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Writing

Chris Thile on being a “serious, curious” musician

I think serious, curious musicians owe it to themselves and to the music-loving public to avail themselves of all the tools. You run into a lot of people who are consciously leaving vast swaths of their potential musicianship undeveloped in the name of staying pure. Those kinds of decisions don’t achieve the desired result, because...

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David Rawlings on writing songs from tradition

[Poor David's Almanack] came out of 20 years of thinking about folk music and the roots of things, and seeing that so much beauty comes out of the fluidity of writing from things that move you. Sometimes I listen to songs that I love and I think, 'Wow, it’s like we’re all standing on the...

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Songwriting lesson: how to write a bridge

Think of the timeless ballad “Something,” from the Beatles’ Abbey Road, in which George Harrison muses on his lover’s allure over a wistful chord progression in the key of C. He sings a verse and loops back for another by way of the song’s signature guitar line, but the second time he lands not on a...

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BeatleCuse 2017 poster

Re-creating the Beatles’ “Within You Without You”

In the summer of 2016, musician and producer Paul Davie contacted me and my duo partner Wendy Sassafras Ramsay about performing in his annual BeatleCuse concert—a major event involving 70 musicians from the Syracuse area and beyond. Plans for 2017 included appearances by Joey Molland of Badfinger and Hilton Valentine of the Animals, and a complete performance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely...

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