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Connecting Songwriters Throughout Northeast Ohio

News And Updates

Volume 3 Issue 1

January 2019

The Reprise:
A New Year Brings New Opportunity

Don Henson, Founder
With a new year upon us, we look forward to the changes and challenges that lie ahead. I will be stepping down as board president and become ex-officio. This means new board members will soon be voted for and elected. This gives you, as an upstanding member, the opportunity to help us take Songwriter Summit to the next level. I ask that you think about what you can do to make us a better organization.

There are many ways you have the opportunity to help. Consider becoming a board member or joining a committee and utilize your knowledge and expertise.

Board Of Directors

The Board usually meets face to face a few times during the year. When the Board does meet, it is usually for about an hour right before our monthly membership meeting. Most times, Board discussions and decisions are conducted via email or other electronic means. Board positions - as noted in our by-laws - are:

President - It shall be the duty of the president to preside over all Board and general meetings, formulate and distribute agendas for meetings at least two weeks before meetings, ensures that all committees have adequate membership and are functioning in an appropriate manner. The president must be a member in good standing and must have served at least two years on the board in order to qualify to serve as president.

Vice President - It shall be the duty of the vice-president to assume the duties of the president in the absence of the president, to assist the president with making sure all committees are on target, and to carry out any other duties delegated to the vice-president.

Recording Secretary - It shall be the duty of the recording secretary to keep an accurate record of all meetings, providing written accounts of all Board and general membership meetings, including attendance log, and to distribute board meeting minutes within a week to all Board members.

Current Corresponding Secretary, Dave Waldeck, at work during a recent board meeting.
Corresponding Secretary - It shall be the duty of the corresponding secretary to provide updates on any correspondence received, act as a community liaison for organizational promotion, and to send emails to all members with meeting reminders, information on new business and elections and to handle any other communication deemed necessary by the Board.

Treasurer - It shall be the duty of the treasurer to keep ongoing records of the organization’s finances, provide an updated list of paid members, to collect dues and to have the petty cash available to make change at all gatherings. The treasurer shall also balance bank statements, see that expenses are paid and deposits are taken to the bank in a timely manner, keep monthly reports updated to announce at the Board meetings, and file annual tax forms.

Sergeant-at-Arms - It shall be the duty of the sergeant-at-arms to keep electronic devices silenced during meetings, to minimize side conversations during meetings, keeping the critiques to a respectable time limit. The Sergeant-at-Arms will sit at the back of the room to observe and not be a distraction.

At-Large Board Members (two are needed) - It shall be the duty of the two at-large board members who are the other executive committee members to see to the day-to-day operation of the organization in concert with the president, the vice-president, the secretary, and the treasurer with emphasis on heading specific committees and representing the general membership.

If you are interested in any of these positions and would like additional information, let me know and I will forward a description of duties to you.


Marketing – This includes website design and content and Social Media sites.

Video and Editing – This includes taking pictures during the meetings to use in our videos.

Newsletter – Helping with content and ideas to keep The Bridge fresh, entertaining, and interesting.

Community Outreach – Locating or creating events to highlight our organization.

Fundraising – As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization we are eligible for community funds and grants.

If you have any experience or interest in any of these positions or committees, please roll up your sleeves and join in. The more people we have involved, the more ideas and options we’ll see. Every one of us has talent that extends beyond playing an instrument and writing rhymes. Being involved would not mean an extensive time commitment unless it involves an organized event or outing.

We’re looking for new ideas and fresh perspectives as we move into 2019 and we’d like you to be right there with us.

Join Us For Our Next General Meeting
January 7th at 7 PM
2 Girls Cafe & Bakery, Stow Ohio

Meeting Details

The Bridge Starts Its Third Year

Editorial Board
We started monthly publication of The Bridge back in May of 2017. Since then we've brought you articles covering everything from the technical side of songwriting to profiles on members talking about how they approach the craft we aspire to. We've grown and changed as we have perceived the needs of our membership reacting to what we do here each month.

As we start the new year we have a slightly different look that most won't notice but will give us a bit more flexibility in how we present our content each month. We hope it works for you and makes the reading experience a bit easier.

One of the things we miss is reader feedback. We need to know what you like, what you don't like and how this publication can help you hone your craft. What can we do to help you to be an even better writer than you are now?

In addition, it would be great if we had more folks contributing to
The Bridge each month. Surely you have something to share with your fellow members. Drop us a note and we'll let you know what we're looking for to round out the publication.

Finally, one of the goals for this year is to increase circulation. We see
The Bridge as more than just a vehicle to reach members. We'd like to see it spread to others in the area and beyond who might find the articles and links of value in their lives. We rely on you to pass it on to your friends with a note to encourage them to do the same.

We're looking forward to another great year of bringing you news, updates and inspiration.

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Member Profile: Kevin Eblen

Kevin Eblen has brought us some fun and interesting songs over the years so we asked him to share some thoughts on his writing process with our readers.

