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The Muse's News

Issue 13.1 - April 2010
ISSN 1480-6975

This issue sponsored by:

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I n T h i s I s s u e :

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski
@-- New Artist Spotlight Additions
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by Ed Teja
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought
to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
@-- Featured Article - The Pursuit of a Record Deal - by Tom Hess
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2009 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.

All sorts of products and services especially for songwriters,
negotiated so that you get the best price possible. You'll find
means of promotion and distribution, songwriting aids,
educational products, musical instruments and their accessories,
and lots more. Find the perfect gift for the songwriter in your
life - even if it's you!
S p o n s o r M e s s a g e :

(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)


The 15th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is on now. Winning
songs will receive radio airplay in United States and Canada
along with great prizes such as a Top Prize of over $50,000.
FREE EARLY BONUS: Enter by March 31 or earlier to receive a free
bonus of a Guitar Player Subscription:

E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s :

I keep glancing at the number of this issue every now and again.
Has it really been *thirteen years*?? Wow. For those of you
just joining in on the fun, welcome! For those of you who have
been here a while, thanks SO much for sticking with us all these
years. There would hardly be a reason to keep producing this
newsleter if it weren't for all of you. :)

We also have a new sponsor for give aways. Please help me
welcome to our list of very generous
donors. These are *gorgeous* notebooks perfect for the creative
or song writer. They make great gifts, too! If you'd be
interested in winning one of these in a raffle, feel free to let
me know (your first and second choice would be really helpful!),
and also include your contact information so that there's an
address to send it to. Still, only a few can be won in the
raffle. If you can't wait, or want more than one, I highly
recommend checking out their site.

So, as there's tons of great stuff in this issue, I'll just get
right to the raffle winners and we can go on from there.

They are:

* Sue Cyr, from Raymond, NH, has won a copy of
Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software

* Michael Nicholson, from Belmont, NC, has won a free 3
month membership to SongU (, an
Internet-based learning environment providing online coaching,
co-writing and pitching opportunities, in addition to over 70
multi-level courses developed by award-winning songwriters.

* The Sign from New Norfolk, Tasmania have won a
downloadable version of Rhyme Genie (,
a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and
30 different rhyme types.

* Caterina Eva Marx, from Saarbrucken, Germany, has won a copy of's Musician's Toolkit CD

Wishing you much inspiration,


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S p o n s o r M e s s a g e :

(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)

(And Muse's News readers *still* get a special discount!)

Looking for something really special for that songwriter in your
life? (Maybe it's you!) MasterWriter is one of the most
remarkable software programs ever developed for the songwriter.
Its unique features together with an amazing array of reference
dictionaries provide the songwriter with everything he or she
needs, in one easy to use program. Why struggle to find the right
word or phrase when you can have all the possibilities in an
instant. In a world where good is rarely good enough,
MasterWriter will be an invaluable tool in helping the songwriter
consistently create the exceptional.

If you have a high speed connection, you can download a 30-Day
demo. If not, we will send you a copy for $9.95 which will be
deducted from the purchase price if you decide to buy.

MasterWriter's NEW price is now only $199 - but you'll still get
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The Muse's Muse! Please use discount coupon # 3004.

Endorsed by: BMI, ASCAP, NSAI, PRS and Taxi.
And you can try before you buy!


M u s i c R e v i e w s : Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski


Cyrus Rhodes:

* David Serotkin
* Jeff Cochell
* Resin
* Lisa Hugo

Don Sechelski:

* Shelley Miller
* Carla Ulbrich


For bios on each of the reviewers, see . If you're
considering sending in your own CD for review, you can also view
that page to find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks!

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N e w A r t i s t S p o t l i g h t A d d i t i o n s :

Great music is only a click away!
Here are just some of the great CDs highlighted in the
Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse at

Ann Mayo Muir - Genre: FOLK & TRADITIONAL

Ann Mayo Muir composes original music emerging from a deep well
of connection with the people and places she has known. Her
CD,"Notes From Across The Sea" is a sinuous, snappy, energetic
delight of interpretations with some pieces that feel American,
many with a European twist, and a few that have run off with the
Gypsies! Music played by Grammy nominated Ensemble Galilei.



Ranging from stripped-down Americana ballads to fully
instrumented rock pieces, All I'll Never Need showcases John
Amen's gift for melody, unique voice, and powerful lyrics.
Sometimes stark and haunting, other times triumphantly
celebratory, these songs offer proof that Amen is an invaluable
addition to the current musical landscape.

