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Challenge #2: Lyrics and Storytelling

July 11, 2016
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Week #2: July 10-16, 2016
Challenge #2: Lyrics and Storytelling
By: Bryan Potvin

Bryan Potvin photo

Challenge
1. Write a song that tells a story

It can be in any genre. This is a very lyrically driven song that heavily relies on a story arc and timeline with characters, conflict and resolution.

I’d like to cite the following tunes as examples for the “Story Songs” challenge:

“Cats In The Cradle” – Harry Chapin
“Taxi” – Harry Chapin

“Operator” – Jim Croce

“She Ain’t Pretty” – The Northern Pikes

“She Didn’t Have Time” – Terri Clark

“Ain’t Life A Brook” – Ferron

“Downbound Train” – Bruce Springsteen

“The Gentleman Soldier” – The Pogues

“I Will Take Care Of You” – Amy Sky

This challenge is aimed at writing a great ’story song’. The music should not be a simple accompaniment to the story, like background music. It should be a song with memorable melody, chord structure and rhythm that speaks to the ideas within the story. This is a story driven tune so sitting down and writing lyrics first might not be a bad idea. Or at least get a concept or outline down lyrically, perhaps a chorus or lyric refrain, something which will hopefully give you clues to finding the feel for the rest of the song. A good story arc has characters we care about, conflict and resolution. And you’ve usually got somewhere between two and a half to four minutes to do it in.

Hopefully your story drives your song, not only lyrically but musically as well!

Thanks,

Bryan Potvin

In order to successfully complete the first challenge you are required to:
1) Write and record a song following the description of the week #2 Challenge
2) Write a blog post about your experience and post this on your own blog
3) Upload your song to SoundCloud or any other MP3 hosting site
4) Post the link to your blog post and the link to your song as a comment on this blog post by 11:59pm EST on Saturday July 16, 2016. (Click on “Leave A Reply” at the bottom of the Challenge post for that week, please put your full name and your email address in the appropriate fields). *
*Please note that the weekly Challenge will always be posted on our blog the Monday following, so if you complete your song before that, please hold on to your submissions until we notify you of the blog post.

Your comment will not appear until they are cleared by our website editor please allow upto 48hours.

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113 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2016 12:37 pm

    Well here is Challenge #2… Titled :MY DAME

    • Rosanne Baker Thornley permalink
      July 19, 2016 2:24 am

      Christopher, very touching storyline with some nice guitar parts. I think what needs the most work here, is phrasing of the vocals – ie: perhaps “Gasoline just cost a dime” for instance. Speak the lines, tapping along to it and see if the lyrics create a rhythm / groove. Also, hold your notes, you don’t need to follow the music so closely ie: ‘ways’ or ‘choir’ or ‘me’. Also to switch it up a bit, perhaps the bridge could be 2 lines instead of 4? And … if you try all this and don’t like it – well, you can always go back to where you started 🙂 RBT

  2. July 14, 2016 3:17 pm

    Hello SAC 4×4’s! Here is my Week 2 Story Song: “Our Story Began in these Seats”

    And here is my blog…
    http://scottanthonyandrews.com/our-story-began-in-these-seats/

    My song is called “Our Story Began in these Seats.” I feel as though the Week 2 Challenge is a perfect opportunity to work on a song that in many ways feels like a gift to me. A friend and her (now husband) met in small town Saskatchewan, where they both lived. They started going to the movies together at the Falcon Theatre, (the only movie house in their town) and it became a standing Friday night date. They married and have been for 32 years. Recently, the Falcon theatre underwent renovations, and her husband purchased their exact Friday night seats, restored them, and put them in their own movie/rec room. What a lovely and heart-warming story!

    Looking forward to hearing everyone’s songs!!!

