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Where does YOUR singing style come from?

Jerry Rasmussen 20 Dec 05 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,BazT 20 Dec 05 - 09:03 AM
Uncle_DaveO 20 Dec 05 - 09:04 AM
Ross 20 Dec 05 - 09:26 AM
gnu 20 Dec 05 - 09:28 AM
Roger the Skiffler 20 Dec 05 - 09:35 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 Dec 05 - 09:46 AM
Peace 20 Dec 05 - 10:19 AM
MMario 20 Dec 05 - 10:21 AM
MMario 20 Dec 05 - 10:23 AM
muppitz 20 Dec 05 - 10:25 AM
kendall 20 Dec 05 - 10:26 AM
Amos 20 Dec 05 - 10:28 AM
JulieF 20 Dec 05 - 10:43 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 Dec 05 - 11:00 AM
Peace 20 Dec 05 - 11:06 AM
JulieF 20 Dec 05 - 11:15 AM
mooman 20 Dec 05 - 11:17 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 Dec 05 - 11:19 AM
Grab 20 Dec 05 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 20 Dec 05 - 01:16 PM
closet-folkie 20 Dec 05 - 01:18 PM
EBarnacle 20 Dec 05 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,mg 20 Dec 05 - 01:36 PM
Little Robyn 20 Dec 05 - 02:05 PM
frogprince 20 Dec 05 - 02:13 PM
GUEST 20 Dec 05 - 02:38 PM
Don Firth 20 Dec 05 - 03:26 PM
Janie 20 Dec 05 - 04:05 PM
*Laura* 20 Dec 05 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Bert 20 Dec 05 - 06:12 PM
Lonesome EJ 20 Dec 05 - 06:17 PM
Little Hawk 20 Dec 05 - 06:24 PM
Beer 20 Dec 05 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,Bert 20 Dec 05 - 10:08 PM
Once Famous 20 Dec 05 - 10:09 PM
Lonesome EJ 20 Dec 05 - 10:13 PM
number 6 20 Dec 05 - 11:22 PM
Little Hawk 20 Dec 05 - 11:36 PM
SunnySister 21 Dec 05 - 12:18 AM
sharyn 21 Dec 05 - 12:47 AM
skarpi 21 Dec 05 - 01:48 AM
Seamus Kennedy 21 Dec 05 - 01:52 AM
Stephen L. Rich 21 Dec 05 - 05:10 AM
Janie 21 Dec 05 - 08:32 AM
closet-folkie 21 Dec 05 - 08:35 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Dec 05 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Duke Wilson 21 Dec 05 - 08:55 AM
Essex Girl 21 Dec 05 - 09:31 AM
alanabit 21 Dec 05 - 10:17 AM
BillE 21 Dec 05 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,DB 21 Dec 05 - 10:40 AM
Big Mick 21 Dec 05 - 12:35 PM
Beer 21 Dec 05 - 01:37 PM
Big Mick 21 Dec 05 - 02:32 PM
Beer 21 Dec 05 - 02:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Dec 05 - 02:52 AM
number 6 22 Dec 05 - 12:44 PM
Liath 22 Dec 05 - 04:09 PM
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Subject: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 08:41 AM

Most singers learn to sing by imitating other singers, as another thread points out. As time goes by, they blend the style of others into something that becomes their own style.

Any idea where yours comes from?

I think that the greatest influences on my singing were jazz and rhythm and blues singers. Being playful with phrasing and melody comes from jazz and feeling the rhythm in a song comes from rhythm and blues. There were several singers whose records I sang along with for so many years that I know they have a lot to do with my style. Before I heard much rhythm and blues, Frank Sinatra was the singer I was probably most influenced by. When the first rhythm and blues recordings became popular, from the groups to Fats Domino, Gene Vincent and Chuck Berry, I sang along with those records for countless hours, and the phrasing became part of my singing. Because I came to folk music even later, I think that it had the least influence on my singing (other than blues and black gospel, which just built on rhythm and blues influences.) When I first heard traditional folk music, I tried my hardest to shed all traces of vibrato and inflection. I wanted to sound 70 years old and toothless. Time took care of the 70 years old part (and I still have my teeth.) Gumming songs sounded sooo authentic to me.)

Finally, I left that southern mountain, nasal style of singing behind and all the rhythm and blues influences became a natural part of how I sing.

All this said, the one singer who probably influenced me more than anyone was Clancy Hayes, who sang traditional jazz with Bob Scobey.
Clancy sang a lot of songs that cross over into the edges of folk music, like Long Gone, and Sailing Down to Chesapeake Bay, but the lasting influence in his singing was that he just had such a Hell of a good time singing. He let the song sing him, let the rhythm take him where it wanted to go and savored the words.

