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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 15.11
February 2013

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes, Dan Cohen & 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 Songwriter's Hall of Fame member, John Brhel.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: Don't Moon Walk Your Lyrics by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article (or articles) 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!)

Write Better Songs with MasterWriter 2.0 - at a New Price!WRITE BETTER SONGS WITH MASTERWRITER 2.0 - NEW PRICE!
(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.

Editor's Musings:

Hello again at the ending of one month and the starting of the next. How's the new year been treating you? Well, I hope. No complaints on this end. I took a trip to Alabama and Georgia at the beginning of the new year, and had a wonderful time with friends, as well as making music with Play It With Moxie. Really looking forward to returning next year. I miss my band mates already. :)

I have a few things to mention, so please bear with me.

First off, Anastasia, our intrepid book reviewer, will be leaving us. She's done such an incredible job in the time she's been reviewing books here (thanks so much, Anastasia!) but things are getting super busy for her and I totally understand that she needs to focus her energies elsewhere. What this means though, is that I'm looking for a new book reviewer. If you think this is something that might interest you and you have a little bit of marketing savvy under your belt (not hugely necessary, but it would be helpful), feel free to contact me at jodi at musesmuse dot com so that we can discuss the possibilities of your joining the regular writers here. Due to the possibility of books sometimes being sent your way physically (happens less and less these days, but it still does happen), I'd prefer someone in North America (sorry!). I look forward to speaking with you!

In other news, I was immensely saddened to hear of the passing of John Braheny. He was definitely an early influence on The Muse's Muse - and one of the first to give it a favorable review in print (in a Keyboard Magazine, I believe). I had the opportunity to meet and spend an evening with him and his wife JoAnn some years ago in the L.A. area when I was visiting and they were both incredibly generous, fun people with a metric TON of knowledge of the industry. John will be missed by a great many people, myself included. If you'd like to learn more about his life and offer your condolenses to JoAnn, you can drop by the Facebook Group that has been set up in John's memory.

And shifting to the GOOD news department ... David Taylor II put together a video with a pretty extensive review of The Muse's Muse and this newsletter.. He has a series that he puts together on a regular basis, all with the songwriter in mind. It's well worth checking out! Why not view some of his previous episodes, while you're at it? :)

I'd also like to mention that over on The Muse's Muse Message Board, we'll be asking folks to submit songs for a commemorative CD. This hasn't happened over there in a number of years (it's a lot of work to put together!) but bubblingsoul (that's her display name over there so you can find her) has very generously offered to put something together this year for a new one. Would you like to have your finished song considered for inclusion? Why not join the message board (which would probably be very useful to you ANYway :) ) and join in the fun!

Ok. Finally time to get to the raffle winners. And if you'd like to win a prize of your own, you know the drill. :) But if not, there's information on how to do that below the winners listing.

  • Jim Moffatt from Victoria, BC (Canada), has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.

  • David Bracken from Dunwoody, GA, 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.

  • Sloane Michael, from Evergreen, Colorado, 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.

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.)

Enjoy every moment, my friends. It will never be the same again.

All the best,


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


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Music Reviews: Cyrus Rhodes, Dan Cohen & Don Sechelski


Cyrus Rhodes:

* Sean Johnson

Dan Cohen:

* Mister Fred

Don Sechelski:

* Pete Calacci
* Lashbrooks

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.


Mark Evans - Genre: COUNTRY

Mark Evans is a truly gifted songwriter in the mold of Billy Joe Shaver and Kris Kristofferson. He nailed a publishing deal on his first trip to Nashville and completed his forthcoming CD on his second trip. Titled I Crawl Out, Mark Evans' debut disc will be released in England and America.

Songwriting Book Review By: Anastasia Karalekas

"Songwriting Without Boundaries:
Lyric Writing Exercises for Finding Your Voice"

by Pat Pattison

Writing prompts with a kick, this is what this book feels like.

Pat Pattison’s book “Songwriting Without Boundaries: Lyric Writing Exercises for Finding Your Voice” is a very interesting and unique prompt book. Laid out in four sections, with 14 days of timed writing exercises per section, it starts with an explanation of what the challenges are about. Then, for the next few days, you’ll be writing your butt off, using some very stimulating ways to involve all your senses, and creating some incredible visuals in your work. And though it won’t feel like you’re writing your butt off, you’ll know you did when you see what you’ve come up with. You really will be putting words together without thinking about how they relate to each other – without boundaries.

