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Monthly Hot Picks!
The Songwriting Construction Kit Course

They say you can find information on anything you want on the internet. In recent years, this idea has been carried to new levels with the advent of self-paced online classes, with people teaching you how to do and be whatever you desire.

Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Turk does it all, and better, too, with his Songwriting Construction Kit course through TrueFire.

The format of the course itself is similar to other ‘Teach Yourself How to Fill-In-The-Blank’ programs you may find anywhere online, with the elements of the course broken down into separate modules with videos and participatory assignments.

But the element that sets Turk’s songwriting course apart from any other out there is the depth to which it goes. He offers a staggering forty-eight separate videos ranging from ‘Finding Inspiration’ to ‘Crafting Lyrics,’ ‘Self-Accompaniment and Arranging,’ and more.

And if you find that volume of lessons a little daunting at first glance, never fear. They are nicely broken down into 5-to-10-minute chunks, each section leading into the next. These are truly the building blocks of songwriting.

If a certain amount of flexibility and freedom are necessary for excelling in the art of songwriting, the ability to take a break and come back to any in-progress courses, as well as to replay what you’ve already seen is incredibly helpful.

In a sort of sentimental way, it almost feels as though your buddy Matt is there for you and your fledgling little tune whenever you need him.

Perhaps the nicest thing about Turk’s course is that it is a songwriting course for the whole musician. If you tend to think of songwriting from the lyrical angle, there are videos about inspiration and how to approach lyrics and melody.

If you are first an instrumentalist looking to dive into composition, you’ll find videos about arrangement, accompaniment, and time.

As a guitarist myself, I found it very cool that there are often music and tablature at the bottom of the video screen to follow along with, or even close-ups on the host’s hands on both sides of the guitar to show chord shapes and strumming patterns.

It is the inclusion and emphasis placed on both music and lyrics that makes the Songwriting Construction Kit live up to its name.

But Matt Turk isn’t the sort of teacher that gives you the lesson and then the assignment and throws you to the proverbial songwriting wolves, oh no.

He gives examples from his own repertoire. Being able to be introduced to several new songs that found their way onto my iPod was a delightful and unexpected bonus.

TrueFire as a program does a nice job, as well, with the optics of their courses, letting the student know if modules or videos are in-progress or complete thereby allowing them to easily track their progress.

The tab layout to navigate from one section of the course to another is very clean, and you can even make playlists of videos that you find the most beneficial. But Matt Turk and his well-designed, better-taught songwriting course really helped to flip the script. Songwriting is an art for anyone as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

And for all that it offers, the Songwriting Construction Kit proves itself to be a fun and engaging way to put in that effort.

And while I came away from this experience not quite able to call myself a songwriter of any real caliber, it makes me feel good that Matt Turk’s Songwriting Construction Kit will be waiting for whenever I want to hone those skills.

Review: Ashley J. Cicotte

A seasoned recording artist and multi-instrumentalist, Matt Turk is a veteran singer-songwriter who has engaged audiences around the world, both as a bandleader and as an acoustic folk troubadour.

He has shared the stage with Pete Seeger, opened for Judy Collins, The Doobie Brothers, Fiona Apple, The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, John Entwistle, David Bromberg, and many more top artists.

And so, of course, TrueFire were thrilled to welcome Matt to the family with his first TrueFire course, The Songwriting Construction Kit.

You’ll get standard notation and tabs for all of the performance studies. Plus, you’ll be able to use TrueFire’s learning tools to sync the tab and notation to the video lesson. You can also loop or slow down the videos so that you can work with the lessons at your own pace.

Grab your instrument, pen and paper and lets write a song with Matt Turk!

To purchase and access the Songwriting Construction Kit CLICK HERE!

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Matt Turk @ Twitter!

Ladies & Gentlemen ..............

