May meeting recap

Hey songwriters,

There’s a theory that a truly “good” song works no matter how it’s performed. That was put to the test with the optional May songwriting assignment: significantly alter one of your existing songs.

At the May 3 meeting of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle, members performed part of their original versions and alternative interpretations that switched the genre or lyrics or was played on another instrument. The topic sparked good discussions about the nonverbal information communicated through genre or performance style.

Heather Donovan ( brought a softer side project that rocked out, nonetheless, prior to a good open stage.

Following up on the success of the May songwriting assignment, the optional task for June is to flip the gender of the central character in one of your existing songs. Don’t just change “he” to “she,” the idea is to explore how gender reversal impacts the story.

Newish Circle members, sisters Jessica Lanigan ( and Chelsea Ali (, will play the featured set at the next meeting, 7 p.m. Tue., June 7.


An old friend of the Songwriters Circle, Mark Muretisch (, brought several books about songwriting and a cool idea. The books will become the foundation of a new members feature — a library of songwriting reference materials. Donate your songwriting books or magazines, or recommend websites, blogs, videos, etc. A “resources“page has been added to this website, and members can link, download or borrow materials (physical items will be due back in a month). Mark nixed the idea of calling it the Mark Muretisch Memorial Library for Compulsive Songwriters.

Album project

The dust is still settling after last week’s softish deadline for duping fees, but it’s clear we’ll need another two-disc package to contain all the songs. Next date to remember is the June 3 first-session deadline. By that date, participants must have contacted producer Mike Hickman ( to schedule a recording session. The session can occur later, but it has to be on Mike’s books by June 3. The first-session deadline is intended to advance the project and prevent a logjam of new session bookings near the recording deadline. See complete 2017 project rules on this website.

Venture Outdoors Festival

On Sat., May 21, Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle will perform all of the live music at the annual festival of outdoorsy activities at Point State Park, Downtown. No pay. To get details and a spot on the roster email

Other stuff

– After some initial setup issues, the weather cooperated at the May 1 Pittsburgh Marathon, where Songwriters Circle members had a lot of fun playing for the runners and sharing breakfast. Thanks, Dennis Malley ( for the sound gear and solid production.

– Details upcoming about Circle members selected to play at this year’s SummerSounds music festival in Greensburg. If you weren’t contacted by May 4, sorry, you’re not on the roster.

– Check your email for information about an offer for a group discount on tickets to “The Lion,” a singer-songwriter musical, at City Theatre.

See you soon,

– John