Category: Current events


Robbie Marks

Robbie Marks opened the showcase last Tuesday, January 9 at Love and War in Texas, Plano that Shaun Outen and I host. Marks played a set of originals mixed with country covers.

Ray White took the stage after Robbie Marks. The show was broadcast on TexasSelectRadio.com as usual on Tuesdays. Ray followed Robbie’s example of playing originals and covers.

Ray White

Troy James has a unique sense of humor that he displays in his clever songs. He is also a fellow author. I didn’t realize until later that we had both been judges at Little Anthony’s Reach For the Stars Talent Competition. Follow his link to find his music – as with all the performers. It’s hard to take notes, pictures, and be a host at the same time.                          

 

 

Rob Case followed Troy on stage. Case played played a number of his originals, including my favorite, Bayou City. He closed with a couple of cover songs.

Shaun Outen played a few covers, including one of his favorites, Willie Nelson’s Me and Paul. Shaun ended with his recent single, Senoritas and Tequila.

Rob Case

Dan Roark closed out the evening with three songs from his upcoming EP. Then the waitress, Yvonne – I don’t have her last name – sang “Crazy” A Capella. She did a very nice job.

Come on out and join us on Tuesdays – except for tonight (January 16). Come listen or plan to play a few of your songs on TexasSelectRadio.com. The heaters usually suffice to make it comfortable. Good music, good food, friendly staff. More pictures will be found on my Facebook music page. Follow the performer’s links to hear the music for yourself.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark

I was guest host for Bill Hook at the first Wednesday night Songwriters Showcase/ Open Mic of 2018 on January 3rd at Guitars and Growlers. While it was every other Wednesday in 2017, SS/Open mic is now weekly.

I was getting over a cold

Jade Nickol

that I got for Christmas. I opened the show and made it through two songs before I realized it was time to pass the mic. Jade Nickol took the stage and played her original songs as well as a Stevie Nicks cover.

Remy Reilly, another teenage songwriter, played piano and sang her original songs. She also played a Stevie Nicks cover – since Jade had.

Remy Reilly

Anna DiTommaso took the stage after we got the keyboard off the stage. “I will now play some songs that I definitely didn’t write,” Anna said as she introduced herself. She then did musical justice to four cover songs.

Local songwriter, Alex Benavides, followed DiTommaso. Benavides played his original songs and ended with Country Roads by John Denver and everyone singing along. Karl King played a couple of tunes on harmonica before asking Joe Gerard, who was up next, to join him on stage for a song. The two performed Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull. Gerard then stayed on stage to play a set of cover songs. Donna Weis closed out the evening with her unique brand of folk music, hearkening back to the ’60s and ’70s.

In all, an interesting musical evening. More pictures will be on my Facebook music page. Join Bill Hook each Wednesday to hear some good songwriters and/or play a few of your songs. Good music, good food, great craft beer selection and friendly staff.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

Jason Gibson and Mark Purnell

Now that Christmas is over and I’m finally starting to get over the cold I got for Christmas, it’s time to start catching up.

Jason Gibson and Mark Purnell opened the show at Love and War on December 19th that Shaun Outen and I hosted. They swapped songs as well as accompanying each other. Their set included Don’t Take My Whiskey and One Night Taco Stand.

Cold Multiple & Domestic

Cold Multiple & Domestic took the stage after Gibson and Purnell. The band consists of Craig Fasken, rhythm guitar and vocals, Craig Smith, lead guitar, Michael Levy on bass, and Matt O’Dea on drums. They play rock and roll and blues. And they do it well.

Dan Roark

The band played songs by Old 97s, Bob Seger, and others. Their set also included originals like the one about Pancho Villa. Fasken said that the first two songs they wrote together were blues songs. Then they played Fifteen Years, one of the two songs.

I followed the band and played a few songs, including Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress, and I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville from my upcoming cd, Hello Out There. Terry Strange followed me and closed out the evening with a set that included his songs, Angel Song,

Terry Strange

and How About the Truth.

It was a great show. Come on out this Tuesday and join Shaun and myself. Come listen or plan to play a few of your songs on TexasSelectRadio.com. Good music, good food, friendly staff. Come join us!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Shelby Ballenger

Shaun Outen and Dan Roark hosted the Songwriters Showcase on November 28 at Love and War in Texas in Plano. I’m a little behind, but it was too good a show not to share.

Shelby Ballenger and Brad Wayne Purdom swapped songs to start the show. Ballenger played her songs Messing With a Cowboy, and Smell the Rain among others. She also played Hank William’s You’re Cheating Heart, and Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee.

Brad Wayne Purdom

Purdom’s “set” included his songs, Gypsy Soul and Bright Light of Day. Brad Wayne also played his song about John Fulbright. He assisted Shelby on lead and harmonica.

Mr. Troll and I took the stage next and swapped songs. Troll played what open mic regulars would refer to as his “greatest hits.” Which obviously included Cry, which is one of my favorites. And of course, Going Nowhere. I played songs from my

Dan Roark

upcoming cd, Hello Out There. Shaun Outen closed out the show with a set of his own tunes mixed with covers.

Check out the links and hear the music for yourself. You won’t regret it. Go see them live when and if you get the chance. You won’t regret that either.

