Take Me to the Bridge
This podcast series, while it did not last long, was a tremendous opportunity to talk with some incredible songwriters and to learn more about the craft of what makes a great song. Some of these folks were old friends and some of them are my songwriting heros. You can listen here or you can subscribe through iTunes.
Shawn Mullins's voice is a rare instrument which not unlike the man, is complex and full of contradictions. It's low, dark and world-weary until you get to the chorus when it takes wing, sweet, high and melodic like a thing with feathers. The content of Shawn's writing has just as many switchbacks and fascinating landscapes to explore above ground and below.
In this episode of Take Me to the Bridge, Shawn talks about his beginnings in music, his struggle with the overwhelming success surrounding "Rockabye" and his approach to writing these days.
In this episode Ben Wakeman talks about three of his new songs in different states of completion as he prepares to go into the studio to work on his next recording project. He talks candidly about the songwriting process, allowing a glimpse of what really goes into the making of a song.
Colin Hay is best known as the former frontman and principle songwriter for the hugely popular Australian group Men at Work in the 1980s, but in the almost three decades since, he has continued to write sturdy, striking and often beautiful songs.
Take Me to the Bridge host, Ben Wakeman spoke with Colin when he came through Atlanta in support of his most recent CD release:American Sunshine. In this interview Colin talks about what inspires his writing these days, about his early success with Men at Work and the challenges he faces with the music industry as he tries to get his new music out into the world.
Katie Herzig delivers her quirky pop songs like a secret weapon. With only a few words her delicate, quivery voice works it's way under your skin and into your head -- you find yourself humming her melodies for days. She talks in this episode of Take Me to the Bridge about discovering her voice and her songwriting process.
Matthew Perryman Jones will make you believe -- not because he's going to get up on a stump and shout in your face, but because when he sings his songs, you forget yourself and are completely taken in. In this interview on Take Me to The Bridge, he talks about his journey, his inspirations and the mystical power of melody.
Gretchen Peters broke into the inner circle of the Nashville songwriter scene which is no small accomplishment, but the commercial success her songs have found tell only a small part of her story.
This long anticipated episode features many of the great songwriters from previous episodes like John Gorka, Kristian Bush and Richard Shindell improvising a song on the spot from a lyric they had never read before. The resulting "songs" are wonderfully unique and surprisingly good given the fact that they are spontaneous, knee-jerk interpretations of the same idea. Take Me to the Bridge host Ben Wakeman provides interesting insights into the personality and style of each of the artists as he presents their versions on the same song.
If you could only choose one word to sum up David Wilcox, that word would be belief. His belief in the spirit and intention beneath the exoskeleton of the song is what fuels his writing, his performances and his life. In this interview, he talks in depth about the very spiritual nature of his songwriting and performs two songs live.
In this interview Caroline talks about growing up in Mississippi and how the sweet memories of her childhood are tempered by the bitter realities of segregation and the racial politics of that period. She performs three songs from her two previous CD releases and gives us a glimpse of the stories behind them.
Pierce Pettis has been working at music for a long time. He has written and probably forgotten more great songs than most artists will ever write. His rich and expressive baritone coupled with his stunning guitar work have made him a star on the Folk music scene for the last two decades. In this interview he talks about his songwriting successes, what inspires him and the struggles he has had along the way.
Vienna Teng plays the piano and sings her songs with such quiet confidence and grace that she effortlessly transports you into her world. She's been actively working on this world since she was a small girl, scribbling stories in journals and scoring soundtracks to her daily life dramas. In this interview she talks candidly about how the dreams of that little girl propelled her into the life of a songwriter.
Richard Shindell is to songwriting what Robert De Niro is to acting. It would be difficult to find anyone who takes the craft more seriously, but maintains such a practical and non-mystical approach to what he does. In this conversation he talks about the songs that have shaped his career.
When Craig Cardiff sings, he fills a room with warmth. He has one of those rare voices that strike the perfect balance between wonderfully articulate detail and rich, deep resonance. But you don't think about that when he sings, you simply like him and want to hear more.
Atlanta-based songwriter Matthew Kahler sings like a man who has nothing left to lose. The primal energy he wields to deliver his songs onstage has consistently drawn crowds show after show, year after year. In this interview Matthew talks about the quieter side of himself and his new musical direction.
In this interview, John Gorka talks extensively about his early musical development and the influences that helped shape him. He also talks at length about how his songs have given him the means to connect with the outside world and find a voice of his own. He performs two of his best loved songs live in this episode.
In this interview the former lead singer of Toad the Wet Sprocket talks candidly about his music career and "paying his dues on the other end" as he puts it. He talks in depth about his influences and early musical experience as well as his growth as a person and a songwriter on his quest to find his voice.
There are a handful of American songwriters who have been around for a long time and year after year continue to raise the bar for the rest of us, writing authentic and tightly crafted songs that capture a time, a place and an emotion in a way that rivals a great piece of literature. Eric Taylor is in this class
Pat Walsh writes songs like vibrant paintings with often surreal themes, addictive melodies and shimmering guitars. In this interview he talks with Ben about his muse, his favorite instruments to write on and of course how he cracked his 'Egghead.'
The experiment begins. In this debut episode, I interview my good friend and talented songwriter Kristian Bush of the multi-platinum-selling country band, Sugarland.