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The Muse's Muse
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 18.1
April 2015

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by John Thomas
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - by adventurer and songwriter, Richard Miller.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: Lyrical Mystery: Playing Detective on Your Own Lyric 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 1998-2015 - 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! :-) ) Have a Look!


I personally use HostDime - and LOVE them. Really. Their service is superb and prompt, they really know what they're doing, you can chat with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and their pricing (The Muse's Muse uses a dedicated server) is very reasonable. Check them out!

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

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“MasterWriter will not only help you write great songs, it will make you a better songwriter in the process.”
–David Foster
“Producers have Pro Tools. Writers have Word. Songwriters have MasterWriter.”
–Rob Thomas

Editor's Musings:

Hi guys. Ok. I have to ask. What IS it with the weather warming up throughout the week, and then cooling right down into the minus double digits on the weekends? Does that seem fair to you? Sheesh. :)

Still waiting for winter to end ... but as I said last week, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and at least the snow isn't staying on the ground to make everything messy. I'll take what I can get. ;)

I hope you're all staying warm! Or if you're already somewhere warm, thank your lucky stars!

Oh - and I thought I'd let you know that I'm *this* close to releasing a jazz/blues/easy listening album of my own. I have the honor and pleasure of working with my good friend Chris Conway who is probably one of the most talented musicians/arrangers I've ever had the opportunity to work with. We've been doing this project remotely since he's in the UK. And he's truly a wizard with backing tracks and arrangements, and then mixing and mastering the end result. I'm really happy with things so far. We're just working on one last song and then everything will be ready. It's a mix of a few covers, some of his songs and some of mine and a few we've written together. I'll keep you posted!

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

  • Rich Thomsen, from Vadnais Heights, MN, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Sparkie Allison, from Chicopee, MA, 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.
  • Do Mi Stauber from Eugene, OR, 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..

DO YOU WANT TO WIN A RAFFLE PRIZE? You don't get if you don't ask!
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.)

Have a wonderful month, folks!

All the best,


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


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Music Reviews:


Cyrus Rhodes

* The Brecker Brothers
* Jordan Okrend

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.


Terrell Bowers - Genre: ROCK

Turning Point acknowledges the darkness in life while it shines on the color. The earthy jamming rock runs deep with veins of blues, country, and funk. The stories strike a delicate balance of being light-hearted, serious, and uplifting at the same time. Eleven different musicians played on the album.

Songwriting Book Review By: John Thomas

You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One)
by Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins, to the best of my knowledge, is not a songwriter, even though he plays guitar. But
that’s okay, because his book on writing is so easily applied to what we do as songwriters.

Goins writes from the viewpoint of a “normal” writer (that is, prose, not songwriting), and, in
his book, he addresses the challenges that all creatives face in getting your creative work done and noticed. And he does this without fluffy platitudes and without nonsense. He addresses how some of what you will look at doing is uncomfortable and can be challenging. But, as he points out, it’s worth it.

Broadly speaking, the book can be broken into two overall sections: 1. writing and getting the work done, and 2. how to make money from your writing.

The first section on writing leans strongly on the thinking in Steven Pressfield’s book, “The War of Art.” This isn’t a bad thing as Goins doesn’t approach it from a former Marine’s viewpoint with all of the roughness and bluntness that comes with it. I love Pressfield’s work, and I sometimes need his kick in the butt. However, especially when I’m feeling a little shaky in the self­confidence area, I find the more gentle insisting of Goins’s writing to sometimes give me the push necessary without feeling like I’m getting yelled at. This can be a good thing.

Goins then continues with the second section of his book, which is, essentially, about promoting your work, though, as Goins says, it’s not as sleazy as that can sound. Goins makes a point of being able to promote your work without feeling like the stereotypical used car salesman, and he has a formula that can work very effectively for a person who is willing to do some things that they aren’t used to doing.

Yes, this means that you might actually have to make contact with people, and you may have to build relationships with those people. Goins, however, emphasizes that you build these relationships by genuinely serving these people, by finding ways to help them or make their lives better. Not because you want to turn that around to manipulate them into helping you, but because this is how people actually interact when a real relationship develops. It’s a simple truth that I’ve rarely seen addressed in this context.

Goins also talks about having a platform, a place to present and promote your work. Because, if you aren’t making your work viewable to the public, how are you going to get feedback to get better and how is your work going to connect with people? The answer? It won’t. You have to have a way to present your work to those who want to see it. Goins gives examples of different platforms that you can use and different ways to build an audience for your platform and your work.

