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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 14.2
May 2011

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Ivan Nossa & Cyrus Rhodes
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Anastasia Karalekas
* 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: Quick Tip: To and fro, up and down, twist and turn all around - by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2011 - 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. Any of these items would make a fantastic present for a songwriter in your life (even if it's you! :-) ) Check it out!

Sponsor Message:
(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 2.0 is the most powerful suite of songwriting tools ever assembled in one program. MasterWriter is endorsed by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NSAI and is used by some of the world's leading songwriters including Gwen Stefani, Rob Thomas, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Jimmy Webb, Kenny Loggins, Trent Reznor, Clint Black, and many more.

In addition to giving you Rhymes, Close Rhymes, Phrases, Pop-Culture, Synonyms, and the Definition, new features include Word Families and Parts Of Speech, two unique and revolutionary reference dictionaries that will open up a new world of possibilities for descriptive words and ideas. There have been updates and improvements to the existing features, including greatly expanded Sound-Alikes (close rhymes), and a completely redesigned Interface. These are serious tools for the serious songwriter.

MasterWriter's NEW price is now only $199 - but you'll still get a *$20* discount (your price is just $179!) by ordering through The Muse's Muse! Take the Tour, Download a Free Trial, and get a $20 discount! Note that the auto-inserted discount number 3004 will apply the $20 discount when ordering online. Windows and Mac compatible.

Editor's Musings:

Hello again for another month! As per usual, I'll start with weather service announcements. ;-) It's raining. A lot. That is all. :-)

Moving write along (pun intended :D) - Please help me welcome Dan Rivers, our newest columnist here at The Muse's Muse! Dan is going to help you get your songs heard in his new column, Dan's Tin Pan Alley. And his first article is all about How to Get a Song in Front of a Publisher. Not one you want to miss! Stay tuned for his monthly articles and gain valuable tips from his many years in the business. You can also ask him questions, if you have them. He'll be happy to hear from you.

In voice over news, in case any of you are interested (and feel free to skip this if you aren't), I've just had a friend of mine put together a video demo for me. Pretty cool stuff. Jason LeBlanc at Audio Art Cafe does some really great work. Check it out on my YouTube site when you have a chance. It gives a pretty good overview of some of my latest work - including my national US Gold Bond commercial, which some of you might already have been seeing on your TV. :)

There's LOTS of great stuff for you in this issue - and on the website too! So I'm going to just get to the raffle winners so we can move along. :)

  • Chaplain Jerry Vance from La Grange, KY, has won a 6 month subscription to the Onlinegigs service. This valuable service is a powerful tool for musiciains, agents, record companies and managers designed to virtually automate the administration of booking and promoting a band or bands.
  • John Brhel from Binghamton, NY, has won a beautiful (and highly useful!) notebook from The Jotted Line.
  • Tom Ward, from Kingston Ontario Canada, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Lizzie Cepeda from Lathrop, CA, 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.
  • Greg Bernard, from La Mirada, CA, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.

If you'd like to be considered for a raffle prize yourself, have a look at the various prizes offered at the top of The Muse's News webpage, decide which prizes you'd most like, and email me with your top two choices along with your mailing address so that I can get the prizes to you. Yes, it's really that simple. :) (And yes, the mailing address is kinda important. I promise it won't be used for any other reason than to send you your raffle prize - and to mention your approximate location in the notice of raffle winners you see above here.)

Thanks, guys! I wish you every success and a wonderful coming month. Until next time,

All the best,


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


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Music Reviews: By: Ivan Nossa & Cyrus Rhodes


Ivan Nossa:

* Denny Fast Fingers
* Juanita Fleming

Cyrus Rhodes:

* Marshmellow Overcoat
* Jodie Levinson
* Phil Ayoub

Click here for bios on each of the reviewers. 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!

Artist Spotlights:

Great music is only a click away!
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
in the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.



Dan has been spinning his haunting story songs in clubs and coffee houses from his home town of New Orleans all the way to Nashville. Often compared to Harry Chapin, Dan’s heartfelt tales will stay with you as the truth of his compelling lyrics take a hold of you. His unique blend of Americana/folk/soft rock will keep you coming back for more.


Little Miss Higgins - Genre: BLUES

Across The Plains, is the 4th full length album she's recorded. It was recorded in Winnipeg, Manitoba at Bedside Studio. She co-produced this album with fellow musician and producer Jaxon Haldane. The album is filled with all original songs. Lots of horns, muck-bucket bass, upright bass, wonderful percussion, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and even one song that is a acapella vocals accompanied by stompin' and clappin' and a sandalwood fan.  She won the 10th Annual Independent Music Award for Blues Album.

