Tag Archives: songwriting insights

I Can’t Call You

Episode #74: I Can’t Call You   (Song starts at 12.58)

Hi there. Come along with me for another ‘wander’ and a chat. I’m looking to entertain and relax the listener (you). I’m also looking to shed some light on the mystery of a creative process: Songwriting.

As I write these show notes, ‘I Can’t Call You’ is the most recent song I’ve written. The version on this episode is the live version, taken from my recent live online performance, (you can view some on YouTube Pete Pascoe Art and Music or the whole concert via my Insta (Pete Pascoe Art and Music) or Facebook (Pete Pascoe Songwriter).

Often when I’m writing a song it really feels like it’s a co-write with ‘another’ – somewhere on the ether, ideas float in on the breeze. 

It came to me in this episode that perhaps composing means exactly that….’com'( communicating – so inferring more than one entity is involved – and ‘pose’ …ask a questions. 

So with that information, it seems a like reasonable description of proceedings…asking a series of questions together, as the song unfolds/ takes form.

Nothing is cast in stone with the creative process. Everything is suggested. Sometimes you get a feeling that an element of a song is a instantly a strong element – in which case, you think ok, that’s ‘in’ ….by constantly asking questions and being open to change (which, incidentally, I talk about in his weeks blog post), you are open to the possibility that things can become stronger and stronger as the process goes on. The elements build on what just happened. 

I think that’s why the feeling is so important…it’s the start, it’s the ‘voice’ that talks and leads me on. 

I’m a cartoonist as well. Early on in a cartoon drawing I’ll want to get the feeling, the emotion, across… so I’ll scoot straight to putting the eyes in – finding the personality of the character. 

That’s what drives me as I compose. The feeling. It lifts me.

The beauty is: once a piece of art or a song has been completed it can be presented and performed and others can be affected by the emotion. The listener or the observer perceives the art or song as it pertains to them – almost taking ownership of the art or music.

Ok…Yes, this is a big subject we tackle here on this podcast, but there’s humour here, light hearted banter & anecdotes – including an unfortunate encounter I had with an old lawn mower….

By the way, if you’d like to hear what I’m up to each week, maybe you’d like to view a new painting, hear about a gig, a new video, etc. please do sign up to my email list:  info@petepascoe.com

And if you are enjoying this podcast, please do leave a favourable review / share it far and wide. Thank you so much in advance.

You can read the lyrics of this weeks song on my blogpost – and view the painting I mention in this episode at www.petepascoe.wordpress.com

Ok. Here we go. Join me now….I hope you relax and enjoy a song and a chat

Long Long Road

Episode #73: Long, Long Road      (Song at 5.34)

Talk about a long, long road…it’s currently lockdown here in Melbourne – Again! That’s 6 times! Happy to do my bit, stay home and do what’s right. 

One of the things I’ve enjoyed over the last 15 months has been recording podcast episodes. It’s been my one of my ‘islands of certainty’ each week, in these uncertain times.

I have a few things I’m committed to doing each week, including a music video and painting, a blog etc. But the focus of what you’re tuning into here today is another episode of my podcast.

This week, as usual, I talk about whatever pops into my mind. It’s all free flow. Consequently, it’s a relaxed 30minutes you’re in for. But I pack plenty in – you’ll find out.  

And you’ll get a song – this one is from my piano vocal album ‘The Long Haul’ (which you can find on www.petepascoe.wordpress.com). 

I talk in layman’s terms, when it comes to the theory of what goes on with the songwriting. So no prior knowledge of music theory is needed to enjoy this podcast.

It’s a very nice feeling casting my mind back to how the song came together each week, recalling old memories & relating things that have happened to me during the week. 

The Long, Long Road awaits us all. It’s about the idea of self development, responsibility of the self to take each step along the way, unlock a door…and find…it’s a long, long road ahead. A series of ‘nows’, in effect, with no actual final destination…then we move on again.

Yes, it’s a big subject but the beauty of combining the words with music means the melody and chords can transform deep words into an uplifting experience.

Apparently, the overall effect of of this podcast is: it’s informative, engaging, relaxing and inspiring! How’s that? Thanks so much for the feedback, folks! 

