Write Away Magazine - April


The lyric writers magazine

In This Issue...


12 Man in Black

17 Rachael M Starr

18 Taylor Sappe

20 Forlorn Hope


04 The Lyric Doctor

08 Mark Townley

10 Daryn Wright

16 Bamil

22 Matchmakers

02 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk



Wow, I can’t believe it’s April already. Here comes

issue 4 of Write Away, lovingly put together for

your enjoyment.

I’d like to thank you all for your continued support. This

is not your usual music magazine. It’s all about the lyrics,

and offers musicians and artists of all abilities an unbiased

opportunity to showcase their hard work all around

the world.

In this issue we meet up with our very own Lyrics Doctor,

ready and waiting to answer any lyric related questions

you, my readers may have. Just drop me an email

jane@writeawaymagazine.co.uk and I’ll forward your

questions to him.

Also let’s welcome onboard Vocal Coach Paul Sykes, who

is to become a regular contributer to my team, offering

some fascinating insights into the vocal ranges of featured

artists, along with some great vocal pointers to the

many singers in our midst.

And a huge thank you too to my regular writers Daryn

Wright and Simon Wright for the invaluable information

they are providing me with to help everyone to brush up

on lyric writing skills and become the very best lyric writers

they possibly can.

You’ll find some fascinating articles in this issue, and

some incredible talent too. Don’t forget to send me your

details if you’d like to feature on my Matchmakers page

where you’ll find some wonderfully talented people

searching for the right persons to collaborate with on

their song writing journeys. Maybe you could be the one

for them...

If you’d like details of advertising opportunities available

to music related buisnesses or services within the pages

of my magazine, please drop me an email to jane@writeawaymagazine.co.uk

and request a media pack.

Relax and enjoy... Jane x



Rachel in Brisbane,

Australia, asks: I've

noticed a lot of writers

coming through with poor

spelling and grammar. Not so

bad if they're just learning

English, but many seem to just

throw things together. How polished

should one’s work be?

Rachel -- As with so many questions,

the answer is, “it

depends.” If I’m just playing

with ideas, they’re usually more

or less like sketches that a

painter might make, and as

such I’m not too worried about

spelling and grammar. Those

can be fixed later. But if I’m presenting

the song, it makes

sense for things to be spelled

correctly (unless the misspellings

would be in character

for the protagonist). Of course,

a song is meant to be heard,

not read, so it’s sometimes hard

to say whether spelling mistakes

would be in character or

not, but I do try to use spellings

that reflect the way that the protagonist

would say or sing the


A finished song should make

sense in the voice of the singer

or main character. With that in

mind, my songs often include

“ain’t” or “gonna” or double

negatives (“I don’t need no

part-time love”). I sometimes

speak that way, but only in certain

situations. And when I do

use those words in a song, they

fit the character or narrator.

You want your song to feel real

within the context of the lives

and situations it describes,

even if that’s not the way you

would normally talk. And to get

to that point, the real work is

often in the rewriting. I typically

rework lines in my songs for

weeks or months (sometimes

years) before I feel they really

reflect the voice of the character

or the nuance of the situation

while also having the formal

structure (rhythm, rhymes,

alliteration, etc.) needed for a


Happy SongwRxiting!

The Lyrics Doctor

The Lyrics Doctor is the songwriter,

singer, and guitarist for

the bands The Gincident

(www.thegincident.com) and

Her Dog Henry (www.herdoghenry.com)

If you have a question you’d like

to ask our lyrics doctor, please

email it to me.


04 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk



Protection of creative works is referred to as a

copyright. A copyright is a protection of

authorship covering both published and

unpublished works that has been created and fixed

to a tangible medium of expression.

A tangible medium of expression can be literary,

dramatic, musical, and artistic works such as poetry,

novels, movies, songs, software, or architecture,

but does not protect facts, IDEAS, systems,

methods of operations, or TITLES, although it may

protect the way these things are expressed.

In the United States, and the UK, your work is considered

copyright protected the moment it is created

and fixed in a tangible form to be perceived

directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Tangible perception is when a work of art has

proof of ownership with documentation concerning

when the work of art was created.

Tangible documentation needs a time stamp for

proof of when the copyright started. This must be

in a form that cannot be altered, or grouped with

other time stamps as additional proof of time of

authenticity. The practice of sending registered

mail to yourself is no longer admissible as proof of

authenticity due to its contents not documented,

and the easy ability to alter the contents of a

sealed envelope. So how then can we time stamp

it? Email is one form, saving both sent and

received copies of your work, including the files

attached to the email as well as being written out in

the contents of the email. Publishing the work on

any website is also timestamped. Date of release

to any form of media. It is advised to take photos of

any time stamps for additional proof of authenticity,

being sure to capture the time stamp in the

photo. Registering with the copyright office is the

ultimate proof and has the best protection for your

work of art. A registered copyright is considered

authentic from the time of creation as long as the

filing is within five years of when it was created,

otherwise its authenticity starts from the point in

time the registration was completed.

Other forms of proof would be a bar code attachment,

a recorded CD or other hard type recording

media such as a vinyl record, DVD, or duplications.

Keep all duplication receipts as additional proof.

You can not get enough proof of authenticity. The

more you have, the less likely you will run into a

problem of someone infringing on your copyright.

Why should we register a copyright, if copyright

laws grant authenticity at the moment of creation?

If the work is brought to litigation for a determination

of two or more parties claiming to own the

work of art, a registered copyright can obtain

lawyer fees and statutory damages if the owner

wins the lawsuit, whereas a non-registered copyright

cannot. A non-registered copyright can grant

a cease and desist order, meaning the court can

order someone who is using your copyright to stop

at once from using it, and also order any further

use of said works to pay dividend of profits to the

original owner.

If you have no proof you own it, you don’t own it.

This is how the court will perceive the copyright if

it comes to litigation, and you have no proof of

authenticity. Always keep all forms of proof, saved

with backup copies.

Is there an exception to any of this? Yes! Not all

countries adhere to international copyright laws,

meaning they do not punish someone inside their

country for stealing your creations. How can I protect

against this? You can search the copyright

office and determine what country you may not

wish to have your creation released into. It is unfortunate

there are still countries that do not protect

against this kind of theft, and again, the best way

to protect your work is to register with the copyright


Information for this article was obtained from

research on information mostly provided directly

from the library of congress, and is authorized to

use in an educational form.

