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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 17.6
September 2014

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Chris Propfe
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by John Thomas
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - by adventurer and songwriter, Richard Miller.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: Beat the Daylights Out of Your Writing Session by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article (or articles) already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2014 - 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! :-) ) Have a Look!


I personally use HostDime - and LOVE them. Really. Their service is superb and prompt, they really know what they're doing, you can chat with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and their pricing (The Muse's Muse uses a dedicated server) is very reasonable. Check them out!

Sponsor Message:
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MasterWriter gives you Rhymes, Close Rhymes, Phrases, Synonyms, Word Families, Pop-Culture, Alliterations, the Definition and more. Also included is an audio recorder and tools that will give you everything you'll need to organize your songs. The new version 3.0 is web–based, so you can leave the house empty–handed and access MasterWriter on any computer, tablet or smart phone, wherever you are.
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“MasterWriter will not only help you write great songs, it will make you a better songwriter in the process.”
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“Producers have Pro Tools. Writers have Word. Songwriters have MasterWriter.”
–Rob Thomas

Editor's Musings:

Hi everyone! Welcome to another action-packed ... ok ... at least information-packed ...issue. :) There's a ton of things for you to read and enjoy here so I'll get to it quickly - but I did want to mention that there's a new songwriting organization in town if you happen to be living in the Kentucky area (or at least, it's new to me. ;) ). You can reach KASLAC (the Kentuckiana Association of Songwriters, Lyricists And Composers) by visiting their Facebook page where you'll find other information on how to get involved.

I heard from precisely no one about my question in regards to interesting places in Florida to visit (that had nothing to do with Disney). I can only conclude that the great majority of you are enjoying the summer months by barely reading your email. ;) That's ok. I can hardly blame you. I hope your summer has been going great! I am NOT happy to hear about the winter that's being predicted for us in my neck of the woods. (Brrr!). But I will be able to keep my illusions of warmth for probably another month, I think. After that, even I will not be able to make believe hard enough. Though I'll certainly try.

Here are the raffle winners for this month - and remember that you can join their ranks if you'd like, just by following the instructions below this listing of the lucky few. :)

  • Mark Grim, from Minneapolis, MN, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Rika Körte, from Bielefeld, Germany, 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 Glaze from Salem, Oregon, has won a ZEEDIS, pocket-sized, circular slide rule for finding the notes of chords, scales, modes and also for finding diatonic triads of scales/modes, instantly and easily. Thanks,! What a great tool!

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.)

Enjoy the summer, folks. Stay hydrated and stay inspired!

All the best,


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


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Music Reviews:


Chris Propfe:

* Mitch Katz

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.


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: John Thomas

The War of Art

by Steven Pressfield

There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t,
and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.
What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

So says Steven Pressfield in the first few pages of his book, The War of Art. Subtitled, Winning the Inner Creative Battle, Pressfield’s book says it is about what keeps us from doing the work that we need to do and how to get our work done.

If you’re reading this review, then, presumably, that work is writing songs. For Pressfield, this work is writing books. He says, however, that the principles are the same, across the fields of creative work.

So, what is Resistance? Pressfield labels that which keeps us from doing our work as Resistance. It is that invisible force that “kicks in when we seek to pursue a calling in the arts, launch an innovative enterprise, or evolve to a higher station morally, ethically, or spiritually.” Pressfield, then, wryly notes: “So if you’re in Calcutta working with the Mother Teresa Foundation and you’re thinking of bolting to launch a career in telemarketing… relax. Resistance will give you a free pass.”

What he means is this: You have a calling in your life. This calling causes you to grow as a person, to contribute in the most meaningful way to the world, and brings you a deep sense of satisfaction when you do it. Resistance is what keeps you from doing that important work.

