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Song Vault

Set In Stone

Are these my hands upon the wheel?
Pirate Punk Identity Crisis
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

Lost at sea, the beams are cracked
The ship has sailed, the die is cast
The play is done, still no one claps
The curtain falls, we fade to black
Are these my hands upon the wheel?
I can think, so why can’t I feel?
It’s set in stone no going back

I lost the plot, I lost my place
Cut out my heart to save my face
Too many hats for just one head
Too many things that they expect
Can’t keep my shoulder to the wheel (to the wheel)
I can think so why can’t I feel? (I can’t feel)
It’s set in stone no going back

Here I stand back at square one
The snakes have teeth
And the ladders have no rungs

Time will tell if time will heal (time will tell if time)
Or crush my soul beneath the wheels (crushed beneath the wheels)
If I can think then why can’t I feel? (it’s set in stone)
It’s set in stone no going back
It’s set in stone no going back

Categories
Song Vault

Fresh Meat


Nobody’s buying tonight
A brooding ballad of a city full of broken people
Download     mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)     Behind The Song

There goes the wreck of a beautiful girl
Sticking two broken fingers up at the world
Stealing pennies from dead men’s eyes
She robs them while they’re still breathing
Her brother spends the hours pushing people around
The Morgue’s up on fourth, Maternity’s on the ground
Where they come from or where they’re bound
Can’t stop it repeating

Oh, but nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat to arrive
Nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat

She’s fragile as a river frozen in winter
When bread is so hard, when fruit is so bitter
Now Autumn is dead and gone
Borrowed time is so fleeting.
Look at all the wolves circling around us
Looking so sheepish, part of this circus
Their teeth are as sharp as their tongues
At least their liberal hearts are still bleeding

Oh, but nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat to arrive
Nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat

An ivory tower’s the place he calls home
A cold mausoleum of elephant teeth and bones
A place to look down from, a place to be alone
While he’s squeezing blood from a stone
Squeezing blood from a stone
Squeezing blood from a stone

But nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat
Oh, nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat

© Matt Blick 2013

Categories
Song Vault

Different

Am I different? Maybe it’s you
Autism Rock
Download     mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)     Behind The Song

(Wake up sleepy head I’ll count every star for you)

Am I different? Maybe it’s you.
I don’t see things the way you do.
Am I different? Maybe it’s true.
If I’m different – Is that O.K. with you?
Am I different? Maybe it’s you.
I don’t see things the way you do.
Am I different? Maybe it’s true.
If I’m different – Is that O.K. with you?

Wake up sleepy head, I’ll count every star for you
Wake up sleepy head, I’ll count all the stars for you

Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?
I don’t see things (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?
Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?
If I’m different (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?
Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Maybe it’s you.
I don’t see things (Maybe it’s you) the way you do.
Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Maybe it’s true.
If I’m different (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?

1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
Am I different?
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
Is that O.K. with you?

(1,2,3,1,2,3) Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Maybe it’s you (Wake up sleepy head)
(1,2,1,2,3) I don’t see things (Maybe it’s you) the way you do (I’ll count every star for you)
(1,2,3,1,2,3) Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Maybe it’s true (Wake up sleepy head)
(1,2,1,2,3) If I’m different (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (I’ll count all the stars for you)
(1,2,3,1,2,3) Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (Wake up sleepy head)
(1,2,1,2,3) I don’t see things (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (I’ll count every star for you)
(1,2,3,1,2,3) Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (Wake up sleepy head)
(1,2,1,2,3) If I’m different (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (I’ll count all the stars for you)

© Matt Blick 2013

Categories
Live Video

Fingernails on Trent Sound Live

Another ‘live in the studio’ video

Get a free download of Fingernails here

Categories
Best Posts Songwriting Teaching

Three Things Every Musician Should Be

A big welcome if you’re visiting from CD Baby – you probably want to jump straight to the application, right?…

I’m a guitar teacher by trade. Sure I write songs and perform, but if you met me at a party and ask what I do I’d say “teach guitar.” If I won the lottery tomorrow* I’d still carry on teaching (but maybe reduce my hours a little) because I feel a responsibility to pass on what I’ve learned and I think it’s something every musician should do.

