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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 14.0
March 2011

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Ivan Nossa, Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Anastasia Karalekas
* 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: Quick Tip: World Class Champion Title Holder (Part 2) - by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2011 - 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! :-) ) Check it out!

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

That’s what Songsinc wants to help you do.

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At Songsinc, your tracks can earn royalties as they are offered to songwriters who use them to create new songs. Your lyrics can create a song and inspire the world. You can write with a PRO and get connected to influential music business folks.

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Editor's Musings:

Wow. The start of year #14. I feel oooooold. :D And as usual, talking about the weather, I'm sick to death of winter. It can go away any time now. Or at least, the snow can. Really *really* had enough of all the snow storms. I'm sure I'm not the only one. And there are some of you experiencing them that have never experienced them in all your lives. I sympathize. I really do. Just remember that spring is around the corner!

Again, some fantastic stuff for you this month, including the second part of Brad's awesome "Quick Tip", new websites reviewed by Irene Jackson, a new book review by Anastasia, and a bunch of new CD reviews and online articles for your reading pleasure.

I'd also like to mention a nifty new tool that was brought to my attention. B-Rhymes is a rhyme/slant rhyme dictionary - (you can see the difference pretty quickly by clicking here) which means it will find rhymes that aren't only true rhymes, but that *sound like* they rhyme. This can be hugely useful for songwriters and it's especially useful since there are also Android and iPhone & iPad applications of the program. Cool, huh? Thanks to Mike Lin for coming up with this little gem!

And speaking of iPads... if you’ve been looking for the perfect stand or mounting solution for your iPad then you’re in luck. (Full disclosure - I am an affiliate of these folks, but I genuinely think these are a great solution for any performer wanting to use an iPad on stage or in a studio). TheGigEasy iPad Mount easily converts your iPad into a sleek, elegant and multi-functional device. Originally design by musicians for musicians, it can be attached to any standard music stand and it even swivels 360°. You can get yours today at an introductory price and it's well worth taking a look at.

And now, on to the raffle winners! They're listed below:

  • Leyla Fences from Lantana, TX, has won a beautiful (and highly useful!) notebook from The Jotted Line.
  • Gary Sheppard, from Melbourne, Australia, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Bryan J. Zimmerman from Center Valley, PA, 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.
  • Victor Henshaw, from Calgary, Alberta Canada, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.

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.)

Thanks again for subscribing, folks! I hope you find inspiration whether or not you're digging out from the latest snow storm. ;-)

All the best,


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

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

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.

Music Reviews: By: Ivan Nossa, Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski


Ivan Nossa:

* Kelly Pettit
* Dorothy Leigh
* Dala
* The Avisi
* Hunter Hayes

Cyrus Rhodes:

* Julie Schurr
* Jim Gallant
* Bob Lien

Don Sechelski:

* Mike Ian
* FivePlay Jazz Quintet

* Donald McCrea
* Heavy Tin

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.


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.


Moebius Cat - Genre: ALTERNATIVE

Moebius Cat is a fluid and dynamic project, creating melodic and emotional music in an experimental fusion of dark wave, progressive rock, gothic ethereal, world, electronic and neoclassical styles. Sounds intriguing? Then go to the website, listen to Moebius Cat music and download the entire CD to your hard drive or iPod. If you’re a musician or a singer and feel that your talent can contribute to Moebius Cat unique sound -Contact Moebius Cat!

Songwriting Book Review By: Anastasia Karalekas

Songwriting – A Complete Guide to the Craft
by Stephen Citron

The cover says it all: lyrics, music, rhythm, rhyme, notation, concept, form, style. And that’s not a complete list either! And although the book is about songwriting, the author thoroughly covers the fundamentals of music, something that is often just skimmed over in these books.

The first section starts with lyrics, form and styles. Citron goes through every era and genre of music, and looks at lyrics in different styles of songs, from operettas starting in the 1900s, all the way to the 21st century, and then looks at all genres, from operettas all the way to acid rock. Going through the different music felt like I was watching a documentary about the history of music. Examples from every era show songs and how they reflected the times. It looks at all genres, from rock, spiritual, musicals, disco, etc. It looks at their forms, and what is characteristic for each song style, so whatever you’re writing, you have a great many successes to study.

Every book on songwriting generally includes a little bit of music theory. Part 2 is all about the music – melody, chords, scales, harmony, rhythm – the fundamentals of music to know, which will help you to write betters songs. This is like a really extensive music lesson, which is great for anyone who does not read music, because learning to read music can be quite overwhelming.

I’ve seen quick basic music fundamentals in other books on songwriting, but I’ve never seen any as detailed as this one. I’m even hesitant to say that it’s basic; it really felt more like a detailed course to me. Learning this will greatly help you to improve your songwriting, especially the melodic elements of your songs. I would suggest that, for those who don’t read music, learn this section well, and don’t budge from there until it’s ingrained in you. Then go write songs like you never thought you could.