    • Rosanne Baker Thornley permalink
      July 19, 2016 3:11 am

      So this song immediately transported me. I could definitely hear this on stage with your two mature characters in a simple light on a dark stage, sitting in weathered red velvet movie seats (one holding popcorn). And I like the concept of the chair so much so, that I almost think the story should be built around this couple reminiscing about their years together, going to the theatre and the importance of those times together. I’d play that up big time. Write about what they watched and how it relates to their lives past, present. Maybe the chorus could be a bigger message like “All those Friday nights of you and me, are woven into the fabric of those seats, I won’t forget the beating of my heart, when I sat beside you in the dark”. Really good idea in there … I know, you thought it was done – and perhaps it is … but as Louis CK would say …. but, maybe (lol). Just trying to pull you to other places to explore …. But I do love the chair idea Scott and would love to hear where you land with this. 🙂 RBT

  3. Mauricio Morales Zuluaga permalink
    July 14, 2016 7:31 pm

    Hello, This is my contribution for this week challenge:

    https://v4.simplesite.com/#/pages/429140105?editmode=true

  4. July 14, 2016 10:17 pm

    Here’s my week 2 challenge song! I would love some feedback! Looking forward to hearing everyone else’s songs 🙂

    https://alyssatessmusic.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/challenge-number-2-story-song/

  5. July 14, 2016 11:44 pm

    Alright! Week 2 complete! This challenge was more… challenging.
    Here is my blog: http://kristentclark2016swc.boards.net/thread/3/week-2
    And the song!

    • Rosanne Baker Thornley permalink
      July 20, 2016 2:20 am

      Hi Kristine – really good melody, and despite your comment about trying to find an interesting storyline – this works well. I like the vocal delivery, the engaging lyrics with their unpredictable rhymes and phrasing. Really good. However, while I feel that the chorus sits on a great melody, it seems the song falls apart in the chorus because each chorus offers up different lyrics. As the listener I never get a chance to just relax into the familiar refrain of the chorus lyric even though Letting Go is a strong hook to land on. Thinking that maybe your final chorus could replace every chorus – which would mean reworking your verses somewhat. I felt the bridge melody could be explored as well and simplified by offering fewer lyrics. And the production is pleasant, but I do find the drums distracting. All food for thought. RBT

  6. July 15, 2016 12:02 pm

    Week 2 is Done! Thanks for this one, Bryan. I really enjoyed it.

    Here are the links to my song and blog.

    Blog: http://craigster67.tumblr.com/post/147445895960/2016-sac-4×4-challenge-2

    • Rosanne Baker Thornley permalink
      July 20, 2016 2:44 am

      Hey Craig, really nice, kind of has a Billy Joel vibe in hear 🙂 All the melodies are great. But curious about why you haven’t settled on one chorus? I can see the last chorus switching up a bit, but find there’s just too much information to take in with every chorus being different – makes it less approachable (and singable). Possible chorus overall “Life is a road adding lines to the spaces, Creating links to all the places, where we all want to go, and no matter where you are, it’s not that far to get back home, Because you know you can go…. hit the road”. Also, wondering if the bridge could be simplified – once again to limit the amount of information to digest. BTW, your singing / performance in this is great! Much enjoyed your song. RBT

  7. July 15, 2016 12:45 pm

    Anne and Jane, A story about women having conflicts! Thank you Bryan!
    My blog is in soundcloud when you click on “show more” to read blog & lyrics there! MAY YOU ALL HAVE ANY CONFLICTS RESOLVED AND DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF! PEACE AND LOVE FROM SHIRA KATZ, SINGER: SHERA SHAKERA

  8. Simon Paradis permalink
    July 15, 2016 3:19 pm

    Here is my week 2 submission. Southside of Kingston, a lament about trying to get home again. This sure has been a great process.

    • Rosanne Baker Thornley permalink
      July 20, 2016 3:03 am

      Hey Graydon – great energy from the first beat in and I instantly fall into the melody. And although I find the lyrics a tad obscure in this song and am having to keep myself anchored in the moment of each line … I can’t help but enjoy all the imagery you’re painting. Again, all aspects of this, from writing to performing to production are all super tasteful and well done. Another week, another strong song. 2 for 2 🙂 RBT

  9. July 15, 2016 4:31 pm

    Thanks for the challenge, Bryan! I hope you enjoy “Mother Nature is a Bad Mother: The Story of a Hurricane”

    The blog — https://www.facebook.com/notes/steven-hardy/sac-songwriting-and-blogging-challenge-2016-week-2-write-a-song-that-tells-a-sto/10154265571736000

    The song — https://soundcloud.com/samsamba/mother_nature_is_a_bad_mother

    • Rosanne Baker Thornley permalink
      July 20, 2016 3:21 am

      Hey Steven – again channelling the Randy Newman vibe 🙂 This song is simple, entertaining, witty. I love the production – very Orleans and I was singing along to the chorus the second time round. The only thing I would do possibly is add a simple bridge? Although it certainly seems to chug along without one. Worth trying though for some lift – even though it may veer from the traditional structure. I just felt as though one might arrive at any second … Some super great lines in here. Much enjoyed and had me smiling big at 3:14 am 🙂 RBT

      • July 23, 2016 11:41 am

        Thank you, Rosanne! Yes, Randy Newman is a huge influence, maybe too huge.

