Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is musician, songwriter, arranger, and producer Van Dyke Parks. Best known for his work with Brian Wilson on The Beach Boys? legendarily ill-fated Smile album, Parks has released a number of solo albums, scored several films, arranged countless sessions, and worked with a long list of artists, including The Byrds, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, Little Feat, U2, Fiona Apple, Joana Newsom, and many others.
Scott and Paul chat about why they're approaching this episode a little differently than usual, the saga of The Beach Boys' Smile, and why Paul should stop checking stuff out from the library.
Our in-depth interview with the legendary Van Dyke Parks
ABOUT VAN DYKE PARKS
Van Dyke Parks is one of the more unique American musicians, songwriters, arrangers, and record producers to emerge in the 1960s. Born in Mississippi, he attended the American Boychoir boarding school in Princeton, New Jersey, in his formative years. His first career was as a child actor, appearing on over 100 episodes of various TV shows, including his role as ?the kid from downstairs? on The Honeymooners. He did theater and appeared in films, including The Swan with Grace Kelly and Alec Guinness, before going on to study music at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, where he briefly studied with Aaron Copland. In the early 1960s Van Dyke began playing acoustic guitar, and moved to the West Coast where he and his brother Carson performed on the coffee house circuit as a duo known as The Steeltown Two. He landed his first arranging job with ?The Bare Necessities? for Disney?s The Jungle Book in 1963 before a brief stint as an MGM recording artist in the middle of the decade.
He is perhaps best known, however, for his collaborations with Brian Wilson with whom he worked as a lyricist on The Beach Boys? ill-fated Smile album. The pair revisited their work with the release of Brian Wilson Presents Smile in 2004. Though the Smile recordings weren?t released at the time, Van Dyke signed with Warner Bros. Records and, in 1967, released his album Song Cycle, an ambitious debut that incorporated a wide range of traditional American musical influences with experimental recording techniques.
He went on to produce the debut albums by Ry Cooder and Randy Newman, and took a job as an executive at Warner Bros. Records in the 1970s. He became enamored with calypso music in that era, releasing a couple of albums as an artist showcasing the genre, and producing The Esso Trinidad Steel Band. Toward the end of the decade he began composing film soundtracks before returning in the 1980s with two albums of original material, Jump!, which explored the Uncle Remus and Br?er Rabbit stories, and Tokyo Rose, which explored the intersection between Japanese and American culture in the context of a trade war. In the 1990s, he and Brian Wilson teamed up once again to release the album Orange Crate Art. His most recent full-length album as a solo artist is 2013?s Songs Cycled. The long list of musicians Van Dyke has worked with includes The Byrds, Tim Buckley, Harry Nilsson, Little Feat, Steve Young, Phil Ochs, Frank Zappa, Ringo Starr, U2, Fiona Apple, Joanna Newsom, Skrillex, and many others.
Thanks for checking out this very special bonus episode. Today we?re pleased to feature a great podcast called Basic Folk, by sharing one of their episodes in our feed. Fellow members of the American Songwriter podcast network, Basic Folk is a unique show that features honest conversations with a variety of musicians. The proceedings are anchored by public radio host Cindy Howes and guest host, singer/songwriter Lizzie No. They bring the warmth, the humor, and most importantly, insightful questions to a genre that is often misunderstood. Their definition of ?folk? is extremely broad, so they?ve featured interviews with people such as Tom Rush, Jonatha Brooke, and even some past Songcraft guests, including Lori McKenna, Bridget Kearney of Lake Street Dive, and Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls. The interview we?re sharing with you today features Cindy?s chat with Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers. The two-time Grammy nominees have released three studio albums, starting with the triple platinum self-titled debut which featured now-classic songs such as ?Hey Ho? and ?Stubborn Love.? Subsequent releases have featured Top 10 Billboard rock singles such as ?Ophelia,? ?Angela,? and ?Gloria,? making The Lumineers one of the most popular artists in the folk-oriented Americana genre. We chose to feature this particular episode based on Wesley?s in-depth analysis of songwriting, including the first comparison we?ve ever heard on songwriting and playing golf as similar disciplines. Interesting interview, so check it out. Wesley Schultz. The Lumineers. Basic Folk. Good stuff!
Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is Rami Yacoub, one of the most influential Swedish songwriters and producers of the last two decades. He joins us in a few moments to talk about his career, from early Britney Spears classics such as ?Baby One More Time,? to boy band hits such as One Direction?s ?What Makes U Beautiful,? to recent smashes such as Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande?s double platinum chart topper ?Rain on Me.?
Scott and Paul chat with Nashville-based songwriter Arlis Albritton (cuts by Jamey Johnson, Luke Bryan, and others) about the upcoming St. Augustine Songwriters Festival, which Arlis founded.
The guys pay tribute to a few recently-departed music legends: The Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts, Don Everly, and the great Tom T. Hall, who was a guest on the 67th episode of Songcraft - a conversation that turned out to be his final interview.
Our in-depth interview with hitmaker Rami Yacoub.
ABOUT RAMI YACOUB:
As a songwriter and producer, Rami Yacoub has been involved in some of the biggest pop hits of the last twenty years. Raised in Sweden by Palestinian parents, Rami?s first massive international hit was Britney Spears? ?Baby One More Time,? which he co-produced with Max Martin. He and Martin went on to score additional hits with Spears, including ?Oops?I Did it Again,? ?Stronger,? and ?I?m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.? Additionally, he wrote and produced The Backstreet Boys? Top 10 single ?Shape of My Heart? and NSYNC?s ?It?s Gonna Be Me,? which was the group?s only single to reach #1 on the Billboard pop chart. After co-writing P!nk?s ?U + Ur Hand,? he found massive success writing and producing for One Direction, including the hit singles ?What Makes U Beautiful,? ?One Thing,? ?Live While We?re Young,? and ?Kiss You.? Additional hits Rami has written include ?Starships? and ?Pound the Alarm? by Nicki Minaj, ?One Last Time? by Ariana Grande, ?Unstable? by Justin Bieber, and the double platinum #1 hit ?Rain on Me? for Lady Gaga, which was one of more than half a dozen songs he co-wrote for her critically acclaimed Chromatica album in 2020. The long list of artists who?ve recorded Rami?s songs includes Demi Lovato, Celine Dion, Carl Rae Jepson, 5 Seconds of Summer, Avicii, All Time Low, Selena Gomez, Jason DeRulo, and Madonna.
Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is Poo Bear, who is known for his extensive collaborations with Justin Bieber, including the multi-platinum hits ?Where Are U Now,? ?What Do You Mean,? and ?Despacito (Remix),? as well as for hits such as ?Caught Up? by Usher, ?I Can Transform Ya? by Chris Brown, and ?10,000 Hours? by Dan + Shay. He joins us i to chat about his multi-platinum career as a behind the scenes writer, and his recent work as an artist.
Scott and Paul chat about their elevator encounters with Ice Cube, Common, Kenny Loggins, Kelly Rowland, and Jermaine Jackson, and why random run-ins don't always result in amazing songwriting partnerships.
Scott's in-depth interview with Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd
ABOUT POO BEAR
Song of the Year Grammy nominee Poo Bear is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Justin Bieber, including the multi-platinum hits ?All That Matters,? ?Where Are U Now,? ?What Do You Mean,? ?Company,? ?Yummy,? and ?Intentions,? as well as ?Despacito (Remix)? (with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee) and ?I Don?t Care? (with Ed Sheeran). Other hits from the Poo Bear songbook include ?Anywhere? and ?Peaches and Cream? by the R&B group 112, ?Caught Up? by Usher, ?My Petition? from Jill Scott?s Grammy-winning Beautifully Human album, Chris Brown?s ?I Can Transform Ya? and ?She Ain?t You,? and Dan + Shay?s ?10,000 Hours.?
His catalog has registered sales of over 350 million records worldwide, dozens of multi-platinum certifications, and 100 billion streams and counting. He has collaborated with The Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, P!nk, Faith Evans, Dr. Dre, Lupe Fiasco, Drake, Snoop Dogg, Yo Gotti, Rick Ross, Skrillex, DJ Khaled, Mariah Carey, Billie Eilish, Steven Tyler, and many others.
