Sunday at the Leo: September 25, 2011

Dylan Sneed

Dylan Sneed on Songwriting

September 25, 2011.  Just another ordinary, extraordinary night at the Leo Coffeehouse.

On this Sunday, while the jammers played downstairs, Dylan Sneed led a songwriting workshop upstairs. In brief, here’s some of what I recall he said:  

  • Pay attention. Look around you. Song ideas are anywhere and everywhere.
  • Listen. (Another way of paying attention.) Listen to other musicians. When you hear a song you like, try to figure out why.
  • Be honest (I would use the word authentic.) It will help you write songs that have meaning for you and connect to the audience.
  • Follow a routine. Try to write every day.
  • Get to know your instrument. Dylan’s practice routine is: one-quarter of the time spent practicing scales; one-quarter of the time practicing chords and chord changes; one-quarter of the time working on something particular (a new song perhaps); one-quarter of the time just playing.
  • Learn a little music theory. Quoting Paul Simon, Dylan said knowing music wont’ hurt and probably will help – especially when trying to figure out why you like certain songs.

The concert for the evening consisted of:

Brandt and Brenda. As they explained, they spend most of their musical time playing with others (for example, as part of the Roots Band with wildcarrot), so playing together as a duo for the Leo Audience was a treat. The song I recall best from these set was an original tune about dogs and people – written from the dog’s point of view.

Hawaiian Shirt Night. Now, I hate to be picky, but I was waiting for songs of Elvis, food and death, and I can only recall a song about food: The Cincinnati Chili Song. Of course, there could have been songs of death and Elvis too. My memory has been known to fail.

Dylan Sneed. After talking about song-writing and connecting to the audience, Dylan also showed us what it means to him. From this set, the song I remember best was a lullaby (Under the Sheets) that, (again as I recall) Dylan said that he wrote to comfort a child that asked a question that got a “special look” from a parent.  But I couldn’t find a good YouTube version of that song, so here’s one from Dylan’s YouTube channel – No Worse for  the Wear.

Sundays at the Leo actually begin about 5, when volunteers show up to start setting up the room. The jam/song circle starts about 5:30 and runs to 6:45. Sometimes there’s a workshop that runs at the same time.

If you are any kind of musician with an acoustic side, the Leo is the place to be on Sunday. Come on out.

 Here’s what’s coming up in the next two weeks.

October 2, 2010
1ST SET (7PM) Open Mic
2ND SET (7:30PM)

John Redell

Blues and acoustic songwriter-guitarist.

3RD SET (8:15PM)

Anna & Milovan

Father and daughter duo delivering folk, blues and originals.

October 9, 2011

Mike Oberst & Friends – CD Release Party!
The Tillers own banjo twanger and vocalist, Mike Oberst will release his debut album at the Leo Coffee House!

2ND SET (7:30PM) The album itself has been a year in the making and features thirteen special guests on twenty tracks. Joining him at the concert will be some of Cincinnati’s finest musicians from the album, like the Rabbit Hash String Band, Mark Utley and Matt Frazer of Magnolia Mountain, The William’s Family Band, hammer dulcimer player Patti Walker and many more.
3RD SET (8:15PM) Come join in with Mike and the gang for an evening of old-time string band music and overall good timery.

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