The Battle For The Soul of King Russ-ankhamun: A Masonic Tale

The Battle For The Soul of King Russ-ankhamun: A Masonic Tale begins buried deep within the mysterious, clandestine world of Freemasonry, the causal descendent of the Egyptian mystery religions. Rumors have persisted for centuries that the Freemasons were also in possession of a great secret. Tonight, one such secret was about to be reborn!

It has long been known that Gothic Masonic Temples and Cathedrals contain an ancient Pagan wisdom hidden in their architecture. This wisdom, which predates Christianity, was placed by the operative Freemasons, builders commissioned by the Church to create cathedrals, churches, and other edifices. But look carefully, because sometimes you do not have to look twice to see those that should remain hidden!

King Russ-ankhamun, sometimes mis-pronounced as King Complete Twat-Unknown, is a pharaoh from the 18th Dynasty. He reigned during 1319-1323 BCE and his first journey to kingship started as a vizier to Akhenaten and Tutankhamun (King Tut); but ended abruptly. Cast out, a third degree Mason stepped aside and on this night back in time, King Russ-ankhamun was entombed instead. Rumors persist today that someone wished to usurp the throne and so plotted his death; but entombing was a lot cheaper!

However, one dark, windswept night in late 2014, everything changed. Into the tomb of King Russ-ankhamun entered an Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees. Mechanically, and in lock-step with each other, they proved to the principal officers present with the proper signs, grips, and words, they were ready to begin the Rise. Working Tools of the degree to hand, the crypt underneath the floor was prized open, the chants that had rung around the room suddenly diminished.

Once King Russ-ankhamun had felt the air, breathed into his lungs the sweet amber nectar of the year 2014, he knew he had been raised to a figurative new birth. All those gathered around him also knew they were witnessing something that nobody would ever believe; that nobody would ever witness in their own lifetimes. Something that nobody in the room would survive!

As the crypt cover was moved to the side, a claw-like hand emerged from the darkness into the light. The pagan religion of Egypt was about to be released upon the world, once more.

Now fully reborn, King Russ-ankhamun, free from the bonds that had him lying in State, faced the last to survive, The Worshipful Master. Assuming the position known as the five points of fellowship, he knelt before his King. It is there that he revealed that The Devil, The Angel and The Trickster were all about them. His last words spoken, King Russ-ankhamun devoured his soul in one, turned, and then with a sweeping step, retook his rightful place on his Throne.

With the Worshipful Masters warning that The Devil, The Angel and The Trickster were now among them, in a battle to claim / redeem his soul, King Russ-ankhamun smiled in smug content. But, deep within the confines of The House of King Russ-ankhamun, one of the Knights Templar, sent from France years before, long since having left the Order; and a huge fan of WWE, lay hidden. Awakening to the rebirth of the King, it was he, and he alone who had brought forth both The Devil and The Angel into present day.

Upon his rightful Throne, always at one with himself, King Russ-ankhamun felt the cooling breeze of change, but did not notice the sinister appearance of both The Devil and The Angel to either side of him. Transfixed on his own being, alive to only the fact that he was indeed reborn, The Devil and The Angel quietly went about their work.

The explanation of the age-old saying, The Devil on our left shoulder, The Angel on our right now for all to see, it was not long before King Russ-ankhamun sensed The Devils presence and began to have some Devilish fun! Having stumbled across an old VHS tape of some 1970s bawdy British comedy entitled Benny Hill in his Spanking Chambers, King Russ-ankhamun assumed the chosen Hill Position!

But it is not long before The Angel finds them both and suddenly both she and The Devil are locked in a massive battle to own the soul of King Russ-ankhamun. Back and forth, forth and back, the struggle is immense, and much in the same vein as the upcoming Batman vs. Superman, the battle of Good vs. Evil was very draining [hence, an empty swimming pool - no, oh well, please yourselves!]