Not limited by any one genre, Poo Bear?s songwriting can be found on everything from J Balvin?s Latin Grammy award-winning Energía to Zac Brown Band?s #1 country album The Owl. As an artist, he co-founded the rootsy project Bear and a Banjo, which released a self-title debut in 2020 that was produced by T-Bone Burnett. Further stepping out from behind the scenes, Poo Bear?s most recent release is the single ?The Day You Left.?
Paul and Scott pay tribute to ZZ Top's Dusty Hill, talk about bands with unchanging lineups, delve into the particulars of magnificent Songcraft beards, and take a closer look at Billboard's Christian music charts.
Our in-depth conversation with David Crowder
ABOUT DAVID CROWDER:
David Crowder is a phenomenally successful singer, songwriter, and musician in Christian music. He first rose to prominence with The David Crowder Band, which introduced church communities to songs such as ?O Praise Him,? ?Here is Our King,? and ?How He Loves,? which has earned nearly 60 million streams on Spotify. The five-time Grammy nominee began a genre-bending solo career under the mononymous stage name Crowder in 2012, and has released four albums and a string of Top 10 singles including ?I Am,? ?Come As You Are,? ?Forgiven,? ?All My Hope,? ?Red Letters,? and ?Let it Rain.? Other staples from the Crowder songbook include ?Open Skies,? ?Everything Glorious,? ?This I Know,? and ?I?m Leaning on You.? Crowder has collaborated with a range of artists, including Chris Tomlin, Tauren Wells, Riley Clemmons, Maverick City Music, Marty Stuart, and Emmylou Harris, and has earned 16 GMA Dove Awards. His most recent album, Milk & Honey hit #1 on the US Christian charts, and the lead single ?Good God Almighty? became his first song to hit #1 on all four Billboard Christian music charts.
Our guests on this episode of Songcraft are Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, best known for co-writing and producing nearly every Janet Jackson hit. They?ve worked with a who?s who of artists, earning them 26 Billboard #1 R&B hits, 16 Billboard #1 pop hits, more Producer of the Year Grammy nominations than anyone in history, and a place in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. We?ll chat with them about their varied career, and their new first-ever album under their own names, entitled Volume One.
Fan mail and the hardest job in the world.
Scott and Paul chat about the idea of the celebrity producer, and how Jam & Lewis might have set a new mold.
Our in-depth interview with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
ABOUT JAM & LEWIS
With 26 Billboard #1 R&B hits and 16 Billboard #1 pop hits to their credit, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are perhaps the most influential and successful songwriting and production duo in modern music history. With a total of 41 Top 10 hits in the US, Jimmy and Terry were named ASCAP Songwriters of the Year a record-breaking nine times. They are perhaps best known for their work with Janet Jackson, beginning with the Control album, which earned the duo a Grammy for Producer of the Year. Between 1986 and 1994 they scored thirteen #1 songs with Janet on either the R&B or pop chart, including ?What Have You Done For Me Lately,? ?Nasty,? ?When I Think of You,? ?Control,? ?Let?s Wait Awhile,? ?Miss You Much,? ?Rhythm Nation,? ?Escapade? ?Love Will Never Do (Without You),? ?The Best Things in Life Are Free,? ?That?s the Way Love Goes,? ?Any Time, Any Place,? and ?Again,? which earned Jimmy, Terry, and Janet an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
Jimmy and Terry got their start as musicians with Morris Day and the Time, the Prince-produced band whose biggest hit was the Jam and Lewis-penned ?Jerk Out.? They made the transition to a successful songwriting and production team working with the S.O.S. band, which landed a #2 R&B hit with ?Just Be Good to Me.? From there, they made their mark on pop and R&B hits for decades to come. In addition to their work with Jackson, the duo wrote and produced the #1 pop singles ?Human? by Human League, ?Romantic? by Karyn White, ?Thank God I Found You? by Mariah Carey, and the Boyz II Men singles ?On Bended Knee? and ?4 Seasons of Loneliness.? Additional R&B chart toppers include ?Encore? by Cheryl Lynn, ?Fake? by Alexander O?Neal, ?Everything I Miss at Home? by Cherelle, ?Sensitivity? by Ralph Tresvant, and the Johnny Gill singles ?Rub You the Right Way? and ?Wrap My Body Tight.?
Other highlights from their catalog include New Edition?s ?If It Isn?t Love? and ?I?m Still in Love With You,? ?No More Drama? by Mary J. Blige, Robert Palmer?s hit pop cover of their Cherelle single ?I Didn?t Mean to Turn You On,? and recordings by Gladys Knight & The Pips, Barry White, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Usher, Spice Girls, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Wilson, Ledisi, Sting, Elton John, Beyonce, Rihanna, Rod Stewart, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Gwen Stefani, Willie Nelson, and many others.
Always versatile, the duo has earned Grammy awards for Best R&B Album for Chaka Kahn?s Funk This, Best Gospel Song for Yolanda Adams? ?Be Blessed,? and Best Dance Recording for Janet Jackson?s #1 pop and R&B hit ?All For You.? Additional Jackson hits that were written and produced with Jam and Lewis include the Janet and Michael Jackson hit ?Scream? and the #1 singles ?Together Again,? ?I Get Lonely,? ?Doesn?t Really Matter,? and the Nelly duet ?Call On Me.?
In total the team has earned over 100 gold, platinum, multi-platinum and diamond album certifications from the RIAA, have received more Producer of the Year Grammy nominations than anyone in history, earned the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They?ve recently released their first album under their own names, which is called Volume One.
Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is Georgia native and Best Americana Album Grammy nominee Brent Cobb. The self-described songwriter-singer joins us to chat about his dual career as an artist and as a behind-the-scenes tunesmith for Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, and others.
Paul and Scott dissect the difference between a guitarist and a guitar enthusiast.
Scott's in-depth interview with Brent Cobb
ABOUT BRENT COBB:
Georgia native Brent Cobb began his music career in Los Angeles working with his cousin Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings. He later found himself in Nashville where he landed a staff songwriting deal and started getting his songs recorded by artists such as Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, and many others. He eventually signed an artist deal with the Elektra Records imprint Low Country Sound, scoring a Top 20 country album with Shine On Rainy Day. The LP earned a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album. His follow-up release, Providence Canyon earned Brent a spot touring with Chris Stapleton. His most recent release, Keep ?Em On They Toes, marks his return to Georgia and his most personal album to date. We recently caught up with Brent via phone where he called in from a semi-quiet corner of a hotel hallway at Disneyworld where he was vacationing with his family.
Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is Richard Marx, who is best known for writing and recording hits such as ?Don?t Mean Nothing,? ?Hold on to the Nights? and ?Right Here Waiting.? But that?s only part of the story. As a songwriter, Marx has written #1 hits for other artists, ranging from Kenny Rogers to Josh Groban to NSYNC to Keith Urban. He?s sold more than 30 million albums as an artist, earned the Grammy Song of the Year as a writer, and, with the publication of his new memoir on July 6th, is now an author with many amazing stories to tell.
Scott and Paul talk about the new Songcraft T-shirts, and wonder if Richard Marx is perhaps in an elite club whose only other members are the Bee Gees.
Our in-depth conversation with Richard Marx
ABOUT RICHARD MARX
Grammy-winning performer Richard Marx has sold more than 30 million albums as an artist, but if you only know him from late 1980s ballads such as ?Hold on to the Nights? and ?Right Here Waiting,? you only know part of the story. A prolific songwriter, Marx has landed fourteen songs at the top of various Billboard charts, and has written a #1 single in each of the last four decades. His genre-crossing songwriting success includes ?What About Me? and ?Crazy,? which Kenny Rogers carried to the top of the Adult Contemporary and Country charts, respectively; ?Edge of a Broken Heart,? a hit for the female metal band Vixen; ?This I Promise You,? a Top 5 pop single for NSYNC that stayed at #1 on the Adult Contemporary Chart for 13 weeks; Josh Groban?s debut single ?To Where You Are,? which also reached #1; and ?Dance With My Father,? which Richard wrote with the song?s performer, Luther Vandross, and which earned the pair the prestigious Grammy Song of the Year award in 2004. Additionally, Richard has scored three major hits with Keith Urban: the Top 5 ?Everybody,? and the #1 singles ?Better Life? and ?Long Hot Summer.?
