For Songs

A podcast for and about songs and songwriting

About the show

This podcast is for those who love music but can't write a tune to save their lives. We talk with singer/songwriters of all stripes, professional touring musicians to those who can't quite catch a break. Maybe you'll hear something you'll like. Maybe not. But you will come away with a greater appreciation for the gift of songwriting, and how hard it really is.

Now sponsored by @thepugdc!

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  • Episode 27: A Conversation with Maia Sharp

    May 23rd, 2021  |  Season 1  |  43 mins 1 sec
    #aaa, #americana, #cherylstrayed, #maiasharp, #nashville, #rootsrock, #singersongwriter, #womeninmusic

    If you’ve ever wondered the kind of pain and emotion that goes into writing a song, listen in as singer/songwriter Maia Sharp walks us through her newest album Mercy Rising. Written as her 20-plus year marriage was ending, Mercy Rising is an honest, brilliant look into the all the emotions that come from such a traumatic, lifechanging event. How do you start over? When can you start feeling good again? Maia gives us a tutorial into how these songs came together and how she made best-selling author Cheryl Strayed cry after writing a song influenced by one of her books. Take a journey with Maia Sharp on this episode of For Songs.

  • Episode 26: A Conversation with Dan Murphy

    May 7th, 2021  |  Season 1  |  50 mins 25 secs
    #altcountry, #goldensmog, #guitar, #joestrummer, #newmusic, #otherdanmurphy, #pandemic, #rock, #songwriter, #soulasylum

    Ready for an all-out fanboy episode of For Songs? This is it! In this special show, I speak with former Soul Asylum guitarist/singer Dan Murphy, who still performs one-off gigs with my favorite band from my college years, supergroup Golden Smog. We talk about two brand-new songs from a yet-to-be-released album and two songs from Golden Smog’s first full-length album, Down by the Old Mainstream. Making this even better, we discuss our love for the Clash, and he shares how he tried to convince Joe Strummer to join Soul Asylum onstage at a show in New York. If that’s not enough to get you to listen in to this, I’m not sure what will.

  • Episode 25: A Conversation with Emily Brown

    April 7th, 2021  |  Season 1  |  41 mins 26 secs
    #emilybrown, #folkrock, #glencambell, #singersongwriter, #womeninrock

    Take a deep dive into the songwriting process with Berkeley, Ca.-based singer/songwriter Emily Brown. Emily walks us through the making of her latest album A Fish of Earth, which is bursting with lush orchestration, strong melodies, and haunting instrumentation. It is an inspired album, made even more so by her personal-yet-relatable lyrics focused on relationships—relationships with romantic partners, with parents, with expectations, and with religion. Emily discusses her songwriting process with a refreshing candor and humble nature. So sit back and take it all in, and welcome Emily Brown to For Songs

  • Episode 24: A Conversation with Sandra the Pie Lady

    March 26th, 2021  |  Season 1  |  20 mins
    #bars, #dc, #music, #pandemic, #pielady, #pieshop, #pieshopdc, #saveourstages

    We’ve chronicled how hard the last year has been on the musicians, but what about the independent venue owners? So many have closed, and others are barely hanging on. Washington offered some hope in recent stimulus legislation, but will it be too late? In this episode, I speak with Sandra the Pie Lady, owner of the Pie Shop, a small live venue in Washington. Sandra talks about the last year, the struggles, and how the community has fought back and given her and others some much-needed hope. Listen in, and order some pies!

  • Episode 23: A Conversation with David Childers

    March 19th, 2021  |  Season 1  |  41 mins
    #americana, #davidchilders, #folkmusic, #interstatelullaby, #ramseurrecords, #songwriter, #songwriting

    It’s been said that late bloomers bloom best. Not sure where I heard that, but it certainly applies to David Childers, the singer/songwriter based outside of Charlotte, NC. David’s one of the sharpest songwriters around, mixing southern wit, imagery, and charm with an Americana feel. His latest album, Interstate Lullaby, covers a broad range of themes from climate change to white supremacy. The characters in his songs are rough around the edge, gritty, and far from perfect. You’d think he’s been at it for his entire life, but it wasn’t until his late 30s and early 40s that he got serious. So for all you aspiring songwriters out there, grab a beer and listen in. And keep at it!

