Author Event with Shelly Peiken!

Author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, Shelly Peiken, will be at Parnassus Books tomorrow June 30th to talk about her book and also sign a few books! The even takes place in Parnassus Books which is located in Nashville, TN. It starts at 6:30pm so anyone who is in the area be sure to drop by! If you’d like to know more about the event and Parnassus Books, click on the link below.

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A humorous and poignant pop culture memoir about Peiken’s journey, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter takes readers into the rarefied world of the music business. From a young girl falling under the spell of magical songs to a working professional writing hits of her own, Peiken describes how she built a career, from fledgling songwriter, pounding the streets of New York City to Grammy nominations, international hits, and the first Number One song of the millennium.

In Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, Peiken writes about personal growth, how to recognize your muse and navigate the creative process as well as the struggles that arise between motherhood and career success. While she’s not afraid to delve into the divas, celebrity egos and schemers, it is the talented and remarkable people she’s found along the way that predominate the text. And, finally, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter raises the obvious though universal challenge of getting older and staying relevant in a rapidly changing and youth-driven world.

Banjo: An Illustrated History

Author of Banjo: An Illustrated History, Bob Carlin, was interviewed by Fox News 8! In it he spoke about his book, what you can expect from it, and it’s evolution from the many other Banjo related books that he has written. Click on the link below to watch the video to learn more about Bob Carlin and his book, Banjo: An Illustrated History.

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00142046The banjo is emblematic of American country music, and it is at the core of other important musical movements, including jazz and ragtime. The instrument has been adopted by many cultures and has been ingrained into many musical traditions, from Mento music in the Caribbean and dance music in Ireland. Virtuosos such as Béla Fleck have played Bach, African music, and Christmas tunes on the five-string banjo, and the instrument has had a resurgence in pop music with such acts a Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers.

In Banjo: An Illustrated History (June 2016, Backbeat Books, $35), author, broadcaster, and acclaimed banjoist Bob Carlin offers the first comprehensive, illustrated history of the banjo in its many forms. He traces the story of the instrument from its roots in West Africa to its birth in the Americas, through its coming of age in the Industrial Revolution and beyond.

Banjo: An Illustrated History profiles the most important players and spotlights key luthiers and manufacturers and features 100 “milestone instruments” with in-depth coverage, including model details and beautiful photos. It offers historical context surrounding the banjo through the ages, from its place in Victorian parlors and speakeasies through its role in the folk boom of the 1950s and 1960s to its place in the hands of songwriter John Hartford and comedian Steve Martin.

Folk, jazz, bluegrass, country, and rock – the banjo has played an important part in all of these genres. Lavishly illustrated, and thoughtfully written Banjo: An Illustrated History is a must-have for lovers of fretted instruments, aficionados of roots music, and music history buffs.

Shelly Peiken: A letter to her father

Shelly Peiken, Grammy nominated songwriter and author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter,  was a contributor to The Huffington Post blog. In it she dedicated a letter to her dad in honor of Father’s Day, which happened this past Sunday. Read what she had to say in the excerpt below!


COASS-Final_CVR_152159Dear Daddy,

Since you’ve been gone the world has gone a little mad. I miss you so, but there are things I’m happy you didn’t have to witness.

In 2001, terrorists flew a plane into the World Trade Center and both buildings crumbled to pieces. We watched it in real time on TV. Thousands of people lost their lives. It was horrible, Daddy. I’m so glad you didn’t have to see that.

In 2012 this crazy kid stormed into an elementary school and shot 20 little children. Can you imagine their parents’ heartbreak? You’re lucky you didn’t have to.

I also take heart in knowing you didn’t have to read about the guy who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Florida. And a few days ago fifty people from the LGBT community (an acronym we now use for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender), were gunned down at a nightclub and a young girl was a fatally shot signing autographs after her concert. I knew this girl, Daddy. I can’t stop thinking about her.

There’s so much gun violence…in movie theaters, shopping malls, army bases, college campuses, even churches. Nothing is sacred.

