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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 18.2
May 2015

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Tim Zbikowski
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - by adventurer and songwriter, Richard Miller.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: (None for this month!) 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 1998-2015 - 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:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)

Write Better Songs with MasterWriter 2.0 - at a New Price!WRITE BETTER SONGS WITH MASTERWRITER 3.0!
(And Muse's News readers *still* get a special discount!)

There’s a reason why hit songwriters Gwen Stefani, Rob Thomas, Trent Reznor, David Foster, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and many more all use MasterWriter, it is simply the most powerful suite of songwriting tools ever assembled in one program. Why struggle to find the right word when you can have all the possibilities in an instant?

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.
90 Day Gurantee - MasterWriter 3.0
Visit to learn more and to receive $15 off a 1-year license or $20 off a 2-year license. You may also sign up for a free 10-day trial. If for any reason you are not satisfied with MasterWriter 3.0, you can get a full refund within 90 days.

“MasterWriter will not only help you write great songs, it will make you a better songwriter in the process.”
–David Foster
“Producers have Pro Tools. Writers have Word. Songwriters have MasterWriter.”
–Rob Thomas

Editor's Musings:

Well, it's finally starting to warm up. Phew! is all I can say. Hope you're all enjoying more pleasant weather wherever you happen to be. I know. I start off these newsletters with something about the weather almost every issue. :D Not to be predictable, but you know. When the weather is wacky, you kind of want to talk about it. ;)

My album is so close to being released ... Just waiting for cover art. And I'm really pleased with the artist working on that. I'm just going to have to be patient. I'll keep you all posted!

So without further ado, let's get to the raffle winners! They are:

  • Deb Barrett, from Blaine, MN, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Anna Fanelli Honvault, from France, 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.
  • Alice Hesselrode from Windsor, ON Canada, has won a 6 month membership to GMC has tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons along with a forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats, & content for bass, drums, singing, piano, etc..

DO YOU WANT TO WIN A RAFFLE PRIZE? You don't get if you don't ask!
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.)

I wish you all a super inspiring May!

All the best,


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


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Drop by for more details and start yourself on the road to improving your vocal chops today.

Music Reviews:


Cyrus Rhodes

* Kathy Muir

Don Sechelski

* Mixed Genes

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.


Graham Hobson & the BRS - Genre: POP

Award-winning piano powerpop that will have you singing at the top of your lungs in the car. Soccer mums stopped at traffic lights will be disturbed - you'll play air drums - you rock! If you dig Folds, Elton and Billy you'll love Graham Hobson & the BRS!

Songwriting Book Review By: Tim Zbikowski

Nashville Songwriter
The Inside Story Behind Country Music's Greatest Hits
by Jake Brown

Nashville Songwriter is a collection of interviews with many of the most prolific country music songwriters. Due in part to being based in Nashville, plus his award-winning resume of 34 published books, music author Jake Brown gained unprecedented access to top country songwriters and performers.

In the words of the songwriters, the stories behind some of country music’s hits songs are intriguing and compelling. These aren’t lessons about how to write hits, but the stories provide intimate insight on how the ideas for songs are generated.

As a starter, Brown details the relationship of writer Freddy Powers and cowriter and performer Merle Haggard while they lived next door to each other in the 1980’s in house boats on Lake Shasta, California. The two partied hard together and co-wrote a series of classics such as “I Always Get Lucky with You”, “Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room Tonight”, “All I Wanna Do Is Sing My Song”, and “Natural High”. In that decade, they collaborated on 35 songs Haggard recorded including five Number 1 hits, three in one twelve-month period. (Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting you engage in heavy-drinking parties to write hits songs!)

Going back further in history, Brown describes the early days of Sonny Curtis growing up in Lubbock, Texas, and his interactions with Buddy Holly while playing rockabilly with him in the Two Tones band. Curtis was separated from the band when he was drafted in 1959. However, while in army basic service, Curtis wrote the future Everly Brothers smash hit “Walk Right Back”. Following his stint in the service and the tragic death of Buddy Holly, Curtis became a member of the Crickets and penned one of country’s all-time classics and crossover hit, “I Fought the Law”.

Many chapters and stories in Nashville Songwriter are set in the more modern era of country superstars and hits. Quite often, these songwriters are interlinked with each other due to co-writing efforts. Two points become very obvious as one reads these stories. First, these hit writers collaborate a lot with each other and with the performers. It is common for co-writing sessions to include three or more writers. At times, collaborations on a single song go on for an extended time, or songs may be revisited and rewritten over a period of months. Second point, these guys write an incredible amount of material. Most often, they seem to understand when they’ve written a throwaway or a hit song, although they love to tell about the surprises.

Perhaps the best advice comes from Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Bob DiPiero, writer of hits for the Oak Ridge Boys, Reba, Pam Tillis (his former wife), Neal McCoy, George Strait, Vince Gill and Montgomery Gentry. Quoting DePiero, “So what’s the secret to songwriting? Write and then write and then write some more, and when you’re done writing, write a few more songs.”

John Rich of Big and Rich offers five tips in the closing of the book. Let me pique your interest with a couple of them. “Always make your first two lines memorable. If the first two lines are boring, the song is pointless.” “Just because it rhymes doesn’t mean it’s the right line. Too many times a rhyme short-circuits the process of digging deeper into a lyric and saying something that really matters.”

Nashville Songwriter is a fun read and will likely inspire you to find new ways to generate song ideas. Write on!