Written by Daryn Wright





The Cut Up Lyrics Technique

Simon Wright

Writing impactful lyrics isn’t an

easy skill and even experienced

lyricists sometimes find themselves

staring at a blank screen. If

you’re looking for some writing inspiration,

then why not try the Cut Up lyric

writing technique. David Bowie, Bob

Dylan, Kurt Cobain, and The Beatles are

amongst the stars who have used this

technique, so you will be in good company!

Understanding the Cut Up technique

In the late 1950s William Burroughs,

working with artist Brion Gysin, developed

a surrealist ‘cut up’ technique

whereby words and phrases from different

written works were cut out and then

pieced together to create a new piece of


David Bowie’s use of the Cut Up technique

Bowie is rightly regarded as one of the

great musical artists of the 20th century,

having penned hits such as Heroes,

Starman, Life on Mars, and Rebel Rebel.

And he was a major proponent of the Cut

Up technique.

He is said to have cut out words and sentences

from magazines and diaries,

which he then worked with as part of his

lyric writing process. Bowie commented

“What I’ve used it for is igniting anything

that might be in my imagination”.

And in a 2014 interview with

LouderSound he expanded on this, saying:

‘I’ll use them to provoke a new set of

images, or a new way of looking at a subject.

I find it incredibly useful as a writer’s

tool. And I’m amazed these days at

the amount of cut-up sites that are now

on the internet. It’s quite phenomenal.

There are at least 10, and two or three of

them are excellent. I’ve used them too.

I’ve put a bunch of pieces of text into the

thing, then hit the cut-up button, and it

slices it up for me [laughs]. In ‘94, when I

was really starting to get into the computer

in a major way, I had a programme

devised so that I could specifically do

that. Most of the lyric content of the

Outside [2003] album came out of that

programme. But now they’re all over the

place, especially on poet sites. There are

a lot of poets who still work in that

method, so I’m not alone’

Why randomness helps

The human brain has a tendency to function

in a linear predictable fashion, but

that’s not always conducive to creating

memorable lyrics. The merging of several

very random disparate words or

phrases can create lyrics that are

instantly more interesting. And that

maybe make the listener think about the

song’s possible meaning.

How you can use the Cut Up technique

Bowie’s 2014 interview referenced websites

that automate the process of coming

up with random words and sentences.

But I think it’s more fun to go old

school and cut out some random phrases

from magazines or newspapers and

then see what they inspire. So all you

need is a pair of scissors and then

you’re ready to get started!

About Simon Wright

Simon is an Irish lyric writer who lives in

Scotland. He collaborates with musicians

across the world to turn his lyrics

into songs. Check out his website



06 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

Bringing The Studio To You

Affordable music production specialising in solo intrumentalists

and song writers. We can help you build your musical ideas!

The twist... We bring the studio to you!

Thats right you don't even have to leave your home!

We opperate in Devon, Somerset and the surrounding areas.


5 Essential Elements

for Successful

Songwriting - I Call it


By: Mark (Markus T)

Townley (c) 2016

Ihave been writing songs for

over 30 years now across a

wide range of genres, for

myself, bands and also for others. I

would call myself semi-professional

songwriter as I have been doing

this whilst also running other various

commercial business interests,

and balancing that with a

busy family life!

My primary musical skills are piano

and voice where I started classical

studies at age 7 and continued that

for 10 years. I also played guitar all

through this time (self taught)

moving into rock bands in the 80s

and then jazz ensembles through

the 90s. These bands gave me the

need and opportunity to write

songs as we always made it a goal

to have a mix of covers and original

songs in our performances.

Over the last 5 years I have got

much more into song production

with the great music DAW software

that you can set up and use in your

own home studio these days. That

in itself is another learning journey

and gives me great respect for the

producers and audio engineers I

have worked with over the years.

I have had many songs recorded

and performed live across the

world in venues large and small,

but most songs written mainly for

a smaller local fan base, and of

course many songs that never

really went anywhere. Such is the

nature of songwriting.

I liked a quote I heard recently that

if you can’t go back and listen to

your earlier songs and cringe a little,

then you haven’t grown as a

writer or artist. That definitely

applies to me and I think it is

healthy to believe that your last

song written was your best effort

so far.

I am now also co-founder of a new

original songwriters collaboration

and distribution online website

business called

www.musindie.com so I get to see

and hear lots of new songs, writers

and artists coming through the


I trust that gives you some background

to my experience and context

of my thoughts and views here

on what I think are essential elements

for successful songwriting.

There is of course no single success

formula that can be applied

to writing songs, because words

and music is art and interpretation

and perspective play a big part

also. However, when you break

down successful songs across various

genres there are definitely

some structural and performance

elements that have let to their success.

Let me quickly also say for the purposes

of this article that I will

define “successful songwriting” as

a song being ultimately downloaded,

streamed, listened to and

liked by many listeners and fans -

because “success” can also mean

different things for different people.

So here are what I consider 5

essential ingredients for successful

songwriting, otherwise known

by me as “SPLAQ” - which stands


- Style

- Purpose

- Listeners

- Artists

- Quality

All elements being of equal importance

and not necessarily in that

order (just makes SPLAQ easier to

remember). Let me now explain

each of the elements in a bit more

detail to hopefully help you on your

journey of writing more successful


There are many great online and

attendance songwriting classes

that also go into much more detail

on these but here are my initial

thoughts to keep you going - for


There is a little bit to read through

below so do make yourself comfortable,

perhaps go and get a cup

of tea or coffee (or perhaps even

take a Ctrl Print of this article) and

read on...

STYLE (& Structure)

One of the first things I do in sitting

down to write a new song is to

think about the Structure and Style

of the song as the words, mood

and melody will typically lend

themselves to a genre, style and

structure. Sometimes the words

will give inspiration to the style and

structure, other times the melody

and chords will start to set the

mood for the lyrics.

The importance of Style and

Structure will also start to lay

down the foundations for who the

likely primary listening audience

will be and the foundation for the

Structure is also then determined

by the Style and Genre of the

song. If you start to think of Pop,

Rock, Country, Dance, Jazz and

even Classical then there is a predominant

structure to those songs

in terms of sections and length.