Then there were these two brothers who left a bomb in a knapsack at the Boston marathon. They were part of this extremist militant group called ISIS. I’ll spare you the details of what they’ve been up to.

What I’m trying to say is…as much as I wish you were still here I take comfort in knowing you escaped some very painful times. At least that’s what I tell myself when I want to feel better about missing you so much.

On a lighter note (or maybe not), the political climate is a circus. One of the big issues during the presidential debates this year was whose penis was larger. Can you imagine Kennedy and Nixon having that discussion?


Read more HERE

Twin Peaks FAQ giveaway!

Your chance to win a copy of Twin Peaks FAQ has doubled! Erie Gay News and PopCultureGuy are both having a giveaway where one lucky person will be able to win a copy of the book! To enter the contest, courtesy of Erie Gay News, click on the link below but hurry the contest runs from  June 21 to July 12!

>>Click here<<


To enter the giveaway, courtesy of PopCultureGuy click on the link below! The giveaway runs from June 20th – July 5th! Best of luck to you all!

>>Click Here<<

Twinpeaks_coverTwin Peaks, the infamously strange, seductive, and confounding murder mystery, first made network television safe for surrealism 25 years ago, is set to return to the small screen in early 2017. Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, the series continues to enjoy a hallowed standing in popular culture and remains a touchstone in the evolution of TV as an artistic medium.

For its many intensely devoted fans, Twin Peaks continues to beguile and disturb and delight; it’s a bottomless well of allusions, symbols, conundrums to ponder and images to unpack, an endlessly engrossing puzzle box, an obsessive’s dream.

Twin Peaks FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About a Place Both Wonderful and Strange by David Bushman and Arthur Smith (June 2016, Applause Books, $19.99) will guide longtime fans and the newly initiated through the origins of the series, take them behind the scenes during its production, and transport readers deep into the rich mythology that made Twin Peaks a cultural phenomenon.

Bushman and Smith provide detailed episode guides, character breakdowns, and explorations of the show’s distinctive music, fashion, and locations. With a sometimes snarky, always thoughtful – but never dry or academic – analysis of Twin Peaks‘ myriad oddities, mysteries, references, and delicious insanity, Twin Peaks FAQ is a comprehensive, immersive, and irresistible reference for experts and newbies alike.

Fun facts in Twin Peaks FAQ

Authors of Twin Peaks FAQ, David Bushman and Arthur Smith, have written a jam packed book full of facts for both veterans and new comers of the show Twin Peaks. With Twin Peaks return to television slowly approaching, now is the perfect time to catch up on all things Twin Peaks related with Twin Peaks FAQ. Courtesy of io9 Gizmodo, below are some facts that diehards of the show may not have been aware of, such as…


Twinpeaks_cover1) The Twin Peaks actually have names

According to a Lynch-drawn map, they are White Tail Mountain and Blue Pine Mountain—though the actual peaks glimpsed in the show comprise Mount Si in North Bend, Washington, where many of the exteriors were filmed.

2) Twin Peaks, Washington was almost Twin Peaks, North Dakota

Lynch and his Twin Peaks co-creator, Mark Frost, first intended their mystery to unfold amid the isolation of the Great Plains, but abandoned that idea after realizing evergreen forests would offer a more mysterious visual backdrop than barren prairies.

3) David Patrick Kelly (Jerry Horne) played Luther in The Warriors

How have I never noticed this before?

4) The part of Josie Packard was originally conceived for a different foreign actress

And one who’d worked with David Lynch and Kyle MacLachlan before: Isabella Rossellini. Joan Chen ended up playing the femme fatale role instead. (Page 83)

5) David Lynch never liked Windom Earle

Agent Cooper’s former partner arrives in town late in Season Two, and he was modeled by Arthur Conan Doyle fan Mark Frost after Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis, Professor Moriarty. But Lynch “reportedly found the character unsubtle and uninteresting,” and rewrote a lot of the finale to replace Earle with Bob in the final clash with Cooper.