Every section is carefully tied into the next, carrying forward all you’ve learned to the next chapter, building blocks of a masterpiece along the way. For example, with object writing, the first section, you’ll use all your senses to imagine an object, and then you’ll slowly add to that object. You’ll see your songs growing one carefully selected word at a time. You’ll be mixing interesting combinations of verbs, nouns and adjectives together, eventually exploring linking qualities – and this is where you’ll find a relation between your words.

There’s even a fantastic section on rhythm and rhyme, including song structure, where to place emphasis in a rhyme, and meters. The last section *is* a bit more technical, but it is an essential part to the book. And besides, the author has a fantastic way of explaining everything so clearly that I didn’t even notice how technical it is until after I was done.

Finally, don’t be fooled by the title of this book. Although it says “Songwriting Without Boundaries,” I think every writer should have this in his library. You will “learn to hear the shape of the language.” (p. 170). You’ll start thinking in a more colorful manner. You’ll find inspiration in directions you may never have thought of exploring before. And this can only result in more vibrant lyrics.



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!)


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Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space (when I need to), 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 Sandra James Songwriting Contest 2013!!

We are doing it once again! The Sandra James Music Foundation is pleased to announce the Sandra James Songwriting Contest 2013, now in its 5th year! This contest will provide an opportunity to promote the music and message of Sandra James by having entrants compose new songs that mirror her ideals. The foundation hopes the contest will amplify her message and present more opportunities for others to hear Sandra's songs and know her passions.

The contest will run from January 1, 2013 to March 31, 2013. Start now so your song will get to us in time! First prize is $3,500! Visit us online for more information: or
**E-mail to request an entry form or download a form off of our website ( We look forward to hearing from you!


G-dcast, an animation production company in San Francisco, is looking for young, Jewish songwriters, ages 21-30, to submit an original reinterpretation of one of the ancient poems in the Bible, more commonly known as the Psalms. The contest has a $1000 first prize and $300 each for three runners up. What's more, these four entrants will have their submissions animated. In order to submit, entrants must attend a webinar on Sun Jan 13 (however, it will also be available to watch via recording). Submit an audio recording that's 90 to 120 seconds long. Submissions will stay open until March 4th. No entry fee required.

Sign up for the webinar and learn more at

A REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAY TO SHARE AND PROMOTE MUSIC pays Fans to Follow and Promote Songs and is 100% FREE to join for both recording artists and music fans. Join us in our mission of making Tunii the future of the music industry where together we can all share in the success for connecting artists and fans around the world. Sign up today through this special Muse's Muse link and please check out our short “How Tunii works video” It's Easy, it's FREE and it's Fun!


18th 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 Mike Schmid, Nenna Yvonne, Alannah Myles, Ken Hirsch, Ari Gold, The Waifs, etc. First 1,000 entries will each receive a USA Songwriting Compilation CD. Submission deadline: May 31, 2013.


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We are music based promotion experts with the solutions, services and support to help you optimize the success of your promotion strategies. Our services capitalize on intelligent and proven forms of promotion to achieve maximum awareness building for your music. Within our first year of business, Music Clout has placed artists in over 1,000 different music industry opportunities including deals with record labels, publishing and licensing, radio stations, blogs, and many more.


Award winning songwriter Jane Eamon is offering songwriting one on one classes via Skype. These sessions are one hour in length and can cover any topic you'd like to address. From writing, to critique, to ideas and games. Or just to share your thoughts and get feedback. If you're interested in a session contact to schedule a class.


Hooktheory is a free resource that can show you how to integrate basic music theory into your songwriting process, making it easier to write catchy chord progressions and melody. Hooktheory currently consists of three main areas:
1. The Hookbook demonstrates basic principles of music theory and how they relate to popular music. It's filled with multimedia-rich content explaining musical concepts synchronized to real songs so you can hear what you are learning and make connections easier.
2. The Music Editor lets you write chord progressions in Roman Numeral notation and listen to them in any key. Add a melody, save your work, share it with friends, or export it to Garageband, sheet music, or guitar tab.
3. The Analysis Wiki is a user-generated collection of analyses of popular songs. Look up the chord progression and melody of a song, or use the music editor to create your own analyses.
Check it out now!