For example Commercial Pop will

typically aim for no more than

3m30s (radio play length) with

Verses and Multiple Repeated

Choruses. Jazz songs typically following

an A section B section

style. Dance Tracks with the 8 - 16

sections for Intro, Buildup, Drops,

Chorus, Outro etc.

Also things like a strong intro to

what the whole song is about in

the first 30 seconds, main chorus

around 1 minute mark and a typical

climax to the song at the 66%

point or 2/3rd way then followed by

the outro. Marking these sections

out in typically 4, 8 or 16 bar sections

(for a 4/4 beat song) is a useful

exercise. I have seen people

use colours effectively with this in

their tracks or song outline so you

can visually see the intro, build, climax

/ chorus and outro for your

songs. Much research links the

science of mathematics and music

and I can very much attest to this

playing out in most of the songs

that have ever been written.

08 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

I say typically above because there

are of course no written rules on

how a song must be written but

why I believe the Style and

Structure is important is because

as humans, our brains get trained a

lot around structure, order and repetition

so what happens when

enough songs get written in a certain

style is that the listeners actually

have a sub-conscious expectation

of what is likely to happen next

in listening to songs structurally.

The challenge and fun comes in

what music, words and melodies

are then used to grab and maintain

that attention. The more you vary

from expected Structures for certain

Styles, the more clever and

creative your song, words and

music need to be to hold attention

otherwise listeners may actually

become uncomfortable because

they don’t know where the song is

going or it loses its sense of

expected structure relative to the

target genre.

Very often when asking people why

they did or didn’t like certain songs

it will likely be an answer around it

didn’t grab me or it got boring or I

didn’t like the sound or feel. That is

a listener most likely reacting to

what they expected to hear from

that Style and Structure of the song

(even though they may be hearing

your song for the first time).

So when taking on the challenge of

writing your next song, do think

about the Style and Structure for

the song you want to write. I think

it is then very useful to have a look

at a few existing reference songs in

the Style you are writing and spend

some time to have a look at how

those songs have been put together.

The fun and challenge is then

not to copy but to find your own

new words, melody and music to

capture the listeners attention (and

if your newer to songwriting, write

out your song structure per blocks

of bars first to then fit your music

and words around it). As you continue

working you can then start to

look at some variations but do get

your Style and Structure clearly laid

out upfront (and yes that means

counting the bars, sections, seconds

and minutes).

Mark Townley

Founder & Executive Director

at Ideas2Outcomes, Founder &

Executive Director at

CircleSource and CEO and Co-

Founder at Musindie

Studied at Monash University

Lives in Melbourne, Victoria,


To be continued over

the next few months....



Lyrical Do Not Series #2


When is it important to count your syllables?

There are three basic beliefs in the answer to this

question. In no particular order, those who

believe each line in a verse needs to be the same

count, those that do not believe syllable counting is

necessary, and those who believe syllable counting

only applies to matching verse to verse lines. The

answer is determined by the genre, and the media it

was written for. In this article, we will discuss methods

used in the majority of genre’s, and give a hit song


When it comes to each line in a verse needing to match

in syllable count, it is a myth. It is not needed to have

each line in a verse to be even close, but it should be

within reason. It is out of reason if the line sounds

forced into a certain time frame, breaking the natural


When writing a lyric, if all the lines are the same syllable

count in a verse, it may appear too mechanical,

boring, and lacking character. If it is too boring, it may

be difficult to keep the audience captivated. Mix it up

a little.

One example hit song with lines having significant differences

in syllable counts within a verse is Lady written

by Lionel Richie, and noteworthly sung by Kenny


Since quoting a lyric is permissible per copyright law

for the purpose of learning, I will be posting a portion

of this song lyric for our example.

Verse 1

Lady ( 2 syllables )

I’m your knight in shining armor ( 8 syllables )

And I love you ( 4 syllables )

You have made me what I am and ( 8 syllables )

I am yours ( 3 syllables )

( short one bar musical break between verses )

Verse 2

My love ( 2 syllables )

There’s so many ways I want to say ( 9 syllables )

I love you ( 3 syllables )

Let me hold you in my arms for ( 8 syllabes )

Ever more ( 3 syllables )

( short one bar musical break before the Chorus )

Notice Verse 1 syllable counts of 2, 8, 4, 8, 3, 0 ( an

empty bar ), is comparable to Verse 2 syllable counts

of 2, 9, 3, 8, 3, 0, with minor differences in counts on

the same lines in different verses. The lines within the

verses have great differences but the song is symmetrical

due to the first verse near matching the second

verse. A three is close to a four, while an eight is close

to an nine. This allows the singer to implement the

same singing techniques in each verse to drive home

the vocal melody.

If the melody calls for the lines to become closer, rely

on the ability of your singer to bridge the deficits by

note carry overs and note fluctuations. A talented

singer can make a two-syllable word sound as long as

an eight-syllable line. Be open to edit your lines if the

lines do not fit correctly within the space allowed. The

greater the singers ability, the more the lyrics can

deviate in syllable count and still feel symmetrical. It is

also true that the longer the syllable count, the more

the verses can differ and still feel symmetrical.

It is important to have each verse be similar within one

or two-syllables with each numbered line of all verses

as per our example used, if the intended outcome of

the song is to be a pleasant experience. Most of the

time, a song should target the listener to be experiencing

a relaxing, feel good atmosphere.

If line Verse 2 line 1 is 1 syllable longer than Verse 1

line 1, it may feel more symmetrical to make Verse 2

line 2, one more syllable than Verse 1 line 2. Note this

technique for symmetry was used in our example.

Verse 1 line 2 has eight syllables followed by line 3

with 4 syllables, compares to Verse 2 line 2 having

nine syllables followed by line 3 with three syllables,

giving each a balanced count of 12 for those two lines


There is always an exception to the rule, for instance, if

it is your intent to make the listener feel uncomfortable,

by all means do what needs to be done. More

intense subjects, such as a death in your lyric, may

dictate significantly increasing the syllable count

enough to match the increased intensity in the lyrics.

What about the Chorus?