6) This is David Lynch’s favorite song

It’s “Song to the Siren,” by Tim Buckley. It’s mentioned by the authors because when Lynch was unable to secure the song’s use in Blue Velvet, he collaborated with composer Angelo Badalamenti on a different tune that’s sung by Julee Cruise in that movie. A few years later, Badalamenti penned Twin Peaks’ now-iconic themes, while Cruise popped up as the ethereal bar chanteuse at the Roadhouse.


Read all 11 facts over at io9 or by clicking HERE

Workshop with Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers author of The Complete Singer-Songwriter, is hosting a Live online workshop today! Just pay what you want and login to start watching. You can also receive the Almost There album download for just 10 dollars! The live online show starts today at 8pm, you don’t want to miss it!

>>Click Here<<

00145576The Complete Singer-Songwriter is the ultimate guide for the modern performer, chock-full of tips, tools, and inspiration for both aspiring troubadours and those looking to take their craft and career to the next level. Author Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers draws on firsthand interviews with songwriting legends and rising stars; expert advice from managers, agents, lawyers, and publishers; and his own experiences as a performing songwriter. He offers this invaluable companion for singer-songwriters on their journey from idea to song to the stage, studio, and beyond.

 

 

 

A look inside The Complete Singer-Songwriter

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, author of The Complete Singer-Songwriter, offers some tips on how to keep your ideas flowing. Courtesy of SonicBids Blog we have a inside look at some of these tips. Read below for more!


00145576Every songwriter needs a nudge sometimes to keep writing. There’s no better way to learn and grow creatively than by simply finishing songs, but that can be easier said than done. What do you do when inspiration is not sweeping you off your feet, and the song ideas that you come up with seem dull and hackneyed?

One approach used by many songwriting groups is to play different kinds of creative games that involve writing a song according to specific parameters and setting a deadline. Yes, this is a form of songwriting homework, but the process of writing to spec like this can be playful and fun. It’s a relief sometimes to be given direction rather than always having to find your own way, and it will lead you to very different songs than you would typically write. Here are a few types of games that can help keep the ideas and songs coming.

1. Wordplay

The simplest songwriting game is to start with a word or phrase and write a song that incorporates it – the word or phrase doesn’t have to be the title or even a central element; it just needs to appear somewhere in the lyrics. This is the game notably played by Jason Mraz and the email songwriting group led by Austin musician Bob Schneider. As Mraz told me, his hit duet “Lucky” with Colbie Caillat, for instance, started from the phrase “me talking to you” (the opening lines are “Can you hear me? I’m talking to you”). Everyone in the group takes a turn giving the prompt – which might be as simple as brown or as odd as the nonsense word gumanema.

It’s possible to play this game solo and choose words for yourself, maybe by randomly picking words from a book or introducing another element of chance, but it’s more interesting to do with a partner or group – input from others forces you out of your usual patterns of thinking.

Once I was booked for a songwriter showcase and given the task of writing/performing a song with the phrase “the shortest straw.” At first I was flummoxed – I couldn’t imagine what to do with those words. But before I even had a chance to think more about it, I found myself imagining a character who feels perennially shortchanged in life, and ad-libbing lyrics over an E minor groove. Even though “the shortest straw” is just a minor detail in the resulting song (titled “Prayer”), this assignment gave me the impetus and the deadline to finish what turned out to be a keeper.

When playing this game, I recommend using words for physical/tangible things, and it’s a bonus if they have multiple uses or meanings. For instance, in my songwriting group we’ve used key and ticket (resulting, for me, in the songs “I’ve Got It Here Somewhere” and “Closer”).

You can also use words that define a theme or concept but don’t have to appear in the song itself – the game could be to write about envy, winter, or working in a cubicle. Avoid cliché themes (the road, breakups, Saturday night), and pick something that points the lyrics in an unexpected direction.

2. Storytelling style

Another area to explore in songwriting games is the way the story is told. There are so many possibilities beyond the usual contemporary style of describing your own experiences in first person. Here are a few prompts you might use in a songwriting game:

  • Write entirely in second person – not singing to you (as in “I want you”) but placing you at the center of the action, as in the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (“Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly…”).

