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Category: Current events


My son, J.D., playing college ball.

I’ve been watching the playoff games. For one thing it’s easy to have on in the background while I work on booking shows for next year. For another thing, at this point I have a love-hate relationship with the Astros. I go back and forth between wanting them to go all the way again, and wanting them to get their asses kicked. They are a Texas team, true, but they are still – the Astros.

Then again, watching the playoffs reminds me that it’s not freaking raining EVERYWHERE! More importantly, I overload on baseball to get me through the drought until spring training. The only other sport we watch is some golf on the weekends – the tournaments of which have also been having some good weather, by the way.

The playoffs are getting interesting now. The games from the wild card games to the current two series were decidedly one-sided. It’s a competition in both series now. I’m interested to see how it turns out. The announcers are freaking annoying, but that’s why the mute button was invented.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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I headed for Chattanooga two weeks ago Monday. I stopped over in Memphis and drove on in to Chattanooga on Tuesday. I played at Tremont Tavern Tuesday night. Then Wednesday night at Abbott’s Bar and Grill in Atlanta. I had a show on Thursday at Akademia Brewing Company with my friend, Joe Cat. So I was playing open mics on my way down. Hopefully setting up future shows.

Open mics are pretty much the same any where you go. The host is usually a popular member of the local music community. In the case of the Tremont Tavern, the host is Mike McDade. He’s pretty much a staple of the local scene.

I intended to get there when the list went out at 7 p.m., but I screwed up on the time change. Yeah, I know, but I did. When I got there, some of the local performers had already signed up. I added my name to the list, not all that concerned about the time. Check out was at 11 a.m. and I only had a two hour drive to Atlanta.

I got a beer at the bar and found a place to stand to watch the show and be out of the way. I missed Mike playing to open the show. But I only missed one or two on the list. I don’t know if it started on time or not.

There was the usual assortment of people playing the open mic. From those who don’t really have a lot of talent, but have friends who will show up and make noise to those who actually have a little talent and are working to get better. Needless to say, the latter had the most talent. Then there are those who think they are significantly better than they actually are. Yet they still need support, so I clapped too – but not too hard.

With the exception of those who showed up late because they only wanted to play for their own little group anyway, most of the performers stayed to hear other performers. Of course, two or three people played their set and left. Which is pretty standard for open mics.

I opened the out door for a guy coming in with a bag and a guitar case. His wife, I assume, followed him. He said hello to Mike, who told him he was next. Either the guy had showed up early to sign up and leave – which I doubt, or he had Mike put him on the list. Either way, he almost overshot his starting time.

He pulled his guitar out of its case. Then he opened the big black case he had. He pulled out three dulcimers. Then he pulled a stand out of the bag.  The third case – a bit smaller – held his pedal board, with looper. In the time it took him to get everything on stage and get it set up, someone else could have played. On the final of his three songs, he played all four instruments, two of them more than once, setting the loops up, and playing the one song – which took somewhere around six minutes. I understand that he had a show there that Friday and wanted to advertise. But all of that for three songs?

The girl pictured above was a regular who had a new song to try out. She was one of the performers who stood out from the rest. She was one of those people who make open mics interesting. As was another young man who played his songs in a practiced manner. He was playing a couple of places around town.

I played after the two people who followed the dulcimer player. I woke the place up to a degree with three songs from my Hello Out There cd in rapid fire delivery. After waiting to play – and having driven a good part of the day – I was fairly pumped. The crowd certainly seemed to enjoy my songs.

After a few more acts, I headed for the hotel. Next morning, I headed for Atlanta…

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Cameron and I got to the Ryman Auditorium about noon on Friday. After we got up and drove to Kentucky so Cameron could get a few 6-packs of Ale 8, a drink he likes that can only be found in certain places. When we got back to Nashville, we drove to Music City Center, parked the van, and checked my guitar into the bag check for Summer NAMM. Then we walked the two blocks to the Ryman Auditorium.

We took the self-guided tour and it wasn’t as easy as you would think. But we wandered around and worked it out. Cameron enjoyed it, and it’s always a special thing, but I was a little disappointed. Only because I had the chance to see it before the restoration. I was fortunate to tour the Ryman when you could see the back stage dressing rooms. We would call them closets. Just enough room for them to change clothes and sit waiting.

With the exception of the theater, the restaurant, and the stage lighting, it still looks pretty much the same. When we left I had to have a beer at Tootsies across the alley – as did the performers when the Grand Old Opry was still at the Ryman.

Then we headed back to Music City Center….

