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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 13.5
August 2010

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes, Gian Fiero & 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 - How To Clean Up Your Lead Guitar Technique: Find the solution to fixing sloppy lead guitar playing - by Tom Hess
* On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2010 - 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 be a great way to kick start your creativity and marketing efforts. Check it out!

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

(And Muse's News readers *still* get a special discount!)

MasterWriter 2.0 - at New Price!Looking for something really special for that songwriter in your life? (Maybe it's you!) MasterWriter 2.0 is the most powerful suite of songwriting tools ever assembled in one program. MasterWriter is endorsed by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NSAI and is used by some of the world's leading songwriters including Gwen Stefani, Rob Thomas, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Jimmy Webb, Kenny Loggins, Trent Reznor, Clint Black, and many more.

In addition to giving you Rhymes, Close Rhymes, Phrases, Pop-Culture, Synonyms, and the Definition, new features include Word Families and Parts Of Speech, two unique and revolutionary reference dictionaries that will open up a new world of possibilities for descriptive words and ideas. There have been updates and improvements to the existing features, including greatly expanded Sound-Alikes (close rhymes), and a completely redesigned Interface. These are serious tools for the serious songwriter.

MasterWriter's NEW price is now only $199 - but you'll still get a *$20* discount (your price is just $179!) by ordering through The Muse's Muse! Take the Tour, Download a Free Trial, and get a $20 discount! Note that the auto-inserted discount number 3004 will apply the $20 discount when ordering online. Windows and Mac compatible.

Editor's Musings:

Well, here we are for another month. I'm getting used to this new format and liking it quite a bit. :)

I hope you guys are having a wonderful summer so far!

As mentioned in the last newsletter, I'd love it if someone who is a regular subscriber and has an interest, would take up the mantle of book/service/software reviewer for this newsletter. (The added perk is that you get to keep a copy of everything you review!) Ideally, I'm looking for someone in the States as the majority of our give aways are from American suppliers and it's easier for them to ship their product to someone in the same country. There is only one review a month, usually to be passed along by the 20th so that it'll make the newsletter in plenty of time. If this interests you, I'd love to hear from you so that we can talk about it.

We have a bit of a theme in this month's newsletter, only because we have a new give away for those of you guitar players looking to improve your technique. And Tom Hess' article is the featured one this month where he talks about that some more. :) is offering one lucky subscriber a 6 month membership to their service which includes tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons.  GMC also features a forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats, & content for bass, drums, singing, piano, etc. If you're interested in this raffle prize (or others!), email me and let me know!

In the meantime, here are the raffle winners for this month:

  • Roy Heflin from Pasadena, MD, has won a beautiful (and highly useful!) notebook from The Jotted Line.

  • Daniel Compton from Dunedin, New Zealand has won a copy of "A Monkey Manual for Songwriters" reviewed in our last issue of the newsletter.

  • XOCH from North Las Vegas, NV, has won a 6 month subscription to the Onlinegigs service. This valuable service is a powerful tool for musiciains, agents, record companies and managers designed to virtually automate the administration of booking and promoting a band or bands.

  • Joyce Wong, from Richmond, BC Canada, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.

  • Tommy Macken, from Co. Westmeath, Ireland, 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.

  • Brad Dunse, from River Falls, WI has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.

To put yourself in the running for a raffle prize of your very own, 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. Yup. It's that simple - but only those folks reading this newsletter get the opportunity. ;-)

Keep cool and enjoy the newsletter!

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: By: Cyrus Rhodes, Gian Fiero & Don Sechelski


Cyrus Rhodes:

* Handful of Luvin
* Spinn
* Doug McCurry
* Exile Kings
* Research Society

Gian Fiero:

* Kevin Wong
* Jonathan Kingham
* Nick Tate
* Sheli Stevens
* Hoodlum Gang
* Friction Monster
* Jennifer Greer

Don Sechelski:

* Bob Mamet Trio

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.


Corinne Curcio - Genre: POP

This gifted musician / arranger / songwriter has an eclectic style drawing on Rock, Pop, Folk and World Music. Her latest CD, "Now", showcases her instrumental versatility on guitar, keyboard and bass. With her sultry voice and well crafted lyrics, Corinne Curcio weaves a rich musical tapestry.


