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The Muse's News

Issue 12.10 - January 2010
ISSN 1480-6975

This issue sponsored by:

MasterWriter 2.0!

[ Back to The Muse's News Index ] [ Home ]


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

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes, Dan Cohen & 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 - A Few Things That I've Learned in 2009
- by Mick Polich
@-- 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!)

(Muse's News readers 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.

Receive a special *$100* discount just by ordering through The
Muse's Muse! Please use discount coupon # 3004.

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

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

Hi folks! I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday so far,
whatever it is you're celebrating - and that you have fun plans
for New Year's!

I just want to mention a couple of things before getting right to
the meat of the issue here.

First off, MasterWriter is on sale for $100 off it's original
price - but only for a short time longer (this is the tail end of
their holiday sale). So if you've been on the fence about it,
now's the time to jump on a copy of the new MasterWriter 2.0. I
highly recommend it, myself. It'll probably help you with a few
of those pesky New Year's Resolutions, too. ;)

I have prizes to give away! And I really like giving them away,
too. :) It's easy to get put in the queue for a possible prize.
Check out the page at for
all the listed raffle prizes. If any of them interest you, write
to me to let me know. Include your first and second choices for
a prize, along with your mailing address and I'll let you know
when a prize is on its way! (Please don't ask for a prize if
you've already won? Allow me to share the joy, ok? :) )

And while it's not necessary to receive a prize or anything, if
you enjoy this newsletter and feel it's worth passing along to
someone else you think might be interested in subscribing, please
do! I'd love it (and would really appreciate it!) if you would
spread the word.

The lucky raffle winners this month are:

* Sean Powers, from Western Australia, has won a copy of
Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software

* Brad Conner, from Orlando, FL, 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.

* Dale Matthies from Goderich, ON Canada has won a downloadable
version of Rhyme Genie (, a dynamic
rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30
different rhyme types.

* Lis Soderberg from Toronto, ON, Canada has won a copy of
"100 Miles To A Record Deal" by author and publisher Bronson
Herrmuth. (

* Steve Fellers from Knoxville, Maryland, has won a copy of the
book reviewed in this month's issue: "George Gershwin: An
Intimate Portrait" by Walter Rimler.

Wishing you all a very Happy and Successful New Year!

All the best,


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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!)


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


Cyrus Rhodes:

* Shaken
* Alligators
* Ernie Henrickson
* Bloodtype
* Fraser

Dan Cohen:

* Paul Renz

Don Sechelski:

* Eclyptic
* Silverbird
* Nolan McKelvey



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

Evan Hammer - Genre: ROCK 

On stage, Evan Hammer is a barefoot dancing, riotous bass player,
but he crafts his tunes while isolated in his piano room during
marathon songwriting sessions. His music integrates diverse
modern rock songs that vacillate between Killers fever and
Elliott Smith resignation, with a strong connection to expressive
Bowie-esque melodies.


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

George Gershwin: An Intimate Portrait
By Walter Rimler
University of Illinois Press
For students of the art of composition, an insight into the life
and times of George Gershwin is an exciting proposition. Easily
one of the most influential composers of all time, his tunes
remain alive and vital even in the internet era. In addition to
being widely covered,"I GOT RHYTHM" alone has been the source
material for more jazz tunes than any other. And there were many

In this biography, Rimler does a wonderful job of communicating a
vivid sense of Gershwin's life. Unlike some biographers, he
doesn't include every cute childhood episode (for which I am
eternally thankful) but sketches out the essence of his formative
years and gets on with the adult life. Gershwin's family was,
however, a major influence on him; his relationship with his
brother, who was his lifelong friend as well as collaborator, is
the best known example.

It is easy for a biography to devolve into gossip or unadorned
worship, depending on the bent of the author. What is truly good
about this book is that it does neither. For the most part
Gershwin is shown acting out his story and you are left to decide
whether the things he did, the decisions he made, were noble or
self serving (or both).

