Mark Caro & Steve Dawson

Mark Caro & Steve Dawson

We all have music inside us — melodies in our sentences, rhythms in our syllables, heartbeats and movements — and many of us love the art of creation whether or not we have professional aspirations. Some seek their muses with guitar or pen in hand, some while seated at a piano or electronic device, some while taking a stroll and whistling. There is no wrong approach to songwriting — yet we sometimes struggle to tap into our abundant sources of inspiration.

The purpose of this website and our book, Take It to the Bridge: Unlocking the Great Songs Inside You, is to knock down the barriers between you and your creativity. The book offers a lively, instructive dialogue about the art of songwriting plus helpful chord, key and song-form charts and imaginative assignments designed to inspire anyone who ever has thought of adding songs to the world.

This site is meant to be a gathering place for all who appreciate or engage in songwriting. You can LISTEN to and SHARE songs inspired by the book’s assignments. You can read and join the conversation in our ongoing songwriting BLOG. You can dig further into RESOURCES we’ve highlighted for you. You can CONTACT us and stay connected. And, of course, you can BUY THE BOOK.

Thanks for joining us. Let’s Take It to the Bridge together.

--Steve and Mark
Steve Dawson has been writing songs for more than 30 years, most prominently as leader of the rock/folk band Dolly Varden, which has released six acclaimed studio albums, as well as the jazz-flavored Funeral Bonsai Wedding and as a solo artist. Since 2006 he has taught songwriting classes and guitar at Chicago’s legendary Old Town School of Folk Music. He also operates the recording studio Kernel Sound Emporium, where he has produced more than two dozen albums by up-and-coming songwriters.

Mark Caro is author of The Foie Gras Wars (Simon & Schuster), which won the 2009 Great Lakes Book Award for general nonfiction and two prizes from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris. For more than 25 years, he wrote about music, film, food and assorted cultural topics for the Chicago Tribune, and he since has written for The New York Times and other publications. He created and hosts the popular “Is It Still Funny?” film series at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre.