David Ramirez on Songwriting: Episode #7

Veteran singer-songwriter David Ramirez (who Paste once called "The best damn songwriter you don't know yet") was nothing short of magnificent during his performance at Live From The Divide. The room of 50 hung on every heart wrenching note Ramirez delivered "I've learned a lot from being alone and isolated," says Ramirez, who until recently toured completely by himself, without a band, manager or anyone else for company. "Yes, it's romantic in a way. But it has also been kind of rough on my head and my heart. After a while it made it difficult to connect with people on a personal level when I got home. In hindsight, I can see that it's been kind of detrimental. You know, when you travel around alone for months at a time, the world revolves around you. There's no one else in the equation. Everything was just about me. It's a selfish way of living. And I'm ready to move on from that."

Advice from David about songwriting?

"I believe in discipline but I also just really enjoy it. If you want to be a great writer then you need to write all time. Even after you've been doing it for 15 years your still going to write some terrible songs, so you just need to keep writing." 

-David Ramirez 

Photo by Jason Wickens

Photo by Jason Wickens

Listen to David's hour long broadcast in its entirety by clicking on the image below. You will be directed to our PRX (Public Radio Exchange) profile. 

Bonnie Bishop on Songwriting: Episode #6

Bonnie Bishop started her career as a country rock singer-songwriter from Texas. After arriving in Nashville, Bishop began writing and performing. She received awards and recognition and In 2012, Bishop's idol Bonnie Raitt recorded her song "Not Cause I Wanted To" The album went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album in 2013 . With all this success Bishop was hitting the road hard playing 200 dates a year. After a grueling 14 years of touring and after taking an extended break from her career in music, award-winning producer David Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson) signed her to her first record deal at the age of 36. Convinced Bishop should be singing soul music he told her that he wanted to make a Muscle Shoals-type album on a female. And that's exactly what they did with her latest's 'Ain't Who I Was' 

Advice from Bonnie about songwriting?

"Try and say something as honestly and directly as possible. I never write something to sing that I would never say in regular conversation" 

-Bonnie Bishop

Photo by Jason Wickens

Photo by Jason Wickens

Listen to Bonnie's hour long broadcast in its entirety by clicking on the image below. You will be directed to our PRX (Public Radio Exchange) profile. 

Shinyribs on Songwriting: Episode #5

Kevin Russell is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin, and banjo) based out of Austin, TX. After years of fronting alternative country band The Gourds in 2013 Kevin formed Shinyribs. Kevin Russell’s musical journey began in Beaumont, TX when, at 14, he found that he had a strong affinity for the guitar and songwriting. After being shown just a few chords he began writing his own songs. 

Advice from Kevin about songwriting?

In terms of writers block. If a song is fighting you or your not feeling it then simply do something else.

"If I don't feel like writing a song then I'll just do something else." 

-Kevin Russell 

Photo by Jason Wickens

Photo by Jason Wickens

Listen to Kevin's hour long broadcast in its entirety by clicking on the image below. You will be directed to our PRX (Public Radio Exchange) profile. 

Paul Cauthen on Songwriting: Episode #4

Paul Cauthen is a singer-songwriter that grew up in Tyler, Texas. His grandfather was a songwriter and also led music for the local Church of Christ congregation. This is where Cauthen and his two sisters learned to sing harmony. After his grandfathers passing Paul wrote his first song and discovered that songwriting could be an outlet for his deepest thoughts and feelings. It is not easy to pigeon-hole Cauthen's music into a generic 'country' genre. It's blues, gospel, honky-tonk with a strong dose of rock-and-roll mixed in there. Just listen to those vocals! 

Advice from Paul about songwriting? 

"I believe a good song is one that can do the full circle of the spirit from musician to the audience member. From your mouth to their ears. If they love it then you did something right."

-Paul Cauthen

Photo by Jason Wickens

Photo by Jason Wickens

Listen to Paul's hour long broadcast in its entirety by clicking on the image below. You will be directed to our PRX (Public Radio Exchange) profile. 


Sunny Sweeney on Songwriting: Episode #3

Sunny Sweeney is breath of fresh air. Not only is she powerful enough to command any stage, she is a bad ass songwriter. All the while maintaining a healthy dose of humility and approachability that draws her fan base in. That level of approachability has worked against her in the past with some not so welcome advice from fans. Yep, she wrote a song about that as well. Her flair for frankness can be plainly heard in her songs which never leaves you guessing how she really feels about something. Jewly Hight from NO DEPRESSION describes her perfectly. 

"That stubbornness definitely comes through in her singing; in her vinegary directness and occasional bold-faced sarcasm; in her knowing, straight-on phrasing and how little use she has for flowery embellishment; in the undiluted, hardcore twang of her timbre and its resistance to the leaven of pop, rock, or R&B influence.“This drunk guy at a bar one night goes, ‘Girl, you need to take that clothespin off your nose,’” she testifies. “And I said, ‘I borrowed it from Willie Nelson. It’s doing fine for him.’”  -Jewly Hight NO DEPRESSION

Songwriting advice from Sunny?

If you have fans, trust them. Even when it's not what you want to hear. 

"The way that I judge my songs is by my fans. And my fans are brutally honest. They will be the first ones to say it sucks or the first ones to say its great." -Sunny Sweeney

Photo by Jason Wickens

Listen to Sunny's hour long broadcast in its entirety by clicking on the image below. You will be directed to our PRX (Public Radio Exchange) profile. 


Whiskey Wolves of the West on Songwriting: Episode #2

The Whiskey Wolves of the West are a newly formed group created by Leroy Powell and Tim Jones based out of Nashville, TN. Together these two create what Tim Jones describes as a southern rock Simon and Garfunkel. Both Powell and Jones have each experienced success as songwriters, studio musicians, and band leaders capable of doing just about anything they want musically. Luckily for us they have joined forces to bring us their high and lonesome sound. 

Pro tip from the guys about songwriting?

Use voice memo on your phone to capture song ideas or melodies you have. Both Tim and Leroy come together and share their voice memo notes to work on co-writes. For more good advice and hilarity check out the podcast! Stream it here or subscribe on iTunes. 

Photo by Jason Wickens

Listen to the hour long radio broadcast in its entirety by clicking on the image below and you will be directed to our PRX (Public Radio Exchange) profile. 


Band of Heathens on Songwriting: Episode #1

 When it comes to American-Roots music know one walks the walk like the Band of Heathens. Every member has the unique ability to write songs, arrange harmonies and come up with hooks that will leave you wanting more. Just looking at the overall musicianship of these guys is staggering to say the least. With an impressive 7 albums under their belt the Band of Heathens show no signs of slowing down. Gordy Quist laid out some sage advice regarding not getting "stuck" that I'd like to share with you. He uses the analogy of inputs & outputs to unpack the daunting task of keeping yourself creatively inspired. I'd also like to add that I am paraphrasing a bit so make sure you listen to podcast to hear the discussion in its entirety. 

Input:

Listen to new music or music that is foreign to you. Read books by authors that inspire you and that will will keep you thinking about using words in an interesting way. 

Output: 

Play your instrument every day. Learn some new chords or a new progression in addition to writing in a journal without editing yourself. 

For more advice from the guys about songwriting and a few hand selected songs from their performance at Live From the Divide listen to the Podcast and don't forget to subscribe on iTunes.

Photo by Jason Wickens

Listen to the hour long radio broadcast in its entirety by clicking on the image below and you will be directed to our PRX (Public Radio Exchange) profile. 

Presented by Sitka Gear