S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by Ed Teja


As a composer, musician, arranger, or someone who just enjoys
messing about with music, it is nice to have a way to quickly
check out how a sudden great musical idea actually sounds. Even
better, it is lovely to be able to tweak a chart and hear what
differences the changes make. Or maybe you just want a backup
band to play your chord changes while you toy with lyrics,
phrasing or melody. Ideally, this synthetic backup band will be
good enough to let you record extra instruments and vocals to
create a great sounding demo. And that is exactly what
SoundFactory does.

SongFactory is a self contained program that is quite easy and
lots of fun to use. You start by selecting a band type. At this
point, your choices are limited to a rock band and electro pop
(the company will be making more available over time on their
website), but as I will show you, that is not as huge a
limitation as it first seems (and the company promises further
updates with more types of bands). I have experimented more with
the rock band (the electro pop group is new), so I will reference
that one.

At the top of the screen is the song timeline, and below it are
the lines marked "chords", then "lyrics", and "samples". Using
the chords line you can enter the chords you want for every beat
of the song. A popup menu lets you pick the root and chord type.
There is a limited range of chord alterations, but it is more
sophisticated that simple triads. You can use triads, but there
are also major sevenths, sixths, 2 (ninths), suspended fourths,
and, more important, the ability to select any bass note, which
means you can get the variety implicit in slash chords.

Skipping lyrics for the moment, it is time to decide what sound
you want from your backup group. Below the chords, in the samples
selection, you can designate the sound. At the bottom of the page
you make the choice. For instance, I can choose from categories
such as "verse" and "chorus" to get a variety of acoustic or rock
sounds from my rock band. In addition, the miscellaneous category
provides a selection of endings, and the fill category gives a
huge selection of types of fills that work for turnarounds,
changeups, or just a chorus with a different feel.

The differences in the types of sounds is huge, so you can really
create a lot of textures. Or, to keep life simple, you can
audition the sounds, find a handful you love, and store them as
favorites. To use them, simply click and move the sound to the
appropriate bars in the samples timeline. Click on play to hear
your band play the changes. You can stretch the block to make the
sample cover more of the song.

Now here is the thing that really makes this program versatile -
you can edit the band. In fact you can edit each instrument. For
each sample (say "driving fill with strings"), you can edit the
sounds. You get a list of the instruments and a menu for
controlling their sounds, whether you want that instrument
silent, or playing chords, or tinkling, or whatever. Naturally
different instruments have different qualities, but the bass can
be pulsed, or straight or pushing the beat. There is some front
end work in getting the band to play exactly in the style you
want, but once it is done, you can create a lot of music with the
same group sound (you save your band or altered samples under new

The program is still developing, although it worked well on both
my XP and Vista based systems. And there are additional features,
such as the mixing desk, that will let you add reverb as you add
recorded channels. Naturally, you could also export the audio
track into some other recording program, such as SONAR to add
more tracks, as well. But this feature means you don't need more
software to make your demo.

Because I do a lot of jazz, I would like to see a bit more
variety in the available chord alterations and time signatures,
and certainly look forward to new bands (a jazz quartet and horns
would be nice). But in the meantime, this is already a serious
tool that is a lot of fun to use. I put in the changes to a
Charlie Parker song just so I could hear it played by a rock
band. That gave me ideas for writing a rock tune based on those
changes. There is much to explore with Songfactory as it is, and
I look forward to its evolution.



Ed Teja writes a broad range of music. His songs and
instrumentals have appeared in television shows (Court TV and
Discover Channel) and in a variety of videos. He has had two CDs
released by Morrhythm Records ( and is
currently cowriting songs with an exciting singer who is working
on her second CD. As a performer, Ed has appeared at strange
venues in Hong Kong, Canada, St. Martin, Bequia, Venezuela,
Grenada and Trinidad, as well as the Silver City (New Mexico)
Blues festival, Pickamania, and the Tucson (Arizona) Folk

You can hear some of Ed's music at:

If you'd like *your* book reviewed (as long as it has something
to do with songwriting, of course!), please do email us and let
us know!


S p o n s o r M e s s a g e :

(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)



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M u s i c a l N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including
changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests
and market information that have already been listed here, are
displayed at & . Please check there
regularly for updates!