        Bridges are always my biggest challenge — I usually try to avoid them, if possible; maybe that should be my next personal challenge — write a song with a bridge.

        Glad it made you smile! 🙂

        Thanks again!

        Best regards,
        Steve

  10. July 15, 2016 6:37 pm

    Week 2. Thanks for a good challenge Bryan. Selkirk Range is also known as SAC member Gordon Gow 🙂

    http://selkirkrange.com/2016/07/15/sac-2016-songwriting-challenge-week-2

    • Rosanne Baker Thornley permalink
      July 20, 2016 3:40 am

      Hi Gordon – I immediately welcome the simplicity of your song and the production – and the intimate space it creates. Very tastefully done harmonies. You’ve created some great imagery in this song. A few end words and lines that could be stronger / clearer, and I’m happy to walk through my thoughts with you if you pm me. Your voice has a rich, deep and inviting character – very nice. Once again I enjoyed listening to your song. RBT

  11. July 15, 2016 6:48 pm

    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for the challenge! Looking forward to next week’s.

    Here is my song, “Emerald Glass.”

    My blog is over at http://www.jordanpaul.ca/sac-challenge-2016

  12. July 15, 2016 7:19 pm

    Hi There, Here is my blog & song for week 2 of this challenge

    Blog: http://mattlowenmusic.com/speed-limits/

    Song: https://soundcloud.com/mattlowen/interstate-acoustic-demo/s-Kj5ja

    • July 20, 2016 10:01 pm

      Hey Matt, strong story, great imagery, and really good lines that are well said and keeps you in the moment. The story flow is consistent and easy to follow. However, while I get that you’re looking to add some variety to each chorus to switch it up – I fear you loose connecting with your listener as you’re making it difficult to fall into the same chorus each time. With the song sitting at 3:09, perhaps you could do a double chorus at the end and vary the lines there? Also, the song sounds like it’s looking for some lift – though a bridge possibly? It certainly doesn’t need to be complicated – just some space to regroup before moving on again. And with excess lines from your chorus’s, you just need to move it around a little 😉 (lol). Another excellent song. Very much enjoyed. RBT

  13. July 15, 2016 7:39 pm

    Week 2 challenge

    • July 20, 2016 10:17 pm

      Lisa – despite the kids running around your feet, you’ve written a beautiful folk song. Simple. Lovely melody, and lovely chord progression. Your lines are engaging and you put imagery right in-front of your listener. A straightforward story and nice hook “Cordelia, dream as big as you can”. Well written, and definitely well sung. I wouldn’t change a thing here. RBT

  14. Elly Ball aka Rhyme permalink
    July 16, 2016 2:37 am

    This is a story of a pizza man and a girl who starts to really, really dig pizza. A quirky adventure of unrequited love.

    Story song-writing is a favorite of mine, thank you Bryan for the challenge!

    http://thisiselly.wix.com/thisiselly#!Not-so-different/ccb7c/5789d2bc0cf297558e0fe4a7

    • July 20, 2016 10:24 pm

      Hi Elly, having the lyrics to follow here would have been great as it was difficult to follow so I can’t really comment on the lyric. I like some of the melodic parts you’ve started to create here, but it feels quite unresolved at the moment … but worth a next few round of edits. RBT

  15. Elly Ball aka Rhyme permalink
    July 16, 2016 4:49 am

    Just realized a verse was cut! Don’t post without always checking, things I know but didn’t do at 3 am… here we go, please accept this as my week #2 submission 🙂

    http://thisiselly.wix.com/thisiselly#!blog/k935d

    • July 20, 2016 10:42 pm

      Kenneth – An intriguing title that offers up a quaintness to it and just this had my interest right away. The song has a lovely swing and sway to it as do your vocals in it. Easy going, feels breezy and lite. It’s sing along even on the first listen in. I can tell this is a highly personal song that is written from the heart and while it may not land on the airwaves – it still feels to me if more professionally produced it could possibly have some sync potential. Yes, it’s long. But we’ve all got a few of those that just have to be written. I very much enjoyed going on the journey of this song with you. Thank you for sharing this story 🙂 RBT