Despite all his songwriting success, however, Marx is best known as a singer and performer who today jokes about his 80s hairstyle and of-the-era drum sounds. But the songs are undeniable, all of which Marx wrote and produced himself. His debut self-titled album yielded four Top 5 singles: ?Don?t Mean Nothing,? ?Should?ve Known Better,? ?Endless Summer Nights,? and ?Hold on to the Nights.? His follow-up, 1989?s Repeat Offender, was even more successful, going quadruple-platinum and earning two number one Billboard pop singles, ?Satisfied? and ?Right Here Waiting,? in addition to the Top 5 ?Angelina.? More hits followed, including ?Keep Coming Back,? ?Hazard,? ?Take This Heart,? ?Now and Forever,? and ?Until I Find You Again.?
In addition, Richard?s songs have been integral to a number of successful film soundtracks. He earned a Grammy nomination for his contributions to St. Elmo?s Fire; scored a Top 10 pop hit with ?Surrender to Me,? which Ann Wilson of Heart and Robin Zander of Cheap Trick recorded for the movie Tequila Sunrise, and wrote ?At the Beginning,? a hit duet for the film Anastasia that Richard performed with Donna Lewis.
Over the course of his career, Richard?s songs have been recorded by Barbra Streisand, The Tubes, Sarah Brightman, Monica, Natalie Cole, Michael Bolton, Paulina Rubio, Emerson Drive, Chicago, Billy Ray Cyrus, Vince Gill, Kenny Loggins, LeAnn Rimes, Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias, Berry Manilow, Daughtry, Vertical Horizon, Lifehouse, Dave Koz, Jennifer Nettles, Ringo Starr, and many others.
His memoir, Stories to Tell, is available July 6 from Simon & Shuster.
Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is musician, rapper, poet, activist, and singer-songwriter Michael Franti, who is best known for his work with his group Spearhead. He joins us to discuss the evolution of his music, the creation of hits such as ?Say Hey (I Love You)? and ?The Sound of Sunshine,? and his most recent album, Work Hard & Be Nice.
Scott and Paul get into some serious grammar nerd stuff about implied punctuation in lyrics, how incorrect sentence construction often works better in lyrics, and what the heck Bryan Adams really had in mind when he wrote "Heaven."
We chat about our friends at Pearl Snap Studios, address Scott's "Zoom yelling," and tee up for the main event...
Scott's in-depth interview with Michael Franti
ABOUT MICHAEL FRANTI
Socially conscious and genre-bending artist, musician, rapper, poet, activist and singer-songwriter Michael Franti launched his career with early groups such as Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, whose debut release was listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. He went on to form Spearhead, which evolved from hip-hop to incorporate influences including jazz, soul, funk, rock, reggae, and folk. The 2008 Michael Franti & Spearhead album All Rebel Rockers was his first to hit the Top 40 on the Billboard album charts on the strength of the single ?Say Hey (I Love You),? which was also a Top 20 hit on the pop chart. He went on to release a string of albums that hit the Rock Albums Top 5, including The Sound of Sunshine, All People, and SoulRocker. His most recent album is called Work Hard & Be Nice, which was released during the pandemic in the summer of 2020. In addition to his work as an artist and activist, Michael is the owner of a yoga resort hotel in Bali called Soulshine, from which he joined us for this interview.
Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is Marty Dodson, who has written #1 singles such as ?Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven? for Kenny Chesney and ?Must Be Doin? Something Right? for Billy Currington. The Nashville hitmaker joins us to discuss his songwriting journey, and give us further insight into Songtown, the songwriter community he co-founded to provide quality resources for aspiring professionals.
Scott and Paul talk about their favorite music podcasts of the moment.
Our in-depth interview with Marty Dodson.
About Marty Dodson:
One of the rare Nashville songwriters who actually grew up in Nashville, Marty Dodson changed careers as a young adult to dedicate himself to his passion for writing songs. Much of his success came in the country world with singles such as Rascal Flatts? Top 10 hit ?While You Loved Me,? Carrie Underwood?s ?Songs Like This,? Kenny Chesney?s multi-week #1 hit ?Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven,? Charlie Worsham?s debut single ?Could It Be,? Blake Shelton?s ?Doing it to Country Songs.? and two Billy Currington chart-toppers, ?Must Be Doin? Something? Right? and ?Let Me Down Easy.?
Never one to limit himself to a single genre, Marty has also collaborated with Tom Higgenson of the rock band Plain White T?s, which recorded two of his songs, and has had his compositions recorded by everyone from Joe Cocker, who had an international #1 with Marty?s ?Fire It Up,? to Cho Yong Pil, a South Korean superstar who had a multi-week #1 with Marty?s song ?Bounce.?
In addition to his writing, Marty is the co-founder of Songtown, a creative community of aspiring writers that provides blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and even books, including two co-authored by Marty: Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing, and The Songwriter?s Guide to Mastering Co-Writing.
Bridget Kearney and Rachael Price of the band Lake Street Dive join us to talk about a career that?s earned them top 20 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, a half dozen singles on the AAA chart, massive critical praise, and a brand new album on Nonesuch Records called "Obviously" that elevates the band?s pop, rock, R&B, and jazz influences into a perfectly unique blend that's equal parts retro and contemporary.
Paul & Scott read listener mail, talk Patreon perks, and tell you how to get your very own Songcraft T-shirt!
Our in-depth conversation with Rachael and Bridget of Lake Street Dive
ABOUT LAKE STREET DIVE:
Lake Street Dive?s tight harmonies and wide-ranging tastes in pop, rock, R&B, and jazz blend together to create a cohesive sound that celebrates retro influences with a contemporary attitude. Formed at the New England Conservatory of Music in 2004, the group has released seven studio albums, issued two EPs, and charted a half dozen singles on Billboard?s Adult Alternative Airplay chart including ?Call Off Your Dogs,? ?Good Kisser,? ?Shame Shame Shame,? and ?Hypotheticals.? The latter is off their most recent album on Nonesuch Records, titled Obviously. The group has appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, Conan, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and NPR?s Tiny Desk series. They?ve earned many millions of YouTube views with their innovative interpretations of covers songs, as well as with originals such as ?What I?m Doing Here,? ?You Go Down Smooth,? ?Mistakes,? ?Side Pony,? and ?Bad Self Portraits.? Lead singer Rachael Price and bassist Bridget Kearney join us to talk about their songwriting process and the evolution of the band.
Scott & Paul chat about making records, and dive way too deep on how every Songcraft guest is connected.
PART TWO (30 minute mark):
Our in-depth interview with Todd Snider
ABOUT TODD SNIDER:
Celebrated singer-songwriter Todd Snider has continued the troubadour legacy of mentors like John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Ramblin? Jack Elliott, while putting his uniquely clever, wry, sly, and often irreverent spin on folk, rock, country, and Americana. Launching his career on Jimmy Buffett?s Margaritaville Records, Snider has spent more than two decades touring relentlessly, both on his own and with legendary artists such as Emmylou Harris. Along the way he?s made a splash with fan favorite songs such as ?Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues,? ?Alright Guy,? ?Can?t Complain,? ?Beer Run,? ?Statistician?s Blues,? and ?Play a Train Song.? He has released well over a dozen albums, including The Devil You Know and Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables, both of which were named to Rolling Stone?s list of the Top 50 Albums of the Year. He also formed the group Hardworking Americans, and published a memoir called I Never Met a Story I Didn?t Like: Mostly True Tall Tales. His songs have been covered by Garth Brooks, Gary Allan, Mark Chesnutt, Tom Jones, Jerry Jeff Walker, Billy Joe Shaver, Elizabeth Cook, Warren Haynes, Loretta Lynn, and Elvis Costello. His experimental new funk-influenced album is called First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder.
Dan Nigro has already taken 2021 by storm as the co-writer and producer of Olivia Rodrigo?s global smash hit ?Drivers License.? He joins us to talk about his development as a writer, his success with Freya Ridings and Conan Gray, and how he?s experiencing this moment as pop music?s new songwriting superstar.
Scott and Paul chat about how oddly "adult" pop music was in the '80s.