  • Write in third person (he/she), even if the story is autobiographical. Writing about your own experience in third person may help you feel free to tweak the details, like a fiction writer, in order to make a better story.
  • Write in first person but make the story specifically and obviously not about you. Tell the story of someone from a different era, or living in a different kind of place, or older/younger than you are. Writing from the perspective of someone of the opposite sex is tricky but worth trying.
  • Write in the voice of an unlikeable, unreliable, or otherwise flawed character. Two masters of this are Richard Thompson and Elvis Costello, who have brought us inside the heads of some downright scary narrators. Remember that it’s essential to empathize somehow with your character, however awful he or she may be, so that the listener can connect emotionally with the story.


Read the rest of the tips here!

Elliott Landy talks with Clash Music

Elliott Landy, author of The Band Photographs 1968-1969, was interviewed by Simon Harper of Clashmusic.com. They spoke about the photographs he took of The Band, his memories of their time together, and about some exclusive photos that will only be seen at an exhibition in London in Proud Camden from June 6th to July 24th. Read an excerpt of the interview below!


00146104Have you previously exhibited these photographs in London?
No I haven’t, actually. I made maybe two shows in London in the past, and maybe one or two were scattered throughout these shows, but no, in general it’s really, for most of them, the first time that they have been shown as fine art prints.

Apparently there will be some unseen photographs in this exhibition?
Yes. What I did for this is that I went through 12,000 negatives with my assistant – actually, she went through 12,000 and I went through about 1200 that she picked out – and then I just chose a whole lot of pictures that are just really nice and that had never seen the light of day before. I just picked out what I thought were the best photographs.

This exhibition and the popularity of your book is really a testament to the international and enduring appeal of The Band. I don’t suppose that when you were taking these pictures that you thought they would have this life of their own…
That’s true.

But did it feel special at all? Were you aware of what potential these guys had?
No I wasn’t, and that was part of the reason that I was able to photograph them as intimately as you describe and as the pictures show: because there was no ulterior motive or ulterior thought. It was only what was happening at that moment and how can I get the best picture of it. And nothing in my mind was impure – by ‘impure’ I mean having a second reason for doing something rather than the thing itself that you’re doing. The second reason for doing something would be because they’re gonna be worth money in the future, they’re gonna be famous in the future, and so on, so none of that was part of my mental space.

When you first started working with them, they were pretty much unknown to you, right?
They were unknown to everybody. I mean, they didn’t exist as an independent band. Well, actually they did; they were The Crackers, but nobody knew them, they had no album out, and I guess if you went to certain bars you may have seen them, but they really were unknown as a public entity.

How did it come about that you first shot them? You were accosted by their manager, Albert Grossman, I believe?
He had sourced some pictures I had taken of [his other client] Janis Joplin that were really, really nice photographs, and then when The Band – they didn’t have that name yet – were looking for a photographer, he came up to me one night in Club Generation, which is the space that later became Electric Ladyland, and he tapped me on the shoulder and waved for me to come to the back of the room with him into like a broom closet. I didn’t know if he was going to throw me out or what was going on, but he said to me, ‘Are you free next week to take a picture up in Canada?’ I said, ‘Yeah. Who’s it for?’ He said, ‘Well, they don’t really have a name yet, but if you’re interested you can go and meet some of them – they’d like to see your pictures.’ So, I went up to the studio in New York City where they were recording, and that was it. (Laughs)


Read the entire interview HERE!

Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group Launches Backwing

backwing_screenshot

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, long the reader’s first choice for books on music, film, theater, television, and popular culture, is proud to announce the launch of backwing, a new digital community for creatives and fans.

Backwing will provide visitors with a vast array of information curated by and for aspiring and established actors, artists, authors, gurus, musicians, songwriters, producers, luminaries, entertainers, and, most broadly, fans. Every article on the site also serves as an open forum for those interested in a sustained discussion of any given topic.