Thanks so much for stopping by and having a read. If you want to find out more about the art I mention in this episode, here’s my blog, where you can find out more…www.petepascoe.wordpress.com 

Being an active, creative person has really helped me – particularly over this last year. I’m so pleased that the music, art, writing and talking I’ve shared online has helped others. Fantastic. That’s the power of the arts. 

Enjoy the Long Long Road. If you like this one there’s another 70-odd episodes waiting! 


Episode #72: Gratitude   (Song at 4.22)

An interesting one this week. I stumbled across this old demo when I was going through some files on the computer. 

I’ve already presented this one to the band (myself and the Patient Hum) – would’ve been handy to have had this demo around on the evening I sang it through with the guys. 

Or maybe not…sometimes it’s fun to see what other musicians come up with, without them being steered in a certain direction. As it turns out, on the evening I played it to the band, I managed to convey the sensitive mellow sort of vocal take I had in mind… I was singing lightly, playing keys bass left hand and piano right hand. It’s certainly fun and it allows me to give some cues along the way by pushing the bass here and there and ‘easing back’ sometimes. 

This demo fits the bill for this podcast. It’s got ‘something’ about it.- and that something is: feeling.

It’s not the most accurately played demo – that’s me on the drums, having a play through for the first time. The piano is improvised. I threw some quick strings, synth and vocal harmonies tonight, before I recorded the podcast episode. It needs a mix and some fixes, but it was fun.  It’s pretty late now…Oh well, you’ve gotta go wild occasionally when you’re a muso!  

Song number 655, Gratitude came in on the breeze as I sat at the piano, in between teaching students, back in 2017. I’m grateful for much about my life. I’ve chosen the creative path and I’m grateful for the fact that I chose to commit to this path early on in life. 

This song started with a simple riff on the piano, which caught my ear, so I recorded it quickly using my iPad, shooting a video. Then I taught some more lessons.

After a while I had another break. I played back the riff .. Aha ! It’s a great feeling, knowing you’ve squirrelled something away that makes you feel …good. 

Actually I wrote about this idea on my blog post this week. The idea of quickly writing just the skeleton of the creative idea, so it’s there for you to come back to. 

If we don’t take this step, all this energy – and the seeds of an idea –  are lost like dry sand between fingers.

It is such good fun playing the piano and singing. I did enjoy having a hit on the drums – just to get the ‘mood ‘across to another drummer. And that drummer will be, in this case, Dan Dew, the drummer from our band. 

On this episode, I also recount a humorous episode of myself chasing a couple of rock wallabies on a very steep slope here in the Australian outback.., piqued your curiosity? I hope so. 

Also my blog is petepascoe.wordpress.com . This is where you can view the painting I mention in this episode, plus there’s  links to all sorts – including me recent live online concert  -the video is up online too. 

Here’s another 30 minutes of song and a chat. Relax and enjoy the music and conversation….

The Man In Blue


Episode #71 The Man In Blue   (Song at 11.02)

Hi there and welcome to another 30 minutes of relaxed chat – and some music.

If you’re back here for another dose, thank you! If it’s your 1st time here, welcome.  As you listen, I hope you’re feeling like you’re almost ‘in conversation’ with me, as an audience when I’m talking away. 

Recording the episodes about songwriting, life observations, anecdotes, etc is an intimate thing. It’s a rewarding process, looking into songwriting – it’s a gentle and revealing art. I keep my delivery relaxed with humour never far away… it’s gotta be fun.

By its very nature, when you engage in songwriting, you open yourself up. You make yourself vulnerable. So there’s a lot of trust required when it comes to exploring this art… whether you’re doing some co songwriting, or sharing your music. 

Anyway, this is what we are up to here, each week. – and there is a ‘we’ in this equation: ‘me’ and ‘you’…thanks so much for tuning in and listening. I hope you enjoy today’s episode. 

The Man In Blue, like most of my songs, just came out of thin air. Incidentally, this song is the title track of an album of mine. You can find it streaming a lover the place on all the normal streaming platforms (and Thin Air is the opening track…hmm maybe there’s something in that. I used to love trying to read something into the song titles of my favourite albums).

