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Apr 21, 2021

Mailbag time!

Kirk peruses the Strong Songs inbox to answer your questions about jazz drum solos, practicing with play-a-longs, Tame Impala tunes, saxophones with traffic cones, vocal technique, sidechain compression, and several very tricky rhythms.


  • “Tubes” by Moon Hooch from their NPR...

Apr 7, 2021

Jazz is all about the contrast between the individual and the collective, and few recordings embody that as beautifully as "Stolen Moments," the opening track from Oliver Nelson's 1961 hard-bop record The Blues and the Abstract Truth.

On this episode, Kirk dives deep into Nelson's classic tune, starting with his dense...

Mar 24, 2021

Open up your heart! Open up your heart! Open up your heart, let Kimbra pull you out!

On this episode, Kirk goes for a swim in the extra-buoyant waters of Kimbra's 2011 pop stomper "Cameo Lover." It's an intricate musical narrative told through shifting time-feels, retro drum beats, leaping vocals, and sneaky key...

Mar 17, 2021

What's this? A bonus episode of Strong Songs on an off week??

Indeed it is! For this episode of Strong Conversations (working title), Kirk hopped on a call with New York pianist Carmen Staaf to talk about the fundamental elements of music, learning to sing as an instrumentalist, teaching jazz and ear training,...

Mar 10, 2021

Heathcliff! It's us, it's Strong Songs, we've come home!

The time has come for a deep dive into the music of the great Kate Bush, and what better song to analyze than her breakthrough 1978 hit, "Wuthering Heights." This song has it all - odd phrasing, shifting key centers, soaring vocals, character narration, an...