The chapter on chords is perfect for understanding how chords are formed, and what sound they will give. As he does with lyrics, melody, scales, harmony and rhythm, Citron explains what genre of music works best with what chords, according to the sounds they produce. And this is not meant as a limitation, but rather as a guide to help you write songs that fit together well. And his descriptions of the sounds they create are quite impressive.

And this is just a drop in the bucket of what you’ll find in this book. From copywriting to recording, to numerous examples of all different types of music to study and analyze, there’s a lot to learn, and this is a great place to start if you want “A complete guide to the craft”.



Anastasia Karalekas is a self-taught guitarist and music absorber.  When she is not learning, learning, learning, she spends her time writing fiction and poetry. After taking some private guitar lessons, her teacher encouraged her  to try putting some of her poems to music, and she's been writing songs ever since.

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!)


It's the "secret weapon" used by some of the winners of the world's most prestigious vocal awards, including the Doves, the CMA Awards, and yes, the Grammies.

Learn the one mistake even professional singers make, that drains away 3 times more vocal energy and yields only half the needed vocal power. Find out about the 3 simple exercises that allow even a "beginner" to make rapid increases in range (this also eliminates vocal strain). Learn Brett's secret for "dissolving" your break, so you'll never have to flip into falsetto again, but you'll still sing as high as you want--in full voice - and LOTS more.

The package includes 12 audio CDs (packed with 17 repeatable lessons, including both technique--the simple, yet powerful exercises, and style lessons for building vocal licks and trills); a workbook for illustration; and a DVD for visual reference and demonstration. It's a complete course - and it has a money-back guarantee!

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

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!


Now accepting song entries for our FIFTH 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 1st, 2nd and now 3rd place in each genre category are also featured on the front page. Contest closes at only 150 genre capacity, so enter today!

Enter online with your new permanent profile


This contest is all about giving you, the songwriter, a once in a lifetime opportunity! It’s hard to break into the music business. You have to have a stellar recording of your song to turn the heads of Industry Executives. You also need exposure, a professionally packaged CD, someone to push your music to radio stations, and you have to network with people at the top. That is what we are going to do for our Winner. 

This could be the contest that jump-starts your career! Enter Now!


Stimulate and satisfy your creative muse by entering the B-4 Appalachian Roots Festival Songwriting Contest. The B-4 Festival will be held June 10th and 11th 2011 in Westminster South Carolina. B-4 will include bluegrass, blues, BBQ and brew. Catagories include bluegrass, Americana, blues, gospel, and open. Ten finalist will be selected to perform their songs for a panel including bluesman David Jacobs Strain for a chance at cash prizes and professional studio recording time. All finalist will receive a slot on the songwriters stage June 11th 2011. Entry fee is $25.00 for two songs on one CD. 

Deadline for entries is May 1 2011. Go to to enter and more info.


16th 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. Past winners include Alannah Myles, Ken Hirsch, Ari Gold, The Waifs, etc. First 1,000 entries will each receive a double bonus to Recording magazine and Premier Guitar magazine. 

Submission deadline: May 31.


Stars Uncharted is a new website that was created in order to feature the best music out there and encourage originality, creativity, imagination and authenticity. If you know a great solo artist / songwriter / band or want your music featured, Stars Uncharted offers prizes to whoever helps it feature extraordinary music. At the moment SU offers Sony PCMM10 Portable Linear PCM Recorders (List Price: $399.99) to anyone who introduces them to great music. Blow their virtual socks off and the music you suggest will be featured and you'll win a digital recorder.



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

©1998-2011 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

This month I'm going to point you to two excellent articles on hit songwriting, not because I expect you all want to write hits, but because they give you a great picture on the state of the songwriting biz these days and what is going on behind the scenes. Many, many people land on a particular page of my website because they've Googled this phrase "how much money does a songwriter make", so I know that there is still a burning desire out there in some people to make money from their craft. To keep it simple (that's just a bit of a segue to one of the articles :-), it's a long, long road for anyone who wants to make it, and there's a lot to learn.

The first article in the August 13th, 2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal is titled "The Secrets of Songwriters". If you REALLY want to know how Beyonce got her hit "Put A Ring On It", you'll find out here. But more importantly, if you're interested in the difficult road of becoming a staff writer, you'll get a read inside picture of the process, the competition and how important lyrics really are in pop songwriting :-).

In the same article you'll find audio files of a couple of the demos that are talked about in the section on "The Staff Writer". But the article also covers singer/songwriters and hip-hop artists as well as Broadway musical lyricists. Yes, some people make their living from that too!

The real gist of the article is "How top writers, from country to hip-hop, nail the phrases they hope will last forever." Maybe you'll learn how to nail a few of your own.

The next article is in the New York Times, called "Want A Hit? Keep It Simple". The author, Jon Pareles discusses what he considers today's "dominance of three-minute, two-idea tracks". He asks, should songwriters and artists be pressured into writing these bubblegum songs or should they go against the current radio research that tells them listeners' attention spans are shrinking and they're only listening on poor quality mp3 players anyway?

It's not as if he is dissing pop. He considers it concise, and even "genius" when it's done just right, but there is a danger of homogenization when the same group of writers are pretty much writing for every pop artist out there. Having read the first article, I'd have to agree.