Anyway. The Man In Blue talks about about a time in my life where I was looking back on my life, acknowledging parts of my life were a bit ‘hairy’. Ahh the ups and downs of the artist, I hear you say. 

Yes, but it’s the ups and downs of everyone’s life. That’s the beauty of a song. The mix of the music and the words can grab you emotionally and take you places you maybe didn’t realise you’re ready to go to… 

Again, some marvellous musicals played on this track. I hope you enjoy the song and the story behind The Man In Blue.

I’m starting to get into performing music live, online, by the way. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in being part of, send me an email & I’ll send you the link – in fact, if you’d like to get on my email list, that’d be great. That way you won’t miss a thing. 

I’m very busy online, each week: YouTube videos, new paintings and songs, etc. Here’s my blog www.petepascoe.wordpress.com  – lots here each week. 

I committed to blogging weekly in the same week I published my first episode here, so there’s 70 consecutive  weeks of paintings, music, cartoons, & writing to look back on. 

Eventually I’m going to be producing e books and video courses which will be of an educational nature…. Painting, cartooning, songwriting, etc.. Coming up.

Now, on with the show. Enjoy….

Help Me

Episode #70: Help Me  (Song starts at 7:24 )

Hi there, from Melbourne. Once again, here I am behind the mic, at the piano, looking at another song from a while ago – or that was what I thought. 

But…I pushed a button without realising it. An 80s synth sound came through loud and clear, when I was expecting a piano sound. I let this take me somewhere and I leapt in and started composing an …80s rock song. So this may well become a song which I’ll finish and release at some point in the future – and you heard it first on this podcast!

Now, back to the song at hand, Help Me, after all these years, is topical this week (I wrote it in 1998! ). It’s lockdown here, again, in Melbourne. Man, it’s been really, really challenging as a musician artist, these last 15 months. 

But the art and music have kept my wheels on – I’ve loved sharing so many songs and creative ideas, anecdotes and observations on this podcast so far. I’ve also been panting seascapes flat out. So with gigs and arts markets being cancelled ( and most my piano teaching ), I’ve been emailing and following up seascape commission enquires, doing all sorts.. 

As well, I’ve been doing my blog (www.petepascoe.wordpress.com).

…..and some music – and this (mainly) what we are here to talk about. 

With everything going on, it is with a sense of relief and excitement when I go into my studio, select and old demo and create a show around the song. 

I really like today’s song. It’s a bluesy number with a strong groove, some excellent lead guitar from Paul Dredge (NZ), my song writing buddy.  

So if you want to escape off into songwriting land with me, come on… Let’s see where it takes us. 

Help me is basically a cry for help. With lyrics like these, it’s tempting (and logical ) to write a ballad, especially when your writing on the piano. I’m pleased with this song: I think it really sounds like it’s been written on guitar, with a band. So today’s song is a bit different from some of my piano / vocal songs …

Ok grab a cuppa, here we go – here’s 30 minutes of creativity, fun and exploration. Enjoy! 

Where The Days All Went

Episode #69: Where The Days All Went   (Song starts at 5.50)

Hi and welcome to another episode. As usual, we are travelling back in time to the day I wrote this one – song #446. If you’re thinking ‘that’s a while ago’! That’s what I’m thinking too. But the strange thing is, it doesn’t feel so long ago, to me…

And now I’m thinking ‘where did all those days go?’ It’s been years since I moved to Melbourne from New Zealand. I miss walking beside the rivers in NZ. 

It was a beautiful calm winters day, the day I recorded this episode here in Melbourne. You can hear ‘my’ magpies in our backyard…you’ll also get to hear a few moments of a New Zealand Tui (bird) call and the sound of one of my favourite rivers, courtesy of my co-songwriting mate, Paul Dredge – who just happens to play guitars and bass on today’s song. He sent me the recording via his phone. cool, eh?

You’ll also get to hear about me racing out to get the bins out to the rubbish truck in time – on a cold winters early morning..ha.

