June meeting recap

Hey songwriters,
Is it better to write for the arrangement you envision or for one singer, one instrument? Should you play for no pay? If you’re going to rhyme, when, where and how?
Those questions and more were discussed by 14 songwriters, including two new members, at the June 2 meeting of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle. A diminished number of writers explored diminished chords — the optional June songwriting assignment — but a lot of really interesting songs were workshopped and critiqued.
And for the gadget oriented, Brian Price ( accompanied himself with an unusually adaptable foot drum (, and new member David Paine ( brought a very cool folding acoustic guitar that fits in an airliner’s overhead storage.
In the featured slot preceding the open stage, Pittsburgh newcomer Bryce O’Laughlin( showcased a half hour of well-structured, hook-laden songs he’d written in his native West Virginia.
Alex Spore’s ( suggestion for the optional songwriting assignment at the July 7 meeting: Do some research in writing a song. Interpret that how you want — research a topic and write a song about it, research a musical technique and incorporate it in your song, research diminished chords, etc.
Meet newish member Mike Suley ( when he plays the featured set at the July 7 meeting.
After recently getting a message from the group, a member suggested that the long listing of email addresses at the beginning of group messages could be hidden by Bcc-ing them. Actually, the addresses are intentionally listed to accommodate and encourage contact. Use them to exchange comments, collaborate, set up get-togethers, add to mailing lists or to complain about the long listing of members’ email addresses at the beginning of group messages.
Album project
Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle’s 11th annual compilation album will include 26 participants, including seven first-timers. The group will get the same low replication/packaging deal from Nuvidia that we’ve enjoyed since the project started in 2005 ($1.80 per 2-CD swing-arm jewel cases, replication, printing, packaging 1,000 units).
Using money remaining from last year’s projects, Songwriters Circle will pay $25 toward each participants’ recording fees — that means your first hour in the studio is covered. Producer Mike Hickman ( will get a lump sum from the group’s treasury covering 1 hour at the special group rate for each participant. If you’ve already started recording, contact me at or 412-263-199 — we’ll work it out.
Next deadline: By Fri., June 5, contact Mike (512-785-2132) to set a date for your first recording session. The first-session deadline is intended to advance the project and prevent a log jam of new sessions near the recording deadline. To refresh your memory about project rules, including some new stuff, see Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle CD 2016 on this website.
On. Fri., June 5Alex Spore ( played the pre-show set preceding Beatlemania Now, the headliner at the launch of the SummerSounds music festival at St. Clair Park, Greensburg. For the fifth year, members of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle will play all of the pre-show sets throughout the free outdoor festival, Fridays through August.