Helping Out A Friend…

One of the many folks I’ve met on Twitter is a reporter.  On Twitter you can find him at @RickRake

He “grew up” working in traditional media, but has recently come to embrace Social Media.

He is working on a project and wanted some “station identification” sound byte promos.

I don’t particularly care for the way my voice sounds… I have always been aware that I have a tendancy towards SSSSSsssssibilance, and when I attempt to deepen my voice, in my head, I hear the dulcet tones of Sam the American Eagle, from The Muppet Show.  (And, as soon as I think about that, I start to get the giggles, and it devolves from there…)

Sam The American Eagle - The Muppet Show

So we had tentatively planned that we would get together with another friend (@OwenGreaves) who worked for years in Radio, and record these promos using his voice, in my Studio.

As I was working away, today, I was looking at the projects piled up, and the dwindling slots available in my schedule… and it wasn’t looking good… so I went ahead, and flew solo.

A couple of the voice bits, and just because I had all the machinery powered up, I threw together a “Weather Network” style musical blurb version.

The reason I’m posting these… (other than it is 2:30 in the morning, and I am unable to sleep…) is that we sometimes forget that the skills that we ourselves have, are not universal, and each of us brings different tools and skills to the table.  I have a small recording studio in my basement, and sound editing software on my computers, which apparently not everyone has.

The joy of Twitter, is that we were able to connect, and in a relatively short time, I threw together some preliminary promos, that will allow him to work and move forward on his project… (and after Christmas, can be replaced by professional vocal talent)

TNN Voice Promo

TNN Theme Musical Blurb

Again, I’m not expounding about how wonderful they are… for they are literally thrown together.  What I wish to draw attention to is that sometimes we forget that things that we do are different than things OTHERS are able to do… and folks don’t know we can do them, because we just don’t toot our own horns enough !!!

Beep Beep !!!

Songwriting with a Co-Writer…

For songwriters, people keep saying to me that co-writing is essential, and yet I had not found much success in co-writing.

The efforts seemed disjointed, and while each person contributed something, there was no flow.  Different sections that while “technically” meshing… don’t fit together well. Flow is important in a song.  It is a story that you are telling, and you have to get the listener, from the beginning to the end without them jolted out of their seat, by a sudden twist in the story.

A lot of my previous co-writing experiences had those problems. Earthquake cracks and fissures that the listener had to leap over, to make different parts of the song connect.

As a result of these experiences, I have tended, in the last while, to write alone.

A friend kept pushing me to get together and write, and we got together last week, and it just flowed.  In three hours, we bashed out the basis for what we both feel has the potential to be a hit song.  We are still working on it… doing tune-ups and tweaks.

BobSongs Studio

Over the weekend, I was thinking about it, and wondering “what was different THIS time?”

It occurred to me that in this case, I already knew the guy, knew his personality, as he knew mine. We were comfortable with each other, and maybe more important, we were comfortable saying “I don’t like this section, I think it needs to go a different way.” Rather than just accepting it as good enough… we pushed each other, and got a better song, as a result.

I think that because we were both going for the same thing… and our strengths are complimentary… (I’m a lyrics guy, and he already had some musical ideas in his head) …even if we didn’t know each other, we would have “clicked.”

So I finally am able to truly understand what everyone says… Finding a co-writer does make your songwriting better.

But I also realized that finding a co-writer is a bit like dating. You don’t necessarily “connect” with every person, regardless of how people think “you are perfect for one another…”

Just keeping trying, until you find someone you “click” with. And, until you find someone you click with… remember… It’s not you… it’s THEM !!!

Keep writing, and keep looking !!!

BobSongs Recording Studio…

Someone recently said to me… “I didn’t put together the name BobSongs, with you being a songwriter.”

It got me thinking that some of the links on my webpage don’t get clicked through, often enough.

So, I thought I would make that the topic of a Blog Posting.

Over the past few years, I’ve been working on my basement, which is comprised of two main parts:

Black Cat Saloon Sign

Black Cat Saloon Sign

The Black Cat Bar…

which I will talk about in another post…

and BobSongs Recording Studio.

BobSongs Studio

BobSongs Studio

BobSongs Recording Studio is a one room recording studio, without the requirement of an isolation booth.

Because it is strictly for my own use, or for a very small group, I don’t require a separate room to run sound out of.

The Computer Controls and the “magic” all happen in the same room.

When I was building the Studio, I was concerned about the acoustics, so I took an extra year, and custom built a Birch Wood Wall, constructed with a recurring pattern of jutting box shelves, which acoustically break the flat surface of the facing wall.  It took me a year, because I had never custom built a wall before.  Seriously.

Studio WallStudio Wall

I have been writing songs for years, and had a recording rig setup in my house, but it always seemed that someone was using a weed wacker or a leaf blower whenever I wanted to record something… so I thought it would be best if I could finish a quiet, sound-protected corner of our unfinished basement.

Trumpet lamp

Trumpet lamp

Along the way, I had a lot of challenges and fun, and perhaps my favourite “touch” is the old trumpet, I turned into a lamp !

I don’t know if you have heard anything I’ve recorded… but I can assure you… I have no aspirations for being a recording artist.

My love is writing and crafting the music and lyrics, and getting it to a point where I feel it is “ready.”

My hope is that some day, someone will like one of my songs enough to publish or record it.

In the meantime, I will keep toiling away, with occasional shots of “inspiration” from the Black Cat Bar !!!