  16. July 16, 2016 8:26 am

    Hi Bryan,
    Thanks for the challenge…here is my blog. I will send my sound cloud link in a different post.
    David

    http://creekshack.wix.com/creeksounds

  17. July 16, 2016 8:30 am

    Hi Bryan,
    Here is the link to my song for the Challenge II
    Trade Places.
    Thanks again
    David

    • July 20, 2016 10:57 pm

      David – so good! Nice to see you incorporated some comments 🙂 I really like the quality of the recording – it fits well with the vibe of the song and your performance in this version is great … easy going, definitely more flowing. The story is clear and easy to follow, and you’ve built some great imagery in here “his fingers glide over worn down frets” has you feeling that in the tips of your fingers. I like the speaking part at the end of the song, feels very “North” but thinking it could be spoken softer. But the song is definitely stronger, you’ve done some super work to bring it to this point. Kudos 🙂 RBT

  18. July 16, 2016 10:17 am

    Here is my recording for week 2:

    (I sent the blog link separately, a few minutes ago)

    • July 20, 2016 11:10 pm

      Hi Ros – you’re certainly a natural for spoken word – your phrasing is easy going and flowing. It’s an undertaking to write such a long piece – and with very little refrain. You’ve done a great job of this. The story is consistent from beginning to end. Would be nice to hear even the rhythm of a shaker underneath to emphasize the beat … and at some point, even underlining it with some simple instrumentation would be interesting. Solid. 🙂 RBT

    • July 20, 2016 11:30 pm

      Robbie – While your lyrics set the scene for a story to be told starting right away with “There’s a place on the corner where the kids hang out”, the chorus needs to be stronger – veering away from the ‘sweat’ aspect of it. Worth exploring. Also take a look at the melody – which could benefit with a bit of switching up. RBT

  19. July 16, 2016 12:24 pm

    Hey Everyone!
    this is my song for week 2

    my blog post
    https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/hookmachinemusic.wordpress.com

    • July 20, 2016 11:55 pm

      Hi Gordon, Your melody is cool, soulful and contemporary. Your voice is cool, soulful and contemporary. But I’m not feeling it in the lyric. Perhaps “You’re Daddy’s little girl” is the driving concept behind your song but truly I feel that you need a story and lyrics that are more edgy and progressive. You’re riding the surface in this lyric, not diving in deep or making it memorable. Remember you want to pull people in and make a connection. Have them going “yea, I know how that feels”. Think more about “you’re daddy’s little girl” and see where you could possibly go with that. Shake it up a bit perhaps. Look at if from different perspectives. Also, I couldn’t access your blog – and your lyrics were not in your SoundCloud notes – so it was difficult to follow along. It’s always a good idea to have your lyrics with the track on SoundCloud. Woodshed stage II. I look forward to where you take this and hope that this feedback spurs you on 🙂 RBT

  20. July 16, 2016 12:25 pm

    Here’s my week 2 challenge entry (Aaron Robertson). Cheers!

    • July 21, 2016 12:23 am

      Hey Aaron, Loads of great lines – amazing imagery, love the reference to colours, excellent writing, the melody moves along and keeps it interesting, loving the key changes, vocals, phrasing, performance all there … but …. what is the story about and … who are the characters. Your chorus is great! But what does it mean? Maybe it’s me, but I think not. I’m certain it’s in there somewhere, formed but faceless, waiting to be uncovered and for all the pieces to fall into place in a heart ponding moment of eureka. Phase II : Woodshed? 🙂 RBT

  21. Patricia Loranger permalink
    July 16, 2016 3:20 pm

    Here is my song and blog

    http://patricialoranger.blogspot.ca/

  22. Patricia Loranger permalink
    July 16, 2016 4:09 pm

    I am re-uploading the song because last time the song was set on private instead of public. I am uploading from Tim Hortons and am having hard time uploading my blog address. The security says it is “dangerous”. I thought that was funny.