Allister Bradley - Genre: SINGER/SONGWRITER

A collection of stories from inside the soul of a Canadian singer/songwriter/pianist, delivering on the promise of heartfelt emotion, social commentary, and a shy sense of humour, lifted by melodies that stick in your head and satisfy like warm soup on a cold day…

Songwriting Book Review By: Ed Teja

Music Creator 5
Cakewalk Inc.

Most folks that know about the company Cakewalk would first think of their SONAR program, which is very sophisticated DAW (digital audio workstation) program. Many songwriters who have turned to DAWs to be able to make decent demos, or to just be able to work out songs and then hear them, have found that mastering the subtleties of the big and comprehensive software programs is time consuming. If your recording needs are simple, well there are still some analog recorders out there.  But at the same time, it is hard to abandon the idea of being able to do multiple tracks, lay down some synth sounds, and maybe a simple drum track. And if you could then edit and mix all this… This is where Music Creator 5 comes in. Aimed at songwriters who are not computer whizzes, this is still a powerful package, with powerful features that used to be available only in pro packages

Now I will confess that I have used SONAR for many years, and its precursor program before that. I am an addict. Not that I claim it is better than other programs—I don’t know any of them well, but friends in the business use a variety of packages—but my familiarity colors my view of this program. To try and get as fresh a view as possible, I set myself a challenge. Install the program on my office laptop, open it and record something. My music computer has fancy audio I/O and supports expensive phantom powered microphones and has more bells and whistles than I totally understand. Even the operating system is optimized for music creation. But if I wanted a simple music creation program, one that I’d use for grabbing song ideas and playing with them, even on the go, I’d want to make sure it could do what it is supposed to on my laptop—a simple Dell Inspiron.  

The long and short of it was that there were no surprises. Music Creator 5 installed easily. It comes with Amplitude X-GEAR—an amp simulation package—that is great for guitarists. You can actually play an acoustic and make it sound like an electric—not that you need to, but it has that range. There are lots of audio effects as well. Most importantly you get reverb and compressors and the sorts of things that help. In minutes I was recording acoustic guitar tracks in time (more or less) with the built in drum program, which gives you a selection of drum styles and beats without doing anything hard. Just dial in the tempo you want and start jamming.

One of the nicest features about a program like this is the ability to edit the sound files. With very little practice you eliminate the hems and clicks and other annoying noises. When the tracks are pretty clean, you mix them as you want them, add now ones and add effects to existing ones. It is really a great deal of fun—better than a video game.

But speaking of videos...

If you’d like to make videos of your songs for youtube, shoot it and then import the video into Music Creator 5. It lets you edit the music track that goes with your video. So if the sound in the video your friend got of your gig using a cell phone needs some work, you can import the file and go to town. There is a learning curve there, but not a hard one.

I haven't addressed all of the cool features of this program, and there are quite a few (there are simpler programs out there) but after all, the point was that you can get and start recording your songs really well without any hassle. Not that there is nothing to learn, or nothing to stumble over (we are talking computers here, after all), but as software goes, this is a straightforward package. And best of all, useful to a songwriter who would rather write and play music than learn to be an engineer. Of course, there is no doubt that Cakewalk has given you a very substantial taste of the tools the pros use for a reason—they just might create another addict who moves up to bigger and better programs. As you explore the features, and find that this or that little tweak makes it sooo much better, you acquire the bug. An introductory program like this a good way to build a fan base, in my book. Hats off to Cakewalk for putting so much in a small and inexpensive package.



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!

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


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 articles.

The 11th 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 phone and fax numbers.

Click here for details and to order online.

Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space, 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 highly recommended Great American Song Contest is open to amateur songwriters everywhere. This international event features prestigious awards for 45 winners in 9 style categories and provides over $10,000 in Prizes. Entrants receive written evaluations of their songs. GASC music-industry judges include prominent publishers, music producers and recording artists. Songwriters, lyricists and composers are welcome. Sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere.

