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The Muse's News

Issue 12.9 - December 2009
ISSN 1480-6975

This issue sponsored by:

MasterWriter 2.0!

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

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes & Gian Fiero
@-- 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.
- by Paul Babelay ("The Vibe Guy")
@-- 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
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Its unique features together with an amazing array of reference
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instant. In a world where good is rarely good enough,
MasterWriter will be an invaluable tool in helping the songwriter
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If you have a high speed connection, you can download a 30-Day
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E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s :

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the States. I hope you
have had much turkey and joy in your immediate present and past -
and possibly your future! :) (We all know how long turkey tends
to last, right?) And since I won't likely be speaking with you
before the Christmas (or whatever winter holiday you happen to be
celebrating) holidays, I hope your cup runneth over in this
joyful time of the year.

I've been working hard in the voice over end of things (and
loving every second of it!). A few holiday ads and such that
will be airing soon. For those of you in the California area (I
believe that's where it's airing) - if you happen to hear an
infomercial for Hooked on Phonics, that will be my voice you're
hearing there being especially cheerful. ;) I've also done some
work for - which is a great site for
"experience" gifts (they're running TV ads all over the States
too). You should check it out if you want to gift someone with
something truly unique. They're great folks. And if you're into
technology, I've been doing the imaging voice for -
a computer technology show that airs live from Barrie Ontario on
Tuesday nights at 7pm Eastern. It's hosted by Robbie Ferguson, a
fellow who has helped me with streaming audio here on The Muse's
Muse. It's a true pleasure to work with him - besides the fact
that I honestly love the show. They give out fantastically
helpful information and they have a live chat that's open during
the show where various viewers can talk with one another and ask
questions of Robbie live. It speaks to my geek girl soul. :D

If you happen to need a voice for your product or service, feel
free to check out my website at . I'd be happy to talk with
you. In the meantime ...

Two new columnists have been introduced to the site. I hope
you'll help me welcome them both to The Muse's Muse! They are:

Paul Babelay ("The Vibe Guy") with his column, "Rhythm Without
the Blues" at
He'll be sharing tips and experiences to help
songwriters,instrumentalists and vocalists with all things
musical - especially rhythm. Whatever the genre, whatever your
ability in music technology or your level of musicianship --
these tools and concepts will inspire and improve your song
writing and musical skills.

And Draven Grey with his column, "Music Career Success" at
He's an artist development specialist and will be helping you
develop key elements to your music career's success. He has yet
to have an article there, but if you email him and suggest some
topics, you might just fine your topic the subject of one of his
new articles when he gets one in! You never know. :)

Gian Fiero has also completed his 2009 Muse's Muse Awards. You
can see how things turned out (and whether or not you're one of
the lucky few mentioned!) by visiting his reviews page at .

Beyond that, lots to get to this issue, so I'll merely say it's
packed and get on with the raffle winners (there are a lot of
them!). And check out the page at for all the listed raffle
prizes. If any of them catch your fancy, 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? :) )

The lucky raffle winners this month are:

* Dave Ryan, Napean, ON Canada, has won a copy of
Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software

* Kerry Dexter, from Tallahassee, Florida, 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.

* Janice Cochrane, from Victoria, BC Canada, has won a copy of's Musician's Toolkit CD

* Linda Principe from Staten Island, NY has won a downloadable
version of Rhyme Genie (, a dynamic
rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30
different rhyme types.

* Juliette Vignola from Naugatuck CT, has won a copy of
"100 Miles To A Record Deal" by author and publisher Bronson
Herrmuth. (

* Dave Merson Hess from New York, NY, has won a copy of the book
reviewed in this month's issue: "Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting -
126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs that Sell" by Robin
Frederick. (Taxi Music Books -

* Lafe Dutton from San Diego, CA, has won one hour of coached
songwriting (value $100) by Pete & Pat Luboff

Have a wonderful month, folks!

Wishing you 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 & Gian Fiero

Gian Fiero's Muse's Muse Awards for 2009 are online now!
Visit Gian's Reviews page at for more details!


Gian Fiero:

* Sugar Ray
* Sian Elen
* Passion
* Of Fate And Chance
* The Guy
* King Of The Kounty
* Molly Thomason

Cyrus Rhodes:

* Spotted Atrocious
* Tim Miller



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

Andy Michaels - Genre: EASY LISTENING 

Andy Michaels is a Australian singer/songwriter and performer
with a passionate and heart felt voice who combines beautiful
music and melodies with lyrics in the genre of Bob Dylan and
Neil Young. He believes a song should be a whole story spelling


John Brendan Russell - Genre: COUNTRY

Humor collides with amazing country melodies! "Family Portrait"
explores family life with wit and warmth. The arrangements run
the country spectrum from "Newgrass" to "Americana". John Brendan
Russell's songwriting is influenced by Jim Croce and Jerry Reed
and their ability to tell great stories with humor.