Mr. Troll Mallow

Come out and listen or play on Tuesday’s at Love and War. The heaters and enclosures make it comfortable. Come join us!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Shaun Outen

Bill Hook, Host

Bill Hook, host, opened the Songwriters Night at Guitars and Growlers on Wednesday, November 22. He played his songs, Let’s Dance, Give Me a Chance, and Heartache Blues.

Dan Roark took the stage next and played four songs from his upcoming cd, Hello Out ThereRob Case followed Dan with his signature song, Bayou City – about Houston. Case also played his version of Stormy Monday.

Dan Roark

Bill Nash played next and played four original songs, the last of which was a song with great wordplay, James Dean’s Genes. Alex Benavides played a set of covers with an original. He turned Country Roads into a sing-a-long that everyone enjoyed.

Khalil Coffield

Khalil Coffield just happened to stop in with a couple of friends. He signed up for an impromptu performance. Coffield is a good young songwriter with interesting songs.

Emma and her father were with the fairly large party in front of the stage. Emma put only her first name on the signup sheet. I had to leave without getting her last name. She sang a song or two with the words on her phone and her father playing guitar.

Follow the links and listen to these songwriters yourself. You’ll enjoy the experience. The next time you get a chance, go listen to them perform their songs live. More pictures will be posted on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Kerry Watts

Kerry Watts opened the show at the Tuesday Songwriters Showcase Shaun Outen and I host on Tuesdays at Love and War in Texas in Plano on November 21st. It’s sponsored by Texas Select Beverage Company and is often streamed live on TexasSelectRadio.com. There are heaters on the enclosed patio which make it comfortable.

Kerry mixed a couple of cover songs in with his original songs. It’s Too

Shaun Outen

Late and Love Means Forever were the first two. Love Means Forever stood out to me. But it’s a toss up between it and his last original, My Heart Doesn’t Know You Left Me.

Shaun Outen got up at the end of Watts’ set and played a few songs with Kerry’s guitar. Kenneth Waters took the stage after Outen. His set included his original songs, Crazy Mind and Turns Me On. Additionally, he did Walk Away, and Witch in Wichita – a cute song.

Kenneth Waters

I took the stage and played my set before Terry Strange followed me to close out the night. I particularly like his song, How About the Truth.

Come out and join us on Tuesdays. Always good music and they serve really good food at Love and War.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Terry Strange

Ryan Brown snare drum

Among the percussion instruments Ryan Brown brought to the recording session was a handmade snare drum. Ironically, the man that made the drum lives in Texas near San Antonio. He’s a woodworker who uses trees on his land for his projects. If I find out his name, I’ll edit this post.

He told Ryan he wanted to make a drum for him. He had made a lot of things out of wood, but not instruments. He wanted to give it a try. What was Ryan going to say?

When he brought it to the studio, he had just picked it up when he got home from a tour with Dweezil Zappa. My songs were the first songs ever played with that snare drum, particularly on a recording. As you can see, it is a piece of art. You can tell by the changing color and grain of wood that it is strips of wood, painstakingly arranged and fitted.

And you’ll be able to hear the first recordings with it on my cd. Incidentally, you can pre-order the cd at danroark.com.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Dan Roark, Lou Castro, Ryan Brown

My oldest son, Conner, an audio engineer and owner of Refrigerator Records, and I arrived at Mikal Reid’s studio in Woodland Hills, California. We had come out the night before to get everything ready. So it didn’t take Conner too long to get things set up.

When Conner told me he had Lou Castro, noted LA session musician,

Ryan Brown, Lou Castro, Dan Roark

and Ryan Brown, drummer for Dweezil Zappa, lined up to play on my cd, I was elated, as you can understand. I had not expected to play with that level of talent. And I didn’t know what they would think of my songs.

Lou Castro

I sent Lou and Ryan the songs I wanted to record. A couple of days later, I talked to Lou and he said he liked my songs. So I felt a little better, but I hadn’t talked to Ryan. So I’m in the studio playing guitar and warming up while Conner sets up the mics and headphones. About twenty minutes later there was a knock on the door. It was Ryan Brown. Lou was going to arrive a little later. Conner let him in. Before I had a chance to react, Ryan walked up to me.

Ryan Brown

“Are you Dan?” I nodded. “I like your music. Awesome songs.”

I was blown away, to say the least. While Ryan was setting up the drums the way he wanted them, Lou arrived and got set up with his bass. After Conner got all the levels set, we started the session with the Aardvark song. Once we began playing, all nervousness left me and it was just fun.

Dan Roark

Four to five hours later, we had nine songs done, a couple on the first two takes. We didn’t take any breaks. Mainly because I got so involved in playing that I didn’t think about it. Nobody else said anything either. When you have a groove going, no reason to stop.

Except that after three hours of straight playing and singing, I felt a cramp in my right hand gaining intensity. My voice was sounding rough. We weren’t using the vocal track anyway, but I was still straining my vocal chords. The cramping was a more immediate issue.

I made it through the nine songs. I only had eleven in mind. Of the two we didn’t get recorded, one was a song I already had recorded, but wanted to redo it. The other song was more of an acoustic song anyway.

We spent the next hour talking about music and telling stories while Conner transferred the files to his hard drive. As well as comparing music scenes. It was a very pleasant way to end a good day of recording – with the exception of the throbbing in my hand.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

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.

 

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