Write the lyrics of the Chorus that makes the most

sense to you. Depending on your hook type, the syllable

count may or may not follow the same pattern as

your verses. If the main hook type in your song is the

rhythm, then it makes sense to keep the same pattern.

One effective way in most types of genre to enhance

your hook within your Chorus is to make the syllable

count different than the other lines of the Chorus.

10 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

Daryn Wright

What about the Bridge?

The bridge of a song can stand on its own when it comes

to syllables, meaning it does not need to match any other

portion of the song to make sense, and just the same as

the Chorus, may need to comply with a certain pattern

depending on the hook type used, and if the hook is

repeated in the bridge.

Write your lyrics before editing to accomplish your goals.

Let the content of the lyrics dictate what is required of

your song to conform to the genre it best fits. Different

genre may dictate what a song can and cannot do, and

for this, that is the reason for a plethora of genre and

sub-genre types.

In addition, trying to make syllable counts all the same

will more often than not lead to lines reading weird,

seeming out of place, or sounding like you forced a lyric

line that does not fit the rest. Adding extra words like

“THE, AND, SO, VERY, JUST”, or similar words have a

tendency to take away from the message and appear

more distracting than helpful. This is a common mistake

made lyric writers of all genre.

What can you do if the lyrics cannot be symmetrical?

Make the second verse a different melody. By doing this,

you unmarry the symmetry between the verses. There is

always a way around an issue or concern, but should be

noted if you are looking to get some feedback on your

lyrics prior to recording. Do not get caught up in syllable

counting each line so they are all the same. Variations in

syllables add excitement and interesting characteristics

to your song.

Writing lyrics should be a fun and exiting experience.

Experimenting with different techniques is advised.

Studying successful lyrics may be critical to the probability

of your lyrics having success. There is no right way or

wrong way to write lyrics, but there is a pattern of what

has been successful in the past and present. Following

the path of successful lyrics may lead you to be a successful

lyric writer. Remember, the success of a song is

not merely based on its lyrics.

DO NOT let syllable counting destroy your work of art.

Written by Daryn Wright





`tÇ \Ç UÄtv~



Well, you wonder why I always dress in black

Why you never see bright colours on my back

And why does my appearance seem to have a

sombre tone

Well, there's a reason for the things that I

have on

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten


Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town

I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid

for his crime

But is there because he's a victim of the


I wear the black for those who never read

Or listened to the words that Jesus said

About the road to happiness through love and


Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you

and me

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose

In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy


But just so we're reminded of the ones who

are held back

Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black

I wear it for the sick and lonely old

For the reckless ones whose bad trip left

them cold

I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that

could have been

Each week we lose a hundred fine young men

And, I wear it for the thousands who have


Believen' that the Lord was on their side

I wear it for another hundred thousand who

have died

Believin' that we all were on their side


Well, there's things that never will be right I


And things need changin' everywhere you go

But 'til we start to make a move to make a few

things right

You'll never see me wear a suit of white

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day

And tell the world that everything's OK

But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my


'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black

Songwriter: Johnny Cash

Man In Black lyrics © BMG Rights


Johnny Cash - born on February 26th

1932 in Kingsland Arkansas to parents

Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash. who duly

named their son John R Cash. At the age of

three Johnny’s father took advantage of the

Roosevelt Farm Program and the family

moved to Dyess Colony in North East

Arkansas, where the family farmed twenty

acres of cotton and other seasonal crops.

Johnny worked alongside his parents and siblings

out in the fields.

Music was an integral part of everyday life in

the household, and Johnny was introduced to

a variety of different influences ranging from

folk songs and hymns sung by his mother, to

work songs from the fields and nearby railroad

yards. Like a sponge he absorbed it all.

In later years he used these early times to

inspire songs like ‘Pickin’ Time,’ ‘Five Feet

High and Rising,’ and ‘Look at Them Beans.’

Johnny started playing the guitar and writing

songs when he was 12 years old. His mother

once scraped together enough money for

singing lessons, but his teacher was so

impressed with young Johnny’s natural talent

that she sent him home with a warning never

to change his voice.

Johnny remained in Dyess Colony until he

graduated High School in 1950, when he set

off for Detroit to look for work. He eventually

found himself in Pontiac Michigan where he

began working in an automotive plant. This

was to be short lived however, as he enlisted

in the US Air Force in 1950 where upon completion

of basic training he was assigned as a

Morse Intercept Officer and stationed in

Landsberg, Germany in 1951.

“The Air Force taught me the things every military

service imparts to its enlisted men …

plus one skill that’s pretty unusual: if you ever

need to know what one Russian is signalling

to another in Morse code, I’m your man.”

12 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

]É{ÇÇç Vtá{

Cash: The Autobiography, by Johnny Cash

and Patrick Carr

During his time as a Morse Interceptor,

despite his military success (Cash was the

first to intercept news of Stalin’s death),

music remained on Cash’s mind.

While enlisted in Germany, Johnny used his

first steady pay cheque to buy his first guitar

(it cost him $5 US dollars), and later a tape

recorder. He worked on his singing, and even

listened to the Grand Ole Opry live from

Tennessee on the military radio equipment.

While serving in the Air Force and stationed in

Germany, he wrote a number songs that he

would later record professionally: Folsom

Prison Blues, Hey Porter Run Softly, Blue

River, Oh What a Dream

Johnny met his first wife, Vivian Liberto whilst

in basic training for The Air Force. The couple

were married in 1954 after he was discharged,

and they settled in Memphis where

they had four children together. After leaving

the Air Force, Johnny entered radio school

with his GI Bill, hoping to become a disc jockey.

But he really needed a steady job, so after

enquiring about joining the police he went to

work selling appliances instead.

Johnny’s elder brother, Roy, had introduced

him to two mechanics who liked to strum their

guitars together: Luther Perkins and Marshall

Grant. In 1955, Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins,

and Marshall Grant signed with a local producer,

Sam Phillips of Sun Records, where

Phillips billed his new artists as “Johnny Cash

and the Tennessee Two.”

In 1953, Johnny saw Crane Wilbur’s film

Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison whilst stationed

in Germany. The 90-minute long film

left an impression on him, and he empathised

with the tale of the imprisoned men, which

inspired him to write the song ‘Folsom Prison


“It was a violent movie,” remembers Cash.

“And I just wanted to write a song that would

tell what I thought it would be like in prison.”