Submission deadline is October 15, 2010.
For details, visit:


This year’s winner will receive airfare to Nashville, TN, 2 nights accommodations, transportation, over $10,000 dollars in promotional marketing to jumpstart their career, plus many other prizes! This is a great opportunity to take a shot at recording in the same studio as today’s #1 artists. At Omni Sound Studios on Music Row artists like Carrie Underwood, Miley Cyrus, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, etc…

There are many more prizes and we hope you visit our website for details @ Get those songs ready and “Show Me the Music”
Enter Now!


NewSong Music is proud to announce the launch of the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest – one of North America’s premier showcases of emerging performing songwriters that spans an array of genres, and includes regional rounds. The 2010 contest winner will get the opportunity to record an EP with 2010 Grammy winning producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones) which will be released on the NewSong Recordings label. In addition, the winner will perform on an internationally broadcast Mountain Stage (NPR) show, and will receive 1,000 copies of the completed disc.

The NewSong Contest is officially accepting submissions at Submissions start at $30 per song, with discounts for multiple submissions. The final deadline for submissions is September 13th.


The Lyric Check Contest and all affiliate contests are open to both amateur and professional songwriters. All genres and song categories are included. If entrant is under 18 years old, the signature of a parent or guardian is required. All entries submitted must be original songs and shall not infringe any copyrights or any other rights of any third parties. Songs may have multiple co-writers, but only one name should be designated on the entry form. Entrant shall, by entering, indemnify and hold Lyric Check harmless from and against any claims inconsistent with the foregoing. Contestants may enter as many songs as they wish in contest. A panel of Music Business Professionals will select the winners. Songs will be judged based on composition, lyrics, melody, and originality. The quality of performance and production will not be a consideration. Winners will be announced February 14, 2011. Click here to enter and view prize lists!

Entry Deadline is Dec 31, 2010


The 7th 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:


MusikPitch is a brand new website where songwriters can find the latest opportunities from companies, studios, and individuals looking for custom songs. It's a straightforward marketplace, where you can get your music heard and win contracts, regardless of your experience and location. New projects are posted daily — from big name movie studios and company brands to non-profits and schools. Start browsing for great new opportunities today!


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.


32,000 live music venues of all sizes are featured including clubs, bars, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops, theaters, halls, churches, book stores, community centers, house concerts and open mics. There are also 1,500 festivals listed as well as over 1,000 colleges for any artist that wants to plan a college tour.

Jumpstart your tour today! Click here for more information!

Muse's Clues - By Irene Jackson

©1998-2010 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

I decided to take a different approach in hunting down some interesting websites for you to ponder this month by doing a simple Google search using the search term "creativity".

We think of it more in terms of our own writing, but of course, creativity isn't restricted to songwriting is it? Sometimes in your every day life and even in your job you might find the need to do some creative thinking or problem solving. There are plenty of books and workshops on the subject, but as usual I was hunting for some interesting tips or tricks and came up with a few websites that might stir your creative thinking.

Some of these tips come from less predictable places. For instance is a network of small companies and professionals dedicated to giving them a competitive edge over their competition. But I found a page on their site called "10 Steps for Boosting Creativity" ( It's interesting because many of you have probably tried different songwriting exercises, but these tips give a slightly different skew that might actually give you a fresh look at problem solving as it applies to your songwriting. Another page on the same website is called "The Secret to Creativity". When you read it, you realize that creativity in ANY situation has a similar set of attributes and can be applied to whatever you do. This website is obviously for companies, but here are a couple of ideas that go right across the board:

1. If you're stuck for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to formulate ideas incorporating this word.

2. If you can't think, go for a walk. A change of atmosphere is good for you and gentle exercise helps shake up the brain cells.

3. Exercise your brain by reading a lot, talking to clever people and disagreeing with people - arguing can be a terrific way to give your brain cells a workout.

See what I mean?

On another website called BlueGlass (, which, again, is a business-oriented marketing website, there's a great blog post called 15 Essential Tips for Harnessing Your Creativity ( Here is one of my favourites from that page:

11. Think two ways. There are two types of creative thinking. The first is “divergent” (thinking of lots of different ideas). The other form is called “convergent” (bringing disparate ideas together in a way that makes sense). When you get stuck on a project, try switching to a different type of creative thought, and see where that takes you.

