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My show at Tribal Cafe on Sunday, November 12 was my second show there. I played a show with Gary Stockdale there back in April. It’s a funky little place in the Echo Park area of LA, not far from Dodgers Stadium.

The menu is healthy, expansive, and all over the wall by the order window. It’s best to ask what they recommend – the choices are overwhelming.                                                                           

The crowd was not as big as in April, but was just as enthusiastic. Neighborhood folks came in and lingered for a song or two while they waited for their order. Some stayed for a few songs. And the staff is always receptive to music.

I played a set of songs that included most of the songs on my new cd that I was to begin recording the next day. From the title song, Hello Out There, to the Aardvark Song, to Wishy Washy World and others.

Dan Roark

The upper picture is from my April show. The  picture to the left is my look this trip. After my set, I hung around to listen to the first few performers in the open mic. My thoughts on the performers will be in another post comparing Dallas open mics to LA open mics.

But if you’re in LA and want a funky neighborhood place to eat, check out Tribal Cafe. Friendly service, good food, innumerable choices – great place for coffee or smoothie. Entertainment pretty much every day of the week.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

Sabor y Cultura

Last Saturday night I played at Sabor y Cultura cafe on Hollywood Blvd. in West Hollywood.

Before I continue with the open mic story, I need to give a little back story for the small world part of the title. My American flight arrived at LAX about 7:50 a.m. on Thursday morning. My son, Conner, and his girlfriend, Jimena, were stuck in traffic.

Rob King

So I retrieved my checked bag in the baggage claim area. The delay was a wreck which was still ahead of Conner. I went to the Starbucks just outside of the baggage claim area – the only place I could see outside of the vending machines by the bathrooms to get food. I bought a breakfast sandwich and a house dark roast. I watched everyone in the area while I waited for my order, and ate it at a small table – I’m a writer, it’s what I do. Conner and Jimena arrived a while later when I was out waiting by the curb.

 

Dan Roark

I arrived at the open mic early. I bought a tea and a snack. Before too long, Tonde R Colle arrived to set up for open mic, as did Morgan B. – she helped with the signup and announced the performers. When they got set up, the open mic began with one of Tonde’s recorded songs, and his welcome to the open mic.

Kendra Van De Graff

Rob King, who plays with Sweet Friday – a local LA band – was the first performer. His music had a latin/folk sort of vibe. He played three nice songs, ending with his song, Pieces.

A young man, Ray Goren, was next. He had a large pedalboard with pedals, some I’m not sure he used very often. It included a harmonizer and a looping pedal. Ray is a talented young man who also has a latin musical strain. But more in the crooner type category. His songs included Maybe I Don’t Need to Know and Can’t Help Myself.

Roger Gomez

Roger Gomez, who followed Goren, is from Australia – which you would not immediately guess. He is soft spoken and friendly. Roger has a distinctive voice and some interesting songs. One of which was She’s Always Landing on Her Feet.

I followed Roger. I played Hello Out There, Peace Be With You, and Wishy Washy World. Kendra Van De Graaff came up after me. She only had one original song and it was titled Date Me.

When Kendra was leaving, I caught up with her and asked her to write down her name so I could spell it right. After she wrote it down, she looked at me.

Rodney Porter and Tonde R Celle

“Actually, I saw you at the airport. I was next to you in line at Starbucks. I saw you get up to play, and I thought, no way.”

I said that was cool and thanked her again. I had thought I had seen her before, but I wasn’t sure. By the time she cleared the door, Tonde was ready to sing his set. He had his tracks for backup. After he sang his first song, Rodney Porter joined him. They sounded really good together. Their voices blended nicely. I don’t know what genre they would put their music in, but it sounded like good soul music to me – one way or the other.

After their set ended, the performers were invited to come up and do another song. I had to leave before my turn came around. If you’re in LA, drop by on Thursdays and Saturdays for open mic. If you’re not in LA, if you happen to go there, check out Sabor y Cultura and play a few songs. You could borrow a guitar if you don’t have it with you.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

John Mason

New Faces Tuesday at Love and War in Texas on November 7, hosted by Shaun Outen, and sponsored – with a live broadcast – by Texas Select Radio, began about 7:30 with John Mason. His set included the title song of his upcoming cd, Branches and Leaves. Mason also played I Wanna Know – asking why we call coffee “joe.” He switched guitars and ended with Lone Star State.