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: The Making of

a Masterpiece, by Michael Streissguth.

But a prison movie wasn’t the only muse that

lead to the creation of this iconic tune; for

Johnny had some lyrical inspiration too. He

adapted both melody and lyrics for Folsom

Prison Blues from a song called Crescent City

Blues, from a then un-credited Gordon


Crescent City Blues was written by Jenkins

and performed by his wife, Beverly Mahr, on

the 1953 album Seven Dreams. Johnny’s

lyrics were similar enough to Jenkins’ that he

would later settle with the man in court. But at

the time, young John R. Cash (as he was

called in the Air Force) wasn’t a professional

musician with copyright issues on his mind…

He was a young man inspired.

Crescent City Blues V Folsom Prison


Jenkins’ Crescent City Blues is a slow moving,

orchestral love song about a woman

dreaming of leaving her Midwestern town.

If I owned that lonesome whistle

If that railroad train were mine

I bet I’d find a man

A little further down the line

In contrast, Johnny’s Folsom Prison Blues

picks up the tempo for his guitar-centered

song about a lonely prisoner longing for his


Well if they freed me from this prison

If that railroad train was mine

Bet I’d move it on a little

Farther down the line

It took four months for Columbia Records to

release Cash’s album At Folsom Prison. On

May 25, 1968, Folsom Prison Blues hit the

Billboard Top 100 Chart.

The significance of Folsom Prison Blues hitting

the Billboard chart is better understood

when you consider some of the other artists

on the chart that same day. In a sea of artists

such as Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Aretha

Franklin, Tom Jones, Otis Redding, and the

Temptations, Cash’s country sound stood

apart from the crowd of Motown and R&B


Folsom Prison Blues came with its fair share

of controversy.

The song was pulled from radio stations following

the June 5th assassination of Senator

Robert Kennedy. The lyrics, “But I shot a man

in Reno, just to watch him die,” were considered

too offensive after the senator’s shooting

and death.

Columbia Records quickly edited and rereleased

the single without the controversial

line, despite protests from Cash. The newly

edited single was given airtime on radio stations,

and welcomed by the public.

Folsom Prison Blues made it to the #1 spot on

the Country Western charts.





Solo Album


1957 Johnny Caswith His Hot and

Blue Guitar

1958 Johnny Cash Sings the Songs

That Made Him Famous

The Fabulous Johnny Cash

1959 Greatest!

Songs of Our Soil

1960 Sings Hank Williams

Ride This Train

Now, There Was A Song!

1961 Now Here’s Johnny Cash

1962 The Sound Of Johnny Cash

All Aboard the Blue Train

1963 Ring of Fire: The Best of

Johnny Cash

Blood Sweat and Tears

1964 The Original Sun Sound of

Johnny Cash

I Walk the Line

Bitter Tears: Ballads of the

American Indian

1965 Orange Blossom Special

Sings the Ballads of the True


1966 Everybody Loves a Nut

Happiness is You

1968 From Sea to Shining Sea

1970 Hello, I’m Johnny Cash

The World of Johnny Cash

1971 Man in Black

1972 A Thing Called Love

America: A 200 Year Salute in

Story and Song

1973 Any Old Wind That Blows

1974 Ragged Old Flag

Junkie and the Juicehead

Minus Me

1975 The Johnny Cash Children’s


John R Cash

Look at Them Beans

1976 One Piece at a Time

1977 The Last Gunfighter Ballad

The Rambler

1978 I Would Like to See You Again

Gone Girl

1979 Silver

1980 Rockabilly Blues

1981 The Baron

1982 The Adventures of Johnny


1983 Johnny 99

1985 Rainbow

1987 Johnny Cash is Coming to


1988 Classic Cash: Hall of Fame


1990 Boom Chicka Boom

1991 The Mystery of Life

1994 American Recordings

1996 American II: Unchained

2000 American III: Solitary Man

2002 American IV: The Man Comes


2006 American V: A Hundred


2010 American VI: Ain’t No Grave

2014 Out Among the Stars

14 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk



There's a saying, judge a

fish by it's ability to

climb a tree and it will

live it's life believing it's

stupid. Never a truer comment

applies to singers also.

In this edition, we are focusing

on the life and music of

Johnny Cash – so let's use

him to break down one of the

major aspects that defines a

successful singing artist.

It's your ability to run with

your natural vocal range and

have it work for you rather

than against you. Johnny Cash is a

Baritone - a low male singer. His success

would have been crushed if he

was trying to be Robert Plant from Led

Zepplin. Whilst this limitation applies

to the female ranges too, this frustration

is particularly evident in the Male

ranges because much of the pop

music out there is sung by Tenors

(high male singers). But the cold hard

reality is only 35% of the Male population

are Tenors. The rest of us are

Baritones. And this is a physiological

phenomenon not a training based one.

It's based on the length and thickness

of the vocal folds. There's strong

speculation that the Adams Apple on a

man is more pronounced to facilitate

the extra room inside the larynx

required for longer vocal folds (Think

of the low notes on a piano). And it's

potentially soul destroying when a

young male Baritone singer tries to

sing a Bruno Mars cover and it fails in

spectacular fashion.

train for your high notes so you maximise

your range, not an absolute

range based on the notes on a piano.

A bass guitar still has high notes even

though it will never sound like an electric

six string.

The answer is to find successful references

that you can be part of. Love

who you are, be who you are vocally

and don't waste years yearning to

have a voice you were never made

with. You may never have the voice of

Prince but you can be an awesome

Elvis, Bowie, Chris Isaac, George Ezra

or Johnny Cash.

If you’d like to find out more about

vocal coaching, you can catch up with

Paul on the following links:





Does this mean that a low singer is

chained to low notes? Not at all. But it

must be recognised that you should



Why Base a Song From Life


The life of a songwriter is based on what's around

and how to reach the eyes of the audience.

The things that make people be identified with the

message using places, things and real locations

makes the songs

and the content more interesting to people who are

reading or listening eventually the power that

emerge in the story.

Why write '188 Or The Train'?

I wrote this lyrics based in my week morning experience.

188 is a New Jersey Transit Bus that travel

from West New York to Edgewater as well the Train.

I choose to write my morning life in details. The

complete lyrics were written in only 15 minutes

because real stories come loosely.