Now what are you, the songwriter, going to get from these articles other than a bad attitude and a depressed view of the business? Actually, if you read between the lines of either article, you may see a whole lot of possibilities out there, because an audiences taste in songs, as with many things, goes through cycles. A recent viewing of the 2010 Grammys will tell you, for instance, that not even folk is dead!

You certainly don't have to be a pop songwriter to get a little insight to the history and the future of songwriting from these two articles. And a little hope too.


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 Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP (Part 2) : World Class Champion Title Holder

3. Song lyrics. Many times I'll be listening to a song and a line in the middle of a song will stand out as an idea or title for a song. You can't copyright a phrase or line of a song, so it is fair game to expand on. Many times a title idea for me will come when I mishear a line, and the one I thought it had said really was a fresher thought. Next time you tune in to the radio or CD player, tune in with your title finding mode cranked up. Here are a few ideas I picked up within only 3 or 4 minutes:

• Then I Saw You
• What's It All About?
• Heart Of Stone
• Upon The Window Pane
• The Rain Disappears
• Put Out The Fire
• You'll Get Your Way
• If I Wanted To
• I Could Never Be Free
• Never Believed It Was True
• Now It's So Clear To Me

The above title possibilities came within only a couple minutes. About the time it took one song to play. Hey! What do you know! In fact they did come all from one song. Do you recognize it from the lyrics above? If you’ve not heard it, take a minute to go up on the net and find the 80’s pop hit by America titled "You Can Do Magic". Listen to it and see how easy it is to extract titles from other songs. The last few lines came line by line right off the bridge of the song. I'm telling you titles are everywhere!

4. Newspaper Headlines. Scan the newspaper for headlines, phrases in an article, or ad copy. Here are a few examples:

• Rough Diamonds Gleam
• Good Graces
• Skin Deep
• Tough Love
• Crazy Horse
• Nashville Man

Again from this example we’ve got an interesting statement, alliteration, familiar phrase, a rhyme, a name of a famous night club, and the name of a city. Newspaper headlines or phrases in articles are also free for the using and make great sources for title ideas.

5. Bumper Stickers. Just riding down the street you can find title ideas. Often times these lend themselves to humorous or pointed topics or lines. You might find some like these:

• What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about?
• Keep Honking, I'm Reloading
• Silly Boys -- Trucks Are For Girls
• Bigger the hat, better the cowboy
• Cowboy Up
• I ain't no cowboy I just found this hat

Well you get the idea! These are just a few places to find titles. You might find them on billboards, newspaper flyers, newscasts, or TV interviews…they’re everywhere! Just pay attention to your surroundings.

Look for something that…

• Has a name of a city, state, country (Amsterdam-Coldplay)
• Has a color in the title (Lady In Red-Chris de Burgh)
• Has a rhyme with in it (Crocodile Rock-Elton John)
• Has two opposites (Live Like You Are Dying-Tim McGraw)
• Has alliteration (Run For The Roses- Dan Fogelberg)
• Has a question (Why Georgia?-John Mayer)
• Has numbers in the title (21 Guns-Green Day)
• Has one word possibility (Shake-Jesse McCartney)
• Has letters (T.R.O.U.B.L.E-Travis Tritt)

Where ever you are just get in the habit of keeping an ear for great titles or lines, and then jot them down on paper, or better yet your digital recorder… you do have a digital recorder don't you? They are pretty reasonable these days and fit quite nicely in your pocket for those sudden bursts of songwriting brilliance.

Happy title hunting! See you next month!

If you’d like to get in touch with Brad for any Quick Tips comments, questions or suggestions just Send Brad An E Mail.


Brad Dunse is a performing songwriter based deep in the country's heartland reflecting sensitivity of daily living in his songs. Writing primarily in Folk, Country, Pop, or Americana, he occasionally writes CCM. Co-writer of The Wall, a tribute to Viet Vets receiving major market airplay, he's also received airplay on NPR, local public, independent, and web radio. He is a freelance writer, is board member of Minnesota Association of Songwriters, been member or involved in ASCAP, NSAI, SongU and other organizations. You can visit his web site at WWW.BRADDUNSEMUSIC.COM as well Add As Facebook Friend or Follow Him On Twitter.


Yclept Writing and Swinging Bats: Build Up Those Songwriting Muscles
- by Bill Pere

One of the greatest tools you can use to help build up your songwriting skills is yclept writing – funny name, but very powerful.   You see examples of yclept writing in many books of poetry, literature or wordplay, especially from author Dave Morice.  Learn about this great way to flex your songwriting muscles, and in the process, maybe create something unique and memorable.


How To Develop Creativity In Your Guitar Playing - by Tom Hess

Read this article to learn how to become a more expressive and creative guitar player and musician.


The Musician As Artist - Jon Langford - by Mick Polich

Many musicians are dedicated visual artists as well - Mekon co-founder and Bloodshot Records artist Jon Langford is that combination. Mick takes a look at one Jon's art/music books ...

Classifieds & Useful Services


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.


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!


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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