And finally there is a wonderful website called Enchanted Mind ( This one leans just a little more to the artsy side of creativity, although it also incorporates articles on the brain and health and sciences. When you think of it (no pun intended!), the brain needs to be healthy and unfettered in order for you to really devote yourself to your writing. There are also lots of articles on creative techniques like "Creative Dreaming" and "The Power of Imagination", which give you some exercises to try out. There are even some puzzles for you to solve in the section called "Brainbender Puzzles". I think this would be an excellent way for you to "shift gears" and put your attention on something different for a little while, to allow your mind to free itself of the daily drabble first before you sit down to work on your writing.

You might also do a Google search yourself and see what kind of creative websites you can find to help you unlock your brilliant songwriting brain :-) .


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:

Featured Article - By Tom Hess

How To Clean Up Your Lead Guitar Technique:
Find The Solution To Fixing Sloppy Lead Guitar Playing

If you have a hard time playing lead guitar cleanly, the most likely reason for this is excessive guitar string noise. For most guitarists, refining this area of their lead guitar technique may have nothing to do with improving the way they play "the notes they want to hear". The root of the problem lies in the notes (strings) they do ‘not’ want to hear.

If you are articulating the notes you want to play accurately, but you still have a hard time getting your lead guitar playing to sound clean, then this article will greatly help you to improve your guitar technique by eliminating unwanted guitar string noise.

In order to effectively mute guitar strings we do not want to be heard it is necessary to use two totally different sets of muting techniques: One to stop unwanted guitar string noise from LOWER (in pitch) strings; and another to mute the higher (in pitch) strings.

Although there is more than 1 way to mute guitar strings, some methods offer advantages that others do not and are therefore (in my opinion at least) better.

Muting The Lower Strings

Many guitar players use the palm of their picking hand to mute lower strings. Although this technique is pretty good at keeping most of the lower strings quiet there are two big disadvantages with this technique.

  1. Muting with your palm will cause a slight delay in the muting of a string which has just been played a moment before. This delay causes brief moments of unwanted guitar string noise. This happens for 2 main reasons:

  1. The flesh of your palm is much softer than the side of your thumb and therefore takes more time for your palm to actually stop the string from sounding.

  2. It is not easy to get your palm in the perfect position to consistently and reliably mute strings that are adjacent to the one you are playing in all playing situations.

For the rest of this article, visit here (includes photos!)


Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist.  He teaches guitar players around the world via online guitar lessons, Visit to get free guitar playing tips, assessments, surveys, mini courses and to reach Tom with questions about reaching your musical goals.


What Makes for an Effective Band Manager - by Cyrus Rhodes
Most agree - being a Band Manager is probably one toughest jobs in the Music Business. In all my years in the business these attributes generally equate to an effective Band Manager.


(GIGS & BEYOND) OK Maybe it's time we hired our own Road Crew - by Cyrus Rhodes
Don't underestimate the value of a good road crew!


(GIGS & BEYOND) How to make the most of your Merch - by Cyrus Rhodes
If you're like many artists, your distribution strategy begins and ends at the merch table. But for too many acts, the at-the-show marketing effort involves nothing more than a shout-out from the stage...


The day I gave my CD to a Coffee Shop - by Cyrus Rhodes
Your CD in a coffee shop?  This is a powerful marketing tool.  Here's how I did it.

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!


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 guitarist.

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? Click here.


Inspired by the songwriter's journey, and through understanding the principles talked about in "THE SECRET", this audio program is specifically created for the songwriter based on those findings. Through Power of Thought and Understanding the Law of Attraction, you will have the tools, knowledge & ability to create the thoughts, experiences, and circumstances to be a phenomenally Successful Songwriter. Included is a guided meditation that is as passionate as it is empowering!

Muse's Muse Visitors - Enter Promo Code: 42567 for Discount.

Limited Introductory Offer of $12.95 for Digital Download Discounts for CD, and CD/Digital Download Combo shown on ordering page.


One of the most respected and imitated indie music sites on the web, has been serving the Independent Music Community since 1996 with streaming audio, monthly CD Reviews, huge industry search directory, success-building resources, classifieds, and much-needed recognition. The site offers a wealth of information to artists trying to survive & thrive in today's competitive music industry.

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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