We’re excited to repeat the Sandra James Music Foundation
Songwriting Contest for the 3rd year. Our contest in 2009 was a
great success! We are a non-profit organization committed to
supporting the causes that were important to Sandra; positive
changes involving children, music, peace, and the protection of
the environment. First prize is $1,000 and recognition of the win
on the Sandra James Music Foundation website. The contest will
run from January 1st 2010 to March 31st 2010. The winner will be
announced May 1st. Please visit our website for more information
and send us your songs!

Fee: $25.00
Rules and application from may be found at:

Whether you’ve written your very first song or you’re a seasoned
songwriter pounding the streets, “Your First Cut, a Step-by-Step
Guide to Getting You There” will help you set your goals, keep
you focused, and help you track your own progress toward
realizing your dream of someone recording your song. Authored by
Jerry Vandiver ("For a Little While" Tim McGraw) and Gracie
Hollombe Vandiver (2-time PRISM Award winner), this 224-page
workbook is designed to guide, encourage and enable the aspiring,
serious songwriter toward achieving the goal of acquiring his or
her first cut.

For more info or to read a sample chapter, visit

Song submissions now open for Songwriters and now Lyricists for
the 2010 Worlds Best Songs Competition. All Genres Accepted and
strongly recommended for newcomers and veterans alike. Visit the
website for a full list of prizes
and contest rules. Sign up for the monthly newsletter to receive
a FREE COPY of "The Top 5 Sites All Songwriters Should Know"

The Singer/Songwriter Awards from We Are Listening is about the
hottest international songwriting contest in the world. It's no
surprise that participating artists have gone on to sign with top
management, license their music for film and television, as well
as collaborate with renowned producers and enjoy substantial
uplifts in independent record sales.
*Deadline: *1st May 2010*
Fee: *$30*
Details: *

The Lyric Writer Awards from We Are Listening is the ultimate
contest for writers seeking to turn their lyrics into
professionally produced songwriter demos. If you long to have
your lyrics set to music by a published songwriter and have some
of the world's most prominent session musicians play on your
demo, this could really be the chance of a lifetime!
*Deadline: *31st March 2010*
Fee: *$20*
Details: *

Pete and Pat Luboff are offering a special rate to Muse's Muse
readers on a single song consultation: MM readers get a $5
discount by sending $15 via PayPal to
instead of using the $20 single-song button on the site. Please
email the songs to the same address (mp3 attachment with the
lyrics in the body of the email - lyrics only are fine).
Response will be by email. Offer is good until 12/1/09.

ARE YOU an unsigned act, songwriter or producer?? Looking for a
Record, Publishing, Management and Licensing deal worldwide,
especially in the UK and USA? Each month the BANDIT A&R
NEWSLETTER publishes features on Labels, Publishers, Managements
etc looking to sign acts, songs or masters. Get yourself a FREE

Feed The Muse presents a simple model for creators and audiences
to join together and keep the arts flourishing and is a simple
yet effective vehicle for musicians to fund their creative
projects and connect to their audience in a meaningful way. It
provides a means for artists to ask their fans, families and
friends to contribute financially in the artists’ evolution.

If an artist has 5,000 MySpace "friends" and each contribute
even $2 that totes up to $10,000 for the next tour or recording
project. This process allows fans who are passionate about their
artists and want to see them continue creating, the opportunity
to do so without having to make a large contribution. Feed The
Muse runs on the concept of microdonations. Every dollar, every
donation no matter how small is a statement of faith in the
project and moves it closer to completion.

Visit to see how easy it can be to get the
support you need.

My PR Music Wire offers press release writing and direct email
distribution to thousands of music journalists, radio stations,
and managers. You can also post your music press release for free
on our website by emailing it to
Receive 10% off your entire order when you enter the coupon code
muse10 at checkout!
STUDIOTRAXX.COM: BREAKING NEW GROUND - FOR YOU! provides an e-commerce platform that allows
artists/bands to purchase and book time with musicians,
engineers, producers, and other music professionals for online
studio collaboration purposes. They facilitate the entire music
production process from beginning to end — from finding and
booking the right talent to managing all resulting collaboration

StudioTraxx is actively building its talent network and is
encouraging both those who offer services and those who need
services to sign up and register. There are no costs to join the
site. Creating an account is FREE.

32,000 live music venues of all sizes are featured including
clubs, bars, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops, theaters, halls,
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mics. There are also 1,500 festivals listed as well as over
1,000 colleges for any artist that wants to plan a college tour.

Jumpstart your tour today!
for more information!

