Dan Roark and Sons 3 For the past couple of years, I have been getting music together in preparation for recording a new CD. I didn’t play much when the boys were growing up, what with Little League baseball, church activities, and disc golf tournaments. Now Conner and Cameron are 20 and 19, respectively, J.D. is a senior, and it’s time to get back to playing music. We all play in the praise band at church occasionally.

I started with my old standards and added the new songs I’ve written over the past few years. As I was practicing and getting ready to go into the studio, I kept thinking of other songs I’ve written that I hadn’t thought of in a while. But when I looked in my notebooks, I could not find some of the songs I was looking for. And some of the songs I found didn’t have the chords written down.

I remembered the songs in my head, of course – for the most part. And I have a large number of tapes. My musical partner, Joel Nichols, and I were fanatics about recording practices and shows (sadly, Joel died in 1999). Yet not all of the tapes are labeled as to what songs are on them. Unfortunately, there are no clues such as – “this is the recording of that song that you remember was particularly excellent.” So I get to spend a lot of time listening to tapes. Which means a lot of recordings of the same songs.

Which is my cross to bear. Here’s my point – keep track of everything. Back everything up and date it. Having everything on computer is useless if you don’t know where to find it. But you’re a couple of steps ahead of me. I still have boxes to go through and copyrights to renew.

Joel and I thought we could hit the big time at any moment. We would spend our lives playing the same songs, along with new ones we were writing. It never occurred to us we might not sing them long enough for them to settle in the backs of our minds with other old memories. Fortunately for me, I played most of my songs enough that, even if I didn’t play them again, I probably will never forget them. Once I started playing the newly found old songs, they usually came back to me fairly easily. Yet there were others that didn’t come back as quickly or easily.

So trust me, don’t rely completely on your memory. You’re already having to write songs, record, give interviews, make appearances, and plan tours (among other things). Don’t leave anything to chance. It can come back to haunt you.

Peace be with you.