Of special interest here is the story of Gershwin's struggle to
compete with - George Gershwin. Early success came easily to him,
but it brought problems in terms of the expectations in created
in fans and critics alike, although the two groups did not
necessarily share the same ones. Later, pleasing his audiences
let down the critics, yet when he attempted more ambitious
compositions, neither group was entirely pleased. He succeeded
too easily as a popular composer and performer, yet could never
convince the critics that his classical music was of the same
quality. The resulting frustration was an important driver of his
career and made him subject to a certain melancholy and

An underlying theme in Gershwin's saga is the struggle to bring
"Porgy and Bess" to the stage. One small part is the story behind
that famous tune "SUMMERTIME." For a Gershwin hit song, it was a
rarity. The lyricist collaborating with Gershwin was not brother
Ira (although some promotional material at the time suggested it
was), but Dubose Heyward, author of the book Porgy. It was
Heyward's book that inspired the musical, and it was the first
song lyric the man ever wrote. The entire project almost fell
apart a number of times, and was never a real hit for Gershwin,
although it subsequently became considered a classic. It is a
story that should give us all hope for our own work.

Because Gershwin wrote in an era often thought of as a golden age
of music, it is sobering to realize that it was a tough business
even then. Seeing the ups and downs, the courage and plain hard
work that his career encompassed is an eye opener. This well
written and intriguing book should be on the bookshelf of any
aspiring songwriter.



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!)



The Worlds Best Songs International Songwriting Competition is
offering prizes by Broadjam, Taxi, Musicrow, Diskmakers and more
as well as a cash prize for top three winners. The competition is
open to all categories including Rock, Country, R&B, Hip-Hop and
Lyric Only. Amateurs and Professionals may both enter. Entry
Fees vary with a discount for multiple songs.

For complete details visit

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!

15th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is now accepting entries.
Winning songs will receive radio airplay in United States and
Canada along with great prizes such as a Top Prize of over
$50,000. First 1,000 entries will each receive a free 3 issue
subscription to Guitar Player magazine + free software.
Submission deadline: May 28.

Now accepting song entries for fourth semiannual competition.
Come see the new contest standard. Green-friendly - conducted
entirely online with no mailed entries accepted. Know your judge
and your score! Entries are limited for greater chance at
recognition. Don't be "screened out" of other competitions.
$19,000 value in useful prizes awarded and all genre winners &
2nd place also featured on front page. Contest closes on the
February 28th, 2010 deadline or at the 150 song capacity per
genre - whichever comes first - so enter today!

Enter online with your new permanent profile

Point Blank College is currently recruiting enthusiastic
freelance tutors with music industry experience to teach our
Music Composition course. Candidates must have practical and
demonstrable knowledge of music theory, song structure,
arrangement, lyric writing, vocal production and recording
techniques. Songwriting skills should extend across a broad range
of contemporary musical styles, including both acoustic and
electronic music. Knowledge of copyright, royalties, and
songwriting career strategies are also required.

We are looking for a team player who is reliable and keen to work
in an educational environment with a diverse group of students.
Excellent communication skills are essential, as is attention to
detail. Ability to work to a deadline is also extremely important
as all tutors are required to complete detailed course
documentation and student evaluations each term. A PGCE or other
teaching qualification is an advantage but not essential. We also
offer an in-house accredited tutor training course. Please
submit your current CV along with a covering letter to .

For more information about Point Blank, please visit . We are an equal opportunities

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,
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NEWSLETTER publishes features on Labels, Publishers, Managements
etc looking to sign acts, songs or masters. Get yourself a FREE

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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
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Visit to see how easy it can be to get the
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Receive 10% off your entire order when you enter the coupon code
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The author of The Little Black Book Of Band Profit Secrets has
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StudioTraxx is actively building its talent network and is
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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

One hang up that a lot of songwriters seem to have, or at least
express some kind of frustration with, is writing a great melody.
It's not an easy thing to teach, but sometimes in listening to
and evaluating what other great songwriters do, we can get a
sense of the techniques they use that might also work for us. ( has been around for a long time,
and recently I came across some really great little articles by
Dan Cross on the website. His writing focuses mainly
on guitar playing, but he has also covered the topic of
songwriting. Two of his writings cover writing in major and
minor a small warning that there is a little theory
But he also has a great article on Writing an Effective Melody
which takes several examples, including mp3 clips so you can
listen, analyzing the technique used by the songwriter in each

