Hey songwriters,

The final meeting of a chaotic year brought a mix of virtual and live music, good songs and thoughtful critique and discussion. In the backroom of the Starlite Lounge in Blawnox, members bagged nearly 1,000 Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle CDs, 34 to a bundle, for distribution among this year’s 28 participants. 

Using newly acquired technology, songs uploaded to the group’s Facebook page or emailed by Steve Gallo ( and Ken Parme ( were played and discussed. Members also heard and discussed songs by Victoria Montgomery ( and Sue Gartland ( that recently placed at the top of a regional songwriting competition hosted by the Pittsburgh chapter of Nashville Songwriters Association International.

The December assignment to explore diminished chords inspired diverse examples. Gregg Stone ( used a well-placed diminished chord played in a major key to make a sad song more somber. Darth D’Masta ( breezed through diminished chords in quick walk-down transitions among major chords, and J.D. Little ( showed how a diminished chord added little emotional value when played in his song written in a minor key. Learn more about diminished chords on the December Monthly Assignments page.

At the Jan. 6 meeting at the Starlite, the group will explore the vibes that give a song its identity. Get out of your comfort zone and write a song in a groove you haven’t explored before, or reinvent one of your previous songs in another style. Hear some examples on the January Monthly Assignments page.

CD distribution

Participants can get their CDs at producer Mike Hickman’s Electric Eye Recorders studio on Polish Hill. Contact Mike to set up a date and time for pickup: 512-785-2132, 3347 Melwood Ave., Polish Hill, 15219.