Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters
In-depth conversations with and about the creators of lyrics and music that stand the test of time. You probably know the names, and you definitely know the songs. We bring you the stories.
info_outline Ep. 138 - BILLY GIBBONS of ZZ Top ("Sharp Dressed Man") 03/31/2020
Ep. 138 - BILLY GIBBONS of ZZ Top ("Sharp Dressed Man") ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons has two Grammy nominations, sixteen Top 10 singles, over 50 million albums sold, and a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Scott and Paul catch up with him to discuss his legendary classic rock catalog, including "La Grange," "Tush," "Cheap Sunglasses," "Gimme All Your Lovin'," "Sharp Dressed Man," "Legs," and many more.
info_outline Ep. 135 - WENDY WALDMAN ("Save the Best for Last") 02/18/2020
Ep. 135 - WENDY WALDMAN ("Save the Best for Last") The Grammy Song of the Year nominee and ASCAP Song of the Year winner joins us to chat about her wide-ranging career and multi-genre songwriting success.
info_outline Ep. 134 - ALEX EBERT of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros ("Home") 02/04/2020
Ep. 134 - ALEX EBERT of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros ("Home") The Golden Globe winner joins us to chat about his bands Ima Robot (known for the Suits theme song "Greenback Boogie") and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (which Rolling Stone recognized for releasing one of the Top 10 Best Albums of the Year). Plus, Alex reflects on adding film composer to his resume, and the process of creating his eclectic new solo album, I vs. I.
info_outline Ep. 133 - ED HILL ("It Matters to Me") 01/21/2020
Ep. 133 - ED HILL ("It Matters to Me") Top 5 singles from Ed Hill’s catalog include "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" for Reba, “Runnin’ Behind” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” for Tracy Lawrence, “Be My Baby Tonight” for John Michael Montgomery, “It Matters to Me” for Faith Hill, “Whatever You Say” for Martina McBride, “Songs About Me” for Trace Adkins, “How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls” for George Strait, and “Most People Are Good” for Luke Bryan. He's earned a Best Country Song Grammy nomination and was named 200
info_outline Ep. 132 - ALLEN STONE ("Unaware") 01/07/2020
Ep. 132 - ALLEN STONE ("Unaware") Grammy nominee and neo-soul singer songwriter Allen Stone, described by USA Today as "a pitch perfect powerhouse" joins us to chat about what he does to force himself to write songs; what happened when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis invited him to collaborate; why he tried not to fall in love with his now-wife; and the reason he says most pop music today has been dumbed down.
info_outline Ep. 131 - HOLIDAY HITS (4 songwriters on their Christmas classics) 12/23/2019
Ep. 131 - HOLIDAY HITS (4 songwriters on their Christmas classics) Featuring Chris Butler, who wrote the new-wave holiday classic "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses, Randy Brooks, who penned the always-polarizing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” Chris Eaton, who wrote Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven,” and Songwriters Hall of Famer Paul Williams, who is best known for “Rainbow Connection,” but who also wrote all the songs for The Muppet Christmas Carol.
info_outline Ep. 130 - MARSHALL CRENSHAW ("Someday Someway") 12/10/2019
Ep. 130 - MARSHALL CRENSHAW ("Someday Someway") The Golden Globe and Grammy nominee whose self-titled debut release was named one of the 100 Best Albums of the Eighties by Rolling Stone joins us to chat about his wide-ranging career, from self-penned hits as an artist such as “Someday Someway,” to co-writing the Top 10 hit "Til I Hear it from You" with the Gin Blossoms, to writing the theme for the parody film Walk Hard.
info_outline Ep. 129 - WRABEL ("11 Blocks") 11/26/2019
Ep. 129 - WRABEL ("11 Blocks") The Afrojack, P!nk, and Kesha collaborator explains why he dropped out of Berkeley to write songs; the reason his first few years in Los Angeles were rough; how his debut international hit was born when an artist didn't show up for their writing session; the time Lady Antebellum let him down; the song he wrote with Kesha the first day the met; why he cried while recording with P!nk; and which of the Songcraft questions gave him goosebumps.
info_outline Ep. 128 - STEPHEN BISHOP ("On and On") 11/12/2019
Ep. 128 - STEPHEN BISHOP ("On and On") The 2-time Grammy nominee Eric Clapton called “one of the great singer-songwriters” joins us to talk about his 1970s classic "On and On," writing hits like the Oscar-winning “Separate Lives” for Phil Collins, and the unexpected rootsy influences on his new album. Plus, he explains why his stepdad forbid him from playing guitar in the house; why he didn't like Barbra Streisand's version of his song; how he ended up getting his guitar smashed in Animal House; and why good songwriting requires heartbre
info_outline Ep. 127 - MARTY STUART ("Tempted") 10/29/2019
Ep. 127 - MARTY STUART ("Tempted") Five-time Grammy winner Marty Stuart discusses what he learned from Johnny Cash about the craft of songwriting; the three people he considers THE standard of country songwriting; the album that cost him a record deal, a band, a manager, and a publicist; how a photo of Louis Armstrong gave him a sense of mission for his band; why his greatest songwriting motivation is a deadline; and the reason he used to send Harlan Howard and Ralph Mooney $100 at the start of every year.