Our in-depth interview with Dan Nigro
ABOUT DAN NIGRO:
Songwriter and producer Dan Nigro is having a major moment. Olivia Rodrigo?s debut single ?Drivers License,? which he co-wrote and produced, made her the youngest artist in history to debut at the top of the Billboard pop chart. A global sensation, the song not only stayed on top of the US chart for two full months, but reached number one in the UK, Japan, and more than 20 other countries. It set a new streaming record on Spotify with over 15 million plays in a single day.
Prior to his years-long overnight success, Dan began his musical life as the leader of indie rock band As Tall as Lions before transitioning to songwriting and producing. His resume includes ?Cameo Lover? by Kimbra, ?Mercy? by Lewis Capaldi, ?Castles? by Freya Ridings, ?So Hot You?re Hurting My Feelings? by Caroline Polachek, and ?Heather? by Conan Gray. In addition to those songs, which have nearly 300 million combined views on YouTube, Dan has written and/or produced for Sky Ferreira, Kylie Minogue, Billy Idol, Little Boots, Carly Rae Jepsen, Zella Day, Finneas, and many others. His latest single, Olivia Rodrigo?s ?Deja Vu,? was released less than two weeks prior to this episode and is already a Top 10 pop hit, indicating that the team of Rodrigo and Nigro is here to stay.
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and four-time Grammy nominee Nancy Wilson of Heart joins us to chat about self-penned classics such as "Crazy on You," "Magic Man," "Barracuda," and "Never," as well as her work scoring films, and her upcoming debut solo album, You and Me.
Paul and Scott chat about demos, their friends at Pearl Snap Studios, the grand finale of their Women's History Month series, why Nancy Wilson paved the way for little girls to aspire to great guitar heights, and what one Heart song each of them plans to blast after the interview.
PART TWO: 9:02 mark
Our in-depth interview with Nancy Wilson
ABOUT NANCY WILSON:
Four-time Grammy nominee and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Nancy Wilson is best known for her work in the band Heart, which she and her sister Ann helped propel to rock superstardom in the 1970s, thanks to self-penned classics such as ?Crazy On You,? ?Magic Man,? ?Dreamboat Annie,? ?Barracuda,? ?Little Queen,? ?Heartless,? ?Straight On,? ?Dog & Butterfly,? and ?Even It Up.? In the mid-1980s they reinvented themselves as mainstream radio hitmakers with a string of successful singles, including ?What About Love,? ?Never,? ?These Dreams,? ?Nothin? at All,? ?Alone,? ?Who Will You Run To,? ?There?s the Girl,? ?All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You,? and ?Stranded.?
Though she has sold over 35 million albums worldwide as a member of Heart, Nancy?s songwriting efforts extend beyond the confines of the band. She has written songs and scores for films, including Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and Elizabethtown. She is also a founding member of the bands The Lovemongers and Roadcase Royale. Though she previously released a solo acoustic set called Live At McCabe?s Guitar Shop, Nancy?s debut studio album as a solo artist, You and Me, will be released on May 7th.
Jackie DeShannon is best known for her hit records ?What the World Needs Now is Love? and the self-penned ?Put a Little Love In Your Heart.? The Songwriters Hall of Fame member and five-time Grammy nominee who won the coveted Song of the Year Grammy for ?Bette Davis Eyes? joins us to chat about her remarkable career.
Scott and Paul chat about their new theme song, Grammys lost and won, further reflections on Women's History Month, and why Paul's daughter is a little confused by Paul Stanley of KISS.
Our in-depth interview with the legendary Jackie DeShannon
ABOUT JACKIE DeSHANNON
Jackie DeShannon was one of the first women in pop music to write and record her own material. As an artist, Jackie is best known for her recording of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic ?What the World Needs Now is Love,? as well as for her self-penned ?Put a Little Love in Your Heart,? which was a Top 5 hit for her before being revived 20 years later to become a hit once again for Al Green and Annie Lennox. The five-time Grammy nominee who won the coveted Song of the Year Grammy for ?Bette Davis Eyes? composed several classics, including ?Dum Dum,? a hit for Brenda Lee, ?Breakaway,? a hit for both Irma Thomas and Tracy Ullman, ?When You Walk in the Room,? which was covered by The Searchers, and ?Don?t Doubt Yourself Babe,? which was included on the debut album by The Byrds.
Jackie appeared with The Beatles on their first American tour in 1964 and has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Randy Newman, Jimmy Page, and Van Morrison. Her songs have been covered by Marianne Faithfull, Ella Fitzgerald, Glen Campbell, The Everly Brothers, Cher, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Dolly Parton, Rick Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Michael McDonald, and Taylor Swift. Jackie was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.
Summary: Grand Ole Opry legend Jeannie Seely. a Grammy winner who placed nearly 30 singles on the Billboard country charts as an artist, joins us to chat about her craft as a BMI award-winning songwriter whose compositions have been recorded by Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Irma Thomas, Rhonda Vincent, Faron Young, Connie Smith, Dottie West, Willie Nelson, and others. She talks about co-writing with Randy Newman and Glen Campbell, shares her perspective on Nashville?s songwriting community as the former spouse of Hall of Fame songwriter Hank Cochran, tells us what she learned from Porter Wagoner, and sheds insights on the challenges women of her generation faced while making their way as respected country songwriters.
PART ONE: The guys chat about Paul's recent songwriting success with artist Lauren Daigle and look ahead to what they have planned for Women's History Month.
PART TWO: Our in-depth interview with Jeannie Seely.
ABOUT JEANNIE SEELY:
Singer, songwriter, producer, actress, author and radio show host Jeannie Seely has been a staple of the Grand Ole Opry cast for more than five decades, and is now the Official Ambassador for the Opry. She rose to prominence with the #1 hit ?Don?t Touch Me,? a multi-million selling single written by her ex-husband, songwriting legend Hank Cochran, that earned her a Grammy award and recognition from Billboard, Cashbox and Record World magazines as the Most Promising Female Country Artist. Earning the nickname Miss Country Soul, Seely placed nearly 30 songs on the Billboard country chart, including ?It?s Only Love,? ?A Wanderin? Man,? ?I?ll Love You More (Than You Need),? ?Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight Mister,? the Grammy-nominated Jack Greene duet ?Wish I Didn?t Have to Miss You,? and the self-penned songs ?Farm in Pennsyltucky? and ?He Can Be Mine.?
Before she hit the charts as an artist, Jeannie found early pop songwriting success with ?Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand),? a pop and R&B hit for Irma Thomas that she co-wrote with Randy Newman. Soon, country artists such as Connie Smith and Dottie West began recording Jeannie?s songs. Since then, her compositions have been recorded by Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Little Jimmy Dickens, Tex Williams, Merle Haggard, Lorrie Morgan, Doyle Lawson, and Faron Young, who scored a Top 10 pop hit with ?Leaving and Saying Goodbye,? which earned Jeannie a BMI award.
Recording for the Monument, Decca, MCA and Columbia labels, Seely is credited with breaking barriers for women in country music, and the four-time CMA Awards nominee hasn?t slowed down. She hosts her own radio show on Willie?s Roadhouse on SiriusXM, and co-wrote ?Like I Could,? a recent bluegrass chart topper recorded by Rhonda Vincent. Her recent albums include Written in Song, which spotlights her own compositions, and American Classic, her most recent album which features ?Not a Dry Eye in the House,? a duet with Willie Nelson that was released on Jeannie?s 80th birthday in 2020.
Our guest is Diane Warren, an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Grammy winner with 11 Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song. The Songwriters Hall of Famer and ASCAP Founders Award winner is known for a long list of hits, including ?Rhythm of the Night,? ?Blame it On the Rain,? ?Because You Loved Me,? ?Don?t Turn Around,? ?Unbreak My Heart,? ?I Don?t Wanna Miss a Thing,? and ?How Do I Live.? She joins us to talk about her wide-ranging career, and her upcoming first-ever studio album, The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1.
Scott and Paul chat about the Bruce Springsteen Super Bowl commercial, authenticity, Willie Nelson's reggae album, and Lady Gaga's meat dress.
The guys pay tribute to Songwriters Hall of Famer (and former Songcraft guest) Jim Weatherly who passed away recently. Hear all about Scott's connection with the "Midnight Train to Georgia" writer that goes back many many years.