188 Or The Train

He wake up every morning at 4:15 AM

His wife has set the breakfast

But are tired of the same thing;

It's not the fact that I go to work

'Cause jobs move a country economy

It's the fact that nothing new happen

To fill a better happiness.

What happened to '188 Or The Train' After The


The song was officially released on December 4th,

2017 Album 'The Sound Of The Crow', Best Pop

Rock Album In

The Akademia Music Awards,October 15, 20018.

Song Of The Week On Indie Star Radio Top 21 in

January 20th, 2018 And reaching #6 in January

22nd, 2018.

Music + Lyrics By

Bamil Gutiérrez Collado

(Sacred Healing Songs/ASCAP 2017

All Rights Reserved)

188 Or The Train

He's leaving to the station after a good wife kiss

Leading to Edgewater through the dark and sometimes wet



Sometimes the day goes slower and

nothing change

Sometimes the day goes faster and

nothing change

But the same thing happens every


When you take the 188 or the train.

He spend his morning fitting home

goods in a store

Listening the same playlist while

writing this song

Asking for a miracle

That give us some prosperity

And at the moment haven't come

with some, some desperation.

He punch out after a day in hell town happy

Leaving to the station leading back to West New York.


This everyday life looks like a reel to

reel script

With a 188 or a train waiting for your pains

16 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

etv{xÄ ` fàtÜÜ

I’m an Aussie Lyricist and fur-baby mother with a love

for fitness, fashion, food and fun! I spend most of my

down time on the Sunshine Coast, lazing in the sand

with my hubby and puppy dog and can usually be found

with headphones in and music blaring. I listen to everything

from folk to house, depending on my mood, but

must admit my true weakness is 80s synth-pop and,

boy, do I love a good 80s ballad!

I started on my path as a music lyricist about three

years ago after losing my Mum far too young and far too

soon. She had been sick for a number of years and

although I thought I’d be equipped to manage my emotions,

nothing could have prepared me for her passing.

I quickly realised I needed a constructive release to

help me work through my pain and turned to poetry,

which strangely and quite unintentionally

morphed into lyric writing

when I started hearing

melodies in my head and

my words started changing

shape and feel as it hit

the paper.

In late 2016, I decided

to post one of my

pieces in a songwriters'

forum to see what

people thought of it

and, to my absolute

amazement, the

response was



I was


invited to

work on a

few projects







hone-in on

my style and


I’ve been told

along the way I

have a unique

approach to writing.

I like to

think of the lead

vocalist on

each track I

write for as the

main protagonist

in a short

story that I’m authoring and I build their story, chapterby-chapter

(verse-by-verse) around the core plot or

theme/s. This approach not only allows for true creative

freedom but it empowers me to draw upon my own feelings

and experiences, whilst projecting them onto the

protagonist, which helps me to avoid becoming overwhelmed

with emotion on the more intimate pieces.

In early 2018, I was fortunate to partner with an experienced

London-based producer and music engineer,

Mairk, and together we now host an intimate online

community of artists, with the aim of bringing together

singers, songwriters, lyricists, producers and engineers

from around the world to collaborate, create and support

one another. Through "dnldr for artists" I've had

the pleasure of working with some truly incredible talents

and I'm super excited about our 2019 offerings.

I really enjoy writing for pop, synth-pop and dance

tracks but have penned lyrics for everything from heavy

metal to disco, both through collaborations and on a

professional level through SoundBetter https://soundbetter.com/profiles/122808-rachel-m-starr.

I don’t have

a preference in terms of writing for pre-produced

music or taking a “green field” approach without any

external influences. Over the past few months however,

I have occasionally enjoyed taking more of a lead role

by formulating melodies to accompany my lyrics. As I

can’t sing for the life of me, this takes the form of poorly

recorded vocal demos, which I then send to Mairk for

interpretation and production. I don’t know how he

does it but he can literally take my demo’s and turn

them into commercially-appealing songs! It honestly

seems so incredible to me.

If you’re interested in checking out my work I have provided

some links below for you to explore.





The piece I’m probably the proudest of so far is When

the Night is Done which was produced by Mairk and

includes vocals from Canadian artist, Stacey James.

When the Night is Done was shortlisted by the

Australian Songwriters Association in their top 30 lyrics

for 2018, amongst a pool of many, and later picked up

by a European label, Projektor Reccords, to be translated

into French and re-released as La Fin de la Nuit with

Romanian artist, Kirine.





I hope you enjoy my work and have also enjoyed my


Rachel M Starr

Freelance Lyricist




One Man's Songwriting


Taylor Sappe

In the 1960s, when I was new to songwriting, I

used to get some great ideas for songs, but the

one problem I had was that I would forget the

ideas by the time I was in the presence of a guitar. I

had to rely on my memory, which already had too

many things in it to leave room for new song ideas. If

the idea didn't occur to me at the time that I was near

a guitar it got lost forever.

Eventually, common sense dictated that I write everything

down, so I started keeping small note pads and

a pen in my car, living room, dining room, bedroom,

kitchen and bathroom. I tried keeping one in my

pocket, but it fell apart.

When a page of my notepad would fill up I would

copy the ideas (by re-rwiting them) to a master notebook.

When I was in the presence of a guitar and began

writing, everything went to paper, so I had to rely on

my memory again to remember the melody to the

lyrics I wrote against those cool chords. During that

chapter of my life recording devices were expensive

and hard to come by. Portable recorders didn't

exist.....at least not to my knowledge.

All of these incompleted songs went into a master

notebook that I would rotate through until a song was


Technology improving work flow

The only type of recorders that were available to

consumers at the time were big bulky expensive reelto-reel

tape recorders. Eventually, cassette

recorders were invented. The dictaphone was the

songwriter's dream tool. We could record our

thoughts and even our musical ideas and store them

for later development. There was just one drawback.

If you recorded hundreds of ideas on a half hour

cassette tape you had to fast-forward and rewind the

tape to try to find what you wanted to work on. If we

wanted to add new ideas we had to fast forward to

the end of the tape.