Cat McGee took the stage next, opening with Summertime. Following with A Place of Their Own, and Coda. Coda and Summertime

Cat McGee

are the first and last song, respectively, of Cat’s recently released EP, ironically called, Don’t Rush Me. McGee ended with Four Guns and a Mercedes.

Dan Roark played his song for those on the autism spectrum, Hello Out There, to begin his set. Peace Be With You – written about the police shootings at the protest in downtown Dallas in the summer of 2016 – came next. Then he played Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress before finishing with I Got My Ass

Dan Roark

Kicked in Nashville.

Dave Ross, touring with Madison Rising, announced that his was an impromptu set because he hadn’t planned on performing. He borrowed Dan Roark’s guitar and started with Stormy Monday. He followed with two of Bob Dylan’s songs and one of his own about his daughter when she was about two years old.

Host Shaun Outen closed out the evening’s music. Beginning with Wear My Ring, by Bart Crow, his set also included his own single from a couple of years ago, All I Saw Was a Flash. He concluded with Holding Her and Loving You, and the Willie Nelson tune, Me and Paul.

New Faces Tuesday is always a good time for music at Love and War in Texas in Plano. Come on at and have something to eat on the heated patio while you listen to the performers. Or bring your guitar or instrument of choice and get your time on stage.

More pictures will be on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Dan at a previous showcase.

Before we get to Raphael’s, we’ll get to the heads up. I headed up to Denton for the open mic at LSA Burger Co. I had called earlier to make sure they had it before I drove all the way up there. I scored a parking place in front. But my positive vibes were short-lived.

It turns out the “open mic” is booked through Dec. 4. Not only am I damned if I can figure out how an open mic can be booked that far in advance, but LSA has nothing about the open mic on it’s website or Facebook page. So there’s the heads up – moving on.

Since I was up that way anyway, I left my prime parking spot to the guy stopping traffic because he really, really wanted it, and drove out to Raphael’s Mexican Restaurant in Aubrey to play at the open mic. Which is hosted by Shaun Outen and is live on Texas Select Radio. It’s actually more of a showcase than an open mic.

They were getting started when I arrived. Kaleb McIntire was beginning his set. Fiddle player, Billy Western was

Kaleb McIntire and Billy Western

playing with him. Western has played with a variety of country performers as back up or studio musician. McIntire played a good set of varied country covers. From Merle Haggard to Waylon Jennings and so on. Mixed in were a few of his original songs. Follow the link for his music. I couldn’t understand what he was saying for the noise at the bar. But the songs sounded good – it was easier to understand the words of the song. Catch Kaleb and/or his band when you have a chance.

I took the stage and got ready to begin my set. This wasn’t my first time to play to a loud audience. I’d rather not mention how long ago that was. Suffice it to say, it didn’t surprise me.

If you know me and my music, you know that I have quiet, softer songs and then loud, often comedic, songs. When I play to a noisy crowd, I take it as a personal challenge to get them to pay attention. The finger picks stay in the pocket and it’s all systems go.

It started off a little rough. The Aardvark Song and John Prine song, Paradise, barely phased them. Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress got their attention. I had them with I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville.

So that’s my musical prescription for a loud crowd. Keep pounding and don’t give up. Just remember – you have the microphone.

Keep on writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

In less than a week I’ll be in North Hollywood. I have eight shows in ten days, while recording during the day on six of those days. I have the good fortune to have noted LA bassist, Lou Castro, playing on my cd. Not to mention Ryan Brown, Dweezil Zappa’s drummer. Then there is Jimena Fosado, one of the hottest young guitarists in LA. With my son, Conner as engineer and producer. Conner also owns Refrigerator Records.

As if that wasn’t enough, I play at Rumi Cafe on Thursday and Friday. Then Tribal Cafe on Sunday and Ireland’s 32 on Monday. The Cork Lounge on Tuesday, then Guitar Merchant on Wednesday. Back at Rumi on Thursday and Friday. The Saturdays are in the works.