Songwriting Book Review By: Anastasia Karalekas

“How To Write Songs In Altered Guitar Tuning”
by Rikky Rooksby

Last month’s book review was “How to Write Songs On Guitar” by Rikky Rooksby. Consider this month’s book review, also by Rooksby, an essential Part 2 for the seasoned guitar-playing songwriter.

In “How to Write Songs in Altered Guitar Tuning”, Rooksby shows you how to write an interesting song by stepping out of standard tuning (EADGBE), and introducing your guitar to altered tunings.

The history and overview of altered tunings is a great place to start if you’re anything like me and only touch your tuning pegs to tune your guitar. (To standard tuning, of course.) And we all come up blank sometimes, don’t we? You sit down to write a song, with a great idea in your head, or a melody in your mind, or both. You strum a few chords to see what will happen, and… nothing. I know I find myself using the same chords over and over again, and getting nowhere sometimes. Rooksby lists the advantages (many) and disadvantages (few and far outweighed) of using altered tunings, and after reading this part (well, it’s just a page, really) I was not only ready, but inspired to try something… different! So, the last time I sat down to write a song, I tried the first, most simple alternate tuning. I detuned just one string, and Wow! I have now added altered tunings to my songwriter’s toolbox!

You will find some basic rules and tips for songwriting, but if you’re reading *this* book, it’s really a section that you can just glance over. It’s just a few basics to refresh your memory, because the real songwriting tips are the ones that are interspersed throughout the book, the tips are relative to whatever tuning or sound is being discussed. You’ll recognize classic Rooksby style here, where he puts into words what kind of sound, mood, or tone you’ll get from each and every alternate tuning. And he does this as he transitions you through the one-string altered tuning, to two-string or open tunings, major and minor, and more.

And, additionally in classic Rooksby fashion, you’ll find some famous songwriters’ comments and opinions on altered tunings. PLUS, a complete chord dictionary for these new tunings, all here at your fingertips.

There aren’t many books out there dedicated to writing songs in altered tuning on guitar. Along with the short FAQ section, which is sure to answer any questions you may have, you also get a CD with this book. This is always a great idea; in this case, it saves you from having to retune your guitar in order to hear the different sounds you could be playing with. You get a visual chord dictionary AND an audio one, too. What a great combination!

Bottom line: If you’re writing songs on guitar, this book is a must-have for your library.



Anastasia Karalekas is a self-taught guitarist and music absorber.  When she is not learning, learning, learning, she spends her time writing fiction and poetry. After taking some private guitar lessons, her teacher encouraged her  to try putting some of her poems to music, and she's been writing songs ever since.

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!

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


GMC is a video lesson archive & community. GMC has tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons. GMC also features forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats + content for bass, drums, singing, piano etc. All genres and styles are covered - Rock, metal, shred, blues, jazz, country & acoustic, funk.. We want you to have fun while learning - so get rocking NOW!

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Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space, I will be including only 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!

USA Songwriting Competition Launches "Songwriters For Japan", A Japan Relief Bid

The USA Songwriting Competition on Saturday launched a campaign to support relief in Japan as top names in the entertainment world offered condolences after the mega earthquake of a magnitude 9.0 and tsunami. Over 20 countries in the Pacific Rim were put on high alert on Friday, March 11, after a massive earthquake caused a tidal wave which devastated Japan.


The winner of our Kauai Music Festival prize will receive FREE attendance to the festival, a special PERFORMANCE SPOT on one of the concert nights, and HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS during the festival. The very best Film & TV music supervisors, songwriters, producers, publishers, A&R Executives, and other music industry professionals will be there to hear your song! To enter our contest, Go To: and submit your song, it's 100% FREE! Fans will vote on your song and the songwriter with the most votes, wins the prize! The Smashtune competition will run from April 24th - June 30th.


The EcoTunes Contest, which runs from April 18-May 18, 2011 in Greater Victoria, BC Canada, offers a chance for local, professional and amateur songwriters of all ages to celebrate the Capital Region’s landscapes and natural areas through music. Entrants should submit an original song via a YouTube link for a chance to win a $500 gift certificate with Larsen Music. The first prize winner will be invited to perform their song at the 2011 EcoStar Awards Ceremony on June 1, 2011. Contest details and entry form can be found at deadline: May 18, 2011.