It can appear as distractions, as procrastination, as rationalizations, as real-life issues that keep you from writing your songs. But Pressfield also notes that “What’s particularly insidious about the rationalizations that Resistance presents to us is that a lot of them are true. They’re legitimate.” He goes on, “What Resistance leaves out, of course, is that all this means diddly. Tolstoy had thirteen kids and wrote War and Peace.”

We have to do our work. It is important. And it can be beaten. How?

By Turning Pro, which is what the second part of the book is about.

An amateur thinks about his work, talks about his work, glorifies, and objectifies his work, but doesn’t do his work.

A pro does his work.

Pressfield tells you how a pro thinks and acts and approaches his work. He tells you how to get your work done.

He also makes the point that we are pros in some area of our life already. The issue is: are you a pro in that work that is yours to do? He lays out ten ways that you are already pro in other areas of your life and gives you real-life stories of how he works and situations that he has been through so that you can see and feel what it is really like to turn pro in your work (not your day job, but your work).

Pressfield, then, closes the book with a discussion on invoking and cultivating your muse, your creative side, if you will, and the deeper meaning of our work, both to us and to the world.

So, a fair question to ask is: How successful has Pressfield been in beating Resistance?

Well, if writing The Legend of Bagger Vance (which became a movie starring Will Smith) and writing at least a dozen other published books, both fiction and nonfiction, means anything, then, yes, he’s been successful beating Resistance. However, I think Pressfield would agree that he first beat Resistance seventeen years before he received his first paycheck as a writer because that is how long he consistently wrote before he received that paycheck. That is the mark of a pro.

In the book, Pressfield quotes Telamon of Arcadia, a fifth century B.C. mercenary: “It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.” The War of Art is the field commander’s guide to living the creative “warrior’s” life and doing your work.

Grab a cup of Kona and read this book. More importantly, after you read it, apply it and turn pro.


John Thomas is a singer, songwriter, and bass player in Macon, Georgia who loves good songs, good coffee, and the company of his beautiful wife and children.

Sponsor Message:
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Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space (when I need to), 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!


The Great American Song Contest features awards for 50 winners in 10 categories and provides $10,000 in Prizes. Entrants receive written song evaluations from music-industry judges, including publishers, music producers and recording artists. The event is open to songwriters, lyricists and composers around the world. Sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere. Submission deadline is November 20, 2014. For details, visit:


Don Clarke & Kalla Bremer won top honors for their original song "The Long Walk Is Over." First-Place category winners were Jonas Friddle for "Man Was Make to Fly" (Americana/Folk); Ryan Gollogly for "Almost Famous" (Adult Contemporary); Dave Gunning & George Canyon for "These Hands" (Singer-Songwriter); Chase Manhattan & Night Argent for "Immortalized" (Rock); David Haley Lauver for "Mary Saw the Angels" (Christian/Gospel); Scott Stevens for "We Grow Up" (Country); Johnny Vanderlip "I Know A Secret" (Instrumental); Machine McKee "Too Damn Beautiful" (Pop); T. Edwin Doss for "Gonna Be A Blue Elvis Christmas" (Special Category Music); Jutes for "Plastic Smile" (HipHop/R&B); and Mark Stepakoff for "Memory Museum" (Lyric Writing). You can hear these winning songs on the Great American Song Hall Of Fame at:


Now in its 13th year, the NewSong Contest is one of the premier showcases of emerging performers and songwriters in the world. This November 15, twelve finalists will be invited to New York City to perform and showcase in the NewSong finals at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, one of the premier performing arts venues in the world. There, one artist will be selected our grand prize winner and will receive the following: A fully-funded recording project with producer and musician Pat Sansone (Wilco, The Autumn Defense), which will be recorded and mixed at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, NC and released on the NewSong Recordings label; A showcase performance at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival's ASCAP Music Café in January, 2015; A live performance on NPR Music's internationally broadcast Mountain Stage show; A future performance at New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The upcoming deadline for our regional rounds is September 8 (Final Deadline: October 1). We've created a unique discount code for you that your community can use to save $5 on a single song entry, or $10 for two or more. To use the discount code, simply enter the following code at checkout when submitting your songs online at DISCOUNT CODE: Muses-REG14