If you would like pre-order the cd, Hello Out There, you can do so on the store page of my website. Buying anything else in my store would also help with expenses.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Last night I went to Bedford for the Movie Tavern micro music festival. Dillon Moses was the host. They also have a micro music festival at the Movie Tavern in Denton on Thursday. With every performer playing four to six songs, and a relaxed atmosphere, it really was more like a micro music festival.

I seemed to be the only one who wasn’t from the “neighborhood.” There’s some good, young, local talent in the area judging from what I saw and heard.  We entertained the crowd having a few drinks before their showing of Thor came around.

I usually have a standing appointment on Thursday nights. It was called off for this week, so I headed to Bedford. With a recording session in LA coming up next week, I figure I can’t practice too much and there is no better way of doing it than playing an open mic, micro music festival, showcase, or the like. My plan is to play tonight at Mex-Go on Central in Allen. Then the LSA Burger Co. open mic in Denton on Monday, New Faces Tuesday at Love and War in Texas, Plano in the heated patio, and Songwriters Night at Guitars and Growlers in Richardson on Wednesday.

Then home to get ready for an early morning flight on Thursday that will begin ten days in LA. Which will include eight shows – a mixture of open mics and showcases – with an eye for setting up shows for a future trip. It will also include six days in the studio – an entire post in itself.

So come on out and join me at any of the places I’m playing through Wednesday. Come to listen or play. They’ve all got good food and drinks.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark

The Poor David’s Pub open mic on Monday, October 23 was one of those magical musical nights when you should have been there.

Guest host, Dan Roark, welcomed everyone at 7:30. He played his set of upbeat tunes and the songwriting talent never slowed down. John Mason followed the host. His set, played on his newly acquired Taylor guitar, included the title song from his upcoming cd, Branches and Leaves.

John Mason

Harry Hewlett took the stage next with his west Texas country, including a song about the effects of drinking Everclear. Called, oddly enough, Everclear. Cat McGee, with her hypnotic voice, followed Harry with her music consisting of stories she tells so well through song.

Laurelle and 3ple were the first featured act. They began the Make It Change tour in New York and the two musical friends are traveling across the country to California and back. Based on the saying that you can do nothing or you can make it change. The two are doing what they can as they play in various cities. With tracks on computer, and 3ple  on guitar, Lourelle sings her soulful music with a positive spin. They played a delightful set of inspiring, toe-tapping, heart filling music.

3ple and Laurelle

Keith Crow played his homespun songs for the audience, which included members of his family. Tracy Allen followed with a set of nice cover songs. Monk played his introspective, stories and lessons from life, songs that leave you with no doubt about how he felt at the time. His set included What’d I Say and My Mom. Rob Case followed Monk and played songs from Last Call in Texas, such as Bayou City.

Joe Cat was the second featured artist. Joe hails from Athens, Georgia, where he works the first half of the month and tours the last half. He writes songs of the heartland and the working man. He just released his new cd, Preaching Drunk, which he is working on putting out in vinyl.

Joe Cat

On one of his previous visits to Poor David’s, Joe was caught up in the spirit of the occasion and said that the PDP open mic was the only one he played anymore. I published a post on the show and quoted him. “I have to be careful what I say in front of Dan,” he said last Monday, before he told the story. “A host of an open mic called me up and asked, “You don’t play open mics anymore.”” “I said, No, wait!” He went on to play a number of his earthy songs including two of my favorites, America’s Best and Silver Thread City. He played Red Hawk from Preachin’ Drunk, which includes Americas’s Best. Follow the link and check out his music.

Scott Thornton took the stage after Joe Cat. Scott played his music that seems to be stream of consciousness at times. His songs are spiritual observations of what is happening in the world. You certainly seem to be at peace listening to him.

Craig Langford closed out the evening with his country songs that take you to the places and times he sings about. With a distinct unique voice that adds to the effect. Check his music out for yourself.

In fact do yourself a favor and check everyone’s music out. And go out and support live music. More pictures will be on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart. Peace be with you.

