I have been asked to help come up with some ideas for how to get my original music out there. I currently have no clue what to do. I was ruminating on the idea of making just guitar/ Vocal videos and posting them to my fan-run fb page and letting Y’All vote on which ones I should take to studio and release as radio ready.

If that’s something you (My Listeners) would like to take part in, I would be honored. I put the fb page above, So just go there and give me your opinion on this idea. If the idea has enough interest I will begin the videos and start posting them in the next few weeks.

See Y’All out there :D

NEW !! fb page Ray Gifford has video

In response to a great turn out, I have posted a video as promised. It is linked @ my fan page on fb.

Little update 4/11

My Next Scheduled public Show is Friday the 17th @ Madisons in Bennington from 7-10pm.
Then The 24th Eagles 310 in N. Adams from 8-11 pm
And then, The 25th @ The Purple Pub in Williamstown from 1-ish to 4-ish. (Mixed Show W/ The Awesome Lita Williams)
Was a much busier Friday than I expected. Had a fun time hanging out and playing for the good folks @ The Centers For Living And ReHab Fri. afternoon. I boogied from there to go play with some friends @ The P.N.A in Adams Mass. Had a blast With Larry B. On Bass, Arnie on drums and Leroy on guitar and Banjo.
I’ve been finding awesome folks to Co-Write with. We have a great new song written by Kali Bushey and I called “FOR ME.” Kali is a talented 16 yr old with a fun attitude and loves to sing.

See Y’All out there :D

Loving The Ride

I was thinking about this crazy ride we’re on called life and I realized how great it is. It’s a journey and journeys have ups and downs, Slow and fast times. If you’re never down, You won’t ever acknowledge the effort it takes to get up and the gratification of succeeding. If you’re up, It’s a great time to see what can be done to grow a bit more and stretch yourself. When it’s slow, smell the roses and prepare for the next steps. When it’s fast, Run, Run to win with no exceptions and no apologies.
If it feels like you’re alone remember, There are fewer runners at the head of the pack.

Wow ! Purple Pub. (Next Shows)

Had an incredible night hosting the open Mic. @ The Purple Pub. It’s now 12:55 am, just got home and I’m wired.
Thank you to PJ, Lita, ZEN, Kase, Lemme, and The Bomb Bartender. You all rocked.

My next shows are Friday @ Madisons in Bennington and Sat. @ The Adams Ale House.
See Y’All out there :D

Purple Pub Open Mic. April 17th 8-11pm.

I will be Hosting an Open Mic. @ The Purple Pub on Spring Street in Williamstown Mass. from 8-11pm.

7 Song Forms

7 Forms
There are seven generally accepted forms in the song writing world. These forms give structure to the art of songwriting and believability for the listener. We all want to be heard, and furthermore to be understood. Striking up a relationship with your listener is paramount to getting your story across to the audience. This relationship will develop by giving your listener something they can digest by adding your words and emotions to the structures they love and understand.
Some of the greats in the music world have said that “there are no rules, just suggestions.” I highly recommend learning those suggestions. Only then can you really begin to understand and control how your musical story is able to grasp the listener and how you can control the process and possibly even deviate from the “norm” expected.
I will now list, in no particular order, the forms and in the next post explain the parts that go into making those forms.
1. AAAA.
The first form is an old standard. Folk style music and rap seem to be its strongest adherents.
You may see it Represented as AAAA. A repeat of the same structure from section to section. It is a fairly linear, storytelling format. All verses, no chorus, no bridge. But possibly instrumental work to spice it up.
This form has a verse then refrain and repeat as needed.
Good Ole Rock n Roll. Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Instrumental Chorus then Chorus out.
4. Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-BRIDGE-Chorus
Very popular with this form, is to add an Instrumental before or after the bridge. This form is a money maker and very popular. It allows the writer to add additional information in an “AHA!” moment or a turnaround in the story line.
5. Verse-PreChorus-Chorus- Verse-PreChorus-Chorus-Bridge-(Verse)-PreChorus-Chorus.
Immensely Popular and used in danged near every genre. Instrumentals and beats are added to flavor this bad boy and it has worked.
6. Verse-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus.
Think Brown eyed Girl. Obviously a hit maker. The trick here is the last line of the Verse always being the “catch” and ready to lead to EPIC CHORUS.
7. Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Musical Turn Around-Instrumental-Bridge-Chorus.
This is more popularly called the Rondo style. Very engaging to the listener, This form opens up with the “Get your but up and dance” Chorus and gives the band a chance to shine instrumentally. One song in particular shows how well it can be used for love song purposes as well. Good Morning beautiful, Performed by Steve Holy and written by Zachary Lyle/Todd Cerney.