And eventually, we all end up sounding like ourselves.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: GUEST,BazT
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:03 AM

As someone who is just "learning" to sing at the moment, I thought your post was really interesting Jerry. I have been experimenting with all sorts of voices over the past few months, trying to find one that I can use across as wide a range as possible. However, the problem is, the voice I use for "Blackwaterside", for instance, doesn't seem to work too well for "Bye Bye Baby Blues", and vice versa. And I'm beginning to think that the reason for this is that neither of those voices are "mine" - they're imitations of other singers. I'm also coming to realise that worrying relentlessly about the mechanics of singing (am I gonna hit that note at the end of this line? Do I sound too nasal? Do I sound too throaty? Is my volume right?) is preventing me from DELIVERING the song - from giving it life. Does that make sense?

I really liked the part of your post where you say "he let the song sing him." If I can work on THAT, then when someone posts a similar thread to this one sometime in the future saying "Where does your singing style come from?" I'll be able to say "From the songs....but Jerry helped."

Cheers,
Baz.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:04 AM

I was first made aware of folksongs by Burl Ives.

Then along came (not in order) Josh White (Sr.), PETE SEEGER!!, and Richard Dyer-Bennet. And Woodie Guthrie.

I guess I'd say Ives, Seeger, and Dyer-Bennet form a sort of triangular target, toward which I shoot the arrow of my singing style. And to a degree White and Guthrie have an influence.

Forgive the tortured metaphor, please. It's the best way I can think of to describe how I come to sing the way I do.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Ross
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:26 AM

Desperation


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: gnu
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:28 AM

Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. Yes, all four, depending on the song.... if I could still sing worth a pinch of tobacco. "Hearty and Hellish" was the first album I ever heard on a record player.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:35 AM

In my case no-one has been able to figure it out!
I like to think Howlin' Wolf and Fred McDowell. Other have said it's more like Virginia Woolf and Andie McDowell.
I was the original protest singer-whenever I sing, people protest.
(I've got a million of 'em, unfortunately *BG*)

RtS
(aka The Croakin'Bullfrog aka Blind Jelly Donut)


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:46 AM

Sounds like you're on the right track, Baz. For all of us, (esepcially when we start singing in front of an audience) we are driven far too much by what others are going to think about us. I did that for years. We consciously (or subconsciously) measure ourselves against other singers we like, or admire.

Every once in awhile someone in my gospel quartet loses their way and starts to get neurotic about what someone is going to think about them. Or they say, I can't sound like Sam Cooke, or Claude Jeter. I have two responses to that. Firstly, Sam Cooke or Claude Jeter (fantastic lead singer for the Swan Silvertones) could never sound like you. No one can sound like you. You have a unique gift and you should become the best singer you can become without comparing yourself to anyone else. Secondly, I ask, "Who are you singing for?" That's a universal question, not limited to gospel music. Of course, we all sing for others, but your first loyalty should be to the song and yourself. If you do that, people will enjoy you. Some may not, but there's no accounting for taste.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Peace
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:19 AM

I am trying to find my voice after 25 years away from it. When I get there I'll let ya know.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:21 AM

I haven't the foggiest idea where my singing style comes from - - mainly my belly I think.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:23 AM

Actually - I thake that back - I think a lot of what I do comes from the hours of singing while driving a tractor - just to hear myself I had to learn to support and project my voice - and that is a lot of it.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: muppitz
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:25 AM

I'd like to think my singing style is a mixture of Kate Rusby, Kathryn Roberts, Judy Dinning & Julie Matthews.

I've been influenced by them all quite heavily.

muppitz x


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: kendall
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:26 AM

I really don't think it comes from anywhere in particular.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:28 AM

Mine comes from me, I reckon.


A


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: JulieF
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:43 AM

I've been thinking about this recently.

Over the last few years I have found that the best way for me to learn sngs is to try and listen to several versions - perhaps finding the ones that are easiest to learn the tune ( key and decoration) and the words ( Can I make out what they are saying and do I like that version of the words).    Have got the tune and words stuck I will then not listen to any version of the song again until I have sung it out quite a lot of times.

The reason I was thinking about it was that I have started a jazz class taught by someone who has heard me sing unaccompanied folk for a while.    I've been working on "Can't help lovin' dat man" ( perhaps more blues/show tune than jazz) and last week he told me that he had deliberately left me alone to develop the phrasing and that I have a unique way of putting a song across.   Unfortunately It was near the end of a busy class and others had to be seen to, so I coulnd't really ask him what he meant. Will have to buy him a beer and get him to elaborate.

It could be that because I am not soaked within the jazz tradition ( and there are definate Sinatra worshipers among the singing group ).   I have listened to some interpretaions but perhaps I'm bringing my tradional interpretation of songs to jazz.   Will it work ?   Will it change how I sing traditional stuff?   

Is it relevant to this discussion - possibly

J


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:00 AM

Hey, Julie:

These are only my opinions... not to be mistaken for the "truth." In answer to your questions, yes, you will bring your folk tradition to jazz singing and it will give you a different style than those who come to the course already steeped in a jazz tradition. Not only will your folk tradtion influence the way that you try to sing jazz, the way that you try to sing jazz will most likely influence the way that you sing folk.

Sometimes in our purest fantasies, we envision traditional singers as hermetically sealed in a very insular environment. That's mostly our delusion, not reality. At least since the advent of radio and recordings, almost everyone has been influenced by other traditions. And many, if not most singer's styles subtly evolve over the years. I think it would almost take a conscious effort for our singing style not to change, through time.

Change happens.

And I'm personally glad that it does. Not everyone feels that way.
For some, change is the ultimate four letter word.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Peace
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:06 AM

Picked up stuff from Dylan, Kingston Trio, Chuck Berry, Louis Killen, Pat Sky, and darned near everyone else I ever listened to. Tough question. Eventually, we find the groove and stay there for a bit. Often, when songs get boring to me (as a singer), I fool around with 'interpretations' and phrasings. Guess lots of it is "Hey, I like that and I'll try it for a bit" or "Forget THAT!" and then do.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: JulieF
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:15 AM

Thanks Jerry

I certainly think that where I'm coming from will definately influence what I choose to sing to start with - more the bluesy end of Jazz than the later stuff and in someways I'm looking to influence how I sing folk - perhaps changing my range a wee bit and building on the experience of working with musicians.    In someways its quite good to come to working with jazz musicians from being almost totally unaccomapnied ( except for bflat whistle).   I didn't want to try and have my voice classically trained as I know a few people who are trying to unlearn vocal training of this sort - in the same way as I know classically trained fiddlers who unlearned things.

The really interesting thing is whether I can can pull off the performance aspect tomorrow night - microphone, piano, bass, drum and audience of jazz players. Just a wee bit different from session singing.

Could be fun providing the nerves don't get me and I lay off the beer until afterwards.

J


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: mooman
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:17 AM

Mine has been mainly inspired by:

This enthusiastic performer

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:19 AM

Just try to enjoy the pleasure of singing, Julie, and you'll be fine.

When someone is really enjoying themselves, it is usually contagious.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Grab
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:07 PM

If I can figure out where my voice came from, there's a few clubs round my way would ask me to return it under the Lemon Law.

Honestly, it's a mixture of Mark Knopfler and Chris Isaak. And now you can see why...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:16 PM

As a Brit, I have spent a lot of time trying not to sound American. This can be difficult when all your early vocal inspirations were American.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: closet-folkie
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:18 PM

Phil and Don; John and Paul; Brian, Carl & Dennis; Neil and Tim.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:28 PM

My two major influences are Pete Seeger and Gordon Bok, both of whom spent time and effort on helping me get it right.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:36 PM

Lawrence Welk, the Lennon Sisters, the Irish nuns who taught me, my mother who was quite musical, Bing Crosby..that sort... mg


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 02:05 PM

Mostly Pete Seeger. In the 60s we learned most of our repertoire from Joan Baez, Judy Collins, P, P & M etc. and we sang with American accents. Then we discovered British Trad from people like the Watersons and Young Tradition so we sang with British accents.
Now its a mix of everything.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: frogprince
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 02:13 PM

People have deduced that my singing was derived from listening to farm critters being surgically altered...


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 02:38 PM

Mom, Liam Clancy, Frank, Arlo.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 03:26 PM

I was a weird teen-ager I guess (the pop music of the times was okay, but it never really rang my chimes), and somewhere along the line I developed an interest in opera. A friend of mine had a big collection of records by Beniamino Gigli, a great Italian lyric tenor of yesteryear. My friend and I used to go around blatting tenor arias. Turns out he was a tenor, but my voice was very low (not unlike mooman's inspiration), so I had to sing the damned things an octave down. Actually, I turned out to be bass or bass-baritone (Ezio Pinza, Nicolai Ghiarov, George London. Samuel Ramey. Rumble rumble!). We both took about a year's voice lessons from Edna Bianchi, a retired Metropolitan Opera soprano. Cool lady! She was quite tolerant of a couple of goofy kids and was pleased that we were even interested. I had no idea what I would ever do with it, but I just liked the lessons and I liked to sing. Turned out I had a pretty good singing voice, but not necessarily a good operatic voice. Maybe, if I really wanted to work at it, but. . . .

Anyway, that was when I was about eighteen. In my second year at the University of Washington, I started going with a girl who was avidly into folk songs. At the same time, I ran into Sandy Paton, who was living in Seattle at the time, Walt Robertson (click "Printer Friendly" to put posts in sequence), Dick Landberg, and several others who were heavily into folk music. Walt, who had a television show at the time and a Folkways record coming out, was the only "professional" of the bunch. I still loved to sing, so naturally I jumped in with both feet, and got myself a guitar and started learning how to play it.

The first real influence on the way I sang folk songs was Claire, the girl I was going with at the time. She had a pleasant, sweet singing voice and she just opened her mouth and sang. She didn't try to make her voice sound like anything other than what it was. Walt sang the same way. So did everybody else I know, so that's the way I did it. I just opened my yap and whatever came out was what came out.   

I listened to a lot of recordings, and Burl Ives and Pete Seeger seemed to sing the same way. Richard Dyer-Bennet had classical training, of course, but even though I had also, I didn't sound particularly classical, at least as far as I could tell. People used to tell me that I sounded like Ed McCurdy. I didn't particularly think so myself. I figured they told me that because McCurdy was one of the very few folk singers with a deep voice available on records at the time.

When I decided that I wanted to see if I could make a career out of singing folk songs (concerts and such, like Burl Ives [pre-"Little Bitty Tear" and "Little White Duck"] or Richard Dyer-Bennet), I took some more voice lessons from George Hotchkiss Street. He knew I wanted to do folk music, and he never tried to influence my voice in one way or the other. He agreed that the way I sounded naturally was the best way to go, and all he did was work on my breath control and relaxed voice production. During the lessons, he had me sing the folk songs and ballads that I was in the process of learning rather than the art songs he usually had students sing, and he would often ask me, "Now, what is this song all about? What does that last line mean?" He knew perfectly well, but he just wanted to make sure that I knew. Know what you're singing. Don't overdo it, but put some feeling into the song.

It wasn't until later that I started running into what I think of as "ethnic purists":   singers who knocked themselves out trying to sound "folk" by adopting phony accents or deliberately altering their singing voices to sound raspy or nasal, and generally much older than they really were. That's one of the reasons that, even though a lot of folkies regard him as some kind of god, I was never that enthralled with Bob Dylan. He wrote some good songs, but when a guy who sounds like he's eighty years old, has trouble staying on pitch, and just rode into town with a load of parsnips is actually eighteen or nineteen years old, and when he just sang naturally (according to people who knew him in high school), he sounded a lot like Buddy Holly, it just struck me as phony. Sorry. Don't mean to step on anyone's idol, but as my drinking uncle used to say, 'Them's my sediments!"

These days, one of my favorite singers of folk songs is Gordon Bok. He sings without trying to sound any special way other than what he just naturally sounds like. His voice is rich, warm, and mellow, and he sings without strain or artifice. This frees his voice to be able to communicate a world of meaning and emotion to the songs he sings.

I've always tried to sing the same way. Within recent years, I've stolen a lot of songs from Gordon's recordings, and I can sing them in the same keys he does them in. But I don't try to imitate him, I do the songs my own way. Maybe it's because I sing a lot of his songs that now sometimes people tell me I sound like him. I'm not at all that sure that I do, myself. Actually, I don't think I'm that good. But anyway, it's nice to hear.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Janie
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 04:05 PM

Style? Who said anything about style?

Although I don't sound like any of them, I would say that Bonnie Raitt, Maria Mauldar, Hazel Dickens, Bessie Smith, Dave VanRonk, Tommy Thompson, Ry Cooder, my grandfather Henry Williams and my sister Annie have been my biggest vocal influences.

Actually, I should not leave out the excellent choir directors I had in Junior High and High School.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: *Laura*
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:02 PM

I think mine is probably mainly picked up from my dad, Tony Rose,and influenced by several good friends of mine who sing in musicals and have beautiful voices.
But it's still developing itsself.

xLx


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: GUEST,Bert
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:12 PM

Mum and Dad originally, then some Lonnie Donnegan.

I try really hard not to copy anyone else and to sound like me as much as possible.

It's really difficult though when you're singing songs by good performers. How can you sing a Hank Williams, or Johhny Cash song without some influence from their techniques.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:17 PM

I've listened to and admired several singers, mostly from the rock genre. Take equal parts Paul Rodgers, Wilson Pickett, Jim Morrison, Lowell George, Tom Paxton and Gram Parsons, shake well and add a jigger of whisky. That's where I believe it comes from, though sometimes I hear this high lonesome Kentucky hillbilly wail coming from deep down in some corner of my soul. This is not to say I'm any good, but I like it.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:24 PM

I'd say that it was a sort of weird amalgam of Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ian Tyson, and Bob Dylan, and even Jackson Browne, given that they were all people I listened to a lot and like a lot. The Dylan influence may be clearer to hear in my voice than the others, but I have a much more agreeable voice (so people say) than he does. (I mean, I like his voice, but a lot of people sure don't.)

Some have said I sound like John Denver (probably because they already like John Denver, so that's what first comes to their mind). He did not influence me at all.

There were people I loved, but they didn't influence my singing style. Leonard Cohen would be one of those. He has a very different style to mine. Neil Young is another whom I like, but I NEVER wanted to sound like him. Never. That's for Neil alone to do, as far as I can see. I wince when people try to sound like Neil Young...all quavery and high almost falsetto. ARGH! I also wince when people try to sound like Janis Joplin. That girl was destroying her vocal chords every time she opened her mouth, as far as I'm concerned.

William Shatner has not influenced my singing style in any way whatseover. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Beer
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 09:58 PM

The first 7 years of my life we had no electricity. This was up the West end of P.E.I. near Tignish. Stompin Tom country. In fact Mum use to baby sit him. But that's another story.
Dad played the fiddle and piano and Mum use to sing ballads (folk songs)of tragady and so on. Most were of fishing saga's and lumbering tales. Then it was a move to N.S. and electricity with radio. 1954 I was 7 but I had 5 brothers and sisters older than me and the early rock and roll was starting. However the house music was still Hank Williams, Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, Hank Locklin and lots of Maritime ballads.
Folk influence didn't hit me till Gordon Lightfoot came along. Dylan I never cared for until much later. Then it was Kris Krostofferson, John Prine, Jerry Jeff Wlaker, Guy Clarke, Ray Materick, Brent Titcomb, Bruce Murdock, C.C.R.

For the past 20 years I would say that I continue to look for the rare find for some inspiration.
When you can't write songs then what do you do. Well in my case I get bored unless I find the unusual out there. And when I say the unusual I mean someone who has something to say. John Prine is still up there in my book. But so are David Massengill, Guy Clarke, Iris DeMent,and so on.

However depending on the audience I would prefer to stay with downeast (Maritime) or Irish music.

So to answer your question ...... I'm still looking.
Beer


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: GUEST,Bert
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:08 PM

That's weird EJ. When I've heard you sing I would have put your influences as Elvis and John Denver with a little Michael J. Fox.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Once Famous
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:09 PM

For me, it's country meets folk. Waylon Jennings, Marty Robbins, Gordon Lightfoot, and Nick Reynolds of The Kingston Trio. There is some of each there.

Do singers who bray and warble get their influence from goats?


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:13 PM

Well, yeah Bert, those guys were also a huge influence. (I'll get even for that crack, moosh!)


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: number 6
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:22 PM

Harpo Marx

sIx


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:36 PM

I'm not sure how to answer that about the goats, Martin. Which singers do you mean who "bray and warble"?

Does Cher bray? I think maybe you could say that.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: SunnySister
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:18 AM

In thinking about it, my singing style was perhaps an influence of my mother and Cass Elliot (of the Mamas and Papas). I tend to focus my singing so it's clear and the tone is as pure as I can get it. Others that are definite influences include- Kate Wolf, Mary Black, Eva Cassidy, Bonnie Raitt, Lena Horne, Karla Bonoff, Bette Midler and the greatest cabaret singer who died far too early in her career, Nancy LaMott. And those are just the women! The men who have influenced me- well I'll just keep it to the short, short list- Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jeff Buckley (also died far too early like his father, Tim). Both of these men were versatile with passion and a desire to communicate not only the music, they shared entire lives through their songs.

I'm very much a words-oriented singer so I sing pretty unadorned to make sure the words are understood. Not sure if it comes across although that is my intention.

When I've busked here in San Francisco, A LOT of people say that my voice is reminiscent of a young Joan Baez. I don't know if it's true but I'll keep that compliment, thank you very much!

I know there are a million more- this is just the short, short list.

Thanks for starting this interesting thread, Jerry!

---SunnySister


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: sharyn
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:47 AM

Big and early influences for me were Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell recordings -- I learned everything off those first four albums by each of them, but I also listened to Odetta. Next big discoveries after that were Ewan MacColl, Jean Redpath, Sara Grey. After I absorbed as much as I could from them, I sang along with Lizzie Higgins and Jeannie Robertson a lot. I learned Irish-style ornamentation from Dick Gaughan recordings and a local singer named Marla Fibish who was in a San Francisco band called Out of the Rain. I've also listened a lot to Sweet Honey in the Rock for African-American styles, as well as a lot of recordings of work songs -- I was quite fond of Afro-American Songs from Texas Prisons. And lately I've gotten quite fond of Chris Smither and Gillian Welch. I always sing along with whoever I'm listening to and learn songs off albums I like, so all of these singers have influenced my singing style: phrasing, pronunciation, ornamentation, tempo. I also spent a number of years in a very fine church choir singing a lot of early music and doing a lot of Gregorian chanting.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: skarpi
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 01:48 AM

" From my heart and soul "


all the best Skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 01:52 AM

1. Tommy Makem - heard him with the Clancys in 1964 and wanted to sing & perform just like him. Did for a while until I heard
2. Luke Kelly - of the Dubliners was my next major influence with his power, control and choice of material; so I tried to sing like a combination of Tommy and Luke until I heard
3. Roy Rogers - with his yodeling, and western songs with the Sons Of The Pioneers got added to the mix, and along came
4. Bing Crosby - easy singing/crooning, never pushing, but incredible range, and tone with the glottal stop triplets, so Der Bingle's style was added and then I discovered I liked 5. Frank Sinatra - his voice, breath control, and like Bing, he could "sell" a song, so into the mix he went, as did
6. Tommy Duncan of the Bob Wills Band, and Hank Williams too.

Their styles have made mine what it is.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 05:10 AM

Jerry,
    I've been reading this thread with more than a little interest. Any clue as to where the music comes from is fascinating to me. I haven't posted until now because, in my case, it's one heck of a loaded question.

    I'm something of a natural mimic. The result on my singing is that I have gained or borrowed (deliberately or unconciously) something from every singer that I have ever heard.I knew in my bones from the age of five that I would grow up to be a singer, so all of the music that I absorbed in my childhood was taken in with that in mind. One of these days I'll have to get around to the growing up part.
                                                                                                                                          
    The first two singers that I actually remember immitating were Bing Crosby and Frankie Laine. I was probably the only five-year-old in America who knew all of the words to "Call of the Wild Goose" ( I was a strange kid). Most of the earliest song that I learned were from Big Band or Jazz singers; Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante (his phrasing was always remarkable), and almost any singer who showed up on any of the variety shows on TV. I grew up watching Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey on TV and, although I never directly immitated either of them, thier music has left it's mark on me.

    As the 1950's turned into the 1960's I discovered three amazing things; Rock and Roll, Allen Sherman, and Roger Miller. Everything which I had been doing up to that point changed. From Rock and Roll I learned a whole new set of rhythms and phrasings. From Allen Sherman I learned how to sing a joke. From Roger Miller I learned a whole new way to use my voice. That mutant, country scat of his was a revealation.

      Somewhere during this period I was introduced to the music of The Kingston Trio. Thus began my transformation (degeneration?) into a "folkie".

       After that it starts to become something of a jumble -- Johny Cash, Ernie Ford, Otis Redding, PP&M, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, James Brown, anything from Motown, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Alemeda Riddle, Ethel Merman, Frank Profit, and on and on.

      The last big influence didn't happen until the early 1970's. It was Dennis Locorrierre and Ray Sawyer of (are you ready for this?) the band Dr. Hook. Dennis was, and is, the most emotional singer I have ever heard. When he sings a happy song he's more joyful than any five people should be allowed to be. When he sings a sad song you can feel him almost ready to burst into tears. Ray can yodel like nobody else I've ever heard and does it just to mess with people's heads. He's the main reason that I yodel. I even recorded his tune "The Yodel Song". It has, over the years, become my showpiece.

    Through time all of these people have become part of my peculiar style.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Janie
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 08:32 AM

While singers like Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez certainly inspired me and influenced my taste in music, their influence on my singing, was to inhibit me, because my voice was so low, and their ranges were high and clear. Their songs were the ones I tried to sing, in their keys, and of course I couldn't do it. When Linda Ronstadt and Emilou Harris came along, with their lower voices, I began to think that maybe I could sing. But it was Marie M. and Bett Midler, singing covers and making them absolutely their own, that freed me to begin developing my own voice and interpretation.

This thread is great reading, and stirs up a lot of reflection. Thanks for starting it, Jerry.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: closet-folkie
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 08:35 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment of Locorriere's voice; an amazing instrument in my book. I've always felt awkward bringing it up in conversation. Dr Hook have a reputation as a bit of a novelty act, which is unfair.Maybe it's the eye patch...