Bill Hook

I went to play at Guitars and Growlers at the third installment of the every other Wednesday open mic, hosted by Bill Hook on October 11. Guitars and Growlers is – to quote the website – “an adventure of Rob and Amy Baker to bring craft beer and hand crafted instruments to the great folks of Richardson Texas.” There mission is to build a new way for people to see what is going on in world of guitar building while enjoying a great craft beer. And pretty damn good food I may add. Handmade guitars hang on one wall.

So quite naturally, they would have live music. And, of course, an open mic to showcase local songwriters. A number of local songwriters and performers were in attendance to play on this particular occasion. Bill Hook opened the show – as hosts are wont to do.

Cat McGee followed Bill. John Mason took the stage next. Alex Benavides followed

Cat McGee

Mason and preceded the inimitable Bill Nash. Riley Curnutt took the stage after Bill Nash. Riley is a fourteen year old songwriter and she performs her songs nicely.

David Christian followed Riley with his own take on cover songs. Richard Hunt, Dan Roark, and Baylis Laramore ended the list of performers with Bill Hook coming back to the stage to end the evening. Links are provided so you can check their music out for yourselves. Everyone performed well, receiving ample applause.

Come to the next open mic on Wednesday, October 25, have some good food and craft beer, and get on the list to play, or just listen. Guitars and Growlers is a good venue and it’s always a good time. More pictures will be posted on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Justin Tipton and band

The  featured artist at the Poor David’s Pub (PDP) open mic on Monday, October 9, was Justin Tipton and his band. He’s currently in the process of coming up with a band name.

Guest host Dan Roark, Roy Howell, and Don Wall, played their sets before Justin and his band took the stage about 8:40. Tipton’s music is a bluesy rock blend that makes for good rock and roll. They kept the rhythm going with songs like Shake ‘Em On Down, Train to Memphis, Stay, and Barefoot O’ Blues. Will Latham on bass and Trevor Jordan on drums kept the back beat smoothly. They played Instant Karma in honor of John Lennon’s birthday. They finished up the set with Cornbread and You’re Gonna Miss Me by Band of Heathens.

The original songs in their set will be on the next cd. I think Barefoot O’ Blues may be the title song, but I was taking

John Mason

pictures and hosting, and didn’t write it down. Check his Facebook page for more information. Catch the band or any of it’s members when they play. You’ll enjoy the music.

John Mason followed the band. Trevor Jordan then took the stage, playing guitar instead of drums. Tennessee Dixon, who hasn’t played the PDP open mic in a while, played his brand of Ft. Worth country music. Mike Newkirk played before Scott Thornton closed out the evening with Trevor Jordan joining him.

Come out to Poor David’s Pub on the 2nd and 4th Mondays to hear or play good music. All are welcome.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

You were not happy when you didn’t have shows booked for Friday and Saturday. But you thought it was a good thing when you came down with a cold because the weather was changing. You feel better Monday and feel like you can play. Whether it’s a gig or an open mic, you’re ready to get out and play. You order a glass of water with your beer – because you usually do and, well, you’re not stupid.

Then you get called to play before you’re ready. In the middle of your routine, as it were. You take your water with you. You tuned your guitar as soon as you knew you’d be playing. But it’s outside on the patio and you’re praying it stays in tune – which it usually does. But you keep checking to make sure.

You start the first song and your voice sounds better than you thought it would. Then about the third line you realize that moisture is escaping from your mouth in rapid fashion. Just before you hit the chorus, you feel a frog crawling up your throat. Well, not quite a frog really – more like one of those little frogs that used to be as prevalent in a backyard as fireflies, but you don’t see them much any more.

You turn your mouth away from the mic – hoping it’s quick and quiet – while still keeping the rhythm going. You recover in time to start the chorus – maybe a beat late. You finish the song with only a couple of incidents.

You keep drinking water. As each successive song goes by, you begin to think you’re going to pull it off. As the water begins to run out, you take a chance and push it a little, getting a little louder. You finish with another loud song. Fortunately, no one heard the coughs and gurgles.

The crowd enjoyed it and you leave the stage to get more water – hoping you didn’t do any damage to your vocal cords. The time I refer to was not too bad. Unfortunately, other times have not gone as well.

What is your “show must go on” story?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

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