The DSA 2014 Song Contest is one of the longest running international song contests for amateur songwriters. Offering over $5,000 in cash and prizes this year, the DSA has EIGHT categories in all: Country, Pop/Rock/RandB/Alternative, Americana/Folk/Bluegrass, Christian/Inspirational, Love Songs/Easy Listening, Children's/Novelty, Singer-Songwriter and Instrumental. See Contest Rules for eligibility. Accepting Submissions 7/1/14 through 9/16/2014. Click here for more info about this contest, and for more information about joining DSA (membership not required to enter contest). Click here


Women of Substance Radio is an Internet Radio Station (with our own Mobile App) that has been on the air for 7 years. Our review board hand-picks the BEST music by female artists in all genres from both label artists and Indies. New music is added weekly and promoted on Social Media. We also feature videos on our blog daily. WOSRadio is a unique platform for Female Indie Artists to showcase and promote their music to targeted listeners and music buyers.

Visit:  / Listen:


The 11th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) is currently accepting entries, this awards competition is judged based on songwriting, performance & artistry. Win prizes in 8 different categories: Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Group/Duo, Folk/Americana/Roots, AAA/Alternative, Instrumental, Open, Bluegrass/Country. There will also be an Overall Grand Prize winner awarded to the top winner worth US$11,000, which includes radio promotion to over 250 radio stations in US and Canada, featured on Acoustic Cafe, a syndicated radio program. You may also obtain the entry form at:


Songwriter Connect will connect you to established artists near you. We are creating a new platform for songwriters and composers. The main feature will be that we will connect you to established artists near you. We also cater for local, unrecognized singers and bands who are on the lookout for talented and screened songwriters to collaborate on their next project. Register now to be one of the first songwriters on this innovative platform!

A REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAY TO SHARE AND PROMOTE MUSIC pays Fans to Follow and Promote Songs and is 100% FREE to join for both recording artists and music fans. Join us in our mission of making Tunii the future of the music industry where together we can all share in the success for connecting artists and fans around the world. Sign up today through this special Muse's Muse link and please check out our short “How Tunii works video” It's Easy, it's FREE and it's Fun!


Getting great gigs, building your audience and selling more merchandise is exactly what your career is all about. This online course is jam-packed with 12 hours of downloadable audio mp3s and PDF Action Guides. There are 5 modules: Module 1: Tour Goals & Planning Strategies, Module 2: Routing Your Tours, Module 3: Negotiation Techniques & Contracts, Module 4: Working with Presenters, Bookers, Promoters/Advancing the Date, Module 5: Targeting Your Markets for Maximum Audiences. Plus 2 hours of bonus classes, BONUS #1: Website Maximizer-Is you’re your Website Selling You? Learn how. BONUS #2: Copy Writing: How to write fan emails, press releases and other promo copy that get responses. Bonus # 3: Three free Industry Biz Booster Monthly Mentor Interviews. And finally, weekly call-in office hours to talk with former agent, manager, author, creator, Jeri Goldstein directly, about the course and your career. Booking & Touring Success Strategies & Secrets gives you artist-tested, step-by-step strategies to help you reach your career goals and make all of your tours profitable.


Award winning songwriter Jane Eamon is offering songwriting one on one classes via Skype. These sessions are one hour in length and can cover any topic you'd like to address. From writing, to critique, to ideas and games. Or just to share your thoughts and get feedback. If you're interested in a session contact to schedule a class.


