Dan Dabner (Songstall) – Interview (Part 2)

This is the second (and final) part of the interview with Dan Dabner from Songstall. If you haven’t done so already, you can check out part 1 here.



When did you become interested in music? What was the first album or single you ever purchased?

When I was younger my mum listened to the singles chart on the radio every Sunday, so I had a feel for some pop music, but my brother introduced me to heavy metal when I was about eight or nine and I think I bought a tape of Metallica’s Black Album so I’d have my own copy.

Are you in a band yourself, or have you been in a band in the past? Is there a file on YouTube or elsewhere we could watch?

I used to play the keys in the lonelyband a few years ago but sadly the band split in 2006.  I’m not aware of any videos on YouTube but naturally our music was the first available on Songstall!  http://www.songstall.com/thelonelyband Continue reading

Dan Dabner (Songstall) – Interview (Part 1)

Dan Dabner from Songstall (the startup I introduced you to last week) was kind enough to be interviewed on MusicKO. This is the first part of the interview I conducted with him– proceed here for part 2.


Full Name: Dan Dabner
Age: 24
Startup: Songstall
Position: Director



Tell us a little about your startup. How was it conceived? What are the features that (in your opinion) give it an edge over the competition?

The idea for Songstall came from a discussion between my brother and me while we were jamming one evening.  As musicians ourselves we know what it’s like to be an unsigned artist and all the options out there are based around the ideal of getting signed by a big record label.  All the services that offer to help in that long-term goal (promotion, recording, etc) always seem to charge high up-front fees that we know most artists simply can’t afford and prices them out of the market.  That’s where Songstall comes in – you don’t need a record label to sell your music online, and we don’t charge anything to sign up.  We just take a cut on any sale artists make to cover costs so we only make money if they do, which means our interests are aligned with theirs.  In addition, artists get their own customizable shop page so they can set their own prices, choose their own colours and get their own URL they can promote at their gigs.  We’ve not seen another service that offers all of this.

What was the original launch date?

We launched the website on Halloween 2009.  How rock ‘n’ roll is that?

What has been the response so far? In which countries has it been more successful?

We’ve had some very positive feedback about the website and the sign-ups are really picking up.  We’ve been most popular in the UK, USA and Canada, though we do offer our service world-wide. Continue reading

In The Mood: The Love Songs (Alabama) – Compilation Album

ALabama's "In The Mood: The Love Songs" Was Released In 2003. It Featured 2 New Songs.

Alabama's "In The Mood: The Love Songs" Was Released In 2003. It Featured 2 New Tracks.

Alabama has gone down in history as the most successful group in the history of country music. That is, in a scene that has traditionally been dominated by single performers they did give collectives a definitive chance to push the boundaries of the genre, and the way it has always been perceived.

I was overjoyed to find this compilation when I traveled to Argentina to attend an Elton John gig during The Rocket Tour, if only because not a single disc by them is available where I live. You might think that is strange, but what would you say if I told you that there are no albums by Garth Brooks either here? The ones I have are all imports. That reminds me I live in the opposite end of the world, but it makes me place a high value on these albums that I import, while it also makes me do my homework and figure out which ones could be sound purchases. Coming back to this compilation, when I bought it I knew I was only getting a part of the story that (while compelling) is not necessarily the defining one. Any compilation that hasn’t got “Mountain Music”, “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” and “Dixieland Delight” (their calling card in South America) is incomplete by definition. It’s like watching Star Wars and omitting the part when Darth Vader reveals he is Luke’s father. In a sense it doesn’t matter because everybody and his wife know that by now. With this compilation, it is the same – everybody knows these compositions I have mentioned by heart. Every single person who is into country music is more than familiarized with them. Continue reading

Extras (The Jam) – Compilation Album

"Extras" Assembles Rare Songs & Takes From All Over The Jam's Relatively Brief Career.

"Extras" Assembles Rare Songs & Takes From All Over The Jam's Relatively Brief Career.

Extras was a compilation of Jam b-sides, rare tracks and demos that was issued in 1992. The main value the compilation has always had is in portraying the development of Paul Weller as a composer, since cover versions that map out the way he shaped the sound of the trio as they went along are extensively provided. We have covers of The Beatles (“And You Bird Can Sing”), The Small Faces (the charged “Get Yourself Together”) and The Who (“Disguises” and “So Sad About Us”, the b-side to “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight” that paid tribute to the passing of Keith Moon) along with many R & B and soul covers like “Move On Up”, “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Fever” (which is fused with Paul’s own “Pity Poor Alfie”).

Some of the best original b-sides include “The Butterfly Collector” (a timeless take on the groupies and hangers on that have always littered the music scene), and the electric version of Foxton’s Smithers-Jones (a string quartet performs it on “Setting Sons“; the original version was the flipside to “When You Are Young”). There is also Weller’s own “Shopping” (a shuffly number that manages to marry the vision which led to the Style Council with the sound of The Jam) and the salient “Tales From The Riverbank”. That one has always been deemed as one of those “should have been an a-side” track by fans, critics and Weller himself. Its placement on the album is also very good, being situated right at the beginning with “The Dreams Of Children”.

