Annie here. As I type this, my left hand’s fingertips are slightly burning. I’ve just practised guitar for the first time in a long while, you see, because on the weekend …

WE WON THE 2014 RODDY READ MEMORIAL SONG WRITING AWARD AND A BEAUTIFUL COLE CLARK GUITAR!!

We’re still in a bit of a spin about it. There we were, having played If You, having been graced by an afternoon of impressive song performances, expecting one of our talented co-finalists to win, when the judges announced that they’d chosen our song!

We feel very encouraged by the fact that they saw merit in our song writing, all being experienced and award-winning song writers themselves. Trevor Shard judges the competition every year, and has written a piece about it in his blog, which features photos of its many performers, including one of me grinning like a clown. Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs have a band called Oh Pep! who I happened to see last month (not knowing they were judges) and of whom I immediately became a bit of a fan.

The Roddy Read Memorial Song Writing Competition is held as part of Maldon Folk Festival, which has a very encouraging energy about it too. Bern and I only performed one song, but in watching other acts perform and in mixing with other fesival go-oers, we noticed how embracing and friendly the musicians and audiences were. Sitting at a shared table, a complete stranger invited us to have some of her chips, which strikes me as a fine benchmark of social cohesion. The organisers were a pleasure to spend time with as well. Thank you, MC Wendy Ealey, Sound Wizard Patrick Robertson, and Machine Oiler Lee Merzel! This festival seems to have a lot of enthusiasm and heart.

For three-fold encouragement, I am now determined to learn to play guitar! The Cole Clark ‘Fat Lady’ sounds so clear and feels easier to play than my other guitar, so I’m going to give it half an hour at least five times a week, and respectfully follow the teachings of Bern. Future blog entries may be on the short side, until my calluses develop …

Roddy Read Prize

We’ve been selected as finalists for the Roddy Read Memorial Song Writing Award!

We’ll be playing our song in the Finals Concert, which starts at 2pm on Saturday November 1st in the Maldon Athenaeum Library Hall, as part of Maldon Folk Festival. The concert is a non-ticketed event, so you don’t need a festival pass. Just come along. For those of you who appreciate the art of song writing or like listening to singer / song writers, it could be quite the smorgasbord.

Apart from feeling excited and honoured to have been selected as finalists, we could win a Cole Clark guitar! That’d be nice. They’re made in Australia, with great expertise and dedication.

We’re not sure how you judge song writing. Our songs come to us in many different ways. The starting point might be a thought, a feeling, a lyric line, a chord progression, a riff, a melody, etc. We work from whichever starting point we’ve been given, add other elements that serve it, and try to sense where the song wants to go next. It might be headed to a key change or a bridge or guitar solo or a whistling interlude, etc. If you write songs, let us know how the experience flows for you. We’d be interested to know.

In choosing a song to enter, we weren’t sure if If You was a ‘song-writerly’ song, but it is a perky number, and we thought it would stand out from the more serious odes and ballads. If you’re interested in the ideas and the process that brought it into being, click here to read our post from last year. Here’s our song. Wish us luck!!