Author Learns the Ropes of Songwriting Print
Music - Music News
Written by John M. James   
Wednesday, 30 April 2008 02:00

Two years ago, British music journalist Will Hodgkinson crossed over from gazing wannabe to playing musician by teaching himself guitar in six months and documenting the journey in the book Guitar Man. The Da Capo Press has recently published his follow-up, Song Man, with the author writing his own song and recording it as a single. Subtitled A Melodic Adventure, or, My Single-Minded Approach to Songwriting, Hodgkinson cashes in on his Rolodex as a writer for Mojo and the Daily Telegraph and enlists superstars for encouragement and insight, from Keith Richards to Ray Davies to Chan Marshall.

Need a bit more of a nudge to catch that elusive, creative fever as a rocker or a rapper? Schirmer Trade Books has just issued a helping hand in Paul Zollo's Schirmer's Complete Rhyming Dictionary, a nearly 900-page tome compiling more than 96,000 rhymes categorized by one-, two-, and three-syllable words that may or may not lead you to the temple of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Marshall Mathers. Zollo certainly understands the stumbling block of how to follow the perfect line that has no mate, and he has the right credentials as the former editor of SongTalk and the current editor of American Songwriter.


Television Alert:


The Tonight Show with Jay Leno hosts Augustana tonight, Avril Lavigne on Thursday, and Sleepercar on Friday; The Late Show with David Letterman boasts Josh Groban this evening, Robyn on Thursday, Nick Lowe on Friday, Jimmy Eat World on Monday, and Steve Winwood on Tuesday; The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson presents She & Him on Friday overnight; Jimmy Kimmel Live welcomes Stone Temple Pilots on Thursday and Lyfe Jennings on Tuesday overnight; and Tavis Smiley sits down with Herb Alpert on Thursday.


New Releases Coming Tuesday, May 6:


Animal Collective - Water Curses (Domino) four-track CD EP

Barenaked Ladies - Snack Time (Desperation Records/Nettwerk) performing live at seven Barnes & Noble bookstores over the coming week; this new kids' CD is the companion to a new children's book illustrated by the band's own Kevin Hearn

The Brakes - Tale of Two Cities (Hyena) jamming, infectious young Philadelphia groovers recorded live in their hometown and at New York City's Knitting Factory

Capercallie - Roses & Tears (Compass) Celtic superstars from Scotland, featuring a beautiful cover of John Martyn's anti-war wish "Don't You Go"

Frank Carillo & the Bondoleros - Someday (Jezebel) return of the Golden Carillo and Doc Holiday guitarist, a talented, rootsy player whose résumé includes Peter Frampton and John Hammond

CoCo B's - CoCo B's (K-Double) catchy quartet lost in hand claps and the blinding Californian sun

Dub Pistols - Speakers & Tweeters (Defend Music) with guest Terry Hall of The Specials on four tracks

Everest - Ghost Notes (Vapor) finding the perfect home on Neil Young's boutique label, this Los Angeles quintet is the perfect slow-rising soundtrack to Sunday mornings, featuring former members of Sebadoh, the Watson Twins, and Folk Implosion

Extra Life - Secular Works (Planaria) formerly a member of Dirty Projectors, Charlie Looker's new sonic assault is a riveting, melodic shot to the solar plexus, both atmospheric and manically poetic

David Fagin - For Promotional Use Only (Noshpit Entertainment) relaxed, radio-friendly solo debut from the founder of The Rosenbergs on his artist-owned label

Firewater - The Golden Hour (Bloodshot) conceived over a three-year escape to the Middle East, with guest musicians from Israel, India, Pakistan, and Turkey

Tim Fite - Fair Ain't Fair (Anti/Epitaph) hot off tour with Les Claypool of Primus

Four Tet - Ringer (Domino) four-track CD EP, also available as twin 12-inch singles

Brooke Fraser - Albertine (Wood & Bone/Columbia) domestic issue of this big hit from the 19-year-old New Zealand star, a love letter to Africa named for a Rwandan orphan

Nic Freitas - Dun Down (Team Love) dynamite fourth solo album from the multi-instrumentalist and frequent opener for Bright Eyes, washed in a wave of rising light and playful melodies

Jamelody - Be Prepared (VP Records) debut from the Trinidad-based roots singer, featuring cool-breeze covers of Boys II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye" and Stevie Wonder's "Living in the Sky"

The Jealous Girlfriends - The Jealous Girlfriends (Good Fences/Last Gang) doubling their membership since their debut EP in 2005, this soaring, mesmerizing Brooklyn quartet is on tour now with Sea Wolf and has created the perfect, writhing James Bond fantasy theme in "Organs on the Kitchen Floor"

Greeley Estates - Go West Young Man, Let the Evil Go East (Science) catch them on the Vans Warped Tour this summer

Josh Groban - Awake Live (Reprise) CD and DVD set filmed last summer in Salt Lake City with guests Lucia Micarelli and Angelique Kidjo

Hot Chip - "One Pure Thought" (EMI) import-only CD single featuring remixes, the song's video, and their Christmas recording "We're Looking for a Lot of Love"

Scott Kelly - The Wake (Neurot) solo acoustic album from the founding member of Neurosis

Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell - Sunday at Devil Dirt (V2/Cooperative Music) follow-up to last year's Ballad of the Broken Seas by the former members of Screaming Trees and Belle & Sebastian

The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of Understatement (Domino) produced by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco and featuring the London Metropolitan Orchestra, this is all new from Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of the Rascals

Love Psychedelico - This Is Love Psychedelico (Hacktone) delightful dual-language Tokyo band with hip-shakin' thrust and neon guitar frug frenzy

Magenta - Metamorphosis (Laser's Edge) featuring two 20-minute jams, this award-winning prog-rock duo features stunning vocalist Christina Booth and electrifying lead guitarist Chris Fry

Matmos - Supreme Balloon (Matador) with guests Matthew Curry of Safety Scissors and Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra

Midnight Oil - Diesel & Dust: Legacy Edition (Columbia Legacy) remastered reissue featuring the "lost" song "Gunbarrel Highway," backed with a bonus DVD filmed on 1987's Black Fella/White Fella Tour

Millencolin - Machine 15 (Epitaph)

The Morning Benders - Talking Through Tin Cans (+1 Records) on tour next month with The Kooks

Kenny Neal - Let Life Flow (Blind Pig) featuring the provocative "It Don't Make Sense You Can't Make Peace"

No Age - Nouns (Sub Pop)

Rachael Sage - Chandelier (Mpress Records) ninth album from the keyboard-driven singer/songwriter, featuring a cover of Jump Little Children's "Mexico"

Shy Child - Noise Won't Stop (Kill Rock Stars) with guest MC Spank Rock on "Kick Drum," this wild, strobe-light NYC duo rocked the Klaxons tour in the UK last year

Chris Sligh - Running Back to You (Brash) powerful solo album from the sixth-season American Idol finalist, featuring a pumped-up new take on "Something Beautiful," originally recorded with his former band, Half Past Forever

Socratic - Spread the Rumors (Drive-Thru) produced by Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, and tackling serious issues in the whimsical "Long Distance Calls"

Spoon - A Series of Sneaks and Girls Can Tell (Merge) 180-gram audiophile-vinyl reissues with coupons for MP3 downloads

Wolftron - Flesh & Fears (Eyeball) addictive, laid-back solo effort from Kenny Choi of Daphne Loves Derby

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