    • July 21, 2016 12:35 am

      A very sweet sentiment to this song. Love the line “He said “Write Me” and she said “Nightly”.” as well as “She said “It’s gone” He said “What’s wrong”.” Smart use of end rhymes and internal rhymes. The verses are great, and the chorus is simple and hooky. The only part of this song that I think needs some work is in the bridge – the line “tell me your pet peeves and I’ll tell you mine” – I’m sure there’s a more unique way to say that. But other than that, a great country tune with a very nice melody. 🙂 Great work Patricia. RBT

  23. Patricia Loranger permalink
    July 16, 2016 4:10 pm

    My blog is same address as for first challenge.
    patricialoranger(dot)blogspot(dot)ca

    • July 21, 2016 12:55 am

      Hi Paul, I can’t access your blog which is where I assume your lyrics are? I do like the “Missing the Good Years” hook, but wondering if it might be an idea to paint the image of childhood in juxtaposition to the adult years? Not sure where that will net out, but it would give you a more pop focussed song perhaps and put the singer in a light hearted reminiscing space rather than the dark, longing space you’ve created here. Food for thought. RBT

  24. July 16, 2016 6:27 pm

    SAC Week 2 – Selfish Advice by Heather Meori https://soundcloud.com/heathermeori/heather-meori-selfish-advice-mix2

  25. July 16, 2016 7:34 pm

    Note sure if this uploaded before. http://jennifernoble.com/2016/07/16/177/

    • July 21, 2016 1:20 am

      Beautiful chorus here. And in the verses, I like how the song carries all the images of childhood – line by line. My only suggestion is to soften the verse “And then they hate you” etc. only because it feels so dark against the other verses. I’m sure you can illustrate the same sentiment somehow that keeps it a bit less angry feeling. Happy to see you’re working with JJ 🙂 RBT

  26. July 16, 2016 7:39 pm

    Hello Everyone,
    S.A.C. Challenge 2 Song & Post… about my father.
    Thank you for listening.
    Sonia Watkins (Regal Aliens)

    http://www.regalaliens.com/blog

    • July 21, 2016 1:59 am

      Hi Sonia – I get a James Bond vibe off this. Cool. However, while I like the music, I think the music is out of sync with the tone and seriousness of the lyric. I’d suggest diving back into the song to find music that better suits the lyric, and potentially write some new lyrics that better fit the music you have 🙂 RBT

  27. July 16, 2016 8:37 pm
    • July 16, 2016 8:42 pm

      I accidentally duplicated this… sorry

    • July 21, 2016 2:19 am

      Wow, really well done Martin! I can smell the sea and see the salty old sailor sitting on the weathered peer as he leans in to tell this tale. What a great story. Love it! And your singing and voice are perfect, just perfect for it. My only comment would be to maybe take it up a half step, or move the melody to somewhere new in the 5th verse to ensure you keep everyone til the end because they shouldn’t miss a moment of this. Great work!! RBT 🙂

    • July 22, 2016 2:23 am

      Hi Kathryn – Read my post “Write It Down”, as I think this will be helpful for you in cultivating song concepts. In writing a song, you need to keep in mind your audience because the song has to resonate with your listener. I find the music in this is light hearted and happy, while your lyric is quite dark. Your line “You Never Know, You Never Know” has possible song legs. I would suggest that you start with that line and consider what the song could be about that could carry the uplifting tone of the music. As well, listen to songs you enjoy – study the form, the structure, the movement of the melody, the lyric, the path of the song. Listening is such a wonderful way to learn and absorb. And write, write, write. Cheers, RBT

      • July 25, 2016 1:25 am

        Hi Rosanne and thank you for the feedback and I agree that cultivating the concept is important. I usually do very thorough worksheets on my songs before I really get going.
        This song was about innocence, victomizing, assumption and day to day heros.
        My goal was to write a story song out of my normal comfort zone (theatrical) and take a song feeling from happy to dark and back again within the song…sort of a crazy self challenge in a way…the only song that I could find as a good example was Michael Jacksons “Thriller”
        I did a fair amount of concept work (see worksheet and blog under the plot development and wordsmithing…(https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8334989528572988163#allposts) but I have had difficulty in the delivery…theatrical songs are such a different genre.
        I was using the chorus to provide some transition between the story verses and the break (which needs a major rewrite) to bring the darkness in and out.
        Is there anyone in SAC that writes more theatrical type songs that could assist me with this style? I would like to try and resolve the transition issues in a rewrite 🙂
        Any ideas would be most welcome.
        Best,
        Kathryn Jean

  28. July 16, 2016 8:41 pm
  29. July 16, 2016 8:42 pm

    Please find attached, my week 2 song and blog submission. Thanks Bryan!