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 08:54 AM

Hey, Stephen: Your answer is a valid one.   Where does our singing style come from? Everyone? Of course, some singers have more of an influence than others. Lonnie Donegan had more of an influence on my singing style than Daffy Duck. I'd be interested in knowing a half a dozen of the singers you listed who had the greatest influence on you, and if you can indentify how they influence4d your singing. These threads tend to mostly be "list" threads, and that's alright. But, I'm an inquisitive bugger and like to understand "why" people put names on a list.

One of the names you mention in passing, on reflection was a big influence on my singing early in my life: Frankie Lane. I think Lane laid the foundation for my interest in folk music because, even though he didn't sing "folk songs" mand of his songs told stories and were about everyday working folks.

You know how sometimes a little thing sticks in your mind forever?
There was a fature story on Frankine Lane in the Milwaukee Journal when I was a kid, and the thing that I've never forgotten was that they made a major point that he had never taken singing lessons. At that time in the early 50's, virtually every popular singer came out of the big band era and they were all trained singers on some level.
Frankie Lane just sang (even though he sang with big bands backing him, too.)

Another ground-breaking change in American popular music is a recording that no one mentions anymore (and has never been re-issued, despite the millions of "oldies" that have been repackaged.)
A kid named Don Howard wrote his own song (that was radical, in itself) took his guitar (which he played badly) went into a Record-Your-Own Voice booth and cut a record of Oh Happy Day. It was very draggy and erratic in speed, and the quality was what you'd expect in a machine in an amusement park. But, in those days everything wasn't controlled by corporations and he managed to get a local disc jockey to play the song over the air. It started to generate some interest and other stations started to pick it up. A record company picked it up and it was nationally distributed and became a big hit. Of course, there were "covers" done by Tennessee Ernie Ford and maybe the Five Tunes (Have to check that) but Don's recording held in there. I still have my copy and love the song and the recording. This was all before Elvis and the explosion of untrained singers who wrote their own songs. Don Howard not only had a borderline mediocre voice, he sang bass... something reserved primarily for novelty recordings. He didn't influence my singing style, but for millions of young kids he put a revolutionary thought in their mind. "Hey... I could do that!"

And many did.

Here's one for you, Don..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: GUEST,Duke Wilson
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 08:55 AM

There was always music playing in my family when I was a child. Radio and phonograph etc., and I just started singing along with them. As a teenager I got into guitar and bumped into folk music. The one thing I had to live with was the fact that I did not have a very good voice. Nothing terrible, just not very good. Never stopped me and I'm still singing today at 63.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Essex Girl
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 09:31 AM

I didn't base my singing 'style' on anyone, but the songs I sung in the sixties were first taken from Peter Paul & Mary and Joan Baez. Then I heard what I think was the greatest influence, the wonderful traditional singer, Lorna Campbell.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:17 AM

I have written elsewhere here that I do not think that having a "good" voice is any more of a prerequisite for becoming a good singer, than having a good guitar is for becoming a good guitarist. I agree with the earlier comments that we tend to start off as imitators. It really does take some time for most of us to get used to the sound of our own singing voice. I think that when we learn to start liking that, we immediately become better singers.
We start off by listening to other singers and then we hope we sound similar. As Jerry hints at, what really makes us better, is learning to sound like ourselves.
The other comment I liked here was the one about letting the song do the work. I remember some twenty years ago, when my mother played me a CD of the opera soprano, Kiri Te Kanawa singing jazz standards. I usually hate "posh" voices trying to "slum it". It was actually quite enjoyable though. The woman had the good sense to show the song rather than to show off her voice.
I don't really know where my "own" sound comes from. I try to make it sound believeable enough that I am the character in the song, which I am singing at the time. Getting the song across is the priority, not the sound of my voice. I think I try to get some of the timbre of the folk club singers, whom I heard in the seventies. I don't think my voice sounds like that though.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: BillE
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:38 AM

Fred Jordan, Charlie Bate, Mervyn Vincent, Ken Penny & Dave Robins, Cyril Tawney, Peter Bellamy, Coppers, Yetties, Dave Webber and many others, almost all from live performance rather than recorded. And (lmost forgot) ... a lifetime of Gilbert and Sullivan where you learn to get the words across.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:40 AM

