Top 11 Songwriters
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I’ve been so busy since April with my non-music career. I’m the Third Mate on the S.S. Legacy, an 88-passenger cruise ship based out of Seattle. I started during a complete refit in shipyard and now we’re cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers. I’m just finishing up my first full week off since I started and get next week off too! I’m hoping to get out to an open mic or two before I have to go back to work. I’ll try to get a note out via Facebook first.

In the meantime, I wanted to post a list of some of my favorite songwriters. These are the writers I tend to listen to during my 12-hour watches on the bridge of the S.S. Legacy.

11. Lennon & McCartney – Face it, they’re responsible for some of the best songs written in the past 100 years. New songwriters should spend at least half of their writing time studying John and Paul. Favorites: Take your pick!

10. Elton John & Bernie Taupin – Forget the hits, some of the most poetic songs ever written have lyrics by Bernie Taupin. “Sixty Years On,” “Burn Down The Mission,” and “Take Me To The Pilot” are all filled with great imagery and emotional tension. Favorites: In addition to those mentioned, “Social Disease,” “Roy Rogers,” and “Grey Seal.”

9. Chris Wallin – Chris has written more of the top country songs in the past five years than any other writer. His songs have been recorded by Toby Keith, Confederate Railroad and a slew of others. Favorites: “Speed,” and “Love Me If You Can.”

8. Steve Seskin – A masterful image maker drawing on emotions like few others can. Steve’s great with a heartfelt story. Favorites: “BFD,” “April’s Dad,” and “New Orleans.”

7. KT Tunstall – Still a young songwriter, KT has some great chops both as a writer and a performer. She’s also an amazing performer. Her version of Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue” is great. Favorites: “Saving My Face,” and “Suddenly I See.”

6. Taylor Swift – I know, right? But Taylor is a masterful songwriter and one of the best melody writers around today. No doubt about it, we are NOT seeing just another teen sensation…Taylor will (hopefully) be writing songs for many years to come! Favorites: “Today Was A Fairy Tail,” “Tim McGraw,” “The Best Day,” and “Mean.”

5. Neil Young – His unplugged MTV special not only showcased his great skills as a solo performer, his songs came alive in a way only singer-songwriters can make happen. Magic. Favorites: “Old Man,” “Mr. Soul,” and “Harvest Moon.”

4. Dan Weber – In addition to being a great friend, Dan Weber is one of my favorite songwriters. I’m not alone. Since his debut CD “Ash & Bone” was released, Dan has performed on stages across the country and was a finalist in the legendary Kerrville “New Folk” competition. Dan is a master of the turn of phrase and his live shows are energy filled romps. I knew him when… Favorites: “Hank and Jesus,” “Crazy All Day,” “Dad,” and “On The Way Home.”

3. Paul Simon – Take your pick, but every Paul Simon CD I’ve got has a broken case from over use. I’ve had to download a couple on top of that since I’ve worn out the CDs. One of my all-time favorite songwriters for rhythm ideas. “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover,” “Late In The Evening,” and anything from “Graceland.”

2. Danny Schmidt – One of the top folk songwriters currently on tour. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with Danny on two occasions and both were an amazing experience for me. Danny’s songs run towards the epic length but his lyrics, great musical touch, and amazing voice all keep me interested from the first note to the last. Favorites: “Two Timing Bank Robbers Lament,” “Happy All The Time,” and “Stained Glass.”

1. Fred Eaglesmith – I make no secret that I’m a Fredhead. Forget that Fred’s live shows are fun filled romps through prime Americana. This multi-Juno Award winner (the Canadian Grammy equivalent) has songwriting chops that are unequaled. He can take you from laughter to tears in just a few words (“He’s A Good Dog”) and wraps both sides of the mystery of a difficult relationship up in “Summerlea.” After more than thirty years in the business, Nashville is finally waking up to this great talent. Favorites: “Thinking,” “Ship,” “Spookin’ The Horses,” “Rifles and Pistols,” and “Kansas.”

There you have it. This is what I listen to in the wee hours of the mornings as I’m navigating the S.S. Legacy along the Columbia River. Enjoy!

Get your CD yet?
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Here’s how:

Lyman Louis: Steam & Smoke
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Wow…just wow!
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It’s been some time since I’ve posted an update here. I have been updating my Kickstarter

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page since that’s where the activity has been happening for the past month. Now, with the CD project nearly finished I’m moving a lot of information back to the blog. So, what’s been happening?

Well, the CD is almost done. All recording is completed and we’re down to mixing. I got to tell you, was there ever a lot of great performances captured during our five days of recording. I think the final total was just over 40 hours of studio time! The band was amazing, we captured some killer vocals (thank you!) and I really can’t wait to share. As of this writing we are expecting to ship for manufacturing towards the end of June. That means I should have the CD in my hands mid- to late-July.

In addition to the actual recording there is also all the legalities and side projects. Copyrights have all been filed and paid for, the ASCAP title registrations are done, and all the performers have signed their releases. Our artwork is getting done (should have a report later today) and once the CD art is done the t-shirt art will be close behind. I’m going to be working with publicists to help with getting the word out and developing some press to support the project, and you can expect some news of the CD Release Party variety soon. Just working on the venue and scheduling the band next week.

So many decisions …

There are a couple of performances coming up that I wanted to let you know about. First, tomorrow, Friday June 15, I will be appearing at the Curious Comedy Theater with the “Time Out!” Rad Dad’s Show. This is always a great show and I hope you can make it. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are available online at www.curiouscomedy.org

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Saturday June 23rd we will be hosting Steve Key at the Lighthouse Concert Series. Steve is a great pro-songwriter with several cuts to his name. He’s just released a new CD and will be doing a show at our home from 7pm until we kick him out! Send me an email for the details. It’s a great opportunity to see an amazing songwriter in an intimate setting. Just $15 and it all goes to the artist. If you’d like to join us send me an email.

On Monday July 16 I will be opening a concert at the Doverlaff House Concerts in Portland. I’m really looking forward to this one since I will be opening for two of my favorite folk poets, Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin. We’ve hosted Danny and Carrie at the Lighthouse and now I’m going to open for them at Dan Dover and Cheryl Mitzlaff’s great garden venue. This will be the first performance where I might even have some CDs to sell! Go to http://doverlaffhouseconcerts.org/

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 to RSVP.

And remember, I’m also at Columbia View Park in Saint Helens every Thursday for the 13 Nights on the River concert series. I don’t perform, but I do work the sound system and occasionally emcee. It’s a great music series and always a lot of fun. Music starts at 6pm and runs to 9pm each Thursday night. www.13nightsontheriver.com

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That’s it for now. I hope everyone is having a great start to their summer!

Lyman