When digital recording started becoming affordable

for the upper middle class, but not yet for me, they

began making hand-held digital recorders. This made

storing of ideas much easier because you could create

a seperate audio file for each song idea and

name it. I was eventually able to afford a cheap digital

hand-held recorder for around $100 USD. This

was all before smart phones came on the scene, but

digital recorders are still in use to this day, but with

many advanced features that are better equipped for

professional field recording.

I had a cell phone since the 80s, but they didn't

invent smart phones at that time. It wasn't until many

years after smart phones came on the market that I

finally decided to upgrade, and now I never look

back. My smartphone, which is an Android, gives me

everything I need right at my fingertips, wherever I


My essential lyric writing tools in my phone are a digital

recorder and color notes notepad. Color notes

gives me the option to create my choice of a text

document or a checklist for each topic. In the case of

song ideas, I use the checklist option. Because my

phone is with me 24/7, I don't need note pads lying

around the house with pens that skip and run out of

ink. I can just record my lyric ideas into my phone's

notepad, using voice to text when necessary, and my

digital recorder to capture my melodic or instrumental

musical ideas. Since this magazine is about lyric

writing, that is what I will focus on. If you want to

learn more about the music writing process, please

visit my website http://www.taylorsappe.com.

How do I find lyric ideas?

I try to keep alert for anything that could create a

title, line, or concept for a song. Sometimes I will be

watching TV, reading a newspaper or magazine,

dreaming, meditating, engaging in conversations,

experiencing life events or listening to music or

songs. Something might trigger an idea for a song.

When it does, I record it into my phone. When it happens

in a dream I have to catch it as soon as I wake

up or I forget it. I try to force myself to reach for the

phone while the idea is still fresh in my mind, but

there are still times when I am just too lazy to grab

that golden nugget and I end up losing it.

What do I do with the ideas I collect?

Over the years I have collected literally thousands of

lyric and musical ideas. Many have made their way to

complete songs or musical compositions and many

have not. Some are still under development and others

will probably never make the cut. So how do I

manage all of those ideas?

Some songwriters say that it is best to set aside a

specific time of day with a specific amount of time to

work on songwriting. Some say it is best to continue

working on one song until it is finished. What works

well for some is not a one-size-fits-all. Those methods

don't work for me. In fact, having a regimented

schedule to create something, or continuing to work

on something after my ideas for it have been

exhausted actually hinders my creative process. I

need an environment where a free flow of ideas can

occur. For me, that doesn't happen when there are

time constraints or any kind of obligation, self

imposed or otherwise.

The closest I can get to that method is to create a

daily list of things I want to get done. Because I work

in music full time, almost everything on the list is

music related, so I divide up my tasks and portion

18 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

them out throughout the week, leaving Saturday for

catching up and recreation if I am caught up, and

Sunday for recreation. Just because I am engaged in

recreation doesn't mean that I'm not still on the lookout

for song ideas to record into my phone.

I have one location on my computer where I store the

masses of my lyric ideas. It is in a software program

called Masterwriter. I highly recommend

Masterwriter to every lyric writer who wants to be

prolific at what they do. It has all of the tools you

need, such as a thesaurus, rhyming dictionary with

rhymed phrases, phrases containing a search word,

word families, and much more. If you want to learn

everything Masterwriter can do for lyricists, go to

http://masterwriter.com. It's a bit pricy to purchase,

so I lease it for $9.95 USD a month.

In my daily schedule, I set aside one day a week

where I will take time to transfer the ideas from Color

Notes into Masterwriter. I don't set a specific amount

of time for anything on my schedule. This way I can

work on a specific task until it is done or until I run

out of ideas, then move on to something else. This

allows flexibility for scheduling appointments.

About the author

Taylor Sappe, a multi-genre songwriter/producer has

been writing songs since the mid 1960s and has

been involved in music full time since 1966, with a

few hiatuses, but always returning to music. From

1970 to 1975, Taylor worked full time as a folk guitar/vocalist

and was performing 5 nights a week.

From 1976 to 1979 Taylor majored in music composition

at Berklee College Of Music in Boston, Ma. USA,

which included courses in lyric writing under

Professors Jon Aldrich and Pat Pattison. In 1982,

Taylor had his first regional hit song, “Dancin” with a

band he played bass in.. In 2011 he co-wrote “Old

Country Legends”with Kelsey Cronauer, which

appeared on KelC's album “Get Branded”, which was

nominated for a grammy for best country album of

2013. Today, Taylor produces music for production

music libraries targeting film, TV, Video games and

advertising, as well as teaching music production at

the DeMelfi School of Music in Hazleton, Pa. You can

find many of Taylor's songs and productions on all

major digital platforms, such as iTunes, Google Play,

Spotify, YouTube, CD Baby, and much more.

Another day is set aside for rotating through the

ideas I collected in masterwriter. I will open an idea

and develop it as far as I can, even if it is only to add

one word to it and move on to the next one. It is usually

more than that, and sometimes I even complete

the song in one sitting, but I have gone through ideas

where there wasn't much, or anything to develop,

then moved on to the next one. Songs with little or no

development on a pass eventually get fully developed.

Some take years. Because there are so many

ideas collected it is impossible to go through everything

in one day, so I will go as far as I can until my

brain feels fatigued, then mark the spot where I left

off until next time.

In Masterwriter I can label the status. If I want to see

all lyrics that are completed and ready for music, I

can do that with one click of the mouse. I can do the

same with “ideas to be developed” and “pick up

from” on my next session.

I have another day scheduled to take time with the

completed songs and set them to music. Putting

music to lyrics is another topic for discussion, but if

you are interested in my work flow for that, you can

follow me on my facebook producer page Tracks 4U

at http://www.facebook.com/t.sappe. This is where I

share posts related to songwriting and producing

and create some educational content as well as post

some of my music. If the topic interests you, you can

get personalized lessons in creating music based on

your existing skill set, by contacting me through my

website http://www.taylorsappe.com. If you want to

connect as a friend on facebook you can do so by

searching my name. Additionally, if you want to connect

with my producer page on twitter, you can find

me on twitter as @tracks4_u .

When you say “Write on!” I say “Right




From the Pages of History...

Forlorn Hope are a five piece heavy metal band

from Liverpool devoted to the theme of military


Described as "a musical version of Bernard Cornwell's

'Sharpre' novels" (Sentinel Daily), their debut album

'Over the Hills' is due for release this summer.

