Podcast Gold: Radio Free Song Club

 

Innovative feature
launches this week with some pretty heavy hitters leading the attack.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Turn your radio dial knob to RadioFreeSongClub.com (or
iTunes, if that’s your thing), a free new monthly podcast called, logically
enough, Radio Free Song Club. It officially launched this week and features
music from veteran songwriters Freedy
Johnston, Laura Cantrell, Peter Blegvad, Kate Jacobs, Victoria Williams, Dave
Schramm, Freakwater, Jody Harris, and Peter Holsapple
, and is hosted by
Nicholas Hill. Special guest artists on the first four shows included Beth
Orton
, David Mansfield, Syd Straw, Sam Amidon and
others.

 

The premise of the song club is for each participating
songwriter to write, record, and submit a new song each month; the songs are
then highlighted in the one-hour radio show. Special guest artists on the first
four shows included Beth Orton, David Mansfield, Syd Straw, Sam Amidon and
others. You’ll be able to listen to full shows and individual tracks at the
RFSC official website.

 

Hill, a DJ at WFMU, teamed with singer-songwriter Jacobs to
develop Radio Free Song Club as a way to broadcast new music from their close
contemporaries “set within a loose, creatively stimulating atmosphere free of
commercial and career considerations.” As Jacobs puts it, “I envisioned a
collective of friends and acquaintances that would be nicely competitive and
fun, artistic and conversational, rather than self-promoting.”

 

Radio Free Song Club is recorded at Gary’s Chop Shop in SoHo (NYC). Hill
masterfully mixes tracks while engaging in-studio guest performers and
interviewees as well as taking phone calls from the club’s participating songwriters.

 

The monthly song submission deadline pushes artists to write
and complete songs, and release them to the world, even if each song isn’t
perfect. The format includes interviews, live performances, special guest
appearances, and newly recorded material – the bottom line being to provide known
singer-songwriters with an online platform to get new songs out to their fans
in a quick, spontaneous, and homespun way. Lyrics from the majority of the
featured compositions are also posted at the site. Some artists showcase new
material that will end up on an album, others test the waters with new ideas,
but everyone involved is surely having fun with the songwriting deadline.

 

Freedy Johnson notes, “Like many of us, I have the
hardest time finishing songs. But a monthly deadline forces you to look a song
in the eye and say ‘Hey, you. You done? Ok, then get the hell out of here.’
Otherwise they’ll sit around the house their whole life living off your
groceries. You know the story.” Laura Cantrell, who appears live on the
first program singing her song “Wave Those Tears Away,” comments,
“I’m in the midst of trying to make a record’s worth of songs… the idea
of joining such an esteemed group – I thought it would be a good place to air
out some of these songs.” In a telephone interview on the 4th program,
Peter Blegvad says, “I lost that muscle which creates the urge to pick up
the guitar and mumble and strum until a song emerges…by the generous impetus
of this initiative here, the Song Club, I have had that enthusiasm rekindled.”

 

[Drawings by Peter Blegvad]

 

 

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