Original songs in the session

A few older folkies are on record declaring that people shouldn’t write new songs. Their reasoning goes: Unless a song is sung regularly in public, it will be forgotten. Since opportunities to sing are limited, every time you sing a new song you’re starving some wonderful old song of attention, causing the old songs to... Continue Reading →


Arranging a session song II: Instrumentation, lead breaks, flow

Instrumentation Maybe this is your regular session, and you knew before you arrived that Mal was likely to bring his banjo and Ian’s in town this week with his button box. Maybe you’re in a strange city and you’ve walked into a session bursting with mandolins and fiddles. As song leader, you’ll never have total... Continue Reading →

Welcoming strangers

An acquaintance once invited me to a session in another city. I stepped into the crowded pub with guitar in hand and nervous anticipation on face. My acquaintance wasn’t there, and hadn’t warned anyone else that I was coming. Despite being clearly visible, standing awkwardly in the room’s entrance with an instrument, I was studiously... Continue Reading →

Arranging a Session Song I: Key, Tempo, Repetition

How many times have you thought, ‘I love this song – but it’s not a session song’? You’re not obliged to sing any song the way you originally heard it, or as it was recorded by the original artist. Many songs can work well in sessions, with a little creative arrangement. Key We’ll talk more... Continue Reading →

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