October Meeting Recap and other news

Hey songwriters,
About half the songs showcased at the Oct. 7 meeting of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle included diminished chords, a songwriting assignment suggested by Bob Cook ( Those songs and a lot of smart critiques were shared by 15 songwriters, including one new member. Bob showcased songs he’s recorded since getting serious about writing and recording later in life, a little over a year ago.
“If I can record an album after going on Medicare,” he said, onstage, “anybody can. It’s never too late to start.”
The optional assignment for the 7 p.m. Nov. 4 meeting at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern is to write a song inspired by a photo. Dennis McCurdy ( will play the featured set.
Album project
As you may have heard, Songwriters Circle album producer Doug Wilkin ( plans to retire next year and move to Florida. His last official function with the group will be to run sound at the Nov. 14 CD release event at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
In July, a committee of Circle members with extensive recording experience met at Wilkin Audio to review the CDs and websites of about a dozen local producers in search of someone with the equipment, location, producing skills and nurturing, educational demeanor the album project will require as it enters its second decade. Several candidates were chosen. After follow-up contacts and Doug’s walk-through of a potential new facility, the new project partner was selected.
At last week’s meeting, the group was introduced to Mike Hickman of Electric Eye Recorders (, A seasoned musician, Mike worked in Austin with veteran performers and amateur artists new to recording. His studio is on Polish Hill, less than a mile from Bloomfield Bridge Tavern. A familiar spectator at the Tuesday open stage, Mike has been a member of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle for about a year and has produced Circle members including Bob Cook, Jess Klein ( and Good Thing, the collaboration of Brittany Hautz ( and Ryan Williams (
“I can’t replace Doug. I’m a different person,” said Mike, at the meeting. “But I understand what you’re doing with this project. I think a big part of recording is feeling comfortable, not feeling pressured, just being relaxed and able to do what you do, and I try to create that atmosphere in my studio. I’m looking forward to working with you.”
The next Songwriters Circle album project will launch in March 2015. Rules and the duping-participation fee will remain the same, but the recording fee will drop to $25 for each of the first three hours, $40 per hour for additional time. The previous recording fee was $25 for each of the first three hours, $50 per hour for additional time.
See you soon,