    https://theresepatton.wordpress.com/

    • July 22, 2016 2:42 am

      Hi Therese, A good start with the image of “She waits, for the train, the platform crowded with all the faces, starting off the day” (I made a few minor changes in there). Then your next verse starts to get a bit thicker “She boards a last goodbye, an unknown threat, seeks to cause violence, who’s justified”. And I don’t really know what that line means, so you’ve lost me. Simplify. Set the scene and describe it whether that be a place, a situation, an emotion. Bring your audience with you to experience the song. A simple practice is to either read your lyrics out loud, or have someone read them to you. I think you’ll be surprised at how this will help you. Also, listen to some of your favourite songs for form and structure. Write. Listen. And write some more. Cheers, RBT

    • July 21, 2016 2:34 am

      Excellent lyrics. Welcoming melody and a strong and current song topic. Your lines are great, the flow easy and I happily followed this song from beginning to end. Nothing to change. Much enjoyed listening. Thank you Sean. 🙂 RBT

  30. July 16, 2016 9:28 pm

    A VERY rough draft this week. haha. I’m quite happy with the lyrics and melody, but I hate the arrangement. I think I need someone else’s creative juices on this one. If anyone is interested in collaborating, please let me know! http://www.meghanmorrison.com

    Blog Link: http://meghanmorrisonmusic.com/news/blog/sac-4×4-songwriting-challenge-2016-week-2

    Soundcloud Song Link: https://soundcloud.com/meghanmorrison/sac-songwriting-challenge-2016-week-2-i-will-always-be-meghan-morrison-rough-draft-1

  31. July 16, 2016 9:35 pm

    I know we’re supposed to wait 48 hours for the moderator to accept posts, but the deadline is less than that and I didn’t see a confirmation of my post going through so here’s another one – just in case! (feel free to delete, SAC friends 🙂

    Blog & Song: http://meghanmorrisonmusic.com/news/blog/sac-4×4-songwriting-challenge-2016-week-2

    Song: https://soundcloud.com/meghanmorrison/sac-songwriting-challenge-2016-week-2-i-will-always-be-meghan-morrison-rough-draft-1

    • July 22, 2016 2:56 am

      Hi Meghan, Nice vocal delivery to this rather ‘spoken word’ song. It makes me wonder if it should be more spoken than sung? Perhaps speaking the verses due to the story-like, and then singing the chorus? I quite like the chorus and the pulling back to the “I will be there …. I will always be”. However I do feel that you need to revisit the lyric overall as it never reveals what the story is about. Have fun with the edit phase. RBT 🙂

      • July 23, 2016 11:59 pm

        Thanks, Rosanne! 🙂
        Yes, I did address that issue in my blog post. I left it vague, intentionally 🙂 but that’s not to say I’m not willing it give it a shot both ways! 🙂
        Cheers,
        Meghan

    • July 22, 2016 3:26 am

      Brent – First off, liking your singing these days 🙂 But you need to watch your phrasing – tap along to make sure the rhythm works (most prominent in the verses). The melody is sweet. And so you’re aware “After many tears shed, You leaned in and said” is your pre-chorus. And I almost feel that the chorus would be fine with “It’s alright, it’s alright, Just be yourself in your life, it’s alright, it’s alright,”. Simple, aspirational message that everyone can sing along to. Save the “You are loved, and forever you will be … the gift that God has giv’n to me” for the bridge (which you currently don’t have). The verses … are a bit obscure “I was a temporary bundle of joy”… Switch it up and find some more proprietary ways to communicate the feelings and challenges you’re talking about, (which I know you have in you) 🙂 Also most of the song is sung in first person. Who is the ‘you’? So, there you go. You’ve got the threads of an idea in here, now rethink, rework and refine. RBT

  32. Catherine M Thompson permalink
    July 16, 2016 10:22 pm

    Here is my link to this week’s blog on Challenge 2: A story song –
    http://catscupboard.blogspot.ca/2016/07/sac-songwriting-blogging-challenge-2_16.html

    I am about to record my song and will post the link to SoundCloud before midnight 🙂
    Catherine