Overall, while “You Are A Writer” is a relatively quick read, I found it full of useful, practical information both in terms of what it takes to write and what it takes to make that writing successful, however that may be defined.

Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this book. (Note: I found I liked the audio, too.)


John Thomas is a songwriter, bass player, and sometimes guitarist living in Macon, Georgia with his beautiful wife and four children.

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 19th Annual Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival is again sponsoring a songwriting contest. Winners receive cash prizes and other amenities, including the opportunity to appear on stage during the August 6-7-8-9 Festival held in Hebron, CT. The winning song will also be aired on Bluegrass Café at WHUS-FM, the radio station of the Univ. of CT. In addition, the four finalists from the Band Competition are all required to learn and perform the winning song from the previous year’s Songwriter Contest during their own contest judging. The contest entry deadline is May 1, 2015. Rules plus an entry form can be found at the Podunk website,


The Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project is a FREE week-long songwriting intensive for emerging songwriters between the ages of 18 and 30 in all genres of the American popular song including country, musical theatre, rock, Latin and contemporary pop. It takes place June 21-27, 2015 on Northwestern University’s Evanston Campus. Participants work with award-winning master teachers Craig Carnelia, Andrew Lippa and Lari White. The week ends in a celebration concert with the participants and master teachers performing songs written throughout the week.

Visit for more information and to apply by March 2, 2015!

UK SONGWRITING CONTEST - Future Music launches new Songwriting Competition!

UK Songwriting Contest: New for 2015, Future Music is launching a UK songwriting contest to find the best songwriters in the UK. The UK songwriting contest will provide the opportunity for both aspiring and established songwriters to get their music heard and potentially get signed. There is also the opportunity to perform in a Grand Final showcase in London in front of A&R who work for the three major record labels.
So, if you think you’ve got what it takes and want your songwriting heard by music industry professionals, enter the songwriting contest here:


Two teenage songwriting sister team Justine Dorsey and Kerris Dorsey from Los Angeles win Overall Grand Prize at the 19th Annual USA Songwriting Competition. Kerris Dorsey breaks the previous record of the Youngest Overall Grand Prize winner at just 16 years old. The previous record was held by Sarah Lonsert, also from Los Angeles, 17 years old at that time in 2010.The song has just been signed to Walt Disney Music and appeared in the box office hit movie "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. In it’s landmark 20th year, the 20th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is currently accepting entries from now till May 29, 2015. For more information, visit:


Women of Substance Radio is an Internet Radio Station (with our own Mobile App) that has been on the air for 7 years. Our review board hand-picks the BEST music by female artists in all genres from both label artists and Indies. New music is added weekly and promoted on Social Media. We also feature videos on our blog daily. WOSRadio is a unique platform for Female Indie Artists to showcase and promote their music to targeted listeners and music buyers.

Visit:  / Listen:


Songwriter Connect will connect you to established artists near you. We are creating a new platform for songwriters and composers. The main feature will be that we will connect you to established artists near you. We also cater for local, unrecognized singers and bands who are on the lookout for talented and screened songwriters to collaborate on their next project. Register now to be one of the first songwriters on this innovative platform!

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!


Getting great gigs, building your audience and selling more merchandise is exactly what your career is all about. This online course is jam-packed with 12 hours of downloadable audio mp3s and PDF Action Guides. There are 5 modules: Module 1: Tour Goals & Planning Strategies, Module 2: Routing Your Tours, Module 3: Negotiation Techniques & Contracts, Module 4: Working with Presenters, Bookers, Promoters/Advancing the Date, Module 5: Targeting Your Markets for Maximum Audiences. Plus 2 hours of bonus classes, BONUS #1: Website Maximizer-Is you’re your Website Selling You? Learn how. BONUS #2: Copy Writing: How to write fan emails, press releases and other promo copy that get responses. Bonus # 3: Three free Industry Biz Booster Monthly Mentor Interviews. And finally, weekly call-in office hours to talk with former agent, manager, author, creator, Jeri Goldstein directly, about the course and your career. Booking & Touring Success Strategies & Secrets gives you artist-tested, step-by-step strategies to help you reach your career goals and make all of your tours profitable.


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!

Muse's Clues - Richard Miller

©2014-2015 Richard Miller. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission


The other day I called a friend of mine in Maine.  We get together, in the internet sense of the word, every other week or so to catch up on life, the universe, art, songwriting and music.  He’s been a struggling artist for a number of years and is recognised as one of the best modern landscape painters in the region.  I’d been struggling with the sense of progress, actually the lack thereof, that I’d been making on writing and music.  After years in the corporate environment I had been trained to expect to complete nine months work in half the time with half the resource needed to do the job correctly.  Such is often the case in big business.  So I asked him about the artistic process and how it relates to time lines and milestones, either real or self-imposed.  It was, of course, a naive question and that was proven by his answer.  He said it isn’t a question of process.  It’s a question of belief.

