and wanted to use it right away. It is a fun, upbeat, party rock song. Not too serious.” Make You Move is one of five songs being used by the network, and — from Mullane’s understanding — it is the only one by a Canadian artist.

They will beging airing tonight during shows like Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.

Mullane said he has to give some credit for his recent success to the Atlantic Film Festival’s Music & Image program. It offers local musicians an opportunity to meet with film and TV music supervisors.

“I was getting discouraged, because I have been doing it since 2003,” Mullane said. “I did meet with the NBC rep that year — and I was thinking ‘This is no good. Half the people are coming for the paid vacation essentially.’”

He had an opportunity to meet with two NBC representatives last year, including the woman in charge of the promos. Mullane stayed in touch with her after the meeting.

“It took a long time for an overnight thing,” he said.
May the Muse stay with Jon Mullane and inspire me to get that publishing deal I want! Here's the promo itself:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Riding The Riff

I enjoyed this article about Chuck Prophet and his songwriting process, along with discussions about his co-writing with/for and producing of other artists... and this quote sums it up as the logical "keep it simple" approach to songwriting:
"You get a riff and you ride on the back of it and you just kind of follow it through to its logical conclusion."
That's a nice thought... it's letting the Muse take you to the end of the ride, the riff and its logical conclusion will be your new song...

Keep on writing...

Beck's Modern Guilt

"I'm tired of people who only want to be pleased/ But I still want to please you," sings Beck on closer "Volcano". It's the most personal song on the album, where the alt-rock journeyman stunningly conflates his own troubles with those of the world at large. In his heyday, Beck seemed to please everyone by pleasing himself-- each new genre excursion was met with new fans and a fresh appreciation for his limitless talent. Now things don't come so easy. "It's harder and harder to write songs these days," he told The New York Times last week. "I'm always slashing and burning, going, 'Is this too on the sleeve?' But if you're not up front like that then you're hiding behind something, so it's a real maneuvering." With its off-the-cuff cover, brevity, and ramshackle feel, Modern Guilt comes off like Beck's attempt to outrun those songwriting complications. But the reluctance to break with his own conventions is still evident. The album ends with a look ahead: "I don't know where I've been, but I know where I'm going/ To that volcano/ I don't want to fall in, though/ Just want to warm my bones on that fire a while." It's a cautious prophesy-- maybe too cautious.
Wow, "outrunning" the songwriting "complications". I think you have to embrace the Muse, not run away from it... Full review of the Beck joint here...

Xenomania and Gabriella Cilmi - Set to Conquer the World

Famed British songwriting duo Xenomania are behind the Europe chart-busting artist Gabriella Cilmi and her debut Lessons to be Learned with lead-off single Sweet About Me. It's just good pop music from what I've seen and heard... Ms. Cilmi is only 16 and has adopted London as her hometown while the team of artist and songwriters plan to conquer the U.S.

I'm not crazy about produced pop (a la Ashlee or Britney) but these guys know how to make it work and Ms. Cilimi's sincerity appears to shine through the music. I think they'll go far with each other (well, Xenomania has already gone far, to be sure, but you know what I mean...)

Gary Allan On Technology in Songwriting

Gary Allan is confessing to joining the computer age. The successful Nashville songwriter recently appeared in an article discussing this fact:
Gary Allan’s music has been available for download for a number of years, but he’s only begun to apply modern technology to his songwriting process in the last 12 months. Now that he’s done it, he’s finally agreeing that a computer keyboard is superior to pen and paper.

"Last year I started writing on a computer," he says. "I used to make fun of everybody that came in with a computer [to co-write], but it’s so much faster now, and you can change things. And then we usually run a tape the whole time, so if you do say something and say we’re not of the right mind to remember, we can scroll back a few minutes and see what you said and see if it truly was magic or if you were just wrong."

Gary’s got some magic going with his latest songwriting endeavor. He’s a co-writer of his latest hit, "Learning How To Bend," which is currently at No. 13 on the Country Aircheck singles chart.

Hey, first and foremost is the Muse... everything else takes a back seat... all the technology in the world won't write the great song, it'll just be there to take down the lyrics and the melody when the songwriter hones it...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Songs from Scratch - Volume 2

An email received from Minnesota Public Radio... I entered a song last year and may try it out again this year if I can find some time (it was fun last year and I received some nice comments afterward and, hey, any media is good media, right?):

Hi there,
Since you participated in Songs from Scratch last year, I wanted to send an email letting you know we've got a new installment of the project this summer -- Songs from Scratch vol. 2 -- this time around, we've asked Adam Levy of The Honeydogs to write the start to some lyrics inspired by a familiar story (he chose "The Wizard of Oz). Then, we gave P.O.S., Jeremy Messersmith and Best Friends Forever two weeks to finish up the lyrics and put it all to music.

We're asking listeners to do the same thing -- start with Adam Levy's lyrics, finish them off, write and record a song and send it to us (you can send us both audio and video). This year, even if you're not a musician, you can still participate -- you can comment on the submissions, and you can rate them. The ratings will help determine a handful of songs that will get some radio play on 89.3 The Current on Chris Roberts' The Local Show (must send submissions by 7/21 to be considered for this).

All the details are at -- just select Songs from Scratch from the shortcuts menu. Or, you can click right here.

Thanks for all of your songwriting last year. We can't wait to hear what you come up with this year, so pick up your guitar or piano or whatever else you make music on, and get writing! tell your friends, too!
Yours in song,

Producer, Songs from Scratch
May the Muse be with you...

Lyle Lovett Nails Down The Details

I enjoyed reading this anecdote of a recent Lyle Lovett concert in Louisville, Kentucky. You can find the full Courier-Journal article by Jeffrey Lee Puckett (great name!) here, but I thought I'd just set out the "details" part of being a songwriter...