At the same time, it’s a battle. Full-time teaching tends to squeeze the original creative impulse out of my soul that made me want to play guitar in the first place. And I’m aware that not having the time to learn anything new on my instrument dries up writing AND teaching, keeping me going round the same ever deepening ruts.

Many of us will be firmly in one camp. A teacher, student or creator. That’s fine. But to be a truly healthy member of musical society, we need to be a little of each.

A Teacher

I am self taught. What that means is my school music teachers, Jonathan Trout, Steve Milward and Lesley Lear, taught me a little notation, broadened my horizons, got me to listen critically and perform in school productions. Malc Rowe, an older guy at school, taught me all the Judas Priest songs he knew in return for me roadying for his band. My art teacher, Ken Jones, introduced me to lots of jazz & avant garde music. My sister Roberta loaned me everything from Gershwin & The Beatles, to Ry Cooder & Led Zeppelin. Denton Williams gave me a case full of gospel tapes. I devoured instructional books and columns by people like Mickey Baker, Paul Baloche, Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani and attended courses and masterclasses lead by Brian Doerksen, Jon Gibson, John Etheridge.

I hope you get the point? No one is self taught. We all had help coming up and we all have to give something back. Not everyone could or should teach formally – some of us lack patience, punctuality or an analytical mind, or have issues with alcohol or the police. But we can all do something to help the next generation.

A Student

Sadly, most teachers stop learning anything new about their subject right after they qualify, just like recording artists stop learning once they start touring the first album. Thereafter the next 20 years worth of music (or teaching) is drawn from an ever diminishing pool of ideas.

Teachers and lecturers get long summer breaks (some even get sabbaticals) but many down tools just to collapse and recover. And the few successful artists that do seek out formal tuition usually do it to correct career threatening flaws in their technique.

A Creator

Art & Fear warns of the danger that –

“…an artist who teaches will eventually dwindle away to something much less: a teacher who formerly made art…like some perverse recycling process from a sci-fi novel, the same system that produces new artists, produces ex-artists”

and goes on to say

“The greatest gift you have to offer your students is the example of your own life as a working artist” (p.82-3).

Meanwhile students are sometimes trapped into a mindset that they must learn everything before they create anything, not realising that the best way to understand any musical concept you learn is to use it.

So if you know you’re lacking in any area here’s some tailor-made suggestions

A Teacher who Creates
A Teacher who Studies

A Student who Creates
A Student who Teaches
A Creator who Teaches
A Creator who Studies
Take me to more cool stuffb

A Teacher who Creates

  • Write for you school/church/organisation – A colleague who teaches piano recently wrote a song for a school’s centenary celebration. One of my english teachers always wrote the book for our school musicals. He later quit to write radio plays for the BBC.
  • Write with your pupils. Many have the ideas to kickstart a song but not the skill to bring it to completion. Filling in the gaps for them can be inspiring for you. For the last 3 years I’ve co-written and recorded songs with groups of kids aged 6 to 18 for events like FAWM and 50/90. Speaking of which…
  • Sign up for FAWM. An insane one month writing splurge is doable and Feb is a good time to do it. You even get a half term holiday.
  • Have a summer recording project. Don’t be too ambitious – maybe write and record a solo acoustic EP and stick it on Bandcamp.
  • Hit the open mics. It’s hard to hold a band and a career together but getting up to do a couple of tunes in front of a handful of other musos is low maintenance.

[back]

A Teacher who Studies

  • Allow your pupils to bring in current music and learn some of it. It’s a great way adding to your catalogue of teaching resources.

  • Always have a piece of music or some scales/chords to work on in down time – lunch breaks, kids not turning up. Redeem the time rather than zoning out in the staff room.
  • Try to have one composer/artist who you dig down deep into and try to master their whole catalogue and style. Read, watch, and listen to all you can find on them. Here’s mine.
  • Pick a genre you’re not too familiar with. Find a good ‘best of’ compilation (eg “Now That’s What I Call Samba Metal Vol. 1”) and learn every song.