Qualify for the Songwriters Retreat Travel Grant! We are giving away 4 grants ($250.00 each) to assist in your travels to our Retreat! REO understands that people are coming to this retreat from around the world and may need assistance with increasing fuel prices and travel expenses. If you are a Muse's Muse subscriber, you will then receive an additional $50.00 off your tuition package. Don't miss an opportunity to learn from Pat Pattison, Bonnie Hayes, Steve Seskin & Don Osborn! Sign up for the 2011 Songwriters Retreat, July 17 to 22, 2011 at REO Rafting Resort (located 2.5 hours from Vancouver in the beautiful Fraser Canyon)! All-inclusive packages start at $949. 

Grant Requirements and Process
1. Send one original song that showcases your talents as a songwriter to REO Rafting.
2. Write two paragraphs. One paragraph summarizing your musical and songwriting interests and goals. The other indicating why you would like to attend the retreat. 
3. We will let songwriters know within 1 week of submission if they qualify for the travel grant.

Please email your song and paragraphs to or email us for more information. There is more information on our website. Check it out.


For more than a decade, self-released and independent label talent from around the globe have found new audiences and revenue opportunities through The Independent Music Awards (The IMAs) -  currently accepting submissions.

Known for supporting artists who follow their own muse, the program receives submissions from artists previously on major labels as well as self-released and indie label talent from more than 70 countries on 6 continents. Honors in more than 70 Album, Song, Music Video and Design categories are awarded annually!

Earning an Independent Music Award is more than a badge of distinction. The influential IMA program actively promotes winners and nominees to millions of music fans, talent buyers, film, TV & gaming music supervisors and media outlets.


Stars Uncharted is a new website that was created in order to feature the best music out there and encourage originality, creativity, imagination and authenticity. If you know a great solo artist / songwriter / band or want your music featured, Stars Uncharted offers prizes to whoever helps it feature extraordinary music. At the moment SU offers Sony PCMM10 Portable Linear PCM Recorders (List Price: $399.99) to anyone who introduces them to great music. Blow their virtual socks off and the music you suggest will be featured and you'll win a digital recorder.



MusikPitch is a brand new website where songwriters can find the latest opportunities from companies, studios, and individuals looking for custom songs. It's a straightforward marketplace, where you can get your music heard and win contracts, regardless of your experience and location. New projects are posted daily — from big name movie studios and company brands to non-profits and schools. Start browsing for great new opportunities today!


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.


32,000 live music venues of all sizes are featured including clubs, bars, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops, theaters, halls, churches, book stores, community centers, house concerts and open 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! Click here for more information!

Muse's Clues - By Irene Jackson

©1998-2011 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Lately I've started a video series on my website devoted to a song that I've started writing. I decided to create a kind of video log of my process just to show its progress, and that inspired me to look through some YouTube videos just to see what's out there in terms of video songwriting tips.

There are plenty of them, many from people doing the same thing I'm doing. Some are pitching books or software, others are finding unique ways of showcasing their own songs, and then there are a few real gems hidden amongst the pages and pages of results.

So this month I'm sending you a collection of five short YouTube videos featuring some well-established songwriters. Some names you might recognize and others you won't, but the point is that these songwriters have been there and done that many, many times and they certainly have something to say about the songwriting process.

The first is from an interview of Ralph Murphy who has a great book called Murphy's Laws of Songwriting and a website of the same name ( and who presents "Three Things Every Writer Feels They Have a Mandate To Do". He talks about it right here:

Another video interview is with Gary Osborne who is a successful British songwriter, having written hit songs for artists as diverse as Alice Cooper, Cliff Richard, Jennifer Warnes and Wilson Pickett. The question is, given just one minute, what would your one good piece of advice for a songwriter be? Here is his answer:

John Foreman is an Australian composer, and the following video was recorded at the Song Summit Mentors in Australia where John offers up a couple of ideas on how to start the songwriting process:

For a different perspective, famed guitarist Paul Nelson talks about how he comes up with songs on his guitar. His approach looks at the idea of song form and how, if you study them and come up with 12 of your own, you've already got a whole album! Here it is:

And lastly, former STYX songwriter and lead singer Dennis DeYoung gives us a little insight into his songwriting philosophy:

When you watch these videos from successful writers you realize that they are not much different from the rest of us in terms of how they think and create. And that's a very good thing!


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:

Featured Article - By Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP: Bewitched and Bewildered

In the 60s and 70s, back in the day, long before my time… yeah right… there was a TV show called Bewitched. Each episode showed how the supernatural powers of a modern witch named Samantha, thin, dishwater blonde, blue eyes, minus the broom and crooked warted nose I'll have you know, helped in a crisis and conversely got both her and her husband in a bit of trouble.