  • Episode 22: A Second Conversation with Yasmin Williams

    March 5th, 2021  |  Season 1  |  37 mins 40 secs
    #2020, #2021, #bandcamp, #livemusic, #spinster, #urbandriftwood, #yasminwilliams

    Soo…how’s your year going? Well, if you’re my next guest Yasmin Williams, it’s going quite well indeed! Her newest album Urban Driftwood is getting rave reviews in some of music’s biggest outlets, such as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and mainstream venues like NPR and the Washington Post. Oh yeah, and she’s been on this show a few times too! I’m honored to welcome Yasmin back to For Songs. Join us as we discuss her brilliant and breathtaking Urban Driftwood, how the album came together, and her expectations for the music industry in 2021…

  • Episode 21: A Conversation with Mic Harrison

    February 19th, 2021  |  Season 1  |  40 mins 59 secs
    #americana, #brightspot, #diy, #highscore, #micharrison, #steveearle, #vroys

    Some people are born to write songs and play in bands. Knoxville, Tenn.-based singer/songwriter Mic Harrison is one of those people. Music is in his blood, as his Dad gave him a guitar and taught him some early lessons. Since then, Mic and his band The High Score have been making music since the late 2000s. Mic joined me from Knoxville to discuss the band’s latest album Bright Spot, released in November 2020. We talk about four songs and how the pandemic has impacted not just the band’s trajectory but his artistic process. Grab a beer, take a seat, and enjoy!

  • Episode 20: A Conversation with Dom Flemons

    February 5th, 2021  |  Season 1  |  38 mins 44 secs
    #americansongster, #carolinachocolatedrops, #chocolatedrops, #domflemons, #maraineyblackbottom, #maraineyfilm

    Dom Flemons is on a mission: As the American Songster, Dom is out to right the terrible wrong that has left us with an incomplete history about American folk music. Throughout his career, starting with the Grammy winning African-American string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops and now as a full-fledged solo artist, Dom is unearthing the ignored and stolen contributions from Black musicians. But he’s as versatile as it gets—we talk about his reissued album Prospect Hill: The American Songster Omnibus, which covers pre-war blues, jazz, folk, all the way up to early 80s hip hop. So settle in and get comfortable, and let Dom Flemons walk you through time.

  • Episode 19: A Conversation with 3 Pairs of Boots

    January 22nd, 2021  |  Season 1  |  38 mins 38 secs
    #3pob, #americana, #countryrock, #everywhereigo, #guitar, #livestream, #longrider

    How many of us have wanted to leave our day job for our dream job? Meet Andrew Stern and Laura Arias of the California-based Americana duo 3 Pairs of Boots. In this episode, Andrew and Laura talk about their California-tinged country music and their newest album Long Rider, coming out on Jan. 29. Just two years ago Andrew quit his day job to focus on music full time. Learn more about their journey together and how the adventures of another free spirit inspires their songwriting. Listen in!

  • Episode 18: A Conversation with Michael Patrick F. Smith

    January 8th, 2021  |  Season 1  |  42 mins 18 secs
    #folk, #folkrock, #indierock, #mpfs, #thegoodhand

    Join me as I catch up old friend Michael Patrick F. Smith about his latest album The Great Away. Michael & I go waaayy back, elementary school! We haven’t seen or talked to each other in 25-plus years. Over that time Michael has written plays, songs, and now a book, which comes out next month. He’s shared the stage with Ramblin’ Jake Elliot and #forsongs veteran @Palefaceonline. In this episode, we talk about his latest album The Great Away, which came out last fall. We talk about his influences, writing styles, and how he goes about his work. Its not everyday you chat w/ someone you haven’t seen in 25-plus years!

  • Episode 17: It's a For Songs Christmas!