“For nearly seven decades, Hal Leonard has provided consumers with the highest quality information available,” said Group Publisher John Cerullo. “We know who our readers are and what knowledge they crave. Backwing offers us a dynamic new means of reaching them, responding to their feedback, and cultivating conversations around our content in real time.”

Backwing is comprised of three main components. The first two—exclusive content pertaining to or drawn from HLPAPG products and a resource database populated with all manner of performing arts-related materials—will feature, in tandem with a vivacious comment section, multimedia created by and for HLPAPG authors and the publisher’s myriad industry associates.

“Since we reside at an intersection frequented by all manner of clientele, from nonprofits, educational organizations, and professional coalitions to gear, equipment, software, and instrument manufacturers, our contacts quite literally run the gamut of the performing arts world,” Cerullo explained. “We now aim to bring these brands together at backwing for the exclusive benefit of visitors to the site.

The third component, a direct-to-consumer sales portal featuring daily deals, giveaways, contests, and a slew of weekly/monthly special offers (many of which are also available to third-party vendors), can be found at backwingstore.com—an entirely separate domain.

Why two distinct websites? For the sake of every visitor’s experience, according to Cerullo: “Since backwing was designed with the end user foremost in mind, we’ve decided against tangling content and commerce. As such, multimedia content and resources are hosted at the deliberately noncommercial domain backwing.com while consumer products and services are restricted to the backwing Store.”

Thus, while backwing.com visitors may elect to peruse the site unencumbered by crass commercialism, backwingstore.com is always available to those who wish to explore HLPAPG’s catalog of more than 2,000 titles, take advantage of promotions featuring new releases and backlist titles, and enter contests to win fantastic prizes.

To get backwing off to a rousing start, HLPAPG is giving away great prizes for devotees of the performing arts, including an Epiphone guitar for music fans; a Rodgers + Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music package along with gift certificates to digitaltheatre.com for theater lovers; subscriptions to online streaming services for film and television buffs; and Met Opera on Demand Gift Subscriptions for classical music and opera enthusiasts.

HLPAPG encourages all performing arts enthusiasts, regardless of their skill level, industry status, or background, to join the creative conversation at its new digital hub. Welcome to backwing!

John Breglio at The Drama Book Shop

John Breglio author of I Wanna Be a Producer: How to Make a Killing on Broadway…or Get Killed, was at The Drama Book Shop in New York, NY! He was joined by Barry Weissler, producer of the Broadway show Chicago, to talk about his book, what makes a successful play, and much more! Watch the video below to hear what they had to say.

IWannaBeCOVERWhat does a producer actually do? How does one travel from that great idea for a show to a smash hit opening night on Broadway? In I Wanna Be a Producer: How to Make a Killing on Broadway…or Get Killed, John Breglio – a Broadway veteran with more than 40 years experience – shares an exceptional road map for the hows and wherefores, the dos and don’ts of producing a Broadway play. In this highly informative book, Breglio offers practical concepts for the aspiring producer and entertains with great personal anecdotes from his illustrious career as a leading theatrical lawyer and producer.

Breglio recounts not only his first-hand knowledge of the crucial legal and business issues faced by a producer, but also his experiences behind-the-scenes with literally hundreds of producers, playwrights, composers, and directors, including such theatre luminaries as Michael Bennett, Joe Papp, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Patti Lupone, August Wilson, and Mel Brooks.

Says Breglio, “Ultimately, my goal is to give the business of producing the respect it deserves. It is a profession that requires numerous skills, both business and creative. It demands relentless fortitude and optimism, and it should never be assumed casually without recognizing the enormity of the task.”

Working or aspiring producers, investors, directors, actors, designers, teachers — as well as those who are simply curious about the backstage reality of the theater — will relish John Breglio’s sage advice and irresistible storytelling. They’ll also treasure the included DVD of Every Little Step, a documentary of the auditions for the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line.

I Wanna Be a Producer is indispensable reading for theater professionals and fans of all levels – from high school drama clubs to college theater programs, from community theater groups and summer stock to The Great White Way.

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