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

Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting
126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs that Sell

by Robin Frederick
Taxi Music Books
Ah, the joy of correcting wrong first impressions! Looking at
this book when it arrived made me fear I was in for yet another
over simplistic approach to songwriting. Or perhaps 126
approaches. The format is that of a workbook. I admit that I put
it aside for a bit. What a delight it was to find that it
contained a wealth of information in an interesting and
accessible package.

The core idea here, as with most songwriting books, is that there
are some skills all songwriters, however inspired, must learn.
And they can be learned best from songs that have proven to be
successful. A reasonable premise. But rather than pointing you to
some of these songs and suggesting you have at it, Frederick
provides analytical techniques that work. And work well.

We've all heard that we need to study hit songs, to learn how
they grab attention, the formats they use, and so on. But it is
one thing to suggest modeling success and another to show clearly
how to do it. For much of the book, Frederick takes one concept,
that of a ghost song, and walks you through it in exercises that
focus on specific factors, both lyrical and melodic. Although the
idea itself is not new, following the steps made me think a lot
differently about the songs I was analyzing.

Along the way, she manages to drop, almost as asides, tidbits
about her own observations — the way contemporary songs have lost
the standard open spaces at the end of a chorus, for instance.
And there are a lot of exercises that get you writing quickly,
rather than spending time just analyzing. After all, the book is
for songwriters and the shortcuts are actually shortcuts to
writing, not just learning about it. So most of the exercises
have the potential for adding to your catalog.

As the head screener for TAXI ( -- it bills itself as
the world's leading independent A&R company, and it seems to be),
it is no surprise that Frederick has seen all the mistakes, but
it is wonderful that she is able to articulate them so clearly
and then give us ways to work that we can use to train ourselves
to avoid them. There are song checklists that also serve as
reminders of material covered and to put it all in context,
techniques for attracting and keeping listener attention, pacing
your song, selecting tempos, promoting your creativity,
connecting with the listener lyrically, and much more.

When reviewing books, I always read them more than once. The
first time I can get the flavor of the author's style and the
breadth of information. The next time I can dig in and see if I
can apply any of what the author is talking about to my own
songwriting. Some books get read more than that because they are
well written -- a good read (at least for a songwriter -- I
haven't convinced my wife of the literary merit of them all).
This one will probably get worn out, written in (it is a
workbook, after all), and find a permanent place in my
songwriting space where it is handy for reference. It is that
good. And I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Frederick
presents a fun approach to songwriting. Well, 126 fun approaches.
I like her style.



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!

The highly recommended Great American Song Contest is open to
amateur songwriters everywhere. This annual international event
features prestigious awards to 45 winners in 9 categories and
provides $10,000 in Prizes. Music-industry judges include
prominent publishers, music producers and recording artists.
Entrants receive written evaluations of their songs. Songwriters,
lyricists and composers are invited. Sponsored by Songwriters
Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters
everywhere. Submission deadline is October 30, 2009. For details,
visit: For details, visit:

Called "the songwriting competition to take note of" by the New
York Times, the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) gives
away over $150,000 in cash and prizes including a $25,000 cash
Grand Prize, the largest cash Grand Prize of any songwriting
competition in the world! ISC's prestigious judges include Kings
of Leon; Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20); Tom Waits; Adele; Wynonna;
Jeff Beck; Alejandro Sanz; Loretta Lynn; Snow Patrol; Steve
Winwood; McCoy Tyner; The Shins; Michael W. Smith; Robbie
Williams; Jeremy Camp; and many more. Judges also include
high-profile record label executives including Seymour Stein
(Chairman/CEO, Sire Records); Monte Lipman (President, Universal
Republic Records); Amanda Ghost (President, Epic Records); and
many more. Go to for more
info and an entry form.

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

Launched in 2005, The Festival4stars International Song Writing
Competition has become one of the industries most respected song
writing competitions. In 2008 the competition became
international and this year the Song Writing Camp has been
launched as part of the winners’ prizes, which also included £500
cash. The London camp will be attended by talent scouts and
publishers, and have seminars by top industry song writers. There
are 4 sections; Singer/songwriter, Pop/Rock & R&B, Country, and
Judges Choice. The competition is open to anyone in the world
with the stipulation being that the lyrics are in English. All
Finalists can be heard and voted for online and written feedback
from industry professionals will be given for ever song entered.