    December 17th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  54 mins 33 secs
    #christmasmusic, #cuba, #fairytaleofnewyork, #havana, #holidaymusic, #indierock, #mavericks, #musicpodcast, #paleface, #podcast, #pogues, #raulmalo, #scottmiller, #slp, #sqs, #sweetlizzyproject, #themavericks, #thescottmiller

    It’s the holidays! We know it wouldn’t be #Christmas without Christmas music, so for the last episode of For Songs this year, I feature four different and unique non-traditional holiday songs. We’ve got two covers—indie-rock legend Paleface’s tender take on the Pogues’ classic Fairytale of New York and DC-based world-music trio Veronneau’s evocative rendition of Joni Mitchell’s River. Then we highlight two originals: The Sweet Lizzy Project’s stunning This Christmas I’m Not Coming Home and Scott Miller’s Americana hymn The Kingdom Has Come. So sit back, drink some eggnog, or any kind of nog, curl up by the fire and listen in as we feature four holiday classics.

  • Episode 16: Another Word from Our Sponsor--The Pug

    December 11th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  18 mins 38 secs
    #bars, #dc, #music, #pandemic, #playlists, #saveourstages, #spotify, #thepug, #virus

    DC-based restaurant and bar owner Tony T of @thepugDC joins the show again to catch us up on the latest in DC #COVID19 news, its impact on local businesses and jobs (hint—it’s not good), and what not to joke about with your server if you are eating out these days. But most important, Tony dishes about music and how he creates playlists as a means to keep patrons in their seats at the bar. Yep, there’s a secret to it! So listen, find Tony’s latest playlists on Spotify and play along!

  • Episode 15: A Conversation with Peter Argyropoulos

    December 4th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  42 mins 50 secs
    candlebox, indierock, la, music, newmusic, pearl jam, peterg, rock, rocknroll, sonsofsilver

    Sit back, grab a beer, and listen in as LA-based indie rocker Peter Argyropoulos and I talk about his new band Sons of Silver’s newest EP Doomsday Noises. Doomsday Noises is a collection of five blistering songs that chronicle what happens when societies deliberately peddle misinformation, censorship, and vanity. Peter exquisitely details his band’s songwriting process and discusses how weird it is to be performing livestream shows with limited audience engagement. Buckle up for this one!

  • Episode 14: A Conversation with Lisset Diaz

    November 23rd, 2020  |  Season 1  |  44 mins 36 secs
    #christmasmusic, #cuba, #havana, #mavericks, #raulmalo, #slp, #sqs, #sweetlizzyproject, #technicolorslp, #themavericks

    It wasn’t that long ago that Lisset Diaz was teaching science at the University of Havana in Cuba. Now, after coming to Nashville in 2017, she is the lead singer and chief songwriter of an inspiring rock-and-roll band called the Sweet Lizzy Project. Lisset and her band came here to record a new album called Technicolor, which was released in February 2020. In this episode of For Songs, Lisset details the Sweet Lizzy Project’s incredible odyssey from Havana to Nashville, along with her own personal journey that led her to quit teaching and commit to music full time. Lisset’s story is one of perseverance, persistence, patience, and incredible talent. Listen in!

  • Episode 13: A Word from Our Sponsor--The Pug

    November 18th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  11 mins 49 secs
    #bars, #dc, #music, #pandemic, #saveourstages, #thepug, #virus

    Meet Tony T, owner of For Songs’ sponsor, the Pug, a bar on H St NE in Washington. Like many bars and restaurants in the area and around the country, the Pug has been closed since March. In this special edition of For Songs, we talk with Tony about how he’s been holding up and hanging on these last several months. What’s it like to own a bar that voluntarily shut down eight months ago, thinking and hoping the worst would pass, only to see the virus rage on stronger than ever as we enter the winter. What will it take to hold on? And how can you help the Pug and similarly situated venues? Find out by listening in…

  • Episode 12: Episode 12: A Conversation with Emily Barker

    November 9th, 2020  |  Season 1  |  38 mins 50 secs
    #climatechange, #emilybarker, #folkrock, #podcast, #redclayhalo, #songwriting

    What’s the best way to get a critical message across to your listeners? For Emily Barker, the best way is to make it personal. On her latest album A Dark Murmuration of Words, Emily recounts her travels from her native Australia in her early 20s to England to become a singer/songwriter. She uses her personal experience missing home to make a direct plea in her music for combatting our world’s climate crisis. On this episode of For Songs, Emily talks her passion for the environment, how she drives the point home in her writing, and her musical inspirations.