PART THREE: Our in-depth interview with Diane Warren
ABOUT DIANE WARREN
Songwriters Hall of Famer Diane Warren is an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Grammy winner (with a total of 15 Grammy nominations to her credit) who has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is perhaps one of the most successful pop songwriters of all time. Her long list of Top-10 pop hits includes ?Rhythm of the Night? by DeBarge, ?I Get Weak? by Belinda Carlisle, ?Nothing?s Gonna Stop Us Now? and ?Set the Night to Music? by Starship, ?Who Will You Run To? by Heart, ?I Don?t Wanna Live Without Your Love? and ?Look Away? by Chicago, ?Blame it on the Rain? by Milli Vanilli, ?How Can We Be Lovers? and ?When I?m Back on My Feet Again? by Michael Bolton, ?I?ll Be Your Shelter? and ?Love Will Lead You Back? by Taylor Dayne, ?If I Could Turn Back Time? and ?Just Like Jesse James? by Cher, and ?When I See You Smile? by Bad English.
But those are just a few highlights from the 1980s. In the ?90s she became a five-time ASCAP Pop Songwriter of the Year, and was named Billboard Pop Songwriter of the Year for three years in a row thanks to writing hits such as ?If You Asked Me To? and ?Because You Loved Me? for Celine Dion, ?Don?t Turn Around? for Ace of Base, ?For You I Will? for Monica, ?The One I Gave My Heart To? for Aaliyah, ?Unbreak My Heart? for Toni Braxton, ?Have You Ever? for Brandy, ?I Don?t Want to Miss a Thing? for Aerosmith, ?I Turn to You? for Christina Aguilera, ?Music of My Heart? for Gloria Estefan, and ?How Do I Live? for LeAnn Rimes, which became the longest-running song in Billboard chart history.
Warren has earned eleven Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song between 1988 and 2020, including ?Nothing?s Gonna Stop Us Now,? ?Because You Loved Me,? ?How Do I Live,? ?I Don?t Want to Miss a Thing,? ?Til It Happens to You,? which was a collaboration with Lady Gaga, ?Stand Up for Something,? which was a collaboration with Common and ?I?ll Fight? from the film RBG.
She has continued to have her songs recorded by a wide-range of artists in recent years, including ?Born to Be Somebody? by Justin Bieber, ?I Was Here? by Beyonce, ?Only Love Can Hurt Like This? by Paloma Faith, and ?To Get Here? by Willie Nelson. Other artists who?ve recorded her songs include Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Jennifer Hudson, Patti LaBelle, Dionne Warwick, Roy Orbison, Al Green, Rod Stewart, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, KISS, Joan Jett, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Jessie J, Demi Lovato, Carrie Underwood, Adele, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston.
A recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Founder?s Award, Warren has recently completed her first studio album, The Cave Sessions, Vol. 1, which features John Legend, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Jason Derulo, Ty Dolla $ign, LP, and Darius Rucker who performs the lead single ?Times Like This.?
In addition to his own albums and mixtapes, artist, songwriter, and entertainer Eric Bellinger has co-written hits such as Chris Brown?s ?New Flame? and Usher?s ?Lemme See,? as well as songs by Justin Bieber, Trey Songz, The Game, and others. Eric joins Paul to chat about his remarkable career that spans pop, hip-hop, and R&B.
Scott and Paul talk about musicians who are also great athletes and theorize about the connections between sports and music, including Paul's tales of his days playing basketball with Brian McKnight
Paul's in-depth interview with Eric Bellinger
ABOUT ERIC BELLINGER
Singer, songwriter, and producer Eric Bellinger balances his career as a performer with a long list of behind-the-scenes writer credits on hits such as Chris Brown?s ?New Flame,? which topped multiple Billboard charts, ?Lemme See,? an ASCAP-award winning song by Usher that reached #2 on Billboard?s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the Top 40 ?Right Here? by Justin Bieber featuring Drake, and the theme song of the hit film Think Like a Man, performed by Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo, and Rick Ross.
The list of other artists who?ve recorded Eric?s songs includes Selena Gomez, Ashanti, Keke Palmer, Brandy, Fantasia, Trey Songz, The Game, Tyrese, Tank, and Teyana Taylor. In addition to ?New Flame,? Eric also earned recognition for his contributions to Chris Brown?s Grammy-winning album F.A.M.E., which included the songs ?Fine China? and ?Love More,? featuring Nicki Minaj.
With over a dozen studio albums, mixtapes, and EPs to his credit, Eric Bellinger the artist has released singles such as ?Valet? featuring Fetty Wap and 2 Chainz; ?Type a Way? featuring Chris Brown; ?Moist? featuring K Camp, and ?Enough,? which directly addresses racial and societal injustice. His most recent album, a duo project with Hitmaka called 1-800-Hit-Eazy, will be released later this month.
Nine-time Grammy nominee Ani DiFranco joins Scott and Paul to talk about her career as a fiercely independent singer-songwriter and activist, and share some insights into the social, political, and personal challenges that inspired her honest but hope-filled new studio album, Revolutionary Love.
Paul and Scott discuss the complicated legacy of genius songwriter/producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector, before paying tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in honor of the MLK holiday. They each choose a favorite song to emerge from the Civil Rights era and consider how King's message informs the artistic world today.
Our in-depth interview with the great Ani DiFranco
ABOUT ANI DIFRANCO
Singer, songwriter, musician, producer, poet, author, spoken-word artist, activist and entrepreneur Ani DiFranco has released more than 20 independent studio albums on her own label, Righteous Babe Records. Though often classified as ?alternative folk,? DiFranco?s musical influences span a range of genres. After relentless touring, she reached a wide commercial audience in the late 1990s and early 2000s with albums such as Little Plastic Castle, Up Up Up Up Up Up, Revelling/Reckoning, Evolve, Educated Guess, and the gold-certified live album Living in Clip. The Grammy winner and nine-time nominee achieved her sole Top 40 hit as a songwriter when Alana Davis covered the DiFranco classic ?32 Flavors? in 1997.
The prolific and critically-acclaimed performer developed her own uniquely percussive guitar style and has collaborated with a range of artists, including Bon Iver?s Justin Vernon, Bruce Cockburn, Pete Seeger, Utah Phillips, Maceo Parker, and Prince. In addition to releasing her own music, her label has issued recordings by Sara Lee, Andrew Bird, Nona Hendryx, and others.
Ani was one of the first musicians to receive the Woman of Courage Award from the National Organization for Women, and was honored with both the Woody Guthrie Award and the Southern Center For Human Rights? Human Rights Award. Her memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream, was released in 2019 by Viking Books. The New Orleans-based DiFranco?s latest album, Revolutionary Love, is a timely social statement scheduled for release on January 29, 2021.
Paul and Scott geek out about the Bee Gees documentary, and the nature of being the kind of songwriter who MUST do it, no matter what.
Dan Wilson chats about how Liam Gallagher of Oasis inspired the first new Semisonic music in years; why his relationship with songs has always been very practical; how his first massive hit was born from a need to mix up the set list; the theory he once had about lyrics that he doesn't have any more; the lesson he learned from writing with Carole King that he's carried through his entire career; why it was a good thing that Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks rejected his song idea; how Rick Rubin informed his approach to music; the gritty details on the two-day process of writing "Someone Like You" with Adele; why Nashville's songwriting ethic impacted his process; the time a song was finalized over pizza with John Legend and Chrissy Tiegen; and how fellow songwriter Teddy Geiger indirectly inspired a most unusual format for Dan's collection of wisdom for writers and musicians.
ABOUT DAN WILSON:
Songwriter, singer, musician, producer and acclaimed visual artist Dan Wilson is a Minnesota native and Harvard graduate who launched his music career with the band Trip Shakespeare, which was signed to A&M Records. He went on to co-found the rock band Semisonic, whose platinum-selling Feeling Strangely Fine album yielded the singles ?Secret Smile,? ?Singing in My Sleep,? and ?Closing Time,? a chart-topping hit that earned Dan a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song.