"Brad?  Has the marshmallow slipped off your s'more? What does that have to do with songwriting?"  Nope my marshmallow is still dead center of the graham cracker. Dude. Hang in a sec.

You see Samantha had several powers, one of "which" (no pun intended) was to wriggle her little button nose and twinkle twinkle poof she'd be in a different place instantly. In our songs many times we tell a story which obviously requires a chronological order of events. As we write, and more the truth, re-write our songs, we make various changes as we go along.

For example one very common suggestion you'll hear people give writers in an evaluation session for any number of reasons is to either switch verse 2 with verse 1, or similarly swap chunks of verses with others.

As we do our writing and make our changes we need to keep mindful of the logical series of events and not suddenly pull Samantha into our writing session. We need to make sure that we haven't  magically moved our character somewhere that hasn't been known to our listeners.

"Yeah but, does that really happen?" Well yes it does in fact. Let's pick on John Denver's Leaving On a Jet Plane. Pull up your fav browser and find the  tune or lyric and check it out.

The song starts out with his bags packed; standing outside his sweetie's door telling her he hates to wake her up to say tootle-do. So he's established where he is and where she is. She's sleeping in the room and he's standing outside the room on the other side of the door. We'll even ignore the fact he's talking to someone who is not conscious in the first place.

Now, a little known fact on this particular song which I think you'll find pretty interesting…  suddenly Elizabeth Montgomery, the actor that played Samantha? ...Busted her way into John's writing session, twitched her nose and poof! John, much to our surprise  without even turning the door knob or taking a single step, is all of the sudden along side his lover's bed  asking her to kiss him, hold him, promise she'll wait for him and give him a hugaroo like no other.

Don't believe me? Hop on the net and have  a listen for your self. It's either that, or John's sweetie has supernatural powers of her own as the Super Elastic Lady with arms and lips that stretch across the room, busted through the door and began hugging and kissing him while he stood there at the door. Wow… I don't know about you but that just conjured up some pretty bazaar imagery for me.

I'm not picking on John, I wish I could get huge success off a song with a major booboo like that. I'm sure he got away with it because of his other writings at the time, but I can guarantee if you wrote that and presented it for an evaluation as an unknown writer today it'd be flagged in a New York Second, which BTW is officially much faster than a second anywhere else in the world.

So as you write continually step back from your work as if you are a listener and not writer, read it for literal content, and see if there are any logical glitches in the events happening in your song. If you let Bewitched get in  your song you will  leave your listeners bewildered.

Happy writing!


Brad Dunse is a performing songwriter based deep in the country's heartland reflecting sensitivity of daily living in his songs. Writing primarily in Folk, Country, Pop, or Americana, he occasionally writes CCM. Co-writer of The Wall, a tribute to Viet Vets receiving major market airplay, he's also received airplay on NPR, local public, independent, and web radio. He is a freelance writer, is board member of Minnesota Association of Songwriters, been member or involved in ASCAP, NSAI, SongU and other organizations. You can visit his web site at WWW.BRADDUNSEMUSIC.COM as well Add As Facebook Friend or Follow Him On Twitter.


Interview with Hit Songwriter, Danny Wells - by Bronson Herrmuth

In this interview, Danny Wells shares his many years of songwriting experience and success with all of us and I recommend you read/listen closely to what he has to say. This one is a must and I'm proud to share it with you!


How To Get a Song In Front of a Publisher - by Dan Rivers

Dan gives you a few easy to follow hints on how to get your music in front of publishers - and actually listened to.


How To Improve Your Guitar Playing With And Without A Metronome -
by Tom Hess

Do you think that using a metronome is important for improving your guitar playing? On this issue, guitar players tend to fall into two camps: some use the metronome all the time and others don't use it at all.  The truth is that neither approach is correct. This article will show you how you should use the metronome in your guitar practicing in order to make faster progress as a musician. 


Life-Long Learning In Music - by Mick Polich

Think there are no more areas to explore for you in seeking new music to write? Mick gives some observations on becoming a 'student' of music as we get older (and maybe wiser) 

Classifieds & Useful Services


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 articles.

The 11th Edition of the Indie Bible contains:
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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.

Click here for details and to order online.


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 $54.95! (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 today!


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 page.


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.

For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 7 lines (though I do make exceptions), where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to:

Click here for Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities.

Contact Info & Credits

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 will be available here.

The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters.

For further information, send your e-mail to: - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe or end your subscription. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc.

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