Back in 1998, I remember the inspiration was “what the…where do all those days get to? I’m a little bit older, and I feel like I’m just getting started …”

In many ways, in 2021, I feel exactly the same.. Here I am, 69 episodes in, on a relatively new podcast. I’m about to produce a bunch of e-books and video courses…and this is something that I’ve wanted to do for years. 

I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned along the way – creative processes : How to paint, how to write a song, how to draw cartoons, etc… Really looking forward to getting these products online, ready for people to download. 

I’ve spent all this time learning, developing a style, in a few different arts. I’ve been teaching one on one lessons for years. I want to share the teaching to more people – why wouldn’t you…so, yep, I’m just getting started here. 

Also, I have more albums on the way and there’s lots of sheet music to produce, too. So I’m going to busy for some time yet! 

In the 1990s, I was gigging and writing songs. That was about it – oh, and fishing and playing some cricket. So I wrote plenty of songs – and I’m glad I did.

In these episodes on this podcast, There’s a big emphasis on ‘nature healing us’ in my songs. It’s big part of who I am. I didn’t realise there was so much of that aspect in my songs. I’m glad there is. 

The lyrics are one of 3 sets of lyrics I wrote on my birthday (happening social life back then, obviously…). So the first line is  “with every song I’m older….” So that obviously came from it being my birthday.  And away we go. 

There’s a line in the song ‘ the world begs no difference to how we may remember’ …how nature helps to find our place in the scheme of things…there are so many people and it’s a big world.

It’s a great feeling to write lyrics. It’s also great fun to read back through them, without singing or playing music. It allows me to focus on the deeper meaning in the sentences. 

I’m really enjoying just playing, having fun as I talk and I’m finding this is really taking me places I might not otherwise get to, in terms of understanding some of my ‘trick’s I use as a songwriter..and consequently, Im sharing them in the moment I’m discovering them . Which is really interesting to me. 

Join me this week as I experiment, turning a rock song into a piano vocal version…and I compose some new parts as I …play ..rewriting. It’s always an option as a songwriter. 

There’s a balance between being open to changes and hanging on to that which you believe to be right the way it is already. Ultimately, it’s about what’s right for the Song. (and sometimes more than one arrangement is the right call)

Enjoy a relaxed 30 mins of chat and step in the shoes of a songwriter. Hope you enjoy the music , too. 

You can read the lyrics in this week’s blog post at www.petepascoe.wordpress.com – plus there’s lots more music and art there too.

Time Wheels

Episode #68: Time Wheels    (Song starts at 4:26)

Welcome to another episode. I like the way this podcast is developing. Casting my mind back, it’s hard to believe more than a year has gone by since I recorded my 1st episode. Those time wheels keep on turning.

Written in 1991 ( yes, that is some time ago, and it’s a surprise to me that so many years have passed since I wrote this one).The lyrics of Time Wheels are a collection of seemingly random images from my past. The reflective mood of these words were then given a context, a suitable musical bed and a melody to then take flight and become…. a song.

It’s a seemingly magical thing…come along with me in this episode and I’ll take you inside the songwriting process once again. 

By the way, if this is your first time here, be not afraid: this podcast is not a dry ‘how to text book’ on songwriting. It includes songwriting tips on how I go about it, but it’s more about sharing the feelings and my experiences along the way, sort of looking to shed light on the process without ever looking to try and demystify the process – as if I could do that.

Time is obviously a universal theme. It means something different to everyone and what it means to an individual changes…over time. Our perception of time changes in relation to our state of mind: being immersed in a passion can mean a long period of time can flash by in an instant. Conversely, if you’re not enjoying what you’re up to, 30minutes can seem to take an eternity.

(Perhaps this is a bit like quantum physics, how the observer can influence the outcome of experiments simply by observing (?) or not… anyhow…back to songwriting…)

I talk about the recording process here, too, in general terms. Again, how magical it is – how it feels to sing together in harmony with 2 other people. We recorded all the vocals on this demo in one take. In fact the whole album, Righto, (which I have on bandcamp here : www.petepascoe.bandcamp.com) was recorded like that. From memory there was perhaps only one false take.