Hooktheory is a free resource that can show you how to integrate basic music theory into your songwriting process, making it easier to write catchy chord progressions and melody. Hooktheory currently consists of three main areas:
1. The Hookbook demonstrates basic principles of music theory and how they relate to popular music. It's filled with multimedia-rich content explaining musical concepts synchronized to real songs so you can hear what you are learning and make connections easier.
2. The Music Editor lets you write chord progressions in Roman Numeral notation and listen to them in any key. Add a melody, save your work, share it with friends, or export it to Garageband, sheet music, or guitar tab.
3. The Analysis Wiki is a user-generated collection of analyses of popular songs. Look up the chord progression and melody of a song, or use the music editor to create your own analyses.
Check it out now!

Muse's Clues - Richard Miller

©2014 Richard Miller. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Search For The Elusive Lyric

Fresh with the exhilaration of coming up with two pretty passable chord progressions last month both of which should, one day, become songs I launched myself onto the Search for the Elusive Lyric.  One month into this search I’ve come up with exactly… nothing, not a verse, not a phrase, not a word not even a syllable.   Admittedly there have been a few distractions, the home renovations commanded a lot of time, teaching offers started to trickle in which meant student evaluations needed completing and the inevitable administrative load of being self-employed in one of the most heavily taxed countries on the planet were more than enough to divert, pervert and subvert my concentration on art.  Of course I turned to the internet to seek solace and inspiration.  One of the first hits on songwriting basically said “embrace failure, learn to live with it”.  Someone in some heaven is having a laugh.

So how do others cope with the slings and arrows of outrageous writer’s block?  There are literally thousands of articles, blogs, forums on this and related subjects.  The following came via random selection and were chosen because they contained a message that appealed in one way or another.  The first is from a forum for Acoustic Guitar where a variety of folks discussed their approach to song writing.  This, in turn, led to an interview with Neil Young and a video featuring Darrell Scott which was a joy to watch for what he said and what he played.  These two appear to tend towards inspiration so I was quite happy to stumble across this article on Randy Newman for two reasons, first because he, like Leonard Cohen, admitted that song writing can be difficult (even murderous) at times and second because I got reacquainted with God’s Song – nothing like a bit of perspective on a cold rainy afternoon.  However, one of the best pieces of advice came from John Seth Sherman in the Acoustic Guitar forum (see above) which was basically ‘follow your own way’ and that led me on to another search.

Some people are lucky.  They are gifted or dedicated (or both) enough to be able to focus on their art 100% of their working time.  I am not one of those and have to find a balance between earning a living and enjoying my art so off I went to search for advice.  This article on work life balance was a little too regimented for me, I am brilliant at setting schedules but rubbish at sticking to them.  Anyway I thought I’d mention it in case it was useful for someone else.  Then my search brought me back to the Mind Tools website again.  This is a site I mentioned in an earlier post but this time I found the Wheel of Life an engaging exercise because, despite a month of abject failure in songwriting and a couple of howlers in the renovation work, it turns out I’m quite happy.  It didn’t help with the songwriting but it did help spawn an idea.

All of my Business English students are already far too busy with work, love and life to incorporate something as complex as learning a new language into their lives.  They haven’t got the time to dedicate themselves solely to this pursuit.  To address that we talk about their routines inside and outside work with a view to finding natural triggers in their daily rhythms that will remind, reenforce and help recall the content of weekly lessons.  Then through progressive iteration they improve their English without quite realising it.  (That’s the theory anyway.)  So, rather than embracing failure as the initial article suggested – OK, that will still be necessary from time to time – I’m concentrating on what already exists and what can be changed in my daily routines to embrace songwriting.  It’s likely to be a circuitous path and I’ll probably get lost but if it works I’ll let you know.


Richard Miller is a caterpillar who has begun his chrysalis phase. Originally from Maine, Richard has, via a series of mis-adventures and accidents, worked as an accountant in the English Midlands, a systems programmer on the South Coast of England (where he also pursued an illustrious career in rugby) and a statistical programmer in Belgium. Now he has put all that aside, bought a house, stripped it back to the brick and started to renovate it from top to bottom while simultaneously transforming himself from a results oriented automaton into a winged song writer. You can peak inside the chrysalis at:

Featured Article - By Brad Dunse

Beat the Daylights Out of Your Writing Session

Whether you are new to writing or have been writing for a while, there comes a time when you grab a C Major chord in one hand, a pick in the other, start playing, and realize you’ve fallen into the same strumming or finger picking patterns you always do and you are…


While in your mesmerized state, transfixed on that snag in the carpet you’ve been staring at for the past five-minutes, you startle yourself to reality realizing you’ve been playing Dust in the Wind the entire time.

