On Songwriting | Musings On How To Write a Song



“On Songwriting” was created in 2008 by Rick Jamison to help unravel the mysteries of how to write a song.

The site features his personal musings on the art of writing a song,  “Songwriters on Songwriting” interviews and other songwriting resources.

Rick is songwriter, flatpicker, author, and oil painter who has produced three CDs featuring his original music and is perpetually working on new songs and projects.

His songs have been performed and recorded by various bands and his music is prominently featured in the documentary film  [easyazon-link asin=”B0030ATMY2″ locale=”us”]Jump[/easyazon-link] about the annual frog jumping competition in Calaveras County made famous by Mark Twain. Rick has been a featured guest on numerous radio shows, and his original music can be heard from time to time on local public radio stations and podcasts.

Rick lives on Vancouver Island, BC where he is adored by his wife, Kathy, and occasionally acknowledged by their standard poodle, Winston.



Kind Words…

Bluegrass Unlimited “As a songwriter, writer, guitarist and oil-paint artist, Rick Jamison is creating a unique place for himself in bluegrass circles and beyond. It’s his tremendous talent with words, melodies, as well as his virtuosity as a guitar player, that show what a tremendous artist Rick Jamison is, and why his songs should reach a wider audience.”

Chris Stuart
Bluegrass Unlimited
Chris Stuart & Backcountry


Bluegrass Breakdown The Magic Hour is a killer collection of original material. Rick Jamison’s writing is on the highest of levels—taut, tight, intelligent, poetic, imaginative, distinctive, memorable… and about a hundred other adjectives. Plus, unlike many songwriters, he has a knack for coming up with a melody that does his fabulous lyrics justice (not to mention his fine arrangements). The Magic Hour offers superlative music that really pushes the songwriting bar—God knows we need more tunesmiths of Rick’s ilk.”

Dave Higgs
Nashville Public Radio
Bluegrass Breakdown


Bluegrass Now “Rick Jamison is a guitarist, composer, singer, and one of the people reviewers always hope they’ll find—an artist who seems to have appeared from the ether, fully formed, mature, meaningful and really talented.”

Hilary West
Bluegrass Now


Classic Heartland “Rick Jamison… Remember that name. You’ll need it to answer what will soon become the oft-asked question “Who wrote that song?” Rick is writing some of the finest bluegrass music out there today. Couple that with his masterful guitar playing and you begin to enter into a wonderfully fresh bluegrass experience.”

Marvin O’Dell
The Grass is Bluer


Bluegrass Unlimited The Magic Hour is indeed one whole hour of exciting musical entertainment created by one of the most prolific composers and musicians currently active in bluegrass music.”

Bluegrass Unlimited


California Bluegrass Association “Rick is an absolute ‘Hoss’ on guitar! Okay, not such a big secret eh? What you may not be aware of is this… The guy is without guile. He puts his true feelings right out there on his sleeve for all to see. That is the secret ingredient that shines through… He writes about what he knows, as well as what he dreams about.”

California Bluegrass Association


bluegrasscountry.org WAMU 88.5FM “Rick Jamison was one of the best songwriters I encountered while attending the IBMA convention in 2005. I can envision many of his songs being picked up by today’s great crop of new Bluegrass bands.”

Lee Michael Demsey
WAMU Radio
and bluegrasscountry.org
Board of Directors, IBMA

 Uptown Bluegrass “The Magic Hour — what a great showcase of the fine talents of Rick Jamison, a very prolific songwriter, singer and guitar player. Rick has a vivid imagination and knows how to express that in verse and song. Rick’s imagery is equaled by his fresh melodies and arrangements, classy all the way. The Magic Hour is a great CD, true to the bluegrass form and adding to the genre.”

George McKnight
Radio Host, Writer & Festival Emcee
Uptown Bluegrass


ross_reviews_logo “If you like your bluegrass with some folk flavorings, you’ll enjoy the musical encounter as Rick tells tales, expresses emotions, and perhaps most importantly paints pictures with his lyrics and melodies. His songs are every bit as vivid and impressionistic as Jamison’s oil on canvas that graces the inside of The Magic Hour CD jacket.”