He went on to reinvent himself as a behind-the-scenes hitmaker, earning a Song of the Year Grammy for co-writing ?Not Ready to Make Nice? with the group then known as The Dixie Chicks, and writing three songs on Adele?s multiplatinum 21 album: ?Don?t You Remember,? ?One and Only,? and ?Someone Like You,? which became an international hit and earned Dan an Album of the Year Grammy for his production work. Wilson has also found success in Nashville, co-writing Dierks Bentley?s number one hit ?Home? and earning yet another Album of the Year Grammy nomination for Taylor Swift?s Red LP, for which he co-wrote and produced the song ?Treacherous.?
Dan?s long list of collaborators includes Carole King, Rachel Yamagata, Jason Mraz, Gabe Dixon, Weezer, Keith Urban, Josh Groban, James Morrison, P!nk, Leann Rimes, John Legend, Chris Stapleton, Panic! At the Disco, Cold War Kids, Noah Cyrus, Leon Bridges, Celine Dion, and many others.
In addition to his acclaimed Words and Music by Dan Wilson solo concerts, he launched a social media series called Words & Music in Six Seconds. The series, which focuses on ?forging collaborative relationships, seeking a community, testing out ideas in front of an audience, and writing better songs,? has recently been turned into a deck of 75 cards, designed by Dan, that distill his insights from nearly three decades of writing, performing, and collaborating with the world?s greatest musical artists. You can get your own set and find out more about Dan?s amazing career at danwilsonmusic.com.
Scott and Paul chat about the holidays and Paul's latest Christmas cut by Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr.
The guys catch up with Eagles songwriter and past Songcraft guest Jack Tempchin ("Already Gone," "Peaceful Easy Feeling") about his brand new holiday song and children's book.
Our in-depth conversation with thirteen-time Grammy nominee and two-time winner Walter Afanasieff who co-wrote and co-produced Mariah Carey hits such as the number one singles ?Can?t Let Go,? ?My All,? ?Hero,? ?One Sweet Day,? and the perennial holiday classic "All I Want for Christmas is You." Additionally, he produced some of the biggest movie soundtrack songs of all time, including ?Beauty and the Beast,? ?A Whole New World,? and ?My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic.
ABOUT WALTER AFANSIEFF
Thirteen-time Grammy nominee and two-time winner Walter Afanasieff is best known for his collaborative songwriting and production partnership with Mariah Carey that yielded hit singles such as ?Can?t Let Go,? ?Dreamlover,? ?Hero,? ?Without You,? ?Anytime You Need a Friend,? ?Butterfly,? ?My All,? and ?One Sweet Day,? a duet with Boyz II Men that was named ASCAP Song of the Year. It hit #1 in December of 1995 and stayed there for sixteen weeks?a record that remained unbroken for more than two decades. Their ?All I Want for Christmas is You? was released in 1994 and has since become a holiday standard. It hit #1 on Billboard?s pop chart for the first time in 2019, giving Walter and Mariah the world record for the longest period of time between a song?s original release and its arrival at the top of the chart.
In addition to his success with Carey, Afanasieff carved out a formidable reputation as a go-to producer of hit movie songs. After co-writing and co-producing the Gladys Knight single ?Licence to Kill? from the James Bond film of the same name, he went on to produce ?Beauty and the Beast,? ?A Whole New World? from Aladdin, ?Even If My Heart Would Break? from The Bodyguard, and ?My Heart Will Go On? from Titanic, which became the best-selling single in the world for 1998. Additionally he produced ?Some Day? from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Academy Award nominated ?Go the Distance? from Hercules.
Other hits from the Walter Afanasieff songbook include ?Can You Stop the Rain,? a #1 R&B single for Peabo Bryson that earned a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song, ?Missing You Now,? a #1 Adult Contemporary hit for Michael Bolton, ?If You Go Away,? a Top 20 single for New Kids on the Block, Savage Garden?s #1 pop single ?I Knew I Loved You,? and Ricky Martin?s massive global hit ?She Bangs.?
The long list of additional artists Walter has written and produced music for includes Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Destiny's Child, Kenny G, Andrea Bocelli, Johnny Mathis, Kenny Loggins, Barbra Streisand, Christina Aguilera, Marc Anthony, Babyface, and Josh Groban.
Scott and Paul chat about recording a special song as a gift for your loved one, shout-out our most recent Patreon supporters, make wild speculations about Bob Dylan, and discuss why spite motivated Scott to get a second Grammy nomination.
Our in-depth interview with Erika Ender
About Erika Ender:
Though best known as the co-writer of the international hit ?Despacito,? Panamanian-born Erika Ender is an accomplished songwriter and singer who has written or co-written more than 40 chart topping singles. Working in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, Erika?s songs have been recorded by artists such as Justin Bieber, Akon, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Mark Anthony, Chayanne, Gloria Trevi, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Prince Royce, and Jenny Rivera. She?s one of only two women to write a Spanish language song that?s climbed to the number one spot on Billboard?s Hot 100; she?s the only Hispanic woman to be nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy; and she was the youngest person ever inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. The two-time Latin Grammy winner was named by People en Espanol magazine as one of its 25 Most Powerful Women and she has carved out an impressive artist career of her own with successful singles such as ?Abreme La Puerta,? ?Luna Nueva,? ?Cheque Al Portador,? ?Quien Sale No Entra,? Sigo Caminando,? ?Darnos un Dia? and ?Te Conozco de Antes.?
Luke Laird is one of Nashville?s most successful songwriters. He has written two dozen #1 country hits, earning him six separate CMA Trip Play awards, each of which recognizes the achievement of penning three #1 country songs within a 12 month period. The two-time Grammy winner has been named both ACM and BMI Country Songwriter of the Year. Highlights of his catalog include Kasey Musgraves? ?Space Cowboy? which earned him a Grammy for Country Song of the Year, Rodney Atkins? ?Take a Back Road? which was named BMI Country Song of the Year, Little Big Town?s ?Pontoon? which earned an ACM nomination for Song of the Year, and Tim McGraw?s ?Diamond Rings and Old Barstools,? which was nominated for a Country Song of the Year Grammy. Two of his most revered songs are Kenny Chesney?s ?American Kids? and Eric Church?s ?Give Me Back My Hometown,? which were both nominated for CMA Song of the Year, ACM Song of the Year, and the Grammy for Country Song of the Year.
Laird built his reputation as a country chart topper with the Carrie Underwood hits ?So Small,? ?Last Name,? ?Temporary Home,? ?Undo It,? and ?Mama?s Song? before going on to write chart toppers such as ?A Little Bit Stronger? for Sara Evans, ?Drink in My Hand? and ?Talladega? with Eric Church, ?One of Those Nights? for Tim McGraw, ?Downtown? for Lady Antebellum, ?I See You? and ?Fast? for Luke Bryan, ?Gonna? for Blake Shelton, ?Head Over Boots? for Jon Pardi, and ?T-Shirt? for Thomas Rhett. He?s written other massive hits for Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, and Frankie Ballard, and has had his songs recorded by George Strait, Zac Brown Band, Dierks Bentley, Maren Morris, Midland, Rascal Flatts, Lindsay Ell, Ashley Monroe, Toby Keith, Sheryl Crow, Amy Grant, Florida Georgia Line, Jessica Simpson, and Cassandra Wilson featuring John Legend. In addition to his success as a songwriter, Laird has produced Thomas Rhett, Brett Eldredge, Jake Owen, Sam Hunt, Ingrid Michaelson, and Kasey Musgraves, earning Grammy recognition for his work producing her albums Same Trailer Different Park and Pageant Material. He recently released his first album as an artist, the deeply personal Music Row.
Scott and Paul talk about their friends at Pearl Snap Studios and pinch themselves over having the opportunity to talk with Elvis Costello.
Elvis Costello discusses his new album Hey Clockface and talks about the record that set him on his musical journey; why he still likes writing in a notebook; the reason he resists the urge to go to an instrument too soon when he gets a melodic idea; the songwriting question he asked Bob Dylan; why he thinks he?s missed out on some cover songs; how he knows when a song is finished; the track on his new album that represents a songwriting ?first? for him; his experiences in the studio with a gun-toting producer; and what he learned about the marriage of lyrics and melody from his co-writing relationships with Paul McCartney and Burt Bacharach.
ABOUT ELVIS COSTELLO
Released between 1977 and 1979, Elvis Costello?s first three albums?My Aim is True, This Year?s Model, and Armed Forces?were all included in Rolling Stone magazine?s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. That early period of his recording career yielded now-classic singles such as ?Alison,? ?Watching the Detectives,? ?Pump it Up,? ?Radio Radio,? ?Oliver?s Army,? ?Accidents Will Happen,? and others.
Though he established his career as a rock artist and reached commercial heights in the US with the pop hit ?Everyday I Write the Book,? Costello?s more than thirty studio albums cover a breathtaking range of stylistic ground, from Almost Blue, his early 1980s album of country covers, to The Juliet Letters, his 1993 collaboration with The Brodsky Quartet, to North, an album of ballads partially inspired by his wife Diana Krall that topped Billboard?s Jazz chart in 2003, to Il Sogno, his first full-length orchestral work, which was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, and topped Billboard?s classical chart in 2004, to Wise Up Ghost, a 2013 collaboration with Questlove and The Roots. In between, he?s continued to release albums both solo and with his bands The Attractions, The Imposters, and The Sugarcanes.
Always an adventurous collaborator, Costello entered into a fruitful songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney that yielded more than a dozen songs, including Costello?s Top 10 single ?Veronica? and McCartney?s ?My Brave Face.? He went on to release entire collaborative albums with Richard Harvey, Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint, and others. He has written lyrics for compositions by Charles Mingus, Billy Strayhorn and Oscar Peterson, as well as musical settings for lyrics by Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan. His songs have been covered by a range of artists including George Jones, Chet Baker, Dusty Springfield, and Solomon Burke.
Costello has been nominated for fourteen Grammy awards, two of which he won, as well as an Academy Award for co-writing ?The Scarlet Tide? with T-Bone Burnett for the film Cold Mountain. He has received two Ivor Novello awards for Songwriting, the Americana Association?s Lifetime Achievement in Songwriting award, and the ASCAP Founder?s Award, which was presented by Burt Bacharach. He was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and was named one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. His genre-stretching new album, Hey Clockface, was recorded in Helsinki and Paris, and was released on October 30.
Co-hosts Scott and Paul pay tribute to the legacies of Eddie Van Halen and Johnny Bush, two songwriters from very different genres who recently passed.
Our in-depth interview with the amazing Ledisi where she reveals her wide-ranging influences; gives us the inside track on working with Rex Rideout, Raphael Saadiq, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis; talks about the hand Prince played in shaping her career, and explains why she geeked out when she saw Bruce Springsteen at the Grammy Awards.
Ledisi is a singer, songwriter, and actress with a dozen Grammy nominations in categories including Best New Artist, Best R&B Album, Best R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song. After several years on her own independent label she signed with Verve Forecast Records for her album Lost & Found, which hit the Top 10 on Billboard?s R&B Albums chart. She went on to release a string of albums for the label, all of which hit the Top 5 on the US charts. In addition, she landed more than a dozen hits on Billboard?s R&B singles charts, including ?Alright,? ?Goin? Thru Changes,? ?Pieces of Me,? ?Stay Together,? ?I Blame You,? ?High,? ?All the Way,? and others. In addition to her twelve Grammy nominations, Ledisi has won two Soul Train Music Awards, been nominated for Best Female Artist three times at the NAACP Awards, and is an NAACP Spirit Award honoree. She performed at the White House seven times at the request of Barack and Michelle Obama, and has maintained consistently high critical acclaim?from her first album to her most recent release, The Wild Card on her own Listen Back Entertainment in partnership with BMG.
Part 1 - Paul and Scott reflect on their experiences with legendary songwriters Mac Davis and Al Kasha, two Songcraft guests who recently passed away but left an important legacy,
Part 2 - Our in-depth interview with Lucinda Williams
ABOUT LUCINDA WILLIAMS
One of the most revered songwriters on the face of the earth, Lucinda Williams was once crowned ?America?s Best Songwriter? by People magazine. She first gained widespread attention after Mary Chapin Carpenter made her song ?Passionate Kisses? a Top 5 hit, which earned Lucinda a Grammy award for Country Song of the Year. She went on to release a string of critically-acclaimed albums that garnered her a total of 15 Grammy nominations spanning the genres of rock, pop, country, folk, and Americana.
One of the primary architects of the Americana genre, Lucinda has received more Americana Music Association award nominations than nearly any other artist, and she was the first female recipient of the AMA?s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting. VH1 named her one of the 100 Greatest Women in Rock & Roll, while Rolling Stone named her among its 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. In addition to her own success as an artist with songs such as ?I Just Wanted to See You So Bad,? ?Right in Time,? ?Essence,? ?Righteously,? ?Are You Alright,? ?Come On,? and ?Real Love,? the daughter of famed poet Miller Williams has also had her songs recorded by Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Patty Loveless, Bettye LaVette, and many others.
Scott and Paul dive deep on Rolling Stone's controversial revision of its "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list and discuss how valuation of music changes with the progression of each decade.
Our in-depth career spanning conversation with Will Hoge
ABOUT WILL HOGE
As a songwriter Will Hoge is perhaps best known for ?Even if it Breaks Your Heart,? a #1 country hit for Eli Young Band that earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song as well as both CMA and ACM nominations for Song of the Year. Originally recorded on Hoge?s own album The Wreckage, it is one of many acclaimed compositions from the pen of the outspoken singer-songwriter who celebrates both his southern heritage and progressive social views. In addition to performing ?You Make Me Happy,? the theme song to the CBS sitcom Still Standing, Hoge has released more than a dozen albums. Though his music ranges from rock to folk to Americana, his single ?Strong? earned mainstream country radio airplay and was featured in a national Chevy truck commercial. He has collaborated with writers such as Brett Beavers, Tommy Lee James, Hillary Lindsay, Gordie Sampson, Chris Stapleton, Hayes Carrl, Brendan Benson, and Wade Bowen. Other artists who?ve recorded his songs include the group Trigger Hippy and Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum.
PART ONE: Scott and Paul chat about watching Cobra Kai, 80s nostalgia, and why bands are re-recording their classic hits for movies. They discuss why Brandy is the first guest to appear on Songcraft twice, and return to 80s movie sequel nostalgia yet again whereupon Paul floats his theory that Rocky III and Rocky IV are the Rubber Soul and Revolver of movies. Somewhere in there's it's decided that Brandy Clark is the Empire Strikes Back of Songcraft.
PART TWO: Our in-depth conversation with six-time Grammy nominee Brandy Clark
ABOUT BRANDY CLARK
Brandy Clark has made a successful career writing songs for other artists, including The Band Perry?s #1 hit ?Better Dig Two,? and Miranda Lambert?s ?Mama?s Broken Heart,? which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song and CMA and ACM nominations for Song of the Year. Other highlights from her catalog include Kasey Musgraves? ?Follow Your Arrow,? which won CMA Song of the Year, as well as cuts by artists such as Reba McEntire, George Strait, Jennifer Nettles, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, LeAnn Rimes, Lindsay Ell, Toby Keith, and Sheryl Crow.
As a critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter, her debut album, 12 Stories, earned her Grammy nominations in the categories of Best Country Album and Best New Artist, regardless of genre. The single ?Hold My Hand? was nominated for Best Country Song. Her second album, the Grammy-nominated Big Day in a Small Town, was named one of the best albums of the year by Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly and American Songwriter, while the single ?Love Can Go to Hell? earned Brandy yet another nomination for Best Country Solo Performance. Her most recent album, Your Life is a Record, was released earlier this year, with The New Yorker review noting that ?no one is writing better country songs than Brandy Clark is.?
American Songwriter Podcast Network
Scott and Paul chat about the loss of Justin Townes Earle, talk about how to get a good demo of an original song, and reflect on the unique cultural movement that emerged from Stax Records.
An in-depth conversation with Eddie Floyd
ABOUT EDDIE FLOYD
Eddie Floyd first found success on the Billboard charts as a songwriter for Carla Thomas, Solomon Burke, and Wilson Pickett, who had hits with "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)" and "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won?t Do)." He went on to top the charts as both writer and artist, recording soul classics ?Knock On Wood,? ?Raise Your Hand,? ?Big Bird,? ?I?ve Never Found a Girl,? and ?California Girl.? Other artists continued to hit the charts with his songs, including Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, William Bell, Rufus Thomas, Esther Phillips, and Amii Stewart, who reached #1 on the pop charts with her disco version of ?Knock On Wood? in 1979.