After chewing on that for a few days it became clear he was right so I went off onto the internet to search for stories, experiences and inspiration to evaluate and encourage belief. The first link came from the BBC which contains a few bullet points on setting a good frame of mind.  Being the BBC it seemed reasonable to suppose the content would be useful.  Sadly I struggled with the links to the audio files.  They are RAM files which my computer does not recognise and, being a computer luddite, I don’t either.  There was a help link next to the sound link but the page was empty.  Maybe you’ll have better luck.

Undeterred the search continued.  On the second attempt I came across this article written by Steve Pavlina.  There’s a lot in it which I don’t agree with and I was just about to move on when a little voice popped up and said ‘You’re an explorer, not a critic.  Just because it doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for somebody else.’  It’s difficult, personally, to buy into his idea of Create Art That People Want.  In my view you’ve got to truly believe in what you are doing or it will, at best, be stale and lifeless.  That attitude may go a long way in explaining why I have to make a living as a teacher and not a musician.  Anyway, have a look and see what you think.

After technical problems with the first link and doubts about the value of the content of the second I was thinking the only way was up.  Well, somedays it doesn’t pay to think.  I came across the site Non-duality America.  It seemed to be the yin for the previous yang.  I ran off to Wikipedia for a definition of non-duality and came back none the wiser.  The themes can be hard for a temperament forged in the cold hard logic of computer programming over several years to absorb but it did make me stop and reflect on my own values, the strength in belief of them and whether or not, for myself, I was on the right track.  Also it had an article on Ripple by the Grateful Dead, one of my favourite songs, so I decided to mention it as worth a look.

This month was rapidly beginning to feel like a microcosm of song writing.  Loads of effort resulting in dead links, unwanted advice, misdirection,  and not a lot of progress.  To ease the frustration I turned to the mindless task of tidying up my Kindle and having a look for the book Strange Fruit: the biography of a song, a discourse on the song written by Abel Meeropel and most famously performed by Billie Holliday.  While deleting a few books that would never get read I came across Write Songs Right Now: Forget “Someday” – Start Today! by Alex Forbes.  Jumping straight to the appendix it seemed ironic that the very first reference was (must be a good book I mused – sorry, couldn’t resist).  Following that was a list of books, periodicals and authors of interest.  I followed up on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  Her website is primarily focussed on a multimedia course she’s developed for artists.  Being more unemployed than employed at the moment I didn’t plunge but did scroll over to her blog.  The entries are short, sometimes pithy sometimes whimsical, and a good place to dip in and out.

Well, the search this month didn’t find a killer link but thinking about it that shouldn’t be all that surprising.  Belief, inevitably, comes from within and that is probably the best place to search for it, happy hunting.


Richard Miller is a caterpillar who has begun his chrysalis phase. Originally from Maine, Richard has, via a series of mis-adventures and accidents, worked as an accountant in the English Midlands, a systems programmer on the South Coast of England (where he also pursued an illustrious career in rugby) and a statistical programmer in Belgium. Now he has put all that aside, bought a house, stripped it back to the brick and started to renovate it from top to bottom while simultaneously transforming himself from a results oriented automaton into a winged song writer. You can peak inside the chrysalis at:

Featured Article - By Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP: Lyrical Mystery: Playing Detective on Your Own Lyric

I don’t know about you, but the kind of movies I love the most are mysteries or chillers and thrillers. The best kind are the movies where you have to figure out the mystery right along with the gumshoe in real-time.

I’m not talking those flicks where the mystery is solved after disclosing some information the detective pulled out of thin air in the last minute, and you weren’t privy to before.

I hate movies like that. Talk about feeling duped, like you’ve just wasted a good hour-and-a-half.

I like the kind where an investigator is interviewing a likable suspect, his alibi seems all well and good, and yet even though you can’t put your finger on it, something isn’t quite right.

I like that feeling in movies, but not lyrics.

Did you even know song lyrics can suffer that same problem? The lyric could have so many things technically right about it, keep a mystery about it and reveal something in the end that is a good surprise or payoff…

But there still could be something that doesn’t quite ring true.

How are you on mysteries? Are you ready for a little, “what’s wrong with this picture,” lyrical mystery?

