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Jack O Bocchino photo and poem

Songwriting process

Jack O Bocchino photo and poem

Inside the song: “Write Again”

Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint the inspiration for a song—it seems to materialize out of the ether. But in the case of my song "Write Again," released on the album Live and Listening, I can point precisely to the image above: a photo and poem by my friend Jack O. Bocchino. Here's the album track....

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Writing tools: the curio book

If you want to write—whether prose or poetry or songs, fiction or nonfiction—one great practice you can adopt to fuel your work is keeping what I call a curio book. This could be a small paper notebook or a notepad app on your phone—anything that you have with you wherever you go. Use this book to...

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Understanding song form

Adapted from The Complete Singer-Songwriter Beneath all the nuances of melodies and lyrics, most songs are built from the same basic parts—some kind of sequence of verse, chorus, bridge, and so on. For writing a song, learning to play someone else’s song, or communicating with other musicians, being able to identify these parts and patterns...

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Inside the song: “The Story” by Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile's breakthrough song "The Story," the title track of her 2007 album, sounds intensely personal, even cathartic. Carlile must be singing from raw experience, right? Actually, no. Her bandmate Phil Hanseroth wrote "The Story" before they even started playing together. Since her debut, all of the music appearing under the name Brandi Carlile has...

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Jason Mraz Acoustic Guitar magazine

Inside the song: “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat

"Lucky," the sweet, swaying duet written by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat with Tim Fagan, was originally released on Jason Mraz's 2008 album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.  During an interview for Acoustic Guitar magazine (published in the October 2010 issue), Mraz told me that "Lucky"—like six of the tracks on the We Sing album—originated...

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