  33. Catherine M Thompson permalink
    July 16, 2016 11:04 pm

    Hi, All!
    Here is the very rough a Capella recording of Port Stanley Summer Love, my answer to Challenge 2, a story song. The genre is Musical Theatre with a singalong style chorus but with verses that are recitative but with uneven lines and internal rhyme. Although it is parallel in structure, I have difficulties singing the arch in the top of the second verse to match the one in the first.
    https://soundcloud.com/catscupboard/port-stanley-summer-love

    Catherine

    • Catherine M Thompson permalink
      July 16, 2016 11:37 pm

      Hi! This is the wrong song – It is Put Down the Guns, last week’s song. I posted the corrected upload a little later. Please delete the link on this one. It does not seem possible for me to edit it. Please keep the comment, but delete the soundcloud link and use the other one I have posted.
      Thanks, Catherine

  34. Louise MacDougall permalink
    July 16, 2016 11:22 pm

    Skye Weste/ Louise MacDougall

    A “story” song. A new addition to my series of Scottish historical songs, the point of them is to preserve history in song. In Scotlalnd, they have nicknamed my songs “historical rap”…Hahaha. Seems to fit — I write them long to be sung quickly, with a particular niche audience in mind.
    Because I didn’t have time to hire a singer yet, I’ve spared everyone the pain of listening to a lot of my bad singing. I’ve recorded just enough to show the difference between Intro, Chorus, and Verse. I used only percussion because I can’t sing in key 😦
    The full lyric is in the description on SoundCloud.

    • Louise MacDougall permalink
      July 16, 2016 11:46 pm

      Link to my blog about Challenge #2:

    • July 22, 2016 3:45 am

      Louise, it sounds like you were off to a good start. However, 1:05 really doesn’t really a song make 🙂 . Look at your structure and determine what format you want to follow Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus. Or whatever you like – but you need to anchor some of the parts to keep your listener engaged. I couldn’t access your lyrics so it’s hard to decipher which parts are which in your song. It sounds like you’re very focused on lyric, so take the time to truly organize the parts in your song – and production considerations can come much much later. The first priority should be on making the song as strong as possible. RBT

      • Louise MacDougall permalink
        July 22, 2016 7:07 pm

        Hahaha. No Rosanne, that one minute was just a short sample of the different melodies used — the whole song was almost 4 minutes long and I did post the full lyric for you on Soundcloud. Are you saying you couldn’t access the lyric there? I just checked Soundcloud and it is still there, but of course you have to click “Show More” to see the whole song…?

        Please let me know if you still can’t access the lyric on Soundcloud, so I can figure out why. But, meanwhile, I’ve also revised my Tumblr blog above and you can read the lyric there too. (btw, I’m not sure why Tumblr is posting my whole Blog post here when all I entered was the link to the post. Something else I have to figure out….sigh.)

  35. Catherine M Thompson permalink
    July 16, 2016 11:28 pm

    Hi,
    I somehow managed to upload last week’s song to SoundCloud for Challenge 2. Here is the correct upload of my story song Port Stanley Love Song. Please delete my first post. Here is the link:
    https://soundcloud.com/catscupboard/port-stanley-summer-love

    Catherine

    • Catherine M Thompson permalink
      July 16, 2016 11:38 pm

      Here is the very rough a Capella recording of Port Stanley Summer Love, my answer to Challenge 2, a story song. The genre is Musical Theatre with a singalong style chorus but with verses that are recitative but with uneven lines and internal rhyme. Although it is parallel in structure, I have difficulties singing the arch in the top of the second verse to match the one in the first.

      • July 22, 2016 3:54 am

        Catherine – Loads of imagery in this. And yes very theatrical / musical feeling. I like that the story is consistent and easy to follow. Some very nice lines in here. Well structured. Nice work Catherine. Glad to see you hung in and now have this song to add to your repertoire. 🙂 RBT

  36. Andrew Atkins permalink
    July 16, 2016 11:36 pm

    http://fluidartistickayak.blogspot.ca/

  37. July 16, 2016 11:38 pm

    WEEK #2 Song Submission

    What a challenging, but great week of writing! Here are my links the song “BEAUTIFUL GIRL OF MINE” – Bernadette Saquibal

    BLOG: https://bernadettesaquibal.wordpress.com/2016/07/17/time-management-re-writing-and-the-ever-so-sneaky-x-factors-of-life/

    SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/bernadette-saquibal/beautiful-girl-of-mine-c2016-bernadette-saquibal-demo

