Ah, now here's an idea we can co-sign. Just received word from Mike Marchant (Widowers, Houses) alerting us to a rad new idea he's about to execute, a songwriter's workshop at the Meadowlark. Dubbed as "Dissecting and Perfecting the Pop Song - A Songwriter's Workshop," the sessions are slated to take place on the first and third Mondays of the month, beginning Monday, October 19, and will be moderated by the Widowers frontman, a guy who, without question, knows his way around a tune. (Don't just take our word for it. Listen for yourself below)
The first half of the evening will be dedicated to, well, dissecting pop songs -- listening and discussing, picking apart the things you like and dislike about a particular song. "We'll dissect the song's lyrics, chord progressions, and arrangement," Marchant explains via e-mail. "We'll listen to great songs and awful songs. We'll praise the Beatles and take a shit on Creed. Doing this will help us learn what works and what doesn't work, and it will help us all write better music."
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Brave souls are also invited to bring in their own recorded music for scrutiny, which will provide a good segue into the second half of the session, when Marchant performs a song for the group and opens himself up for scrutiny. Folks will likewise have the opportunity to perform and discuss their songs.
"This is where all of us can set our egos aside and learn a little bit," notes Marchant. "Good-natured criticism is essential, because every songwriter makes mistakes. I don't want anyone to get the idea that there's a right or wrong way to write a song, or that other people's opinions should shape the way you write. I just want to learn more about pop music and the many different ways it affects people."
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The evening will then end in drunken debauchery. (Er, did we say that outloud?) Uh, we mean, it will end with a homework assignment. Each week, attendees will be tasked with writing a song in a different style, with different tempos, and then present them for evaluation at the next session. Hell, we're tempted to go just to listen to Marchant as he unlocks the secrets of his exceptional songwriting prowess. Dude's a great songwriter, even if as he humbly deflects such praise.
"I'm no better than you at writing songs," Marchant insists, reiterating that he's not setting out to teach anybody anything, just "hosting and moderating. I hope to see you at the Meadowlark on the first and third Mondays of the month. It'll be a good time, and we'll all learn something. And they have beer and a teepee."