For the Sound Geeks, you may want to know I run ProTools with a DigiDesign 002 Rack.

Drums and many accompaniments and flavours are provided compliments of “George”, the Yamaha PSR-2100 Keyboard.

I have a few guitar brands represented, amongst them: Takamine, K. Yairi, S. Yairi, Bayou, Fender & Hohner.

My focus and hope is to get my Songs to a point, where my performance doesn’t distract TOO MUCH from the Song itself.

An example of this quality of production is: Whisky Haze

This is, I hope, a good enough quality demo, to prevent my poor singing and playing from being a distraction, and THAT is the purpose of BobSongs Studio.

Trying To Break Into The Music Biz…

BobSongs Studio

BobSongs Studio

By the nature of my writing, I explore and share various facets of my life, in my Blog.

Recently, one of our cats has been unwell, and during the recovery process, we have been keeping closer tabs on his daytime activities, amidst the hubbub of everyday life.

Hiding behind a screen...

Hiding behind a screen…

It seems to me, that, as I am paying more attention to his “business”… he too has been apparently trying to take over mine !

Those of you with keen eyes will notice an interloper hiding behind the bottom computer screen.   (Close up photo on the right)

(And, as much as I would love to have a helper in the BobSongs Studio… he ain’t it !!!)

It made me think of the number of times recently, where… (for a cat) …we discovered him doing something that would be considered cute… but now, in context, has the appearance of getting ready to assume a Rock and Roll lifestyle.

Suddenly, his keen enjoyment of my painful Banjo lessons becomes suspect.

just in case...

just in case…

Hanging out in the Studio becomes more about learning ProTools keyboard shortcuts, and less about spending time with his people.

What ?!?


The very fact that he has “People” to do stuff for him.

He obviously is fully prepared for a life on the road, and yearns for the free-wheeling catnip-partying days he has heard much about, but never explored himself.

Bailey on a suitcase

Bailey on a suitcase

I’m not sure to what degree he will have success, but we will always support him, and encourage him, on his way to the top.

Maybe I should be prepared to sneak into HIS suitcase.  It WOULD be easier for him to claw his way to the top!!!


This is NOT the ladder of success !!!

This is NOT the ladder of success !!!

I Love And Respect The Craft Of Songwriting…

I love and respect the craft of songwriting

From my earliest memories of listening to my sister’s records of the BeatlesGordon Lightfoot, and Monique Leyrac, to the constants of my Parents favourites, Vera LynnDean MartinNana Mouskouri…  I was blessed to grow up in an environment that embraced new and different styles of music, while still showing reverence to their favourites.

For my own “classic” favourites…
James TaylorTonicBNLGordon LightfootJohn DenverSimon & Garfunkel and, of course, The Beatles (either together, or in their various individual incarnations)

More recent favourites would have to include…
Lindsay Aline, Dan Mangan, Ken McCoy, Dave Mercer, Jessie Farrell, Carolyn Stewart, Misty Weaver, Carolina RainJars of ClaySwitchfootLady Antebellum.

I-PodMy I-Pod runneth over…

I am blessed to have a supportive wife, and Family that always encouraged and supported any Artistic pursuit.  Thus, my childhood lessons for piano with Mrs Gatz, and messing around with a guitar, were later combined with forays into creative writing and poetry, as encouraged by my Dad and “Doc” Ballard… into the songwriting I now love.

My Music Studio is a place of comfort, where I gather my thoughts, and assemble the lessons and influences of the past, and create songs that I hope folks will enjoy.

Here is a link to a few of my Songs

I further expounded upon the Songwriters who were “instrumental” in my love of the crafted word, in my posting… “Under The Influences”

Thanks for stopping by !

Who influenced you ???

Protecting Yourself From Success on Twitter…

I am a songwriter, who aspires to be published.

I know a lot of folk in the same boat.

I work with an organization that tries to help local songwriters have an opportunity to perform, and we have a Twitter account.

I guess, because I tweet using the hashtags, #Songwriters, #Songwriting and #Showcase… we get a lot of followers from all over North America.

Because we are based VERY locally, in Langley, BC… I don’t follow everyone back.  But I check every profile.

A lot of the Twitter feeds are filled with… “I have great songs, does anyone want to hear them ?” tweets.

Sadly, the Bio line is empty… there is often no location… no website link and sometimes the Tweets are protected.

If I have ANY hope to succeed as a songwriter, I know that I have to fling open the doors, and invite people in, to look at my “product.”


I have this Blog, (which is about music,) a Company Website, (BobSongs Creative Media) a General Blog (BobSongs Musings) a Twitter account, a Facebook profile, a MySpace page… as well as other links… (Broadjam, IMRadio, & YouTube, and more…)

All of them are open, free, unrestricted and accessible.

What benefit do I gain, as a person trying to sell my songs, by putting up barriers or obstacles to people finding out about me OR my songs ???


I take the standard precautions with my product… as soon as I record it, I send myself a registered copy in a sealed envelope, and attach a copy of the contents to the outside.

If I was really concerned, I could take further steps… but I personally don’t feel that is necessary.

Here is the stupid part.

I’m writing this, in order to try to help my competition!!!

What I DO feel is necessary, is to encourage artists to unlock the doors, open up yourself to the world, and say “Here is my product… what do you think?!?”

The alternative is not a pretty picture, as it involves those three ugly words.  Woulda, shoulda, coulda.

Open it up, folks.  You might sell something !!!