The competition launches on the 10th of November 2009, and more
information can be found at

The Singer/Songwriter Awards from We Are Listening is about the
hottest international songwriting contest in the world. It's no
surprise that participating artists have gone on to sign with top
management, license their music for film and television, as well
as collaborate with renowned producers and enjoy substantial
uplifts in independent record sales.
*Deadline: *1st January 2010*
Fee: *$30*
Details: *

The Lyric Writer Awards from We Are Listening is the ultimate
contest for writers seeking music publishing, co-writing and song
placement opportunities. If you long to work with professional
songwriters and dream of getting your songs cut by major label
artists, this could really be the chance of a lifetime!
*Deadline: *31st December 2009*
Fee: *$20*
Details: *

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,
especially in the UK and USA? Each month the BANDIT A&R
NEWSLETTER publishes features on Labels, Publishers, Managements
etc looking to sign acts, songs or masters. Get yourself a FREE

Feed The Muse presents a simple model for creators and audiences
to join together and keep the arts flourishing and is a simple
yet effective vehicle for musicians to fund their creative
projects and connect to their audience in a meaningful way. It
provides a means for artists to ask their fans, families and
friends to contribute financially in the artists’ evolution.

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
project. This process allows fans who are passionate about their
artists and want to see them continue creating, the opportunity
to do so without having to make a large contribution. Feed The
Muse runs on the concept of microdonations. Every dollar, every
donation no matter how small is a statement of faith in the
project and moves it closer to completion.

Visit to see how easy it can be to get the
support you need.

My PR Music Wire offers press release writing and direct email
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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
come thru again! He's just published: "Co-Op Synergy Power, Your
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And be sure to check out The Little Black Book Of Band Profit
Secrets while your there... It's worth the look.
STUDIOTRAXX.COM: BREAKING NEW GROUND - FOR YOU! provides an e-commerce platform that allows
artists/bands to purchase and book time with musicians,
engineers, producers, and other music professionals for online
studio collaboration purposes. They facilitate the entire music
production process from beginning to end — from finding and
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StudioTraxx is actively building its talent network and is
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32,000 live music venues of all sizes are featured including
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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

©1998-2009 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Something I have suffered from extensively in the last few years
is writer's block. Maybe I ran out of things to write about, or
maybe it's a transitional period in my life, or maybe there's
really no explanation, it just happens!

I came across a story on a website from Wisconsin on how local
songwriters there were "shedding" their writer's block
( and that prompted me to look for
other sites or advice on the same topic. One website, actually
called ( has nothing
but a blank main page with the words "Welcome Home" at the top
:-) It turns out that if you scan down to the bottom, there are
forums for all kinds of people with writer's block. Actually,
when I looked at the songwriter forum, nobody there was suffering
too much!

Ken Hill has some excellent advice on combating writer's block on
the Music Biz Academy website
He breaks it down into different reasons for getting writer's
block in the first place, including telling yourself you're going
to write a "hit song", which can mess things up completely :-) .

Danny Arena and Sara Light's website
offers up some excellent tips on getting out of a writing
drought (,
including learning some new chords, writing somewhere different
and even just forgetting about it for awhile!

There are many tips out there, including one that says "just
write crap!". Janie Ross Coulter has a lot of great ideas in an
article called "Un-Block My Song"
( as part
of the Suite 101 website. I'd say that Janie isn't suffering too
much from writer's block either.

It can happen over a very short period of time, for instance,
when you are used to writing every day and suddenly one day you
can't. Or in some cases, like mine, life events dominate and
your old way of doing things just doesn't work the same anymore.
In any case, do not fear! Writer's block can also lead to new
and greater songs and ideas down the road.

Now get readin' :-)


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 Paul Babelay - "The Vibe Guy"

From Paul's new column, "Rhythm Without the Blues" at

If you need help with musical rhythm - Who you gonna' call?

Just consider us your 9-1-1 Rhythm Responders. With these
time-honored solutions, we will have your rhythms resurrected in
no time.

Here is a list of questions & problems that I hear regularly.

Rhythm Injury #1: "All my songs have started sounding the same. I
keep using the same basic rhythms." This answer may seem dumb or
even impossible for some of you. But don't dismiss it too
quickly. Stop writing with your instrument in your hands. You're
writing is going to be limited by what you can play. Put it
down... sit quietly, and let the ideas develop without your
technique leading you around. Make yourself think differently,
and when you pick up your axe, try your new ideas.

Rhythm Injury #2: "My band has trouble playing along with me on
my songs". (The studio version of this problem is similar). The
problem is overplaying. When you play by yourself, you are the
drums, bass, guitars & everything rolled into one. It's great
that you can do that, but you need a crash course in
orchestration. The bass player can't compete with your bass
lines. The drummer will play all that "wacka-wacka" rhythm you're
playing on his high hats & cymbals... and you can lose the slap
on 2 & 4, a snare drum does it better. Simplify...Stop working so
hard... Delegate...Share the parts with the rest of the team.
It's OK. Your one-man-band rhythms just need to be pulled apart
and scaled back. Let the other members play some of those notes.

