Being a Singer-Songwriter, at least as far as I have experienced it, has a surprising amount of solitary work. That is why my community of YQR Songwriters is so important. As far as my musical life is concerned, it is the connections among these songwriters for which I am most grateful. First, I appreciate the range of musical styles in our monthly meetings from pop to country to folk to jazz to… Second, our community is a serious one—one in which we thoughtfully engage with different aspects of the craft of songwriting; one in which we have reflective discussions about rhyme schemes, lyrical intents and meaning, melodic contour, etc… Third, and I believe this to be true of all groups, the community is truly larger than any one of us. A kind word from a fellow songwriter can make all the difference; so too, can a most helpful bit of feedback to change a lyric or a melody.
Through YQR Songwriters, a regional group of the Songwriters Association of Canada, as well as through Sask Music, I have met and worked with some awesome people in 2017. I was fortunate to be selected for a co-writing retreat led by Justin Gray. Sally Meadows and Lyn Besse McGinnis and I were a team, through which I learned much about lyric writing and song themes. Justin Gray was an awesome mentor through the process. After that weekend, Tyler Gilbert (another workshop participant) and I co-wrote a song, “A Gravel Road Has a Song All Its Own.” Last year, Canada Sound 150 encouraged artists to write songs around iconic Canadian sounds; Tyler and I choose a gravel road sound byte, ubiquitous in rural Canada, particularly for those of us who have toured in such areas. Tyler is a great songwriter with an especially strong and engaging voice. Check out his version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” not an easy song to sing, and he really nails it. I really enjoyed working with Tyler. Dale MAC, another YQR Songwriter, and I have both studied at Berklee College of Music Online. I completed a Songwriting Specialist Certificate, and Dale MAC courses in Vocal Techniques, and in Studio Production. He gave a useful, hands-on presentation on syncopation as applied to the art of songwriting to us YQR Songwriters. Dale and I co-wrote an article for Sask Music’s, The Session magazine, about our respective experiences at Berklee Online. Dale is an easy-going singer-songwriter with an inquisitive nature that really opens possibilities for his songwriting. I especially like his song “Good Morning” from his new EP “American Horse”—quite unique the way he sings this song.
Of course, there are YQR regulars, starting with my talented co-coordinator, Wanda Gronhovd, who is so great at going for it and getting things done! She recently completed a tour of her new CD “Shifting Sands.” I learn much from William John Stewart and his clever lyrics; Brian Smyth who never misses a session, and who is well-connected to various songwriting worlds. Glen Sutter certainly supports the connection between songwriting and nature. …And there are many more songwriters in our ranks. On a personal level I sincerely thank each of you for your participation and hope to see you at some meetings in 2018.
May your songwriting muse and your songwriting athlete meet for many training sessions in 2018! And may some of those sessions be with us at YQR Songwriters.
With you in melody, in harmony, in lyric, in song,