info_outline Ep. 126 - ALICE RANDALL [XXX's and OOO's (An American Girl)] 10/15/2019
Ep. 126 - ALICE RANDALL [XXX's and OOO's (An American Girl)] Alice Randall, a Harvard-educated novelist, professor, and songwriter, is the only African-American woman to have written a #1 country hit. She joins us to talk about how she concluded that country lyrics are the modern day equivalent of 17th Century Puritan sermons; the reason that Steve Earle cussed her out; why it's harder to be a woman in country music than to be black; and her theory that country music should be defined as three chords and four specific truths.
info_outline Ep. 125 - RODNEY CROWELL ("Til I Gain Control Again") 10/01/2019
Ep. 125 - RODNEY CROWELL ("Til I Gain Control Again") Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Rodney Crowell joins Scott to chat about a remarkable career that has yielded classic songs such as “Til I Gain Control Again,” “I Ain’t Living Long Like This,” “Ashes By Now,” “After All This Time,” and “Shame on the Moon.”
info_outline Ep. 124 - CURLY PUTMAN ("Green, Green Grass of Home") 09/17/2019
Ep. 124 - CURLY PUTMAN ("Green, Green Grass of Home") Pulled from deep in our archives, we present the long-lost final interview with two-time Grammy nominee and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Curly Putman, who wrote "Green, Green Grass of Home," "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "My Elusive Dreams," "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," and many others.
info_outline Ep. 123 - KENDELL MARVEL ("Either Way") 09/03/2019
Ep. 123 - KENDELL MARVEL ("Either Way") Kendell Marvel built his career as a behind-the-scenes songwriter for Gary Allan, Chris Stapleton, Jake Owen, Lee Ann Womack, Blake Shelton, and George Strait before reinventing himself as a gritty Southern troubadour and making an album with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach.
info_outline Ep. 122 - STEVE EARLE ("Guitar Town") 08/20/2019
Ep. 122 - STEVE EARLE ("Guitar Town") The sixteen-time Grammy nominee and three-time winner joins us to talk about why reading is more important than listening to records; the book Townes Van Zandt loaned him that transformed his view of writing; the concert that inspired Steve to write "Guitar Town;" what he really thinks of the "Copperhead Road" line-dancing phenomenon; the first song he wrote after a long period of drug addiction and homelessness; and who he says is THE badass country singer/songwriter in Nashville today.
info_outline Ep. 121 - SHANE MCANALLY ("Follow Your Arrow") 08/06/2019
Ep. 121 - SHANE MCANALLY ("Follow Your Arrow") The three-time Grammy winner, two-time ACM Songwriter of the Year, and star of NBC's Songland joins us to talk about a few of his 40 #1 hits, including "Mama's Broken Heart," "American Kids," "Vice," "Body Like a Back Road," and more. Plus, Shane goes deep on his collaborations with Kacey Musgraves and contemplates the tricky balance between critical and commercial success. He also reveals who he calls his favorite singer of all time and which of his songs he suspects other songwriters don’t like.
info_outline Ep. 120 - MATTHEW SWEET ("Sick of Myself") 07/23/2019
Ep. 120 - MATTHEW SWEET ("Sick of Myself") Matthew Sweet joins us to unpack his process of writing power pop gems like "Girlfriend," "The Ugly Truth," "Sick of Myself" and many others. Plus, we get the lowdown on how a postcard from Michael Stipe altered his musical future; why he says being a solo artist is lonely; what happened when he suggested that he and Susanna Hoffs write an album together; and the song he collaborated on with a Saturday Night Live legend that led to another SNL legend covering one of his very earliest recordings.
info_outline Ep. 119 - BUDDY CANNON ("Give It Away") 07/09/2019
Ep. 119 - BUDDY CANNON ("Give It Away") Buddy Cannon, the frequent Willie Nelson collaborator, award-winning producer, and co-writer of the CMA and ACM Song of the Year "Give It Away," joins us to talk about getting his first four cuts in two days; how his first charting single became a #1 hit; why he had to tell Kenny Chesney he couldn't produce his early albums; the time he freaked out when his musical hero called him on the phone; and how he and Willie Nelson only co-write via text message.