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.


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Muse's Clues - By John Brhel

©2011-2013 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part”

-- “The Waiting,” Tom Petty

God, I love Tom Petty. He’s truly one of America’s greatest musical treasures, along with the Beach Boys, Dylan, and the Fat Boys. “Free Fallin’” might as well be the National Anthem – at least people know the lyrics.

What would the world be, however, if Tom Petty had never written or released songs like “I Won’t Back Down” or “Learning to Fly”? What if he got struck writing the second verse for “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and decided to scrap the entire song? What if “Don’t Do Me Like That” was just an unreleased demo gathering dust in his basement? Classic rock stations would be screwed.

Luckily, Tom wrote, recorded, and released all of the wonderful songs he did. Heartbreakers or not, he’s put out a ton of great music over the years. I’m sure we’ll be singing his tunes at baseball games and barbecues for many years to come.

Unlike Tom, not all of us are so lucky as to write, record, and release multiple songs decade after decade. For many of us, it can be difficult to finish lyrics, to put in the effort to record, to have the guts to unleash our songs on the ears of the world.

Andy Othling feels your pain. A guitarist/songwriter from Albuquerque, NM, Andy can relate to the notion that “the waiting is the hardest part.” Just read the About section on his blog. A lifelong musician who could never finish songs or get anything released, Andy found a way to flesh out his ideas and make things happen:
“…I know the pain of being stuck with songwriting,” says Andy. “And I know the pain of not getting the audience you desire for your music. But I also know that there has never been more opportunities for independent artists like you and I. I hate the idea of your music going unheard, or even going uncreated when we are surrounded by vast amounts of opportunities and tools to help us.”

Why is this guy worth my time, you ask? Well, apart from being an inspiration for struggling musicians everywhere, he offers real-world, straight-to-the-point advice on songwriting, promoting, and other stuff you need to know if you hope to achieve Pettyesque stardom. Yes, Pettyesque is a word now.

Andy doesn’t beat around the bush or mess around with boring articles like “How to Write Like the Beatles (no one can write like the Beatles, so fugeddaboutit!) His advice is useful and based on his own life experiences. For example, one of my favorite posts is titled “Why you should release more music quickly,” in which he touts the various benefits of putting out lots o’ music. According to Andy, “…the more music you release, the more lessons you will learn and your process will continually get better as a result.” I couldn’t agree more. I cringe listening to old demos of mine.

You’ll find that most of what Andy offers is actionable advice. Posts like “What should you spend money on when releasing music?” and “Social Media Tips for Independent Musicians” feature real advice from someone’s who’s actually done this stuff. This isn’t one of those “Exercise 1: Write a Song from the Point of View of a Butterfly” kind of songwriting blogs. Blech.

No matter what kind of music you write, you’re sure to benefit from reading Andy’s blog. He actually writes ambient guitar music as Lowercase Noises and plays guitar for indie rock band Future of Forestry. I mean, I’m of the bubblegum pop ilk and I’m loving what he has to say.

Andy gave up his lucrative full-time gig as a computer programmer in order to pursue music as a career. He actually left his job as recently as November, so I’d expect plenty of great content from this go-getting, gutsy guitarist. He started the blog to answer questions he constantly receives from people looking to emulate his productivity, so he’s definitely doing something right. Just look at the amount of comments his About post received.

You’ll see that Andy’s clearly not writing the blog to make dough or stroke his ego, but merely to share strategies and techniques that worked for him. His posts are authentic and worthwhile, so I suggest you give his site a look-see if you’re looking for real advice from a proactive guy.

You might never write a song as fantastic as “American Girl,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t write, record, and release tons of your own toe-tappers in your lifetime. Follow in Andy’s footsteps and you can make it happen. As Tom would say, even the losers get lucky sometimes.


John Brhel is a songwriter from upstate New York who wrote his first batch of pop songs before graduating from elementary school. A lover of all music, John writes country songs, plays in a punk band and spends a good deal of his free time listening to Diane Warren ballads. John regularly attends industry events in New York and Los Angeles and is a member of ASCAP and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. A lover of melody and the left-field chord change, John lives and breathes songs. He is always on the lookout for Skype cowriters.