There are also two unreleased Weller originals. They are “No One In The World” and “Hey Mister”. Both are performed by him unaccompanied – the former is played on guitar, and “Hey Mister” is played on piano. The songs have a disaffected outlook on life and politics respectively, and I think they would have made for interesting group performance. Continue reading

The Gift (The Jam) – Album Review

The Jam's Final Studio Album Was Issued In 1982. It Was Named "The Gift".

The Jam's Final Studio Album Was Issued In 1982. It Was Named "The Gift".

The Gift was to be the final Studio album cut by The Jam, and it simply showcases how Weller ambitions had massively outgrown the band. In places it sounds like a Style Council record that has Foxton and Buckler looking over their shoulders and glancing at the spots their musical ideas where when they began. Because they had little to contribute by this point. It is not necessarily their fault – Weller has come up with some textures and grooves that are totally un-Jam like, in the same way that Pete Townshend brought along influences for the recording of The Who’s “Who Are You” that left many band members (especially  Keith Moon) stranded. When that happens, a band takes its last bows and walks offstage.

These style excursions that do not work include “The Planner’s Dreams Go Wrong” and “Circus”, while “Running On The Spot” has potential that is never realized. Still, some compositions do work out to a lesser or bigger extent – “Precious” is quite effective, and the monster hit “Town Called Malice” gave everybody high hopes for the album (it was released some time ahead of the record, coupled with “Precious”). For its part, the soulful title track falls somewhere in the middle. Continue reading

Fabian Severo’s Speech – Launch Event For The Book “Once”

(Hagan click aquí para leer este artículo en español)

I would like to share with you the speech that Fabián Severo gave at the launch event for my book, “Once”. Fabián is a literature teacher and a writer. He has recently been involved in the launch of a book written with secondary school children named “Fruto Del Desierto” [The Fruit Of The Desert], and a second volume named “Huellas de viento en la arena” [Traces Of The Wind In The Sand] has just been completed.

I thank him warmly for being there that day, and for the speech he gave.

His blog is found here:


With Fabián Severo (Left) And Publisher Carmen Galusso (Right).

With Fabián Severo (Left) And Publisher Carmen Galusso (Right).

“It is a great joy to take part of the launch of a book of poems because I feel that poetry is the one literary genre that gives readers the biggest interpretative freedom. It brings us the maximum of feelings, emotions and ideas in a minimum of words.

Those who teach at institutes of education have always tried to make us believe language is noting but an instrument, and they taught us its functions. Ivonne Bordelois once wrote “we are forgetting that a language is above all a pleasure – a sacred pleasure – and probably the highest form of love and knowledge”. Language itself is free, democratic, sympathetic and revolutionary. Free and democratic because it reaches everybody at no cost. Sympathetic because it us a meeting point – a whole community shares it. And revolutionary because through it norms are trespassed and innovations arise. “And it is poets – along with children –the ones who notice the ample and secret possibilities that a language brings, and they either toy with it or become its toys.”

Emilio Pérez Miguel defines in a beautiful line one of the roles a poet plays out: “dar vos a lo que otro siente” [voice what other feels]. When one reads “Once”, in some of his poems, verses and quotes one is bound to find a feeling, a reflection or an idea that belongs to him.

Emilio Pérez has managed to surprise with this book. He has managed to trespass some frontiers. He has modified the conventional structure of books – there is no foreword, there is no index, after the introduction we go straight into the second chapter and we stay there, strolling through poems that change from one day to the other, that combine two titles, that pose questions that are answers. We read definitions, concepts, footnotes. Continue reading

Disertación de Fabián Severo – Presentación Del Libro “Once”

(Click here for the English version of this post)

Quisera compartir con ustedes la disertación brindada por Fabián Severo en la presentación de mi libro, “Once”. Fabián es profesor de literatura y escritor. Recientemente ha publicado un libro escrito por sus alumnos titulado “Fruto del desierto”, y un segundo volumen llamado “Huellas de viento en la arena” ha sido completado en estos días.

Le agradezco de corazón que me acompañara en ese día tan importante, y por las palabras que nos brindó a todos.

Este es su blog:


Con Fabián (A La Izquierda) Y La Editora Carmen Galusso En La Presentación Del Libro.

Con Fabián (A La Izquierda) Y La Editora Carmen Galusso En La Presentación Del Libro.

“Es una dicha participar en una presentación de un libro de poemas porque considero que la poesía es, dentro de los géneros literarios, el que más libertad de interpretación brinda al lector. Máximo de emociones, máximo de sentimientos, máximo de ideas, en un mínimo de palabras.