“I bet other writers don’t’ have this problem,” you mumble to yourself as you shut your guitar case as if closing the casket lid in a ceremonial ritual…

Better think again.

In an interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan, he said that most people don’t realize the beats from all the old time music and even into today came from the sound of someone walking down the street, a horse’s hoof, or a train rolling down the track.

So, be comforted that those people writing many, many years ago found the need to use everyday sounds as different backdrops and inspiration to their music.

You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

No silly, I’m not suggesting you find the nearest horse, hop on the back with a guitar, slap its rear end, and start strumming to the clipety-clop of four hoofs.

I’m not suggesting you hop a train like some hobo either, but that’s closer.

Hop on a train no, listen to a train, sort of… it’s more like listen to Train, the band.

Check out these tunes from their California 37 project and we'll wrap it up. Notice the different beats used, and yet many of their songs are written around a four count down beat instead of a one and three down beat.

This Will Be My Year is one that does not focus around their popular four count down beat style.

Drive By starts out with a heavy back-beat strum which almost gives the impression the down beat serves as back-beat at first.

Bruises is another four-count down beat song with a bit of a country flair to it with the guitar strumming between beats.

50 Ways To Say Goodbye …my favorite off this album… got to love that line “got run over by a crappy purple Scion.” Anyway, a Spanish flair still uses that heavy four-count down beat.

Well, you get the idea here; use a beat to start your song. My friends Danny and Sara at SongU pose SongU members with a song challenge every August called “Beat the Heat Challenge.” Basically, you grab one of the sample beats they offer to members, and use it as a point of inspiration.

If you aren't a SongU member, you can do the same exercise by hopping up to YouTube and search for sample loops, drum loops, sample beats, etc., find one you like and use it to kick start your next song.

There is something about using a beat to write a song. You’ll hear your lyrics differently as they play off of, and with, the beat, you’ll find cool strum patterns that serve as ear candy, and it will excite you to keep writing… kind of like a ticking clock in a timed test, you’ll keep moving, and yet you won’t feel the pressure, it’s just all good musical fun.

So, there ya go….

Go get you some beats,
Tap with your feets,
Write you a new one,
And take it to the streets!

Until next time… keep writing from the heart.


A performing songwriter, Brad Dunse is  member of ASCAP, NSAI, SongU, and Minnesota Association of Songwriters. His songs have bee played on various independent, internet, and public radio stations across the country with The Wall touching a major country market station. Interested in song evaluations? Go to Brad's site for more information.


How To Get Good At Playing Anything On Guitar - 3 Step Process For Effective Guitar Practice - by Tom Hess

Have you ever been practicing something on guitar (a solo, specific technique, song, etc.) for many months without seeing any results? Despite your hard work, you just can’t seem to get any better... Then you eventually become disappointed and begin wondering if you’ll ever play guitar like you want to.


Why You Make Slow Progress On Guitar (And How To Speed It Up)
- by Tom Hess

Your guitar playing progress will be very slow until you get a clear picture of what must be corrected to reach your musical goals. Until you learn this, you will always be disappointed whenever you try to improve during your practice time. 

Classifieds & Useful Services


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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.
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Writing a great melody is the #1 component to writing a song your listeners will want to buy, and hear over and over again. If you want some easy ways to improve your melodies to start writing songs your fans will love, check out this FREE report. It'll teach you some great (and simple!) tricks for writing sophisticated and marketable melodies:

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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.

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