The first is a sample from Brian Wilson's song "Warmth of the
Sun". Cross includes a small section of notation from the song
to demonstrate the notes, time signature and chord progression so
that you can read along (if you read music!) while you listen to
the clip. The second clip is a small section of the first verse
of Eleanor Rigby, a Paul McCartney contribution to the Beatles'
1966 album "Revolver". And the third is a more contemporary
example from the Radiohead song "High and Dry", in which Cross
praises their return to good quality songwriting in the style of
the masters.

He has another article called "Trampoline Deconstructed", in
which he analyzes a song called "Trampoline" by a lesser-known
Toronto area songwriter named Rob Szabo, who has influenced many
bigger named Canadian artists and bands.

If you're a guitar player, you might also want to peruse some of
Dan Cross' guitar pages on (,
which offer quite a few lessons, tabs and articles. Can't hurt
to master your instrument a little more...could lead to some
other songwriting inspiration!


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 Mick Polich

A Few Things That I've Learned In 2009
From his column: Blue Collar Rockin' @

A few things that I've learned over the past year...

That change is good, and good change is better, but sometimes,
you need to keep telling yourself that this is the way to go even
if it's scary...

That you need to stick to your principles, but with careful
consideration, planning, thought of the consequences, and the
inevitable outcome. I've learned sloppiness in not thinking that
process through usually results in a crappy result (thanks for
constant reminders, MB).

That sometimes you're an asshole even when you don't intend to
be. But, if you intend to be, and it's a chronic condition, see
the first thought in this article...

Speaking your mind when you've had enough (or as the result of a
lifetime of tiredness from clamming up). It's like starting a
car after it sits for years – awkward, sputtering at first, but
then you figure out what to regulate as the words spill out of
your mouth, what wars are winnable, and slowly get the conviction
to explain yourself and your position. As artists, we can be
pretty imbalanced folks. I think balance in life, in all phases,
is the key. Knowing when to speak, and when to shut up, is

That you need to get back to making music for the hell of it, not
because it pays the bills (if it can do THAT, in this economy).
What got you into the love of music and art in the first place? I
think it's a good question to ask.

That dreams you've had as a young person can fade, but new ones
can exist, and you need to keep telling yourself that even at the
low times when you don't believe anything anymore. I need to do
it, and you do, too. We all have the skills – maybe they're not
Top 100, or Nashville songwriting skills, or world-class music or
singing chops, but somewhere along the line, there's a place to
fit in, even for a moment...

For those people with kids: that parenting is the lifetime gig,
the on-going, 24-hour process where you wonder if you ever make a
right decision (and for all those parents that think they make
the right decision all the time on the clock, well, you're not
listening). Also, giving kids the arts and music programs that
usually get cut (as usual, before sports) is truly a gift – kids
need the arts at ALL income levels. If the government can't do
it, well, hey, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, put on a show and
raise some capital for your school! Yeah, right... BUT, it could
be so...) So, congrats to the Dallas, Texas I.S.D. for
conscientiously putting room in their budget for the arts for

Forcing yourself to have confidence not only in artistic and
musical situations, but life as well. We get holed up in our own
little zones (and ourselves), keeping the pats on the backs
coming when we know we give them to ourselves. Breaking out,
moving on, realizing when something isn't healthy – it's
downright scary, but you need to ask, "Is this the right thing to
do, or am I screwing up for myself, and others?".

What's gone is done, and what's done is gone. No matter how much
I want it back, it ain't comin' down the road to my doorstep
again. This applies to notes thrown out into space, compositions
created, and paint on a canvas.

Believe me, this stuff that I say, I'm equally trying to convince
myself, probably more so than you all!