But King Russ-ankhamun broke free from the clutches of both The Devil and The Angel and went about his daily ritual - the sacrifice of a goose! The reason? Well, with the four existing Masonic Lodges that reigned supreme at the time of King Russ-ankhamuns reign, they had always gathered at the Goose Pub in Alexandria. Hence, after King Russ-ankhamuns reign was ended, he vowed to sacrifice a goose every day upon his resurrection. But even with the horrible act unfolding before them, The Devil and The Angel still fight to garner his soul.

With neither The Devil or The Angel seemingly winning the battle for the soul of King Russ-ankhamun, The Trickster appeared. The Trickster, who in mythology and religion is usually a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who exhibits a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge, was obviously none of those here! Standing at barely five feet tall, The Trickster (known in past lives as Build-A-Boat) was crafty, for sure, but not seemingly fast enough to catch King Russ-ankhamun.

But The Trickster was not one to give up easily! He had already chased King Russ-ankhamun up spiral staircases, over bridges, across deserts, through a film set, across the back of a Silver Sea Dragon, and now they found themselves locked in a baton relay down a sinister, ghoulish corridor. It was then, as the King turned to face his destiny, that The Tricksters right hand slowly turned invisible and grabbed the King mid-stride!

Now, and with the help of The Devil, they both had cornered King Russ-ankhamun in his Jungle Room! A pair of Gothic Silver Spears, their ends dipped in improperly stored poisonous substances, now poised themselves but inches from King Russ-ankhamuns head and torso! The King knew this was not the best case scenario immediately after a rebirth, but remained as catatonic as possible! Indeed, it was time for a conscience-raising experience!

But before the conscience-raising experience could evolve, well, forget old conspiracy theories about snake bites, fatal poisons, and five ex-wives, King Russ-ankhamun was about to be taken by The Devil! Her nemesis, The Angel begged her Lord above to spare him. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, The Trickster froze the proceedings!

With the click of his shiny heels, the lights went out, and when they came back on, well, The Trickster had decided that he was going to have some fun himself! With everything in The Jungle Room now static, on hold, no decisions to be made, King Russ-ankhamun was left alone, whilst The Trickster grabbed both The Devil and The Angel. Taking them both back to the Kings very own Spanking Chambers, he now had his very own moment of pleasure!

After the Spanking Chambers ordeal was over, you would have thought that The Devil would have been upset with The Trickster. Far from it. For she had been using The Trickster all along, just like a puppeteer uses strings on a puppet to manipulate, and yet entertain. Or, in this case, The Devil had been using a childrens toy to get inside the head of The Trickster! But why had The Devil done this and allowed The King to escape?

With King Russ-ankhamun now free from the Jungle Room, the Silver Spears no longer holding him back, The Devils dagger no longer poised above his heart, he knew that if his reign was to be successful in 2014, that he had to get to distant shores. Shores way more distant then those of the Detroit River! So, acknowledging the existence of The Angel, she brought him a boat, in which they sailed off into the unknown.

But as they slowly made their way down the river, King Russ-ankhamun felt a fiery hot sensation on the back of his neck!

Now having reached his destination, King Russ-ankhamun was finally at Peace. Incorporating all the foundations of spiritual practices, his inner state of well-being and calm were balanced; his conscience-raising experience in full flow. But, as he gazed out into the dark abyss, he wondered where his rebirth was to have taken him?

Was he now in Heaven? Was it Purgatory? Was it Hell? Or could it be ... Las Vegas?!

To be continued in the eagerly awaited sequel:

The High Rollin Knights of King Russ-ankhamun: A Vegas Tale

King Russ-ankhamun - Russell A. Trunk
The Trickster - Jan Vanderziel
The Angel - Marianne Widmalm
The Devil - Trish Trytan

CGI by: Jan Vanderziel

Photography by: Jan Vanderziel & Trish Trytan

Produced by: Russell A. Trunk & Jan Vanderziel

Screenplay by: Russell A. Trunk, Jan Vanderziel & Marianne Widmalm

Directed by: Russell A. Trunk, Jan Vanderziel, Marianne Widmalm & Trish Trytan

Official Website