NOW, In all fairness I did kind of start backwards. I am introducing you to the Macrocosm and then breaking it down from there. In the next post we will be looking at what all these smaller sections mean and how they affect the song and the listener.
See Y’All out there :D

Thank yous’ and songwriting

First: Thank you to everyone who comes to my shows. It wouldn’t be the same without you. Thank you to my loving and supportive family. An artists life can a bit of a roller coaster ride, but they hank in there with me and it’s appreciated.
TWO: I will be @ THe Eagles 310 in N. Adams sat 2/21 from 8-late. come on down. great people and loads of fun.
A quick touch on song forms.
There are generally recognized 7 (Seven) forms that songs fall in to. That doesn’t mean every song has to, but these are the general guidelines that make a song recognizable and that the human mind can grab onto and associate with. This is a good thing. This means we can write and perform a song and have a real good idea where it fits and who your audience is most likely to be.
Now that being said most writers write two KINDS of songs. The ones for themselves, friends and Family. You know, the one poking fun @ uncle Arnie the time the dog ate his hot dog that no-one but family would get. The other Kind is written for the purposes of exploitation. Exploitation means GETTING PAID. And we like getting paid. Do both, be happy AND have some money.
Next post will outline in more detail the Seven forms.
See Y’All out there :D

Songwriting Pt3 Talent vs Skill

Talent Vs. Skill
The best analogy I can come up with is wild horses. Horses are born to run, and man can they run! They’re beautiful, powerful and full of potential. The question is, Potential for what ? They are born with the natural talent to run. It’s in them, Period. Just like your ability to create, or our emotions. It just is.
What makes the difference between talent and skill?
Skills can be learned. You can use skills to harness your wild horses and shape your creative talents and emotions to do your bidding. A crude example being, A horse can pull 1,000 lbs. IF paired with another horse, They don’t pull 2’000lbs. NO SIR. When trained and harnessed, can pull up to 4,000lbs or more. That’s an exponential increase in output and power. That’s why you hear things like “Find your passion.” Passion and Discipline work as multipliers for you innate talents.
Your passion,emotions and talents are wild until you harness them with skills and discipline.
This doesn’t demean or lessen the creative flow, it make it stronger. This process of self discipline will give your creative juices more places to flow and develop. It can be more creative and ever expanding.
Don’t limit your gifts by riding on talent alone. Don’t cheat yourself and the rest of the world.
Find your talents and train them. Find others who have the same passions. You may find it in books, online, the neighbor or college classes. it could be sports, writing, building or caring for others. Whatever it is, I encourage you to find it and cultivate it.
Be the best you can be.
Wild horses/ emotions can be beautiful, but they can also be destructive. trampling anything in their path and crapping all over with no regard.
After this post we’ll be moving out of the esoteric and into the more concrete realms of the title regarding songwriting.
See Y’All out there. :D

Song writing. Round TWO

Song writing is fun. Writing with another songwriter or artist can be exciting and daunting at the same time. we bring all our hopes and fears, inner demons and outer delights to the table. We try to mold and mesh our thoughts and emotions into an actionable and intelligible design. We share ourselves with another human being, laying bare the thread-work of our being and BLA BLA BLA BLA…………..
It’s all true !!! We do those things and more. But to bring it down to the basics, We share and collaborate. In the process we create. Sharing, understanding, patience and humility are the greatest assets anyone can bring to the table. Some days it’s tough. You can’t string two sentences together to save your life. Other days you’re overflowing with ideas. Just like a marriage you show up anyways. The arts can be treated like a hobby and for some people that works. For an artist who feels this is a way of life, you treat it like a commitment.
I heard a great analogy a few times I will share with you. It’s called the chicken and the pig.
When you eat breakfast, you see the egg and the bacon.
The chicken lays the egg and you eat it. The chicken is involved.
The pig on the other hand, Is commited. No going back
Find a little time to commit. If it’s one hour a week. Do it that one hour a week every week, religiously. If you find mornings work best, take 30 minutes every morning and do it. Write something, read something. watch a related video. Anything relevant. DO IT !!!

I will continue to post on this topic once a week. We will be exploring the many facets of songwriting together.
See Y’All out there