Here’s a lyric I whipped up, it’s off-cuff and certainly could be tweaked, but there is one glaring guilty element about it which undermines its credibility.

I’ll give you one clue. It’s a logical element.

See if you can spot it. We’ll compare notes in the end.

I called her cell, my eyes welling with tears,
I had ringing in both of my ears.
She picked up her cell, startled and half out of breath,
She said, “Yeah, these errands are running me to death.”
I said I’d just left work early, still fighting traffic out here,
Then my right ear was muffled, but my left was so clear.
A muted whisper, I didn’t need to hear any more,
She came back and said, “Great, so you’ll be home what, by four?”
I’d hung up by then, her voice still clear and unsure,
Cause I’d heard her quite clear… through our bedroom door.
I’d heard them both… through our bedroom door.

©2015 Brad Dunse Used with permission

Okay. So to start it off the first line gives us a clue something is wrong with the singer. He’s upset, has some sort of ringing in both ears, and called his sweetie telling her he’s left work early and on his way home.

Meter is half-okay, we got a rhyme scheme established, and we’ve got conversational dialog going on.

His sweetie is out running chores and out of breath. When he says he’s coming home early we sense there is something a bit off.

There’s something suspicious with his right ear muffled and left ear clear, but it’s a tease, we don’t really know if that has something to do with him being upset, leaving work early, ringing in his ears, or something more.

And, when she comes back on the line after muting the phone and whispering, he’s hung up his cell and we realize he’s been talking to her on the phone in one ear, and listening with the other while standing right outside the bedroom door.

We then get the full picture, complete with a surprise ending.

So what’s wrong with this lyric? What undermines its logical believability?

It’s very simple actually. Did you spot it?

If he can hear her talking through the bedroom door, she can hear him as well. So it’s pretty unlikely she’s going to carry on a conversational lie with her also hearing him in both ears.

We could make it a text lyric instead of a phone call, and we’ve eliminated our little problem. She won’t appear out of breath, but a few tweaks and we could make it work.

These are the little gotchas that lurk just under the surface which can leave a listener feeling off but not knowing exactly why without thinking of it.

So, when you’re writing your lyrics, just run through what we’ll dub here, the logimeter. Make sure your lyrics make logical sense as well as chronological sense. It will strengthen up your song, draw your listener in closer, and leave them feeling it is more believable.

Until next time…

Keep writing from the heart!


A performing songwriter, Brad Dunse is  member of ASCAP, NSAI, SongU, and Minnesota Association of Songwriters. His songs have been played on various independent, internet, and public radio stations across the country with The Wall touching a major country market station. Interested in song evaluations? Go to Brad's site for more information.


How to Quickly & Easily Play Difficult Guitar Licks and Solos - by Tom Hess

Even though you can practice advanced licks on their own and it CAN improve your skills for performing those licks - it won’t help you understand how to smoothly combine them together within an actual guitar solo. It is this problem that causes most guitarists struggle with playing complex guitar licks and it’s why their improvising often sounds more like a “collection of strung together licks” rather than a real “guitar solo”.


How to Become A Better Guitar Player By Learning from Steve Vai - Part 2
- by Tom Hess

Begin to analyze guitar players like Steve Vai and soon you will learn lots of thing…IF you know what to look for. Like any other great guitar player, Steve Vai’s musical greatness was NOT the results of his perfect guitar playing technique alone, but due to his ability to express himself with music.


Blurred Lines Are Not So Blurry - by Bill Pere

You've no doubt heard  that a jury decided that "Blurred Lines" by Alan Thicke and Pharrell Williams was an infringement on the song "Got to Give It Up" by Marvin Gaye, and awarded  7.3 million dollars in damages.   There's a lot more to know about this ruling.  And it affects you.


5 Additional Reasons Why 99% of Guitar Teachers Will Never Make Six Figures Per Year & How YOU Can - by Tom Hess

You can very easily earn six figures per year teaching guitar once you understand how. The first step is to forget about the economy, how big your city is, how many other teachers are out there, or anything else like that. Instead, you must learn from the mistakes of others and apply what you learn into your guitar teaching business.

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!

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 -EXTRAS: Gear-, singing-, recording-, bass-, piano- and drum lessons. GMC Theory Grimoire eBook !!!

Special for Muse's Muse visitors: 
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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!


Writing a great melody is the #1 component to writing a song your listeners will want to buy, and hear over and over again. If you want some easy ways to improve your melodies to start writing songs your fans will love, check out this FREE report. It'll teach you some great (and simple!) tricks for writing sophisticated and marketable melodies:

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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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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