I had the good luck to attend one of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger's singers' workshop sessions at an impressionable age and they had a great influence on me. They taught me a lot about what constitutes folk song style (and what doesn't). They taught me that listening to traditional singers is a good place to start and to pick out those elements of their styles which are common among folk singers and worth emulating.
Although Ewan is my 'vocal hero' (as it were) I decided that I didn't particularly want to sound like him - or any other of professional singers on the British Folk Scene at the time (late 60s/early 70s) - I wanted to sound like myself. This wasn't too hard as I am not a particularly a good mimic.
In developing my own style I have also found it useful to develop a broad vision of what I want to achieve as a singer. For example, I am passionately interested and moved by English Traditional song and want to communicate that passion to an audience. As a person with little or no musical training I find a lot of English song tunes quite difficult and I want to continually challenge myself by mastering trickier tunes. I am also interested in the English countryside and tend to be drawn to the pastoral and bucolic. These elements, I think, all tend to contribute to my style - as well as what I sound like and whatever, fairly limited, musical abilities that I may have.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:35 PM

At its genesis, my singing style comes from my family and the customs we celebrated. Emoting and causing the audience to feel and get what I think the song is about is the heart of it. Along the way I was then exposed to artists who I would watch and take something from, until I arrived at the stopping point I am at now. As I continue on the path, my style will change more.

Some of the folks that have had a pretty big impact on my style would be Liam Tiernan, Robbie McMahon, Tommy Makem, Frank Profitt, Derek Warfield, Brendan Nolan, Pat Broaders, Stan Rogers, Doc Watson, Jean Ritchie, Elizabeth "Bess" Cronin and Sean Tyrell.

I would say that those mentioned above helped me to establish a baseline. Many folks here at Mudcat have caused my style to evolve in much larger ways. I do not overstate the case when I tell you that great performers such as Rick Fielding, Jed Marum, Dan Milner, Seamus Kennedy, Grit Laskin, Ed Tricket, Sandy Paton, Glen Rogers and others have caused me to focus on the lyric in astounding ways. For me, it is about telling a great yarn, or causing people to feel strong emotion. Each of these folks has influenced me profoundly as I listen to them interpret songs. The baseline was established with the great singers listed above. But it was these folks that taught me to focus on the story and not the chords and performance. Those will come if you tell the story well.

One of the most important is a great performer, but a world class producer. I am speaking of our own Paul Mills. Spending time with him, and watching how he coaxs, challenges, and causes performers to get the best interpretation has had a huge impact on my style. Fate has taken me away from this wonderful friend for a while, but it is just a delay. I can't wait to get back to Toronto and make music, and learn more from them.

I guess the short answer is my style comes from the journey. And I sure am enjoying it.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Beer
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 01:37 PM

Hi Mick,
Met Brendan a few years back. What a truly wonderful person not to mention his great singing and writing.
Beer


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:32 PM

One of the most under rated talents out there. His "Far From Their Homes" might be the best song ever written about the Coffin Ships and the crossings.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Beer
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:42 PM

That song would bring a tear to anyone's eye.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 02:52 AM

perhaps its because we weren't loved and valued enough as children.

then we saw all these films when George Formby and Elvis Presley, and all points in between, taking in Mario Lanza - they get the girl.

maybe if we had enough self worth, we would happy sitting at home with Times Life/Readers Digest record collections, and not bothering singing.

Singing would be seen as a mark of insecurity, like smoking. there would be campaigns saying - singing isn't really smart, and it can damage your health. Stop singing and perhaps you won't die this week.

Donny Osmond and other great public figures would come on telly and say, I was on fifty songs a day, but I'm glad I stopped and put all that behind me......just say no, shut the bejaysus up - you know it makes sense....

Other people say we get our singing style from the time we were cavemen, and it kept the sabre toothed tigers away from the campfire. If I was a sabre tooth tiger, a Kate Rusby song would make me think twice about barging in on the party.


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: number 6
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 12:44 PM

I posted Harpo Marx because I usually (or most often) don't sing, much prefer to play the music in the background.

I have been told I have a great voice, and have been encouraged more than enough to to get up front and sing more often. My singing voice has been compared to Richard Burton (yes, remember Camelot)but slightly off key.

I'd much prefer to sound like Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt or Kris Kristofferson.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Where does YOUR singing style come from?
From: Liath
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 04:09 PM

I'm a big believer in singing with your own voice. I really hate it when singers put on accents. To me, singing should be like speaking - it's about your own expression and feeling.

Having said that, when I was young, I was desperate to sound like Kate Bush - but it only ever resulted in coughing fits ;-) Those of you that have heard me sing will know that was doomed to failure... I have quite a low voice.

If there's anyone I really admire, that would be June Tabor. So understated, subtle yet very very skilful and expressive. But I wouldn't try to emulate her... we all have to find our own voice.


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