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Doobie Jones, Dan Roark

Cameron and I arrived at Skully’s Saloon about 6:30 on Thursday June 28. It’s called a dive bar, but it’s one of the biggest dive bars I’ve seen and has a stage. But it’s between railroad tracks at a railway station, so there’s that. It’s in Old Hickory, just northeast of Nashville on the Cumberland River.

Doobie Jones and I opened the Music City’s Unsigned Best Songwriters Night hosted by Billy Lee of Truckstop Honey. Doobie is a card and writes some interesting songs. I played three songs from my new EP, Hello Out There. The crowd was very receptive.

The following is the line-up with links. It was a stellar group of songwriters, all playing their heart out. I didn’t get a chance to hear the last two sets of songwriters because we had to get back to the hotel. But I have no doubt they sang their hearts out as well.

Take the time to follow the links and listen to their music – you won’t be disappointed. Billy was a good host and he and Amanda Jo Kielpinski (Truckstop Honey) had colorful songs. Arvie and Bunny Bennett were a gracious couple and sang some really nice songs.

I felt a little out of place not being in the local group. But songwriters are a pretty accepting lot as a general rule. Arvie and Bunny made me feel like I was part of the group. Arvie apologized for not being there early enough to hear me play. They had gotten ready, got in the truck, and it wouldn’t start. I have no doubt we’ll keep in touch. Billy has invited me back so they’ll get a chance to hear me play.

Dan Roark/Doobie Jones

Luke Hatfield/Jerr Grunn,

Marc Oriet/Arvie & Bunny,

Truckstop Honey,

Jeffrey Allen/Christina Valentino,

Jeff Dezern/Eli Locke,

Andrew Ullman/Colt Stroud

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Cameron and I arrived in Nashville on Wednesday, June 27th. Thursday morning we checked in at Summer NAMM (National Association of Music Merchant) and got our badges. We went to the D’Angelico booth so I could sign up for the open mic to be held at 3 p.m. on the Reverb stage.

After cruising through all of the booths, we stopped at the Kyser booth. We also say hi to them because their down the road in Tyler.

Then to the John Pearse Strings booth. I have been using JP strings on my Alvarez for all of its 42 years. We chatted with Todd Newman and picked up a few things.

The Alvarez booth was next. We played a few of the new line of guitars and chatted with the staff. The guitars sounded really nice, with a full sound.

At 3 p.m. we were at the Reverb stage. I was concerned because a storm had just blown through, canceling the previous band’s performance. At 2:45, they were still taking the tarps off the stage. They finished in time and the D’Angelico staff situated guitars across the stage. The idea was to use one of their guitars for the one song. My name was called first, and I chose the guitar you see in the picture. I played I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville – which incidentally is on the EP that will be released Wednesday at Malarkey’s Tavern in Dallas. I received good applause.

After watching most of the other performers, we left to go back to the hotel until time to head to Scully’s Saloon for the showcase…

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

If you were ever at a Stuckey’s when they were around, you know they were a far cry from anything associated with adult products. They were rectangular buildings at countless exit/entrances on highways with a green roof. They had a lunch counter and you could get chocolates, candies, and souvenirs. When the company closed, the buildings were left empty.

When my son, Cameron, and I were driving to Nashville for Summer NAMM – a yearly trip – I noticed that the Stuckey’s buildings in Tennessee have been re-purposed. They are now part of the Miranda’s chain of Adult Stores – toys, videos, and lingerie. Your pornographic one stop shop.

I couldn’t get a picture because of the trees, and I’m not about to get any closer to one than I was driving by at 75 miles an hour. But I do think the re-purposing is ironic or disgusting – I’m not sure which. Maybe both.

Then we were miles down the road and it didn’t matter anymore.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dear Capital One,

At first it was kind of flattering that you wanted to touch base with me so often with costly envelopes. Then it saddened me that you began to send the same costly envelopes to my sons. Then to my wife under a business name of mine that she has nothing to do with.

I recycle, so there’s that, but why are you wasting your money? I do not have a credit card with you, nor do I want one. So please stop.

One more thing – I have seen most of Samuel L. Jackson’s movies. I like Samuel L. Jackson. But I don’t watch his movies any more because I am tired of his voice. That is also your fault. But I’m still tired of it.

And it’s none of your damn business what is in my wallet.

Dan Roark

Peace be with you.