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M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson

©1998-2010 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission


I am a big fan of PBS and lately I've been watching a lot of my
favourite PBS shows online. Some of them are unavailable to me
because I'm not in the U.S., but one that is, is Austin City
Limits, a great live music series that has featured all kinds of
artists and bands over the years.

I was delighted to find an episode called "Lyle Lovett & Friends:
Songwriters Special" recently
( This episode was
recorded in 2008 and includes songwriting greats Guy Clark, John
Hiatt and Joe Ely; each of them with a pretty long track record
of songwriting, recording and performing. They take turns
playing their songs, occasionally accompanied by the others, and
there is no better way to see and hear the power of great
songwriting than in this pared-down, guitar and vocal way. I've
always understood that if a song can be performed with just an
instrument and voice, its real power can be heard (if it has
any!), and this is a wonderful demonstration of the genius of
each of these songwriters.

All of the songs are stand-outs in their own way, but what struck
me was how even a song that has a very simple guitar chord
progression, like Guy Clark's "Parking Lot" which has maybe 4
chords at the most, is still so compelling to listen to. I loved
John Hiatt's sassy "Memphis in the Meantime" and Joe Ely's "For
Your Love" was a great discovery too, and Lyle Lovett has always
been a favourite of mine. All of these songwriters are masters
when it comes to a clever turn of phrase or lyrical twist.
They're also real storytellers who can take you on a ride that is
both unpredictable and exhilarating; every song in this program
is a gem.

There is no fancy production here, no Autotune or overdubbing,
just the songs sung by their self-effacing and "unafraid"
writers. At the very end of the show is a short but illuminating
interview of the four of them discussing their songwriting

I'm going to spend more time exploring some of the other Austin
City Limits video archives, but in the meantime I highly
recommend "Lyle Lovett & Friends" to give you something wonderful
to aspire to!


Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in
Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also
maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles
and a songwriter's messageboard.

Songwriting Tips:

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F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : by Tom Hess

The Pursuit Of A Record Deal

Do you want a successful, stable and rewarding music career?
Would you like to know exactly what record companies, producers,
and management companies are looking for when seeking out new
artists? There are many great musicians who are not able to
build a successful music career because they do not know what it
is these companies want from them. As a result, many struggle
and wonder why they are unable to "make it" even though they may
be incredible musicians with great songs. What usually happens
is that people start to believe the common myth about luck. They
believe that you need to “get lucky” in order to "make it". The
result is that most musicians give up on their dreams and get a
normal (non music related) day job.

Because you are reading this article, I can imagine that you have
probably faced similar challenges. I know how you feel, because I
went through the same depressing struggle for years and have seen
hundreds of great musicians travel along the same path. But over
time, I have discovered that in many cases the lack of success is
caused by the musicians (including myself in the past) simply not
knowing what it is the music business companies want from new

You probably already know that record labels, producers,
entertainment lawyers, and managers seek artists who have a lot
more to offer than talent alone. What they want from you is a
"total package" which includes many things, but the two main
factors are: adding more value (in terms of money and/or
opportunity), and reducing potential downside risks to the music
company. I am going to tell you more about these two elements of
value and risk in this article.

Prior to signing my first record deal and doing my first real
tour, I read dozens of books about the music industry. Although
some of these books were helpful, I quickly discovered that the
reality of the music industry was very different from what the
books described. In most cases these books weren’t necessarily
'wrong', just very incomplete.

Entering the industry as a professional opened my eyes to many
things I had never heard of or thought about before. Eventually
I came to know and understand many important details about the
companies I worked with: their needs, challenges, problems and
mindsets. I paid very close attention to things that others
around me often overlooked. I did this for two reasons:

1) I wanted to advance my own career to the maximum extent
possible while remaining in control of the ways in which that
growth occurred.

2) I was already mentoring other musicians, so going deeper into
my understanding of the music business was something I needed to
do for their benefit as well.

** The rest of this article can be found at **


Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording
artist. He teaches guitar players around the world via online
guitar lessons
(, Visit to get free guitar playing tips
(, assessments,
surveys, mini courses and to reach Tom with questions about
reaching your musical goals.

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" O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E :

Blue Collar's Odds N Sods - by Mick Polich

Gear reviews, new CD releases, books, amp mods......we got a
little bit o' every thang for you folks this column!


Assembling an Effective Street Team - by Cyrus Rhodes

Many bands have learned the power of “word of Mouth” via an
effective Street Team. Street Teams' are a powerful promotional
tool that has been adopted industry wide ...