info_outline Ep. 118 - EMILY SALIERS of Indigo Girls ("Closer to Fine") 06/25/2019
Ep. 118 - EMILY SALIERS of Indigo Girls ("Closer to Fine") Best known as one half of the legendary folk rock duo Indigo Girls, Grammy award winner Emily Saliers joins us to discuss her remarkable career; why she would change the opening line of her best-known song if she were writing it today; the criticism that most plagued Indigo Girls when they were starting out; how she tries to stretch herself by writing material that might not come as naturally; why she's always dreamed of having a country artist cover one of her songs; and her fierce love of hip hop!
info_outline Ep. 117 - BUZZ CASON ("Everlasting Love") 06/11/2019
Ep. 117 - BUZZ CASON ("Everlasting Love") The Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee who’s been called The Father of Nashville Rock talks about a successful career that’s seen his songs covered by everyone from Martina McBride to The Beatles. From "Soldier of Love" to "Everlasting Love" to recording as "Alvin" with the Chipmunks to what he really thought of U2's interpretation of his classic song, Buzz dives deep on a fascinating and varied career.
info_outline Ep. 116 - LAYNG MARTINE, JR. ("Way Down") 05/28/2019
Ep. 116 - LAYNG MARTINE, JR. ("Way Down") The Grammy nominee and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer joins us to talk about “Rub It In” (Billy "Crash" Craddock), "Way Down" (Elvis Presley), “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” (Reba McEntire), and his new memoir, Permission to Fly.
info_outline Ep. 115 - ROBBIE FULKS ("Alabama at Night") 05/14/2019
Ep. 115 - ROBBIE FULKS ("Alabama at Night") The two-time Grammy nominee and alt.country pioneer joins us to discuss his career as an eclectic and fiercely independent singer songwriter; why he never moved to Nashville; how he got a record deal by writing a manifesto; the song he wrote for his celebrity crush; the concept album he never made; the insider details he learned from Tom Brumley; and which of his songs he doesn't want to play anymore. Plus, Robbie performs live and acoustic!
info_outline Ep. 114 - LARRY WEISS ("Rhinestone Cowboy") + Jenny Tolman 04/30/2019
Ep. 114 - LARRY WEISS ("Rhinestone Cowboy") + Jenny Tolman CMA and ACM Song of the Year winner Larry Weiss chats about his amazing career from the Brill Building to "Bend Me Shape Me" to "Hi Ho Silver Lining" to "Rhinestone Cowboy" and more. Plus, up-and-comer Jenny Tolman stops by to preview her cool new record!
info_outline Ep. 113 - MICKEY STEVENSON ("Dancing in the Street") 04/16/2019
Ep. 113 - MICKEY STEVENSON ("Dancing in the Street") The Motown legend behind "Dancing in the Street," "Stubborn Kind of Fellow," "It Takes Two," "Devil with a Blue Dress On," and "Beechwood 4-5789" opens up about his life and career, including why he almost stormed out of his first meeting with Berry Gordy; how he assembled Motown’s legendary Funk Brothers; the trick he used to convince Marvin Gaye to ditch jazz and become an R&B singer; and why “Dancing in the Street” was a message song -- but not the message many people think!
info_outline Ep. 112 - CHRIS HILLMAN ("So You Want to be a Rock 'n' Roll Star") 04/02/2019
Ep. 112 - CHRIS HILLMAN ("So You Want to be a Rock 'n' Roll Star") Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and multiple Grammy nominee Chris Hillman joins us to talk about his songwriting with The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Desert Rose Band, and much more.
info_outline Ep. 111 - DAVID GAMSON ["Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"] 03/19/2019
Ep. 111 - DAVID GAMSON ["Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"] The two-time Grammy nominee and co-writer of Kelly Clarkson's global hit "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) reveals what happened when he played songs for Miles Davis over the phone; tells us why he says it's a good thing there are more writers on songs today than ever before; and explains how he partially inspired Kesha to ditch the guitars. Before the interview Scott and Paul talk about whether or not it's still OK to listen to Michael Jackson's music.
info_outline Ep. 110 - STEVE SESKIN ("Don't Laugh at Me") 03/05/2019
Ep. 110 - STEVE SESKIN ("Don't Laugh at Me") The San Francisco folkie who became a Nashville hitmaker with "Life's a Dance," "Don't Laugh at Me," "I Think About You," Grown Men Don't Cry" and more! Steve talks about how Morgan Freeman inspired one of his biggest hits; the reason his future was altered when his publishing company ran out of coffee cups; what every writer should do to prepare for a co-writing session; and the song he wrote that changed the course of his life more than any other.
info_outline Ep. 109 - SMOKEY ROBINSON ("My Girl") 02/19/2019
Ep. 109 - SMOKEY ROBINSON ("My Girl") Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Smokey Robinson talks about his Motown legacy and his string of timeless hits, including "My Girl," “Shop Around,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” “My Guy,” “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “Cruisin’,” and more!