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A Word From Hal
I've always been an information junkie. Since I am a singer/songwriter myself, I have a natural tendency to ask all the same questions and have had many of the same experiences as you have or are about to have. I'm your psychic friend 'cause I've already been there in a lot of cases and I know what you're gonna want to know and I've gleaned a lot of information from both sides of the fence. I was a singing waiter for six years, I've attended expos, seminars, played every type of room possible, had airplay, worked off and on for five years as a volunteer at The National Academy of Songwriters, interned for Winston Music Publishers, and have hosted and performed in manyl open mics and showcases. But most importantly, I have kept my eyes and ears open, met a lot of people and continue to perform live and write and network. Below is a recent exchange I had with a young songwriter who signed my guestbook. For more Ask Li'l Hank, click the button at the bottom of the page. Enjoy and remember - It's what you learn after you "know it all" that counts.
Hal's personal website: The
Hal Cohen Network
| Hal's Tip Jar
Hal's column is always filled with valuable tips and information (and sometimes, he just gets on his soapbox and starts bitchin' about stuff).
playing around at local venues. So far the response
has been pretty good.
My problem is that many of my songs are intricate, and
demand a listening audience. When I play a bar, or
whenever the crowd is active, I juice my songs up a
bit, leave off some of the picking and find a more
groovy strumming pattern. But I'm not sure if, or how
much, I should do this. I'm scared that if I play my
songs the way I wrote them, I'll be making them harder
to listen to, since they are emotionally powerful
songs. At the same time, much of what I think makes my
music unique and my songs memorable, and what gives
them their emotional charge, is the intricacy.
I have tried to take my cues from the artists I like
to listen to, but while many of my favorite musicians,
like Ani Difranco, Poe, and Dave Matthews (all of whom
do generally what I do) have songs that you really
have to just listen to, I only ever hear their cd's,
so I don't know what they did when they were starting
out as solo acts in their home cities.
Can you offer any advice?
Hi Mat -