[back]

A Student who Creates

  • Every time you learn a new chord, scale or technique, get into the habit of writing a short piece of music using it and record it. Don’t even wait till you’ve mastered it.
  • Try to mutate a song you’ve learned, changing it a chord/phrase/word at a time till it becomes yours. Subconscious plagiarism is a massive problem for beginners. Solve it by deliberately stealing your ideas!

[back]

A Student who Teaches

  • Find someone who knows less than you and show them something. Don’t try to be a teacher, you’re just someone a few steps further along the road, so remember to act like it.
  • If you’ve been learning a while you’ve probably found some good songs, books, articles, youtube videos, even real live teachers. Point people to the good stuff.

[back]

A Creator who Teaches


  • Work with the younger generation, let them learn from you up close as they write, record and tour with you. That is how the apprentices of old learned, side by side with an experienced craftsman.

[back]

A Creator who Studies

  • Find a new chord, tuning or scale and write 5 songs in it
  • Learn a new instrument and play it on your next album.
  • Learn to play all the songs on a classic (or brand new) album and perform the entire thing at a one off charity gig
  • Record a side project EP playing a completely different instrument or genre
  • Every month listen to the top 20 songs (or top 20 in your genre) and try to write something as good or better. Incorporate any new ideas you pick up.
  • Collaborate with an ‘outside’ co-writer from a different genre.
  • And yes, if you have some downtime you could get some formal tuition from an expert.

Over to you

  • What area do you fall short in?
  • Is there anyone you know who’s a good example of a well balanced musician?
  • Do you have any tips to share?

Leave me a comment

*unlikely, as I don’t do the lottery.

Download my free single Let’s Build An Airport
Take me to more interesting songwriting posts

Categories
Live Video

Brother Bull on Trent Sound Live

“…to make her a dress pure as milk…”

Brother Bull appears on the Let’s Build An Airport EP – Download the studio version here

Categories
Songwriting

By Strauss. By Gershwin.

I’ve loved the writing of George and Ira Gershwin since I was a boy. My sister had the
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George And Ira Gershwin Song Book, an incredible album set arranged by Nelson Riddle, which I think is one of the best jazz records ever made. By Strauss is one of their lesser known song but a great example of clever lyric writing nonetheless.

Away with the music of Broadway
Be off with your Irving Berlin
Oh I give no quarter to Kern or Cole Porter
And Gershwin keeps pounding on tin

How can I be civil when hearing this drivel
It’s only for nightclubbing souses
Oh give me the free ‘n’ easy waltz that is Viennesey
And go tell the band if they want a hand
The waltz must be Strauss’

Ya, ya ya, give me oom-pa-pah

When I want a melody
Lilting through the house
Then I want a melody
By Strauss
It laughs, it sings, the world is in rhyme
Swinging to three-quarter time

Keep the wine and give me song
By Strauss
By Jove, by Jing, by Strauss is the thing
So I say to ha-cha-cha, heraus!
Just give me your oom-pa-pah, by Strauss!

Notice the witty rhymes

How can I be civil when hearing this drivel

internal rhymes

I give no quarter to Kern or Cole Porter
give me the free ‘n’ easy waltz that is Viennesey
And go tell the band if they want a hand

name checking Strauss’ music

Let the [Blue] Danube flow along and the Fledermaus

use of German

heraus [out!]

To be sure, the more comedic and lighthearted the song is the more you can get away with such self-consciously clever lyrics, but I’d love to have one-tenth of the the genius on display here.

Categories
Live Video

[Everything Is] Broken Live

Video shot by Roo Inns at the Golden Fleece Open Mic July 2013 – Rachel McClean on Cello.

Buy the song here

Categories
Nottingham Sounds

Mountain Schmountain

I love this band. Such clever imagery and attention to detail. Here’s Mountain Schmountain live in session for The Beat on the Beeb

More Mou Schmou here