1.) What keeps you coming back to Songwriter Summit on a regular basis?

Well the short answer is twofold. First off, it makes me feel connected to friends with like minds. Listen, songwriting is a pretty lonely thing to do and very few writers get the acknowledgement that they deserve and those who actually make a living at this are rare, myself included. So why do we write? I believe the way to tell if a person is a true artist of any kind is not their fame or even if people like what they do. It is simply that they can not stop doing what they love. That is what we do at Songwriters. And secondly, we critique songs not songwriters. It is not always pleasant and can be downright painful at times but it does make us better at our craft. And I need that!   

2.) What drives your writing?

Some time ago I began studying what actually makes a song popular. Was it the story or the beat, the singers voice or just darn good marketing? I realize that songs are personal and that is why we have so many genres. But that said, a good song is a good song. I think it was Roger Daltrey of the Who that said "a good song will shine through even in a bad performance where as a great performance can not save a bad song."

To me, music is like true magic and universal in all language and in all times. So with that in mind I decided to focus on several things. First off, was the beat, secondly, the hook line and third, was the bridge. That and never forgetting to tell a story.

3.) How would you describe the music you create?

I write often but honestly most of it is in short thoughts in notebooks that never see the light of day. But that said, I often draw upon past lines and use them in other songs. I think one of the mistakes that I have made in the past is trying to rush a song. These days I write, then I rewrite. then I usually set the song aside and see how I feel about it at a later date. A notebook full of thoughts is always something to draw from so I don't feel the need to rush. To me as a songwriter a song is never finished. Songs are like stones that need to be polished. The more they get polished the brighter they shine.

"Songwriting by nature is a private and personal art form. At least it is that way for me."

4.) What advice would you share with other songwriters?

There are a few things they should concentrate on.

The beat: Far too many of my songs were personal and although they serve me at the time they were too wordy, too slow, too long. Simply not interesting to others. I think the Beatles had it right. Use fewer words, keep the songs short. Most of their early hits were actually under three minutes and have a danceable beat.

The Hook Line: That is what people remember the next day and can't get out of their head. I began to keep that in mind in my songwriting and keep the hooks short and catchy.

The Bridge: This seems to trip up many songwriters. I can tell you how I simplify the bridge. It  is actually a song within a song. I have found that the easiest way to write a bridge is to write my songs all the way through without a bridge and then kinda cut and paste one in later. Let me say that not all great songs have a bridge but it certainly does add dimension. A bridge is a whole lot easier to create than some songwriters think. If I write a song in the key of say G and the verse goes something like GCGDG and the chorus is CGCD  then a good rule of thumb is that the bridge will be in a minor key and usually six notes up from key of the song. So the bridge in this song would be in Em. If the song were in the key of C than the bridge would be six notes up in Am and so on.   

The Story: I used to try and make this too deep like giving advice to a listener. Always a bad idea! My early songs were full of facts and figures and I still do my homework to be as knowledgeable as possible concerning whatever I am writing about.  I generally just use this to get up to speed and use very little of it in a song. I have come to use small moments in life and not large, all encompassing story lines. For instance: I was with a girl and her cat jumped my face. The hook line might be"And we couldn't stop laughing" that might also become the name of the song. Easy to remember right? 

5.) What are your thoughts about working with a co-writer?

Songwriting by nature is a private and personal art form. At least it is that way for me. I lock myself in my basement room for hours when someone or something is prying at my heartstrings. I write when I am missing a loved one or perhaps just feeling sorry for myself and want to get it off my chest. This is one form of my writing and likely the most pure. However I have learned that is where songwriting begins and although the deep emotion is often a part of it, that becomes a lonely journey. Much like leafing through an old photo album where no one else knows the people.
You can catch Kevin in concert at The Mountain Rose Concert Series, February 10th. Bob Sammon opens the show at 6:30 and Kevin takes the stage at 7:30. Tickets are $7.00 at the door.
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Recording At Home

Bob Sammon
While my favorite method to capture a fleeting idea for a song is still the small pad and pen that I always have with me, there are lots of ways to make sure a great melody line or a memorable hook doesn't get away. I've collected a small pile of technology to meet a variety of needs.

The device that sits directly behind the note pad in my shirt pocket is my cell phone. Between the built-in apps and the variety of recording solutions that are available, there is almost no excuse to not have at hand a quick and dirty means of memorializing those little nudges from your Muse. Move that app icon to your home page and you're just a touch or two away from recording.

For very serious work I have a home studio that allows up to eight mic/line inputs into my DAW of choice, Logic Pro X on a Mac. Coupled with Octava mics I had modded a while back to make them sound better and a pair of sE large diaphragm condensers that allow for various polar patterns I'm pretty much covered for many conditions. In fact, I've recorded several EPs for friends and a full album for Songwriter Summit member Ken Moody-Arndt.

In between those extremes I use a Zoom H6 for field work and for when I want something better than the sound I can achieve on the iPhone. With its four XLR inputs it can do a decent job on a duo with instruments and a pair of mics. The resulting files can be dumped into Logic for final tweaking. It's a great option.

