Vera Coupal of Regina, a 95 year-old woman living in long-term care, turned to songwriting in her nineties and has written 57 songs. She had her song recorded at the facility with a producer, Ryan Hicks, taking his portable studio to her home to record on-site. The CBC reported the story here.
And you can listen to Vera and Ryan in their own voices (with the song) here.
Bob Boilen of All Songs Considered on NPR had a recent interview with Evan Stephens Hall of the band Pinegrove. The band just released its latest album Marigold and had a wonderful experiment before the album’s release – they released the lyrics and guitar tabs in advance of any of their fans actually hearing the album. As a result, many of their fans interpreted the lyrics and tabs and created their own songs. A wonderful experiment!
You can hear the experiment and fan’s interpretations here on the All Songs Considered site or find it with your favourite podcast app. May the Muse be with you (as it was with these fans)…
Ms. Powers covers a particularly poignant part of the interview, in which Ms. Crow is discussing the craft of songwriting today, as follows:
Mentioning a report she’d heard on NPR about how social media has reduced the average attention span, she said “while the kids are all writing fast food — which is super cool ’cause it tastes great, super filling — we’re sort of still writing salmon. We’re the songwriters that are here to tax your attention span.”
I like that – let’s all tax our attention spans and listen to some substantial songs out there (including Sheryl’s new album Threads).
Nick Lowe is featured in this Variety article after being honoured with the American Association of Independent Music’s Icon Award. A fascinating read from the Cruel to Be Kind songwriter/producer: a remembrance of Johnny Cash, working with Elvis Costello and the history of What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding…As for that song, Mr. Lowe opines: “The song is a standard. Whenever I hear people do it now it’s almost like I had nothing to do with it!”
Engadget reported on a University of Toronto Artificial Intelligence (AI) project that would write a Christmas tune from a single image… I personally don’t think Irving Berlin, rest in peace, has anything to worry about… But who knows where this will lead?
Colorado College hosted a symposium this past weekend. I wish I had known about it before, I would have participated as it was open to the public… as per the symposium’s website:
“It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” is a scholarly symposium on the music and lyrics of Billy Joel, the consummate singer-songwriter whose compositions translate larger cultural concerns into accessible and compelling musical narratives. In the spirit of Joel’s music, this public musicology conference aims to share academically oriented insights on this popular figure and his output in an accessible and approachable manner.
Thankfully, someone (Pianomanross) recorded the keynote event, which was actually a phone call with Billy Joel himself! Here’s the content of the call with Mr. Joel and it adds a heap of colour to the art and craft of songwriting… enjoy the listen and may the muse be with you…
The Beatles vast repertoire of work was utilized by Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed by Sony CSL Music (with the “assistance” of a real live songwriter, Benoît Carré) to compose the pop song “Daddy’s Car” – described by the Flow Machines AI team as being “in the style of The Beatles”… I have to admit – it’s kind of catchy (and kind of scary that it is so catchy)…
Sony CSL describes the AI as “expanding towards a new generation of tools, the Flow Machines, whose aim is to abstract ‘style’ from concrete corpora (text, music, etc.), and turn it into a malleable substance that acts as a texture. Applications range from music composition to text or drawing generation.” In this case, the malleable structure kind of works in a quirky way, but I’ll let you decide for yourself…