Lyricist, lead singer and rhythm guitarist Chris

Simpson took the time to talk to us about his method

for writing lyrics about historical events.

I have always loved story-driven lyrics and history, so

being in Forlorn Hope - a heavy metal band playing

songs exclusively about military history - is something

of a dream come true. This niche brings its own

challenges from a lyrical perspective, but over Forlorn

Hope’s first eighteen months I have developed a few

essential canons for crafting lyrics aimed at bringing

history to life.

First, subject matter. All history is interesting if told

with knowledge and passion, so write about what

interests you personally and your lyrics will be all the

better for it. That said, try and avoid overexposed

subjects. Nobody needs another song about

plundering Vikings or people having a ghastly time in

a First World War trench. Our upcoming debut album

for example is about the Peninsular War of 1807-

1814; a fascinating period but one which most people

have never heard of because, with the exception of

Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Sharpe’ novels, it receives almost

no attention in popular culture.

If you must pursue a clichéd topic, try

and approach it from a new angle. I

desperately wanted to write a song

about the Zulu War and Rorke’s

Drift, but between various movies

and Sabaton’s song on the

subject I could find nothing new

to say about it. Then a trip to the

Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh in Brecon

introduced me to the related but widely unknown story

of VC winners Lts. Neville Coghill and Teignmouth

Melville and out of that came our song ‘The Last

Ride’; an intense, galloping tragedy that has become a

staple of our setlist.

Once you’ve got your subject, pick up a book and do

your research. Whatever medium you’re working in,

there’s a sense of responsibility that comes with

writing about history. You’re writing about the lives and

deaths of real people; even if they’re anonymous and

centuries-dead, the least you can do is not

misrepresent their stories. There are also plenty of

people out their whose only history knowledge comes

from the media they consume; movies, TV and, yes,

even heavy metal songs. If you’re passionate about

your subject matter there’s a thrill in introducing new

people to it, so don’t mislead them out of laziness.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re still writing

music though. The quest for accuracy is a noble one,

but unless you’re writing twenty-minute epics you’ll

want your songs to be concise, focussed and catchy,

which means that you can’t always include all of the

historical detail you might like to. Think carefully about

the story you want to tell, tease out the crucial points

and make them your focus. Most crucially, make your

lyrics exciting. Nobody wants to listen to a history

textbook set to music, so engage your sense of

theatricality and tell your story with all the drama and

emotion that drew you to it in the first place.

In short; never knowingly misrepresent the

facts, but a few omissions and a dash

of hyperbole never hurt anyone.

For Forlorn Hope news,

merchandise and gig dates, visit:


Artwork by Mitchell Nolte.

20 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

Watch The Video In Your Head

By Peter Marksteiner

For me, songwriting

always starts with

what I'm feeling. My

son got married a few

weeks ago, and I spent the

better part of the last six

months watching my wife of

30 years on the emotional

journey that for so many

parents starts out uneasily

as "my child is going away"

but eventually comes

around to a considerably

more comforting "I'm so

thankful he found someone

who'll give him a life like we

gave each other." It is these

sorts of chapters in our

lives - joyful but a little sad,

excited but a bit anxious,

that make for great songwriting.

When I write, I imagine I'm

watching a music video

about the story I want my

song to tell, and I keep a

scratch pad close by to

write down what I see

unfolding on the screen in

my head. One night about a

month prior to my son’s

wedding, as I started thinking

about the big day, I

reached for a pen and

wrote the following:

Cute little girl sprinkles

flower petals down the


Son SO HAPPY as the bride

steps into his view.

Wife squeezes my hand,

saying without words how

grateful she is that our son

found a person who loves

him as much as we do.

With that shell of a story

down on paper, I open an

online thesaurus and a

rhyming dictionary, then

simply start meandering

through language looking

for words or phrases that

catch my attention and

relate to the overall storyline.

I do this with a focus

on trying to condense as

much as possible, and on

trying to tell the story with

evocative imagery rather

than literal descriptions.

An hour and quite a few

revisions later, I had:

The petals are scattered.

His young bride’s aglow.

The look on his face says

what I already know

they were made for.

She’s what I prayed for.

And she’s his new girl now.

You can listen to how it all

came together at




NOTE: I either own outright

or have been given permission

by the copyright owner

of the images accompanying

this email for submission

to Write Away

Magazine for publication.


Peter R. Marksteiner




Lyricist Christopher looking to work

with musicians, singers and producers.

Will tackle most genres, pop,

folk, country, r&b, rock, electronic,

jazz and a combination of these.

Ambition to produce commercial

music and hopefully enjoy the ride.


I am a lyricist/toplinerlooking to collaborate

with artists/musicians/producers

for songwriting. I’m based in

London/South East. I can meet and

work together, or take an instrumental

and develop a lyric and top line

melody for it, or looking for musicians

who want to develop the instrumental

for lyrics or lyrics with a top line. I

can write for different styles but probably

enjoy folk/country/pop ballard



Experienced lyricist (able to play

some instruments and do mid-fi production)

seeks collaboration with a

female vocalist. Style singer/song

writer, r&b, country, folk, pop.


Experienced lyricist, Hampshire UK.

I’m looking for someone who can take

my lyrics and work them into a finished



Looking for a lyricist collaborator for

songwriting. I write and produce

songs in many styles (country, ballads,

soft rock and electronic loop

based compositions). Find me on

Souncloud under EXPATJAT. Happy to

work on half completed songs or with

lyrics. Contact me:


Lyrics Doctor - I’m a writer, editor,

songwriter. musician who can help

you tell the stories you really want to

tell. Song structure, imagery,

rhymes, alliteration, and more, to

ensure that every word do everything

it’s meant to do in the song. Mostly

alt country and rock, but all genres

considered. To contact me title your

email Lyrics Doctor and email the editor.

She will forward to me.


22 www.writeawaymagazine.co.uk

19 |

The Lyric Writers Magazine

Next Month...

The Queen of Soul

A look into the life and works of the late,

great Aretha Franklin

Not to be missed

Adverise with us...

Amazing deals on all packages tailor made for your

business. Contact us info@writeawaymagazine.co.uk




You can now subscribe to

Write Away Magazine and

have it delivered to your

email every month



More magazines by this user
Similar magazines