Featured Article - By Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP: Don't Moon Walk Your Lyrics

While writing this tip, Michael Jackson’s Thriller is streaming in the headphones. I suddenly got images of him moon walking across stage, you know that visual effect he had all those kids doing on sidewalks and dance floors across the country back in the 80s.

If you’re too young to recall the moon walk, I’m sure YouTube will provide a visual for ya. Basically, it’s a move with your feet where you are walking backwards but you look like you’re walking forwards. Pretty ingenious really, it sure worked for MJ on stage.

The point is I got to thinking how often we see people moon walking their lyrics and to tell you the truth? It really is like nails on a chalkboard to some people.

What do I mean by moon walking your lyrics? Well, I’m talking about writing lines that seem like they’re moving forward, but really they are written backwards… like this:

“I see you every night in my dreams,
Everyday my love for you, it teems.”

Do you see what is wrong with this lyric?

Would you really say, “Everyday my love for you, it teems?”

No, provided you’d even use the word “teems,” you’d say, “My love for you teems every day.”

So why would this moon walking occur, and does it even occur?

Well, yes it does occur. It happens in two cases. First, with new writers finding their way through the lyric writing process, really don’t know any better, and are just excited about writing a song. Second, it happens when that same writer learns how to write lyrics, knows better, gets lazy, and wants to make a rhyme without going through the trouble of re-writing the lyric.

I wish I had a hit song for every time I’ve heard this type of writing in a lyric.

Does it happen with pro writers? Well, you decide.

“Now don't hang on
Nothin' last forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won't another minute buy”

Huh? “All your money won't another minute buy?”

Didn’t they mean “All your money won’t by another minute?”

The writers of this classic pop hit, Dust in the Wind, got away with using an old backwards idiom in this song, and I’m not tearing them up for it. If I wrote a song I’d know would be a classic hit as such with a backwards line in it, I just might do it too.

The problem is, when we run across these kinds of lines, it causes a listener to stumble saying, “What did he just say?”

By the time a listener figures it out, the song is three lines closer to the end of the song and all that was said was missed.

As songwriters we want to steer clear of having a listener stop for anything and miss out on what we have to say.

Unlike poems and other literature, thanks to tempo and music, you can’t just stop and go back to clarify what you heard.

Even in the old Christmas standard, “Let It Snow” we see it with the below lyrics:

“When we finally kiss good night,
How I’ll hate going out in the storm,
But if you’ll really hold me tight,
All the way home I’ll be warm.”

I think they meant, “I’ll be warm all the way home,” but of course storm and home doesn’t so good make the rhyme, right? ;D

For some folks, it’s no big deal. You might be one of those people that isn’t bothered by this type of writing. For others though, it can be quite bothersome and they tend to take a poor judgment of the writer who allows forced rhymes and unclear writing to occur in their work.

So, it’s probably best to steer clear of it. Check out the songs you hear this month and see if you can catch any moon walking lyrics, and more importantly look at the songs you’ve written or the one you’re about to write and see that you don’t fall into  the “lazy writer.”

There is always a way out of it by rewriting a line or coming up with a new word to make the rhyme.

Until next time… keep writing from the heart!


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.


How To Remember The Notes On Guitar Once And For All And Become A More Creative Guitarist
- by Mike Philippov

To learn how to improve your musical creativity you need to practice guitar in a way that makes this possible. Read this article to learn what things you need to practice to become a more creative musician.


Top Ten Reasons Why You Aren't Making Good Money Teaching Guitar
- by Tom Hess

Most guitar teachers don’t believe it is possible to build a guitar teaching business that makes an annual income of $100k or more. The truth is that it is actually very realistic to want to make 6 figures or more per year in your guitar teaching business. Read more about how to make a good living as a guitar teacher in this article.


Building a Solid Song, as Done by Jason Mraz
- by Anthony Ceseri

There are certain things that can contribute to making a great song. In this article, I want to look at a few of those things, while examining the song “I Won’t Give Up,” by Jason Mraz.


The Geometry of Songwriting: Four Dimensions and the Importance of Time
- by Bill Pere

A great song has 4 dimensions in both the music and the lyrics.  Most songs do it in the music, but rarely in the  lyric.  Why is this, and what is missing?   This article tells you what you need to know and shows you what you need to do to maximize the impact and potential of your songs across a 4-dimensional spectrum.

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

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:

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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.

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