While my live cd, Peace Be With You, has been available on my website – www.danroark.com – it was just recently released to all other outlets. The first seven songs were recorded at various times by Carlos Sanchez at Poor David’s Pub. The last song is a studio recording of What the Lord Intends, a song I wrote about Sack Summer Hunger that was mixed and mastered by my son, Conner.

The title song is a song I wrote about the shooting of the police officers at the peaceful protest in downtown Dallas in the summer of 2016.

I wanted to get it released before the release of my new EP, Hello Out There, in early July. Check out Peace Be With You on my website, CDBaby, and the usual places. Some sites insist you put Daniel rather than just Dan since my copyrights and such are in my full name, Daniel Lee Roark. Feel free to like, subscribe, share, etc.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

David Crosby and band

As a sustaining member of KXT 91.7, I opt in for all of the drawings they have. Occasionally, I win. As in the case of the drawing a few months ago for tickets to see David Crosby on Sunday the 20th at the Granada Theater. I received an email from Lauren Menking in the marketing and communications department at KXT, saying that myself and the others blind copied on the email had won two tickets each. With the show on May 20 and our 26th anniversary on the 25th, Cyndy and I thought it made for a good time to go ahead and celebrate.

Cyndy and I saw Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young at Texas Stadium in 1974. We were there with other people, but we were all friends. Cyndy and I were friends in high school and dated after I graduated and she was a senior. The story of the years between then and when we got married is a story for the actual anniversary post.

I’ve seen the different formations of the band over the years. I’ve seen Neil Young  numerous times. I’ve seen CSN when they were at the top of their game. I’ve seen them when they had to prop Crosby up and have someone sing for him backstage. A friend of mine was the sound man at Cardi’s. I was there before David Crosby’s show the night he was busted. I got a weird vibe about the situation – wasn’t hard to do at Cardi’s – and I left. I wasn’t wrong.

Cyndy and I didn’t know exactly what to expect this time, but we knew it would be a good show. Again, I wasn’t wrong. You would be hard pressed to find a show that was so complete. At least as complete as only two hour long sets can be.

They played songs that punctuated David’s life and career. He played Guinnevere in the first set. He also played a song by his son, James Raymond, who was playing keyboard and adding vocals. We didn’t know until the end of the show that he was David’s son. Jeff Pevar was on guitar and vocals, Mai Agan on bass, Stevie D on drums, and Michelle Willis on keyboard and vocals.

The second set was better than the first. No doubt planned that way. They played more songs from the CPR band and David’s newer songs. As I was wondering when he was going to play the song, he put on his Stratocaster and began playing Wooden Ships. A short while later, Crosby said he “loved [his] country, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the whole thing.” Then they played My Country Tis of Thee, a patriotic song he did with Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

He ended the show by saying, “we’re borrowing a song from a friend.” Then they played a great version of Neil Young’s Ohio, with all of us singing along.

An excellent show and perfect ending to a 26th Anniversary evening – having started with dinner at Desperados.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

 

Dweezil Zappa and Ryan Brown

I had been waiting for Dweezil Zappa to play at House of Blues since November. Which was when Dweezil’s drummer, Ryan Brown, played on my songs when I recorded in LA in November with my son, Conner, producing.

Not so incidentally, the first of two five song EPs that we recorded will be released within the next few weeks – Hello Out There. Ryan did a great job on my songs, as did Lou Castro, L.A. session bassist, and I was looking forward to seeing him play the massive drum set he plays with Dweezil.

I, and the rest of those in the audience, were not disappointed. It was an excellent show. And Ryan was impressive on the drums, as the other performers were on their respective instruments. The songs they played of Frank’s I recognized. But all songs were played exceptionally well. It was a kickass show.

When I walked into the room before the show, I was getting ready to send Ryan a message to let him know I was there. Before I had a chance to get my phone out, I looked up and there he was with his friend, Collin, who had also come to see the show. We talked for a few minutes before Ryan had to go get ready. He was going to come out when the show was over. But when they played a two song encore, it was getting late and I didn’t want to hang around until the after show backstage activities were over. I sent him a message telling him the show was excellent and I’d see him later.

On my way back to my car – as I do every time I’m down there – I remembered that HOB is in the old White Swan building. When I was working at Famous Ramos Hot Dog Place that was in mall food courts in the early 80’s, when the stores needed more pretzels, I would drive down to the basement dock at the White Swan building and get as many boxes as my car would carry. Famous Ramos, and other companies, paid them for freezer space. That was when the only thing in what would become the West End was the Old Spaghetti Warehouse.

Things change. But sometimes it’s kind of nice to remember what it was like then. I know the memories floating around in the ether would appreciate it.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

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