En las instituciones educativas intentaron hacernos creer que el Lenguaje era un instrumento, y nos enseñaron sus funciones. Dice Ivonne Bordelois: “Nos olvidamos de que el lenguaje es ante todo un placer, un placer sagrado; una forma, acaso la más elevada, de amor y de conocimiento”. El lenguaje es un bien gratuito, democrático, solidario y revolucionario. Democrático y gratuito, porque llega a todos de forma gratuita, solidario porque es un lugar de encuentro, lo comparte toda una comunidad y revolucionario porque a través de él, se transgrede la norma y se realizan innovaciones.  “Y son los poetas -junto con los niños- los que primero advierten las posibilidades más amplias y secretas del lenguaje y juegan o se dejan jugar con ellas.”

Emilio Pérez Miguel define en un hermoso verso una de las funciones del poeta cuando dice: “…dar vos a lo que otro siente.” Cuando uno lee “Once”, en alguno de sus poemas, de sus versos, de sus citas, encontrará algún sentimiento, alguna reflexión, alguna idea que le pertenece.

Emilio Pérez ha logrado sorprender con este libro, ha logrado transgredir algunas fronteras. Ha modificado la estructura, no hay prólogo, no hay índice, de la introducción pasamos al segundo capítulo y en él nos quedamos, paseando por poemas que cambian de días, que combinan dos títulos, que plantean preguntas que son repuestas, leemos definiciones, conceptos, notas al dorso. Continue reading

Heartaches & Highways – The Very Best Of Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris' "Heartaches & Highways" Compilation Was Released In 2005

Emmylou Harris' "Heartaches & Highways" Compilation Was Released In 2005

A compilation like this one is particularly useful when it comes to artists whose catalogs are colossal in depth. You see, “Heartaches & Highways” (2005) is an anthology which was assembled by Emmylou herself. It is interesting to listen to the story the way she wants to tell it. If you are an old fan, you get to see which songs she deems as the ones that shaped her career. And if you are a newcomer, you have the chance of sampling the songs she might like to be remembered by, effectively getting acquainted with her music like that.

Although not strictly a “best of” album, the CD definitely leans on hits, as her first song to hit the charts with force (“If I Could Only Win Your Love”) is included amid a series of tunes that she has either turned into standards or rejuvenated completely, such as “Two More Bottles Of Wine”, “Lost His Love In Our Last Date” and the sweet “To Know Him Is To Love Him” from the celebrated “Trio” album:

A nice choice (and one that clearly strays from a “very best” motif) is “Pancho & Lefty”. Emmylou’s version precedes the successful take by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. While the ones who struck gold where the two outlaws, Emmylou at least pointed the way to the treasure in a very elegant way indeed.

An absolute highlight is her duet with Roy Orbison on “That Lovin’ You Feelin’”. The mix is crisper than the one I had listened to on her “Duets” album, too. The difference is not pronounced, but the guitars have more space and the song on the whole sounds even more refined. Continue reading

Songstall – An Online Marketplace For Unsigned Musicians


Name: Songstall
URL:  http://www.songstall.com

Every musician knows that the Internet is akin to a freeway of opportunities when it comes to promoting his art and getting through to others. But it is a freeway that has some hazards along the way. While it is true that it is a superb platform for self-promotion and selling your music, it is also true that many sites that act as online marketplaces have a series of inherent limitations that make the experience a somehow diluted one. For starters, many of these sites do charge fees that end up making the actual transaction negligible. And a vast majority of sites letting artists put up their music for sale make the artist undergo a lengthy approval process for his tunes to be listed.

If you are looking for a way of getting around these shortcomings, then I think a site like this one could be worth a gander. Named Songstall (and recently launched, by the way), it will let any unsigned artist sell his compositions without having to pay any over-the-top fee, nor having to sit through a lengthy process in order to have his music listed online. Artists will be charged only when a sale is made. Continue reading

My Speech – Launch Event For The Book “Once”

(Hagan click aquí para leer este artículo en español)

This is the speech I gave at the launch event for my book “Once” on Friday the 13th of November, 2009. It was a moving moment, and I hope the ones who couldn’t be there that day do partake in such a feeling through this post.



“I have always thought that there are too many words in the world. If we could get rid of some of them, or at least make them lose their meanings – make the word “love” do not refer to this, make the word “penitence” do not refer to that, make the word “causality” do not imply the other…if we could do that, life would be far more eventful and far more easier.

The fact remains that words have an incredible weight, and an offensive power that we can’t even imagine most of the time. A single word is enough to make us or break us. A single word. Now, think about the effect that a phrase can have. “Out of sight, out of mind”. That is not truth, but we take it at face value. Phrases root within our collective being until we end up accepting them without ever thinking twice.

That happens because in life it is always easier to accept a truth that another person hands out to us, instead of seeking out a truth ourselves. I believe that is so because the process of seeking a truth is always an internal one, and people are reluctant to look inside. We never say so, of course. But the fact remains that we are too afraid to look inside since we might come across negative things. And our inner vision ends up being nothing but an external vision that we strengthen in our bosoms. That is, we only think we are any good when others tell us we are any good.

The truth is that if we looked inside there would be as many positive things to be found as there would be negative ones. They are exactly even. What happens is that people tend to emphasize what is bad – it is basic human nature. If we exaggerated our joys as we do exaggerate our sorrows, our every problem would lose transcendence.
Continue reading