I view my songwriting like an athlete views his or her sport. I have to practice. I have to stay in shape. So I do it every day. I can stack the odds in my favor by starting with a distraction-free space. I need to feel quiet and relaxed and able to channel things that are deeper than the inputs from my immediate surroundings. I don't want the phone to ring, or the TV buzzing away in the background. When inspiration hits I need to be able to receive it clearly. If I don't catch it, someone else will.
SONGWRITERS!! Do you ever feel like you’re all alone out there? Laboring in a vacuum? Wishing you could connect with other songwriters for advice or collaboration? If you live in San Diego to Seattle or anywhere in between, you’re in luck! You have an abundance of resources at your fingertips in the West Coast Songwriters’ Association.
On February 18, William Fitzsimmons will release Lions, his follow-up LP to 2010's well-received Gold In The Shadow. Produced by Chris Walla (guitarist for Death Cab For Cutie with previous production credits with Tegan and Sara, The Decemberists and The Postal Service among others), Lions is a career-defining album that explores Fitzsimmons' personal transformation over the last few years.
I grew up in Nashville. It was a very intimidating place to grow up if you aspire to sing or make music. Nearly everyone that ever came to work on our air conditioner was trying to be in the music business. Most of the waiters and waitresses were, too. I saw lots of people TRYING to be singers and songwriters, but I didn't know anyone who was actually doing it.
One of the little joys an avid music listener anticipates is the next band/album that is going to affect him or her in such a way, that it cannot be explained completely with words. Sure, they can make an attempt explaining why an album is "so good," but there is just something alien to dialogue that strikes a "chord" (pun intended) in their heart-soul (that's a "Hamlet 2" reference, and if you got it, bravo). For me, that band was, and still is, The Black Atlantic.
Nashville-based vocalist LEILAH is the daughter of Woodstock hit singer/songwriter Melanie (‘I've Got A Brand New Pair of Rollerskates’, ‘Look What They've Done To My Song’). Her new album Make Believe is out now and can be streamed is SoundCloud at www.soundcloud.com/leilahmusic. On top of her new album, LEILAH has released a new music video for her profound new single "Only You."
Boston-based singer Marissa Nadler has shared the first track, "Dead City Emily," off her forthcoming sixth full-length album, July, coming out on February 4th on Sacred Bones (US) and February 11th on Bella Union (ROW).
Don’t let the term diatonic harmonic interval scare you; it simply means two notes from the same scale played at the same time. Harmonic intervals are particularly useful on the acoustic guitar because they lend heft to single-note lines, especially up the neck, and they are staples of blues, country, R&B and traditional Spanish and Latino music. In a previous lesson we discussed one such interval (the third), and this time we’ll look at its cousin, the sixth.
I’ll rarely pass up an opportunity to catch a show at one of the greatest venues in the Bay Area–The Fox Theater–so when I saw Iron & Wine was on the calendar, I made plans to be there. I was (and still am) a huge fan of Iron & Wine’s 2004 release, Our Endless Numbered Days, so I jumped at the chance to see Sam Beam at The Fox, who is touring in support of his latest record, Ghost on Ghost. Admittedly, I haven’t kept up with Beam much these days, but I was excited to see where the last few years had taken him.