From his early life as a doo-wop singer with The Falcons to his successful career with Stax Records, to his stints as the lead singer of both The Blues Brothers Band and Bill Wyman?s Rhythm Kings, Floyd has always considered himself, first and foremost, a songwriter. His catalog has been covered by Mavis Staples, Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Tom Jones, Ike & Tina Turner, Albert King, Seal, James Taylor, Al Green, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, and others. He has been inducted into both the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and has recently released his autobiography Knock! Knock! Knock! On Wood: My Life in Soul.
ABOUT MAC POWELL
Mac Powell is best known as the lead singer of the contemporary Christian band Third Day, which sold more than 12 million albums in the US, earned two dozen Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, and won four of the eleven Grammy awards for which they were nominated. Powell was a writer on most of Third Day?s singles, nearly 20 of which hit #1 on Billboard?s Christian charts. These include ?Nothing At All,? which was also a Top 40 hit on the rock charts; ?Alien,? ?Sky Falls Down,? ?40 Days,? and the gold-certified single ?Cry Out to Jesus??all of which won Dove Awards for rock song of the year; as well as the church standard ?Your Love Oh Lord,? ?Sing a Song,? ?Mountain of God,? ?Revelation,? ?Born Again,? I Need a Miracle, the gold-certified ?Soul on Fire,? and ?Call My Name,? which was subsequently covered by Keith Urban. In addition to his work with Third Day, Powell has released four albums, either solo or with his group Mac Powell and the Family Reunion. He is an inductee into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame alongside fellow Songcraft guests including Mac Davis, Bill Anderson, William Bell, and Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls.
Singer, songwriter, musician, producer, and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Linda Perry first made her mark as an artist, serving as lead vocalist and primary songwriter of the group 4 Non Blondes, which is best known for the Top 15 pop hit ?What?s Up?? Following a couple of solo albums, Linda emerged as a powerhouse songwriter and producer thanks to her work on P!nk?s multiplatinum Misundaztood album. The debut single, ?Get The Party Started,? which Linda wrote solo, was a global smash. She followed it up with another solo-written composition, ?Beautiful,? which became a chart-topping ballad for Christina Aguilera that earned a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.
Subsequent chart success came with Gwen Stefani?s debut solo single ?What You Waiting For,? Alicia Keys?s ?Superwoman,? Ariana Grande?s debut single ?Put Your Hearts Up,? Miley Cyrus?s ?Hands of Love,? and additional singles for Aguilera, including the Top 10 hits ?Hurt? and ?Keeps Gettin? Better.? Recently, Linda collaborated with Dolly Parton on the soundtrack of the film Dumplin?, including the song ?Girl in the Movies,? which was nominated for both a Golden Globe and a Grammy award.
Linda is a four-time Grammy nominee, including a 2019 nomination for Producer of the Year, making her the only solo female producer to ever earn a nomination for their work producing other artists. The long list of artists Linda has produced, collaborated with, or had her songs covered by include Adele, Courtney Love, Cheap Trick, Faith Hill, Britney Spears, KT Tunstall, Weezer, Pat Benetar, Solange, L.P., Joan Jett, The Chicks, Vanessa Carlton, Celine Dion, Elvis Costello, and Lady Gaga. In addition to her prolific songwriting and production activities, Perry is a multi-faceted music industry entrepreneur, having worked as a music publisher, manager, or mentor with artists such as James Blunt, Dorothy, and Natasha Bedingfield.
American Songwriter Podcast Network
Co-hosts Scott B. Bomar and Paul Duncan chat about how they?re continuing to adapt their Songcraft recording sessions for the world of COVID-19 before getting into a discussion about whether they?d take a time machine to Abbey Road Studios in London, Stax Studios in Memphis, Motown in Detroit, or FAME in Muscle Shoals
PART 2 - 12:35 mark
The in-depth interview with David Porter: Named one of Rolling Stone magazine?s ?100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time,? Porter is best known for his songwriting partnership with Isaac Hayes that helped define the sound of Memphis?s legendary Stax Records. As the first African American staff songwriter at Stax, Porter, along with his partner, wrote and produced songs such as ?B-A-B-Y? for Carla Thomas, ?Your Good Thing (Is About to End)??an R&B hit for Mable John that later became a pop and R&B smash for Lou Rawls, and his own recording of ?Can?t See You When I Want To.? Hayes and Porter are best known, however, for their work with Sam & Dave, including such classic hits as ?You Don?t Know Like I Know,? ?You Got Me Hummin?,? ?Hold On! I?m Comin?? (which later became a country hit for Waylon Jennings and Jerry Reed), ?Soul Man? (which became a hit a second time thanks to the Blues Brothers), ?I Thank You? (which was later covered by ZZ Top), and ?When Something is Wrong with My Baby? (which was reimagined as a memorable duet between Otis Redding and Carla Thomas, a country hit for Sonny James, and an adult contemporary hit for Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville). The list of artists who?ve covered Porter?s songs includes Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, William Bell, Melissa Ethridge, Bonnie Raitt, Garth Brooks, Etta James, Celine Dion, Wilson Pickett, George Benson, Dusty Springfield, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Staple Singers, Solomon Burke, James Brown, Eric Clapton, B. B. King, Tina Turner, Jackie Wilson, and more. His songs have been used as samples in countless recordings by artists such as Jay-Z, Eminem, Wu-Tang Clan, The Notorious B.I.G., Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, and others. A highly celebrated giant among celebrated songwriters, Porter was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.
The Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Famer discusses getting clean and sober with the help of Stevie Ray Vaughan; why he hated his first album; the Flannery O'Connor quote that guides his songwriting life; his collaborations with Eric Church; and the little trick he played on Ringo Starr.
In this mini-episode / announcement, Scott and Paul talk about what's changing at Songcraft...and what's staying the same.
Songcraft chats with Brett James, a two-time ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year who has earned 25 #1 hits with songs such as ?Who I Am? by Jessica Andrews, ?Bottoms Up? by Brantley Gilbert, ?I Hold On? by Dierks Bentley, and Carrie Underwood's ?Jesus Take the Wheel,? which was nominated for ACM and CMA Song of the Year awards and won a Grammy for Best Country Song. In addition to his remarkable career as a behind-the-scenes Nashville songwriter, Brett has a recently-released artist EP called I Am Now.
Grammy winner and two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee (as a member of both The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash) chats about his remarkable career, including producing the debut album for then-girlfriend Joni Mitchell, the song he wrote as a message to George Harrison, his magical connection with Jerry Garcia, the song Jackson Browne forced him to finish, the writing partner with whom he has the best chemistry, and why he's blown away by Marc Cohn, Shawn Colvin, Sarah Jarosz, and Jason Isbell.
The guys pay tribute to Little Richard before welcoming Minnesota native Caitlyn Smith, who found her way to Nashville as a songwriter before signing with Monument Records and earning a nod as one of Rolling Stone Magazine?s ?10 New Artists You Need to Know.? Her second album, Supernova, was recently released to critical acclaim. Caitlyn?s list of hit songs that have been recorded by other artists includes ?Wasting All These Tears,? a Top 5 single for Cassadee Pope, ?You Can?t Make Old Friends? by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, and ?Like I?m Gonna Lose You,? a multi-platinum hit for Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend. Smith, along with co-writers Kate York and Mary Steenburgen, won a Critics? Choice Award for the song ?Glasgow (No Place Like Home)? from the film Wild Rose. Other artists who?ve recorded Caitlyn?s songs include Lori McKenna, Lucy Hale, Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Rascal Flatts, Laura Bell Bundy, Chris Isaak, Lindsay Ell, Lady Antebellum, and Trisha Yearwood.
The exceedingly generous and gentlemanly Peter Frampton talks about David Bowie giving him his very first job; Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones getting him into a recording studio for the first time; stumbling into session work thanks to George Harrison; writing two massive hits in the same day; how the loneliness of stratospheric success impacted his songwriting; and the inside stories of classics such as "Baby, I Love Your Way," "Show Me the Way," "Do You Feel Like We Do," "I'm in You," and many more.
American Songwriter Podcast Network