After his monitors cut out on him during the concert, Lovett used it to his advantage as relayed by the author:

While chatting up the audience during the 10-minute delay, Lovett shared a conversation he'd had earlier in the day with a Mrs. Lowery, a Louisvillian seated next to him on the plane into town. He remembered her religious affiliation, her curiosity about how Lovett liked hearing his own voice, and the fact that she had tickets to the show.

His retention was impressive and explained a lot about Lovett and his songwriting. He listens. If you don't listen, you can't tell stories because you don't learn new stories and, sooner or later, your stories turn stale or run dry. As technical glitches go, this one was illuminating.

The rest of the show was a testament to Lovett's gift for listening. His songs were filled with evocative characters, scenes and telling details, small observations that implied a bigger picture and a sharply examined life. You believed him, and in songwriting that's way more than half the battle.

To be a good listener... it's cliché, but that's part of having the Muse be with you... if you ain't listening, you wouldn't hear her anyway...

Lyric of the Week > Billy Joel > July 9

One of my favourites is the lyric of the week...

She can kill with a smile
She can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith
with her casual lies
And she only reveals
what she wants you to see
She hides like a child
But she's always a woman to me

From “She's Always A Woman To Me”
Written by Billy Joel

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The 2008 Polaris Music Prize Short List


The 2008 Polaris Music Prize Short List

Hello music lovers,

The 40-strong Polaris Long List has been carefully pared down to 10 by our
178 member jury. We call it the Short List, and here it is in alphabetical

Black Mountain
Black Mountain - In The Future (Vancouver, BC)
official site | MySpace
Plants and Animals
Plants and Animals – Parc Avenue (Montréal, QC)
official site | MySpace
Basia Bulat
Basia Bulat - Oh, My Darling (London, ON)
official site | MySpace
Shad – The Old Prince (London, ON)
Caribou - Andorra (Dundas, ON)
official site | MySpace
Stars – In Our Bedroom After The War (Montréal, QC)
official site | MySpace
Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers (Ottawa, ON)
official site | MySpace
Two Hours Traffic
Two Hours Traffic – Little Jabs (Charlottetown, PE)
official site | MySpace
Holy Fuck
Holy Fuck - LP (Toronto, ON)
official site | MySpace
The Weakerthans
The Weakerthans – Reunion Tour (Winnipeg, MB)
official site | MySpace

"With the level of international acclaim for the albums and artists on our Long List, we expected, and got, a close battle for the top 10 slots," says Polaris Executive Director Steve Jordan. "The result is rich mixture of styles from different regions, which once again points to the seemingly bottomless artistic vitality of Canadian music."

Go to to hear tracks from each of the nominated artists and to explore links to each of their sites.

Gala & Broadcast & Contest

The 3rd Polaris Music Prize Gala date has been set for September 29 and will be held once again at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. Grant Lawrence of CBC's Radio 3 will once again be the host for the evenings festivities. The event is invite only, but there are two ways for you to follow the action:

1) Win the contest

Check back at We'll soon be announcing details of the first ever contest that will fly you and 5 friends to the Gala in Toronto, along with free Nokia handsets! There'll be other prizes too! All the details will be available in a matter of days.

2) Listen to the broadcast.

Thanks to the good folks at Sirius Satellite Radio, CBC Radio 3 will once again be broadcasting the Gala live. Performances from the nominees, testimonials by the jury, speeches by the artists, and Grant Lawrence cracking wise, all delivered to our browser via, or your Sirius Satellite receiver on their new home on the dial, channel 86.

Buy Polaris! Get Polaris free!

We will soon reveal how you can get a free download card with a track from each of our Short List artists with the purchase of any one of their records at a participating physical retail outlet. Check back at or watch for our ads in Chart and Exclaim! for details.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Music City Songwriting Contest

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced its second annual “Music City Songwriting Competition” with the winner to receive two roundtrip Southwest Airline tickets to Nashville along with a $1,000 cash prize.

The winner will appear and play the winning song on GAC Nights, and the song will also be heard on XM Satellite Radio’s “Music City Connection: Heroes Behind the Hits.” Additionally, the Music Group International will publish the song.

Amateur songwriters can enter the contest between now and August 15. The field will be narrowed to 25 songs which will be judged by an all-star panel including Country Music star Phil Vassar, who returns as honorary host of the contest, and Storme Warrren, an XM Satellite Radio personality and GAC Host.

For additional information visit

And may the Muse be with you...

BBC Radio - The Lost Beatles Interview

Here is the link to download the BBC radio show featuring the "Lost" Beatles interview that aired on BBC Radio 4 but is no longer available for streaming. The Lost Beatles Interview 01JUL08.mp3

As described from the BBC's Radio 4 site:
Sixties star Helen Shapiro presents the story of a lost TV interview with the Beatles that was recorded in April 1964 and recently found languishing in a rusty film can in a garage in South London. Experts say it's the earliest surviving interview where Lennon and McCartney talk about how they met and discuss the song writing process. With contributions from the original TV interviewer Paul Young - who had never seen the footage, which was part of a regional television programme broadcast only in Scotland - Beatles expert and writer Mark Lewisohn and Dick Fiddy of the BFI.

Lyric of the Week > Weezer > July 2

Gordon Lightfoot sang a song
About a boat that sank in the lake
At the break of the morn
And a cat named Stevens
Found a faith he could believe in
And Joan Baez never listened
To too much jazz
But hippie songs could be heard in our pad
Eddie Rabbitt sang about
How much he loved a rainy night
Devo and Benatar were there
The day John Lennon died
Mr. Springsteen said he had a hungry heart
Grover Washington was happy
On the day he topped the chart

From "Heart Songs"
Written by Rivers Cuomo
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