If you suck at running live sound - please quit!
- by Cyrus Rhodes

Some Indies bands cannot afford either to buy either a quality
sound system, or hire a professional. I get that. Also true -
some smaller club owners don't even know what good sound gear is.
That's fine as well. What I can't understand is this: if you are
a club that offers a decent to premium “live sound” setup, HIRE


Something Every Roadie Should Read - by Cyrus Rhodes

Sure being a roadie is the toughest job in the Music Business,
but keep you head up, you just might be a Rock Star one day.


Blue Collar's Blog Mash-Up:Taking A Break/Retire or... Re-Invent?
- by Mick Polich

Mick decides to take to two articles that he's been addressing,
and combine them into one(as any good Midwesterner, waste is not
an option)! Sometimes we need breaks from the business of music,
and sometimes we need to figure out what to do next, even if it's
not what the 'prevailing wisdom' tells us.........


Be a Responsible Performer - by Cyrus Rhodes

Many newcomers are unaware of their responsibilities towards the
venue, bookers, people in the crowd, and even opening acts.
Having an incident occur during the show could have disastrous
consequences as you are trying to build a reputation regionally
as a professional.


How To Improve Your Guitar Technique - Part 1 - by Tom Hess

This article will help you to improve your guitar playing so that
you can become a much more expressive musician and songwriter.


C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s :


The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your
songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its Seventh Edition, The
Indie Bible has 330 pages of valuable contacts and music-related

The 11th Edition of the Indie Bible contains:
4200 publications around the world that will REVIEW your CD!
3400 radio stations around the world that will PLAY your songs!
500 vendors and services that will help you to SELL your music!
200 sites where you can UPLOAD your band's MP3 files!
500 helpful resources and sites where you can PROMOTE your band!
52 articles that will help your career to MOVE forward rapidly!

Listings include web, e-mail and physical address, as well as
phone and fax numbers.

For details and to order online visit:

Lyricist is the first-of-its-kind word processor designed
specifically for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software
includes a Rhyming Dictionary, Thesaurus, Album Categorization,
Chord Charting, Chord Generator, Song Arrangement, and On-Line
Copyright Link.

The new version 3 release adds support for "Piano Style" chord
symbols, Nashville Number System, and Transposition features -
all in one easy-to-use package - and all for only $44.95! (That's
$5.00 off to all Muse's News readers who purchase from the review
link at!)

This tool will revolutionize the way you write and organize your
writing. Be the best songwriter you can be and purchase Lyricist

You Can Play Guitar author and publisher Scott Morris now offers
7 Free email guitar lessons that include easy to learn guitar
tablature, a sound file and free guitar lesson videos of his easy
to learn Billboard top rated guitar method that includes learning
guitar scales and theory used by professional songwriters. The
Free Guitar Lesson Videos - teach samples of learning the names
of the notes, sharps and flats, easy to play guitar chords and
more great information for beginner to professional level

But not only that - his lessons are currently $60 off their
regular price - AND he's offering free shipping within the US!
There's never been a better time than now to improve your guitar
playing (and there's a bass guitar course there too!).

Want to know more? Visit

Inspired by the songwriter's journey, and through understanding
the principles talked about in "THE SECRET", this audio program
is specifically created for the songwriter based on those
findings. Through Power of Thought and Understanding the Law of
Attraction, you will have the tools, knowledge & ability to
create the thoughts, experiences, and circumstances to be a
phenomenally Successful Songwriter. Included is a guided
meditation that is as passionate as it is empowering!

Muse's Muse Visitors - Enter Promo Code: 42567 for Discount.

Limited Introductory Offer of $12.95 for Digital Download
Discounts for CD, and CD/Digital Download Combo shown on ordering


One of the most respected and imitated indie music sites on the
web, has been serving the Independent Music
Community since 1996 with streaming audio, monthly CD Reviews,
huge industry search directory, success-building resources,
classifieds, and much-needed recognition. The site offers a
wealth of information to artists trying to survive & thrive in
today's competitive music industry.
ADVERTISING RATES: For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 8 lines, where
a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All
contracts must be prepaid. Write to:
For Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising
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C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s :

Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR
The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about
songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint
The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate
credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is
included (including credits and information at the end of each
issue). Others should contact me at
All articles copyrighted by their authors.

Back issues and other information (how to subscribe and
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The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for

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The Muse's News. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc.

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