    • July 22, 2016 11:40 am

      I love the space in this song, very nice. It’s a solid, heartfelt story that is beautifully presented. Some great parts in this song. There’s some lyric and melody tweaks / modifications that I think would pull this song all together – and I’m more than happy to talk to you about these if you pm me. Really nice work Bernadette. 🙂 RBT

  38. Andrew Atkins permalink
    July 16, 2016 11:39 pm
    • July 22, 2016 4:17 am

      Andy – I’m really enjoying your vocal approach, phrasing, melodies, chording, internal rhymes. You have the gift of setting the scene with endless imagery in lines that walk you through and I admire how your lines are poetic yet clearly speak the thought – “The knife called age, shows its blade, cuts away his memories”. You truly have a handle on the crafting of a song. I know this is still a work in progress, but it certainly has solid bones. Also, just a note to make sure your written lyrics match your performed lyrics – found it a bit mind boggling to follow at 4 am and couldn’t really decipher a few lines in the chorus – so just added my own … lol. RBT

    • July 22, 2016 4:27 am

      Hi Kristine – A lovely heartfelt song, and a lovely performance. Looking forward to hearing where you land after incorporating some of the suggested changes. RBT

  39. Andrew Atkins permalink
    July 16, 2016 11:40 pm

    heres a wee blog about the tune, i struggled with this a lot
    http://fluidartistickayak.blogspot.ca/

  40. July 16, 2016 11:43 pm

    Just Under the wire! Had limited time for this one due to Family Camping, but got a nice little family story about my Dad moving from Town to Town. The Demo is a simple Guitar and Voice one take demo! – here is the SoundCloud link https://soundcloud.com/liminalmusic-1/another-town

    • July 22, 2016 3:08 pm

      Hi Caitlin, I like the title. And I like that you have created a structure and form that works well. The melody is nice. But I have to admit I’m having difficulty following the meaning of the lyric and what the song is about. “Wednesday’s Rose” is a nice visual, however, not sure what the connection is. I think if you read these aloud or have someone read them aloud to you, it will help you to hear where the challenges are. RBT

    • July 22, 2016 3:31 pm

      Hi Andrew – I really like your title and the fact that it has a double meaning. I like that your story has a real speak vibe and that the lyrics carry you through the story easily. And while the dynamics and emotion that you are pouring into the song are great, the pitchy vocals totally distract from the experience. I would suggest that the melody needs to switch up as I don’t get a sense of moving from verse to chorus to verse. A great start to a new song that will only get better with a bit more writing. But you’ve definitely got some fine pieces here to build on 🙂 RBT

  41. July 16, 2016 11:50 pm

    Song: although, I did actually put the link to the song in the blog

  42. July 17, 2016 1:10 am

    A very raw barebones demo recording off my iPhone.

  43. July 17, 2016 9:26 am

    I tried posted earlier last night but don’t see it here. There were also nearly 90 comments last night and now only 43. (?). Here’s a re-post FYI:

    https://wordpress.com/post/sfitzsimonsblog.wordpress.com/31

    • July 22, 2016 4:30 am

      Reposting my comment in case you didn’t receive it before –
      Excellent lyrics. Welcoming melody and a strong and current song topic. Your lines are great, the flow easy and I happy followed this song from beginning to end. Nothing to change. Much enjoyed listening. Thank you Sean. 🙂 RBT

    • July 22, 2016 4:13 pm

      Mikalyn, a really great start here! I totally like the pre chorus and your idea of (and my slight modification) “ ‘cause we were picture perfect in that moment”. And while I can’t suggest what this might be right this second, I’m thinking you could pull your lyrics to build on that concept somehow and still be about a relationship. I think this needs some conversation and consideration. Because of your age and vocal style I know you can carry more intriguing and quirky concepts – and in fact, should do so. Food for thought. The melody : on the pre chorus and chorus is great – a nice build through the pre chorus to the chorus – but I’m thinking the verses could be explored to make the melody approach as strong as the other parts. And a small, but memorable moment in your current lyric and performance is the vocal inflection when you sing ’”pitch or key”. It’s a perfect example of how intuitively approach the performance of a song. Solid work on this, and a good point to springboard from 🙂 RBT Talk soon.

  44. June 26, 2017 12:53 pm

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering issues
    with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it.
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  1. SAC 2016 Songwriting Challenge Week 2 | Selkirk Range
  2. A folk ballad - Songwriting Challenge - Week 2 of 4 - Campbell + Green

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