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Complete Singer-Songwriter

15 ways to support musicians–without spending money

Yes, musicians appreciate your business—any purchase of concert tickets, CDs, downloads, or other merch helps them keep making music. But beyond spending your hard-earned cash, there are lots of ways you can support artists that don't cost a cent yet make a real difference. Here are 15 ideas. Note: Since posting this, I've gotten a bunch of great suggestions for additions, and I've...

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Behind the song: “Tiny Song”

Songs begin with the tiniest things—a cool chord change, a snippet of melody, a striking image, a curious phrase overheard in a café, the churning rhythm of the dishwasher. Just one detail that somehow glows in the dark with energy and intrigue and possibility. In the case of "Tiny Song," that small detail was simply the phrase...

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Behind the song: “Reedy River” by Jennifer Kimball

In the spring, singer-songwriter Jennifer Kimball will release her first new solo album in ten years, titled Avocet. Kimball first made her mark in the '90s in the folk-pop duo the Story, with Jonatha Brooke, and has an ear for soaring melodies and adventurous harmonies. On Avocet, she found an ideal collaborator/producer in multi-instrumentalist Alec Spiegelman from Cuddle...

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Natalia Zukerman photo by Shervin Lainez

Behind the song: “Jane Avril” by Natalia Zukerman

Songwriting games (like these ones) can be a great way to stir ideas. Here's the Brooklyn-based musician and painter Natalia Zukerman shares the story of how a prompt from fellow songwriter Willy Porter led her to the song "Jane Avril," from the album Come Thief, Come Fire. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yww4OXndFQY The story I received a songwriting challenge from my friend Willy...

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Behind the song: “The Music Never Stopped” by the Grateful Dead

In a 2008 interview for Acoustic Guitar magazine, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead shared with me the story of writing "The Music Never Stopped" with his childhood pal John Perry Barlow. The Dead recorded the song on Blues for Allah (1975), and it remained a staple of the band's live repertoire. Inspired in part by my conversation with...

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Graydon James and Laura Spink of the Young Novelists

Behind the song: “Hear Your Voice” by the Young Novelists

Graydon James, songwriter for the Toronto-based folk-rock band the Young Novelists, shares the story behind the song "Hear Your Voice," from the album Made Us Strangers. made us strangers by the young novelists The story I rarely look too closely at my songwriting and I know why—I'm largely displeased with it. Sometimes there's this wonderful idea...

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Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers