Spotlight on SSG – December 2010

Hello to all!

You may not be aware of it, but Guitar Noise has some wonderfully talented songwriters and we’re going to try to feature one of them here on the Guitar Noise Blog each month.

The songwriters in this case are from our Sunday Songwriters’ Group (SSG for short), a kind of online songwriting workshop that Nick Torres and Ryan Spencer created back in October 2002. The idea is that each week (every Sunday), the “runner” of the SSG will post an assignment that will, hopefully, inspire the readers to come up with a song, or song lyric, and thus create a song.

Over the past eight years, we’ve had some really great songs come out of the SSG and we’d like to share them with the rest of the Guitar Noise community.

Since it’s December and that usually brings Christmas to mind for many people, we’re going to start our “Spotlight on SSG” feature with a Christmas song written in 2008 by SSG member Kathy Reichert. Kathy’s written a lot of cool songs and we’ve been lucky to see a number of them spring out of SSG assignments (this particular topic, “write a fun Christmas song,” came from SSG mentor Vic Lewis during SSG Year 7).

Chatting with Kathy via email, I asked her some questions about songwriting and the SSG:

Guitar Noise: How long have you been participating in the SSG?

Kathy: My very first post was on Feb 1, 2005, and it was The Night Watchman, which I haven’t played in quite some time!

GN: What songs of yours would probably have never been written had they not sprung from SSG assignments?

Kathy: An incredibly large amount! Looking back I see No Reflection, Piano through the Ceiling, Serpentine, Heavenly Body, Everybody Lies, Getaway, Jack McKenzie, just to name a few. They’ve all become part of my repertoire.

GN: Have you any favorite SSG songs (not counting your own)?

Kathy: I have enjoyed, and performed One By One, by Nick, and also like his Not A Love Song, and many others. I’ve also performed Do you Remember, and Time For Making Love by John “the Celt” Roche, and sang harmony with him this summer on East of Eden. I also like My Baby’s Gone. Chris C’s songs always make me laugh (where has he gone, anyway?), and I like Vic Lewis’ Screw the Neighbors and Male Menopause Blues. I don’t want to slight anyone here! James Toffe has posted some incredible tunes, as well as Paul Brady, Dylan Barrett and many others.

GN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to write songs but isn’t sure about (a) how to start or (b) whether or not the songs are going to be good?

Kathy: As far as advice to would be songwriters, it would be just go for it. Find a topic that speaks to you and try to let others know how it makes you feel.

One thing I noticed going back and looking at all my posts on the SSG is how incredibly supportive and helpful the other forum members have been when commenting on my songs (Getaway created quite a stir as I remember!). No one is ever mean spirited at all, and they’ve all helped me finish off more than a few tunes. If I have any regrets with my participation, it’s that I don’t always have much of anything constructive to say about others songs.

As far as whether something is good or not, it’s a matter of taste, isn’t it? Again with the support of the SSG community, a marginal song can turn into something great, if you’re willing to take tips from others.Even when it’s not a keeper, there may be a line or two you go back and use later for another song.