Joe Ross
Bluegrass Now
Top 500 reviewer for Amazon
Top 100 reviewer for Yahoo


 KPFA 94.1FM “Rick Jamison was a recent guest on Pig in a Pen introducing his new CD, The Magic Hour, along with some incredible live solos on guitar and vocals. The response from listeners was as laudatory and intense as any I’ve received in over 30 years of broadcasting. You’ll be hearing a lot more from this guy — guaranteed!!”

Ray Edlund
Radio Host, “Pig in a Pen”
KPFA-FM Berkeley CA


pacsunlogo “Rick Jamison’s guitar playing on The Magic Hour arrested my attention immediately. As it was reaching my ears through the radio, I had no idea who I was listening to at first — but you can bet the farm that I stayed tuned until I found out. Since then I’ve seen Rick perform to an appreciative packed house at the Sweetwater, and I’ve kept The Magic Hour—with its catchy melodies and flat-picked prestidigitation — on the A-list since I got my hands on it.”

Matt Kramer
Music Critic, Pacific Sun


 sweetwater_logo “I have spent countless hours listening to The Magic Hour. It is one of the finest recordings I have heard in a long time. Rick Jamison wrote all of the songs, and his lyrics, playing and singing are all first-rate. He is one talented guy, and definitely a force to be reckoned with on the national bluegrass scene.”

Larry Carlin


KBOO FM The Magic Hour truly offers just that. Rick Jamison surprises, delights and reminds us that offerings like those found on this project can only emerge from the heart and soul of a master observer of the human condition.”

Phil Hodgen
Radio Host “Bushels of Bluegrass”
and “Music from the True Vine”

JUMP a frogumentary “Rick Jamison’s heartfelt, toe-tapping music added layers of richness throughout many scenes of my documentary feature film, JUMP. Whether the film segments were upbeat or intense, Rick’s music provided the perfect complement to the many moods of the central characters. Rick is obviously talented and passionate, and you can add versatile to his description.”

Justin Bookey
Documentary Film Director


Bluegrass Now The Magic Hour is a very impressive collection of original music from an equally exciting talent.
Rick Jamison brings us sixteen brilliant and very entertaining songs in a variety of bluegrass flavors. Another real find from the self-produced bin, this one is a pleasure to listen to again and again ”

Joe Falletta
Bluegrass Now


Rick Jamison & Copper Canyon

Rick Jamison (right) performs with his band, Rick Jamison & Copper Canyon, in Yreka, California in June 2004.


CDs by Rick Jamison:


[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B000CAG10G” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aDhoRcWxL.jpg” width=”500″]
[easyazon-link asin=”B000CAG10G” locale=”us”]Open Spaces[/easyazon-link]


[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B000CAD6TA” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RGEfOSGyL.jpg” width=”500″]
[easyazon-link asin=”B000CAD6TA” locale=”us”]Magic Hour[/easyazon-link]


[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B000CAKC56″ locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Sfr2hFVqL.jpg” width=”500″]
[easyazon-link asin=”B000CAKC56″ locale=”us”]Tales from the Canyon[/easyazon-link]


Soundtrack by Rick Jamison:

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B0030ATMY2″ locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NvW3l5HFL.jpg” width=”358″]


[easyazon-link asin=”B0030ATMY2″ locale=”us”]Jump[/easyazon-link]


One Comment

  1. Dear Rick:
    I wanted to let you know about a great event for songwriters, singers and musicians – The Songwriters Telesummit.
    Coming August 22 and 23, 2009. A teleconference for songwriters, singers, and musicians that explains how to get music into television and film, create inexpensive tours, find alternatives to touring, interpret and personalize songs in performance, manage performance anxiety, and much more.
    With Gretchen Peters, Mary Gauthier, Eric Maisel, Susan Raeburn, Andrew McKnight, Michael Shorr, Rebecca Folsom, Celeste Krenz, Michael Bowers, Siobhan Quinn, Tom Prasada-Rao and other experts. An essential conference for every musician—folk, jazz, pop, country, rock, hip-hop, R&B, whatever your musical style.
    Make money by becoming an affiliate and announcing The Songwriters Telesummit. You get a personalized link and make money whenever someone enrolls using your link. It’s really easy to sign up. Take a look at how easy it is:
    Take a minute to sign up and then announce this unique event on your blog, in your newsletter, to your lists, in any way you like. If you have any questions or want more information, drop Vivian Nesbitt a line at viv [dot] artofthesong [at] gmail [dot] com
    We look forward to your participation.
    Ann Maisel

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