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How To Write Songs With A 20-Sided Die with Lake Street Dive’s Bridget Kearney
Episode 10717th June 2024 • Dipped In Tone • Dipped in Tone
00:00:00 00:50:16

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Rhett and Zach are back with special guest Bridget Kearney, who plays upright bass in the experimental Brooklyn-based indie-folk-soul band Lake Street Dive. The band, formed 20 years ago in Boston, was looking for ways to keep their songwriting fresh when their mutual love of Dungeons and Dragons presented a unique challenge: Could they write a song using a D20 die, with different elements of the tune assigned to the sides? You have to hear Kearney explain it to believe it. The exercise was a helpful kickstart: “My creative self is lazy, and so I need to sort of get them out of bed,” laughs Kearney.

Kearney shares her thoughts on the intersections of theory and melody in a bassist’s skillset, with an affectionate plug for Paul McCartney’s simple, effective melodic constructions. But playing upright bass is no walk in the park. Kearney details her top tour horror stories brought on by the sizeable instrument, including a time in Shanghai that ended with a shattered windshield, and a brutal stairway fall that ended with stitches in her head. Does the new era of fold-up uprights solve the danger? Somewhat, as Kearney explains.

It wasn’t til later that Kearney gave the electric bass its fair shake, and she preaches the importance of having a “playground” of sorts on which to learn and hone your skills on a new instrument, while keeping things fun. Tune in to learn how, for Kearney, that meant listening to and learning Irish fiddle tunes on the bass.

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Dipped in Tone is:

Rhett Shull

Zach Broyles / Mythos Pedals

Premier Guitar



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