We did the 17 songs in 3 days. Who does that? Well, we were well rehearsed and we were passionate and we were used to making music together …we played five nights a week together. That’s a lot over three years. 

I was younger when I wrote this song. But I’m not sure if written many better ones than this. It’s got ‘a feeling’ about it.… 

Here’s the story behind time wheels. Enjoy just sitting back and enjoy the chat -and some music. 

You can find the lyrics at the end of this week’s blog post www.petepascoe.wordpress.com (resilience and self belief post)

Huckleberry Man

Episode #67: Huckleberry Man    (Song starts at 7.54)

Hi there & welcome! This week’s episode features a song that came out of thin air – a collaboration between myself and my friend Jo Kinniburgh. The evening it happened, we didn’t set out to write a song – it was completely unexpected.

It was at the time I composed my very mellow 1st solo piano ‘River Music’ album. There were 3 of us living in the house at the time, reading Tolkien by candle light, going fly fishing… Sounds pretty tranquil doesn’t it? It was.

But, In contrast to all this, ‘Huckleberry’ came through like a shot in the arm –  a song with a sense of humour and message too, I think.

Jo started the guitar riff and I piped up with ‘Pascoe speak’ -half ‘gobbledegook’-  sung ‘lyrics’. Huckleberry and the other character, Miss Merry Meadow arrived from the ether, as did Jo’s chord changes. I edited the lyrics and it all came together in no time at all. Great fun.

Over this past 15 months or so, as I’ve archived and examined my creative work (music and art), the elements of humour keep arising. I would venture to say this humour helps to keep energy flowing, keeps you on the breath, ready to receive whatever comes through from the muse – or whatever you’d like to label this ‘ thing’

To me, it’s more than a thing. ‘It’ feels like an ever changing …entity …is the wrong word …force ? Wrong, again. Ahh my coarse brush of my language fails me. I’m comfortable with that. It’s a mystery. Perhaps we can agree to that ?

The lyrics came from somewhere ‘deeper’. As usual, I did weave universal themes into what (on the surface) was a light hearted song. There’s s little bit of me in Huckleberry. And perhaps there’s some of  of Huckleberry Finn here as well. Maybe that’s an example of the power and the uniting force of the arts. Here I am, living in the South Pacific , channeling something written by a novelist from the northern hemisphere, in another century.. ..And there’s a little bit of someone else I know in Miss Merry Meadow.

But there’s more … Huckleberry represents male energy in general and Miss Merry, the female energy. So this song is about that dance.

In this episode , I imagine Beethoven composing in a castle, talk about my imaginary dog…yep, we get all over the place, again. The sense of play as I speak helps me to uncover and explain some of the processes I go through to come up with these songs..

So thanks, Jo. I loved writing this with you. And thanks to you, I’m presenting another ( hopefully ) entertaining and informative episode – that’s the aim.

Enjoy that sense of fun and the ‘up’ country type of song as well… Yeeharrr……

Lyrics here : www.petepascoe.wordpress.com ( plus a stack of art and more music).

King Edwards Park

Episode #66: King Edward’s Park  ( Song starts at: 6.44 )

This song (# 380 ) reminds me of how it felt to be sitting in King Edwards Park all those years ago, back in New Plymouth, NZ. 

I can recall the mood, the sounds of ‘ the ducks chattering in love’, the sights … just a few people strolling by, a monarch ( butterfly) floating by on the breeze… the most peaceful kind of scenes: late Autumn & the seasons seemed to have been paused.

I was sitting on the old wooden park chair, writing the words that turned out to be the lyrics for this song. 

It brought out some emotions as I listened back to this song. I starting thinking about how I moved to Melbourne ( from NZ). Looking back, There’s been a lot of sacrifices I’ve made, to live this life as a songwriter. 

I think, to a degree, it’s necessary to really commit to an artist’s path, to come up with art or music that is really ‘honest’ You’ve got to live a little and ‘find your voice’ – the voice that is yours and yours only. 

That’s why my lyrics stand out to me. They ring true and I’m not trying to write like anyone else. 

I feel the same about my music. To begin with, you start out by emulating the music and songwriters you admire.