Let's see, what else...well, how about the confidence to move
forward and explore new artistic territory, even if it doesn't
pay a monetary reward? I haven't made a living solely at playing
music for years, but I continue to eek out a living in the music
and arts business, so I guess this concept works with my wife,
too, as long as I don't break the bank. Take some chances, and
move forwards into some long, unexplored dreams...

Treating others with respect when respect is given (it's a
two-way street, and I'm through going down it one way with some

What is hip? It doesn't matter any more – what do you like about
music, and why? If it's 60 years old, or 6 minutes old, why do
you like to listen to it, or play it?

Learning to find calm in everyday storms (and compared to what
some folks go thru with just surviving in this world, it's a
little tempest in a teapot...).

That the 'tortured artist' effect at my age basically becomes a
grumpy old dude...

That art and music STILL transcend economics, class, race,
gender, and other boundaries. Obvious, I know, but when I see
works of art in a ghetto, rich suburb, small town, or another
country, it still reinforces the fact that the creation of art
shouldn't, and doesn't have boundaries, thank goodness.

Fear, self – loathing, ego, low self esteem – these elements
still can contaminate our development as artists and musicians.
Easier said than done, harder than hell to correct and move on
from – the bane, and Catch 22 of all creative folks.

I know that I have a few more in the hopper, but you know, I
could be blogging until 2011, so I'm stopping to enjoy the
holiday. Might slip another column in before the new year, but if
not, will everyone out there reading this please be safe, and do
a good turn for someone else to kick start 2010 in the right

Happy Holidays!



Mick Polich has been involved in local music scenes in Iowa,
Ohio, Georgia, and now Texas, for over 30 years as a music
instructor, amp tech, studio musician, performer, songwriter,and
business owner. Starting out semi-late on guitar at 15 years old
in 1975, Mick soon progressed to bass as a second instrument, and
started playing either bass or guitar with local central Iowa
bands from the late ' 70's through 1994 when his wife's job had
the couple transfer to Columbus, Ohio. From there, Mick not only
learned how to re-invent himself to survive pursuing this craft,
but he and his wife managed to buy a house, acquire their two
labs, Sam and Maggie,and adopt a son, Andrew! Through two more
job transfers, Mick has managed to hone his musical multi-tasking
skills to help others on an amateur and professional level in the
world of making music.

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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 :

GIGS & BEYOND: Attacking the Local Club Circuit - by Cyrus Rhodes

This article examines how new artists should approach the Local
Live Circuit.


Songwriting 4 - by Tom Hess

In this article, I will show you how to use the often overlooked
element of dynamics in your songwriting that will make you a more
expressive musician.


Keep Your Eyes on the Ultimate Prize - by Cyrus Rhodes

Success has a funny of leading to even more success.


Blue Collar's Books I Have Known - by Mick Polich

Wondering what to get that sensitive, special musician in your
life for holiday gift giving? Blue Collar throws out some book
reviews that might help on your last minute shopping exodus!


Building An Army Of Fans Every Time You Perform - by Draven Grey

How can you capture your audience and consistently grow your
fan-base? This article uncovers an often over-looked truth that
will help to set your band apart.


GIGS & BEYOND -The Importance of Live Exposure - by Cyrus Rhodes

So where's the real money made in today's Music Business - Just
ask the Police!


It Might Just Be A One-Shot Deal - by Mick Polich

One-shot deals have been happening since the dawn of time thru
recorded music, concerts, local and bigger gigs, and the transfer
of song and sound. Mick touches on a few topics on why we should
embrace the 'one-shot' concept because it will happen to us at
any time in our careers - maybe more than once!


Music Rhythm is the Foundation - by Paul Babelay

Understanding the importance of rhythm in songwriting is one key
to great songwriting. Let's look closely at the role of rhythm as
the foundation to any song, no matter the genre.


How much the pro's didn't make on tour last year
- by Cyrus Rhodes

Don't expect to make a mountain of money on your own concert


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 9th 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
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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
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Discounts for CD, and CD/Digital Download Combo shown on ordering


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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
Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER
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