Rhythm Injury #3: "I don't know how to play/write different
styles". Unless you grew up in a household with different genres
of music around you, it's easy to have limited tastes and
exposure. Just like food! Initially, I don't suggest the typical,
"go out & buy lots of different styles of music...etc." I believe
emotional energy is what you should pay attention to. Listen to
TV shows, commercials and movie soundtracks. What gives Tension?
Romantic setting? Humor? Competition? Patriotism? Pay close
attention to the rhythms involved. When you make connections
between emotional needs and music that expresses those emotions,
you'll begin to see certain styles used for certain situations.
Your context for learning different styles...should be the
emotion expressed, not licks. For example, everybody can play a
"bluesey" lick... but playing the Blues is a lifetime of
learning. Don't sell it short. All musical genres require time &
commitment to play & write authentically. Get the emotion... the
"WHY" of the music first. Then the "HOW" (the mechanics, theory &
licks) will come.

Rhythm Injury #4: "I don't know how to change rhythms from Verse
to Chorus". There are no rules here. Only what works. But an easy
concept to grasp is contrast. A lyric that is very busy/choppy
(short notes) in the verses, can open up (smooth out, long notes)
in the chorus. The guitar part can be sparse in the verses, and
get more rhythmic & driving in the chorus. Notice that the guitar
and the lead vocal will be doing exactly the opposite. One is
busy while the other is sparse. This allows each one to have it's
own Rhythm Room. (That's kinda like elbow room.) It works!

Rhythm Injury #5: "I hear these cool beats and licks in the major
artists' songs, but I can't seem to write my own." Truth is,
you're often hearing the result of a top-notch Producer, a great
Recording & Mastering Engineer... not to mention great Players,
Singers and Vintage should sound great! They all
bring their technical & creative gifts to the project. But lucky
for us, it still starts with a great song. When you get the tune
as good as you can, little signature licks, riffs and patterns
will begin to surface. They're probably already there, you just
have to "flush them out". Find a unique way to say/play
something, then improvise with it, stutter it, repeat it... or
play just half of it. Elongate (stretch) a vowel sound out longer
than normal, and double it on your guitar. See if you're doing
little grunts, or phrasings that you can pull out and shine the
light on a little. Showcase you doing it your way. Your Vibe...
If you'll do your part, good musicians can take it up another
notch. When you're ready, a capable Producer can take it up again
to another level you can't reach yourself. Just do your part.

** For the rest of this article, please visit
And feel free to send Paul your questions! **


Vibraphonist, Paul Babelay is always amazed he makes a living
doing what he loves. In addition, he considers Asheville, NC the
coolest place on earth to raise a family. PB also performs as a
drummer, percussionist and composer. With a Master of Music from
the University of North Texas, he has accompanied artists ranging
from comedians Don Rickles and Martin Short to Contemporary
Christian singer, Darlene Zscheche. Over 25 years of playing,
writing and recording have led to valuable tips for songwriters
and musicians on his popular website, Check out his tunes and
good vibes at

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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 :

Songwriting - Part 3 - by Tom Hess

In this part of the Songwriting article series, you will learn
more advanced ways of applying rhythm to the process of


You Can't Fix Stupid - by Mick Polich

w does 'stupid' get into the arts and music? Actually, that could
take several columns to look at that one. But here's a short look
at 'stupid' in music, ad some other places (hopefully worth a
chuckle or two).


How To Make A Great Guitar Solo - by Tom Hess

This article will show you how to instantly improve your guitar
solos. You will learn new creative ideas that will greatly
advance your lead guitar playing.

Commercials are a Big Waste of my Time - Guess Again!
- by Cyrus Rhodes

This article looks at how lucrative commercial exposure can be
for any artist.


How to Choose a Good Mixer - by Cyrus Rhodes

How to choose a Mixer right for your style of music.


Two Weeks In Nashville - by Cyrus Rhodes

Two weeks in Nashville I will never forget.


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 :


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

Expand your vocal range and improve your tone with The Deva
Method®. For less than the price of one voice lesson, you can
study with celebrity vocal coach Jeannie Deva through the
acclaimed "Contemporary Vocalist Vol. 1" book and 4 CD set. With
easy to understand and use exercises you can develop effortless
breath support and control of your voice.

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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:
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Inspired by the songwriter's journey, and through understanding
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Lyricist is the first-of-its-kind word processor designed
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The new version 3 release adds support for "Piano Style" chord
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This tool will revolutionize the way you write and organize your
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One of the most respected and imitated indie music sites on the
web, has been serving the Independent Music
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Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR
Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER
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