Then you sort of step out in faith and have a lash at writing something of your own. I think you get lucky initially, then you basically just work really, really hard at what you do, chipping away, being honest to yourself while playing and keeping all the theory in mind.

Then one day you wake up and find you’re consistently writing songs you really enjoy. And other people do too. 

I love how you sort of get to dip into another world ( or different worlds ), constantly, as you close your eyes and wait for the next flash of inspiration to come through. 

This is the way the words and the music comes through. Eg a monarch ( butterfly) floated by and I thought of a monarch as in a queen . So in the next line I cast myself as a jester – an entertainer- observing the day. 

I really enjoy analysing the lyrics, recalling how they unfolded. I find it amazing how much I can recall. 

For something different, as a songwriter, it can be a good idea to sort of not divulge everything -leave a sense of mystery. I did this in the bridge, talking about the night air so cool….

So join me today as I retrace the steps, looking at how the music & words came into being. 

It really is all a bout the feeling . That’s number one. 

See if this song makes you feel anything in particular….

It’s great fun to be a songwriter & It’s nice to be sharing how I go about it. 

You can check out the lyrics on my blog www.petepascoe.wordpress.com 


Visions Of Sleep

Episode #65: Visions Of Sleep  (Song starts at 5.48)

Hi and welcome to another episode of fun, exploration and …intrigue. Where did this song (song # 406) come from? 

It came from a dream. There you go. It was early (ish) in the morning, after all, I’m a musician. It would’ve been sometime before 11am. Probably. Anyhow, I woke from this dream as if someone lightly shook me. So I wrote those words in my diary and then they became lyrics. The rest of the lyrics came from my casting my mind back into a dream like state, sifting for feelings and trying to recall as much as I could. 

A figure, away in the distance, slowly came into view, he came closer and closer and…..

This demo of the song was actually the first time it was ever played. Actually, on the day, three of us recorded 14 songs (first take), and this became an album of which I released 100 CDs. I’ve since recorded the vocals, added some strings and I think I’ll re-release it on bandcamp later this year. 

This is very much ‘information’ outlining the process. But an episode of Song and A Chat is more than that….

So how does an episode roll? What’s the format? Well, I start out with some sort of ‘off the cuff’ sort of opening gambit about what’s  been happening – in fact , whatever pops into my mind. So it’s a relaxed chat.

Eventually, I bring the conversation around to the song. I muse and chat, quite often I come up with something unexpected that ends up being related to the song. The apparently initially unrelated subject material quite often seems to shine a light on some aspect of the week’s song in a way that might never have happened had I not just chatted and had some fun.

I play the demo, then I read the lyrics, analysing them in an relaxed manner. I don’t take myself overly seriously – when it comes down to it, art and music has to be fun ( yes, there’s a recurring theme here). I do enjoy looking at the words.

Then I look at the music and demonstrate bits and pieces on my piano as I speak. 

I hope you enjoy the song – and the chat. Sit back and enjoy having a listen.

By the way, while there’s lots of songwriting tips here, they are delivered in terms that the layman can understand. It all inclusive, as if I’m addressing an intimate crowd at a ‘songwriter speaks’ sort of gig –  no prior music theory knowledge is required.  

Join me in the dreamy realm of the state I get into, as a songwriter, like this : 

“Hi there! Welcome to another episode of Song and Chat ! – with your host, Pete Pascoe – that would be me. Man, the howling winds really blew last night here in Melbourne …..”  and on we go. The howling winds brought to mind an old episode of the TV show ‘The Young Ones’ , so I talk about that for a while…etc.

You can check out the lyrics of the featured song ( and some art and more music ) on my blog each week: www.petepascoe.wordpress.com .

Maybe Visions Of Sleep might work with my current band, Pete Pascoe and The Patient Hum.     Hmm…I’ll put it to the guys. Maybe one day we’ll release a new version and you’ll be able to say “I heard the demo – and got the back story ” here. 

By the way, you’ll hear about my little dog that I used to have and what happened when my brother and I let the budgie out for a fly around the kitchen one day….. How’s that for unexpected. That’s just what you can expect. C’mon &  join me now as I get right inside the one of my real passions in life . Songwriting. ….