But the options for home recording are many and varied these days. If you've been at it for a while I'm sure you have a collection of favorite tech that you can't live without. But if you're just getting started what do you start with? Is the Shure SM57 you use on stage good enough? Will those cables reach the computer interface? Is it a good idea to mix your masterpiece on earbuds?

Recently I
found this article that addresses some of those issues. It has some good ideas that can probably apply to seasoned songwriter and novice alike. It's worth a few minutes of your attention.

One thing it doesn't address is finding someone with a lot of experience who can mentor you through the process of building out your recording station. Let me share two experiences that illustrate why that is important.

Back in '08 when I was just getting back to music I wandered into the Pro Audio section of Guitar Center and met the guy who ran the department. I explained what I was looking to do and he asked a few questions about the kind of music I wanted to record, the budget I had to work with and what I wanted the final product to be. After some discussion he made some suggestions that included brands I'd never heard of. So I took a chance and walked out with a couple of rack mounted effects and the Octava mics I mentioned earlier. All of that gear has served me well and I have never regretted the purchase. I have gone back to my guy several times since then with questions and have found him to be helpful and - more importantly - trustworthy.

Mid-Side Miking allows a wider stereo image on solo instruments or vocals.
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The other experience is similar but shorter. I had been researching microphones because I had a particular project that needed a very specific recording technique called Mid-Side miking. I thought I had the search down and called my rep at Sweetwater to make the purchase. We talked for a few minutes and he suggested that instead of the mics I had in mind that I should take a look at sE. I thanked him for the suggestion and said I'd call him back. I did some research, looked up reviews and I am the proud owner of a pair of really great sounding mics that didn't cost me an arm an a leg.

You can do decent recording at home if you take your time, plan your studio and find some folks you can trust to help you get the right tools for the job at hand.

Hook Your Listeners

Each of us brings something unique to the songwriting process. Every song we create is the sum of all that we are. Our experience, our talent, our background - even our political views - shape the form and content of what we write and how we present our songs to the folks who listen in bars and coffeehouses, clubs and living rooms. We strive for clarity in our lyrics. We work on the structure. We fret over rhyme schemes. We struggle with the age old question:"Does it need a bridge?"

When we finally put the pen down and the last chord fades from the six-string or the bag pipe, we get to sit back and ask the other question that is often overlooked and sometimes left unanswered."Will anyone actually listen to this?"

What makes a song memorable? Why do audiences listen to one song and order drinks during another? What separates the really powerful songs from the rest of pack? Often the unique quality that separates one song from the next is the hook.

Simply put, the hook can be anything that jumps out at the listener and catches their attention. It could be a particularly interesting musical intro. Maybe it's a repeated phrase that resonates on a personal level. Perhaps the story is so captivating that the listener hangs on every word waiting to see what comes next.

What makes the sonic experience of Iron Butterfly's
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida jump into your head just by mentioning that title? Why do you go off humming the chorus of American Pie when you hear Don McLean's name? What made Gordon Lightfoot's The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald a hit without a chorus, without a bridge and with way, way too many words?

It is the hook in every one of those cases. In a recent
article from BMI there is a good discussion on the many and sundry forms a hook can take and it's worth a read for those looking to broaden the appeal of their songs. It contains a good discussion of the forms a hook can take and give you an idea of how you can take a little extra time and work to ensure that the tune you've just spent some time developing, the one that is the sum of all of the parts of you, isn't the one you're playing while half the audience is down the hall in the john.

Get Your Receipts In Now.

Songwriter Summit can...

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Bring Your Acme Receipts To The January Meeting.

Videos Of The Month

A Showcase Memory

David Palomo sings"Welcome To The World"

Watch Now

Dealing With Writer's Block

Songwriters riff on how they deal with the constant need to create new songs.

Watch Now
Grace Notes
Our Next Meeting
Our next meeting will be held at 2 Girls Cafe & Bakery, 3707 Darrow Road in Stow Ohio at 7 PM on January 7th. If you are presenting a song please bring 20 copies for distribution to the other attendees. Copies will be returned to you at the end of the meeting. You do not need to be a member to attend a meeting or bring us a song.
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Let Us Know What You Think
What would you like to see us cover in The Bridge? Would you be interested in writing for us once in a while? Do you have an event you’d like to have published to share with our membership and the others who read our publication each month? If so just drop us a note. Like what you see? Catch a mistake? Let us know. We’ve set up a special email address that goes directly to those responsible for compiling this newsletter each month. It’s the best way to get in touch with us. We look forward to your input, comments and suggestions. 
Officers And Board Members
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Don Henson

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Bob Sammon
Member At Large

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Ken Moody-Arndt
Vice President

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T. B. Announced
Member At Large

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Dave Waldeck
Recording Secretary

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Ms. T. B. Announced
Member At Large

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David Palomo
Member At Large

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T. B. Announced, Jr.
Member At Large

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