Tim Zbikowski is an active member of the Minnesota Association of Songwriters, assisting with song critiques and presentations on songwriting. His introduction to music was piano lessons in the early 1960’s.  In his teens, he played drums in a garage band and in school band programs. Tim bought his first personal computer in 1984 and by the 1990’s connected a keyboard to a computer. When notes appeared on a staff on the monitor, he was hooked forever!  Tim is a free-lance audio engineer, seriously studies the craft of songwriting, is a member of ASCAP, and enjoys writing and composing in multiple genres.  He plays percussion in an Americana group called Squirrels in the Attic.

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


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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 City of Richardson’s Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival is pleased to announce that Red House Recording artist and accomplished songwriting instructor, Cliff Eberhardt, will lead a one day Songwriting Workshop on Friday, May 15, 2015. Cliff will focus on how to bring the melody to the lyrics.   9:00 am – 4:00 pm at the Residence Inn by Marriott, Richardson, TX; Cost $50; Limited to 30 students; Each student will receive one free ticket to the Festival! 
A $20 value!  For more info and to register, go to


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.

UK SONGWRITING CONTEST - Future Music launches new Songwriting Competition!

UK Songwriting Contest: New for 2015, Future Music is launching a UK songwriting contest to find the best songwriters in the UK. The UK songwriting contest will provide the opportunity for both aspiring and established songwriters to get their music heard and potentially get signed. There is also the opportunity to perform in a Grand Final showcase in London in front of A&R who work for the three major record labels.
So, if you think you’ve got what it takes and want your songwriting heard by music industry professionals, enter the songwriting contest here:


Two teenage songwriting sister team Justine Dorsey and Kerris Dorsey from Los Angeles win Overall Grand Prize at the 19th Annual USA Songwriting Competition. Kerris Dorsey breaks the previous record of the Youngest Overall Grand Prize winner at just 16 years old. The previous record was held by Sarah Lonsert, also from Los Angeles, 17 years old at that time in 2010.The song has just been signed to Walt Disney Music and appeared in the box office hit movie "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. In it’s landmark 20th year, the 20th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is currently accepting entries from now till May 29, 2015. For more information, visit:


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:


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

©2014-2015 Richard Miller. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

It's Spring

It’s spring.  “At last” swarms back across the ether.  Tender green shoots trail winter’s retreating icy fingers offering inspiration for fresh ideas and new starts.

But where to start?  One thing that has continually cropped up, for me, during internet searches is the importance of the quality of the question.  Simply throwing words into Google generally returns those best at advertising and not necessarily those best at whatever it is I’m studying.  Then it occurred to me.  Why Google?  So I asked Google for alternatives to Google and found some.  First I came across BoardReader, a website dedicated to searching forums and boards on any particular subject.  Typing ‘songwriting’ and ‘songwriter’ into the search box didn’t reveal any tantalising nuggets but it may be interesting to try this site with a better formed question.

The second one I tried was NowRelevant, a site dedicated to finding only the most recent additions to the internet.  For whatever reason this site was too slow to respond.  I got bored waiting so I killed that line of inquiry and went back to Google to search for inspirations on songwriting.

Eventually something popped up.  Songwriters on Process  features a host of stories on songwriting from songwriters.  The idea of songwriters talking about process is a good one and I’ve enjoyed a number of the articles.  From there back to Google and ‘songwriting’ and they came up with this Rolling Stone article on John Lennon.

Then I added the word ‘discussing’ to the search.  This story with reference to Daniel Johnstone in The Atlantic popped up.  With that I reached satiation.  We’ve got a trip through England, Wales and Ireland planned and these three are as good as any for reading on the road. 


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

QUICK TIP: Sorry - Not This Month!

Sorry, guys. Brad had an emergency that meant he couldn't get to his tip this month. But he'll have a great one for you in the next issue!

Thanks for your patience.


A performing songwriter, Brad Dunse is  member of ASCAP, NSAI, SongU, and Minnesota Association of Songwriters. His songs have been 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 End The Cycle of "Guitar Teaching Insanity" & Make A Great Income Teaching Guitar - by Tom Hess

INSANITY was defined by Einstein as: “committing the same errors over and over again while expecting to obtain new results.” Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of guitar teachers commit this mental error while trying to make a lot of money teaching guitar lessons… and this is the main reason why they simply will NOT be able to become highly successful.


A Clever OneRepublic Melody Writing Example - by Anthony Ceseri

This video outlines a kind of weird, but very practical way to write melodies, as used by OneRepublic.


Performance Advice for Singers and Songwriters by Louis C.K.
- by Anthony Ceseri

Louis C.K. was recently interviewed by Howard Stern. When Howard asked Louis if he ever changes his act when he’s performing at bigger venues, Louis revealed some great advice for performing songwriters and singers.


Learn How To Play Guitar Super Fast & Clean Using Perfect Two-Hand Synchronization - Part 1 - by Tom Hess

Do you ever struggle to play guitar both fast and clean once you reach your top speed? Tons of guitar players have this same issue and attempt to resolve it by “moving their hands faster”. However, this will not help you play guitar fast and accurate. To do this, you must solve the fundamental cause of your problem. This takes more than simply practicing various speed exercises.

Classifieds & Useful Services


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!

Get instant access to:

-14273 videos, 2262 lessons and 37 instructors.
-Register at GMC forum - join a virtual band, chat with any instructor etc
-Backing tracks at different speeds & jam loop with every lesson
-Daily updates (average of ~10 new videos per day)
 -EXTRAS: Gear-, singing-, recording-, bass-, piano- and drum lessons. GMC Theory Grimoire eBook !!!

Special for Muse's Muse visitors: 
Get a $10 discount for your first month of subscription!


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!

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.

SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at

Back issues of the newsletter can be read here or in an archive at the National Library of Canada ecollection.


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