Category: Family


Not that I have heretofore done a lot of thinking about the growth curve. Which is precisely my point. Have any other parents actually worried about a growth curve? I was watching the Pediasure commercial where the little boy says his shirt is too big and the mother worries about his being off the growth curve. Then, after a couple of days or so with two bottles of Pediasure a day – wouldn’t you know it – he’s right back on that sucker.

Each of my four children grew differently. As did their friends at church and school. Not once did I hear, or worry about, a growth curve. I’m sure at some point we may have bought them Pediasure, but not because we thought it would right any perceived wrong. All four turned out just fine. Even J.D., who wasn’t sure for a while if he was going to get taller at all – he did.

Not that there is not a growth curve. I have seen and heard of children that grew abnormally. However, I don’t know whether their situation was caused by something specific or attributed to the growth curve.

Just saying…..

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

This is the video I took of Jimena’s solo. I had my hands stretched above my head and the people in front of me. The blood began to run out of my arms and I almost got a crick in my neck watching the viewer, but I got the solo. The sound could be a little better, but I had as much control over the sound as I did the people screaming around me. When she started her solo, it was like the crowd came alive. See for yourself.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Corey Feldman and the Angels

Cyndy and I drove to Houston last Saturday, the 29th, to see Corey Feldman and the Angels at White Oak Music Hall. We had seen them in San Antonio at the first of the summer tour. Granted Feldman’s music is not what we usually listen to. With the exception of cover songs like Rock On. Then again, we weren’t there because we thought Corey Feldman had a lot of talent.

We were there to see the band – in particular, the 21 year old guitarist, Jimena Fosado. The other

The Angels

members are Margot Lane (keyboard, acoustic guitar, and violin), Jackie Von Rueden (bass), and Marisa Testa on drums. Courtney Feldman is DJ and vocalist – I use both terms very loosely. The girls are trying to prove wrong the perception that they are just pretty, sexy women dancing around behind Corey.

Jimena Fosado in her happy place

Marisa and Jackie provide a steady rhythm section. They both have decent voices for their solo songs, but it’s hard to distinguish when Courtney sings with them. Jackie played bass when Corey played drums. Which is a good thing because someone had to keep the beat. Margot played acoustic guitar on her solo song. She also played violin when not playing keyboard. She plays all three well.

The guitarist, however, simply kicks ass. Jimena Fosado is one of the best young guitarists I have

Jimena Fosado

heard in a while. I’m a little biased because her boyfriend is our oldest son, Conner. Fortunately, you don’t have to take my word for it, although you should. She has played with Steve Vai and if he says she’s good, you can take it to the bank, as it were. Check out her YouTube channel. I’ll be posting a video of her solo from Saturday soon on my YouTube channel after this post is published. If Jimena is still with the band when they play in Dallas in October, you should go see them just to see and hear her play.

The perception of the women would be better if the costumes weren’t so god awful. Corey goes through costume changes more than Stevie Nicks at the old Fleetwood Mac shows. Mostly just jackets and hoods, all of them ugly. The hoods didn’t make sense when he would just throw them off after a verse and chorus.

The sound man mercifully had Corey’s mic turned down – although he could probably hear his voice louder in the monitors.  And the bass was up, so you could hear the words some of the time, but you couldn’t hear the missed notes as well. Not hearing the words had nothing to do with the sound being adjusted. They just all ran together.

Myself, Jimena, and Cyndy

By the time the show ended a little after midnight, the crowd had dwindled down to a smattering of groups spaced around the room among the garbage on the floor. There had been about 200 when they started playing. Some of them were there for the opening acts and stayed for a while. We waited while Jimena changed clothes and came out to visit with us. The cloudiness of the picture of the three of us is due to the humidity, not the camera.

It was good to see Jimena again. We introduced her to Schlotzskys between the sound check and the show. Hopefully, we’ll see her in October.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

My last posts were about seeing my old friends and hearing my friend, Tim Duggins, had died. I also mentioned Joel Nichols, my musical partner for twenty-five years who died in 1999. While writing the last post, I learned from Bruce Eugene Gibson that his mother, Charlotte Gibson, was in the hospital and not doing well.

Cyndy and I met in high school and dated after graduating. It would have been a blind date, but I knew here. It was a strange evening. The other couple was more interested in fooling around than we were. That Sunday, Cyndy called and invited me to a Super Bowl party. At the party I met Bruce and Charlotte Gibson, and Joel Nichols. Bruce Eugene was asleep in the bedroom, being a newborn.

After that party, Bruce, Joel, and I got together to play music. That was the beginning of Southern Plains. We would practice at Bruce and Charlotte’s apartment. I wrote a song for Bruce Eugene called Today A Child. It’s on my Chasing After Wind cd.

Joel and I moved to Nashville a year later. After Nashville, I moved back to Dallas and went back to school. I kept playing solo. Off and on I would play with Joel, after he moved back to Dallas. I also played with Tim occasionally. Although Bruce played with Joel and I at times, it was hard for him to deviate from his schedule. I lost touch with Bruce and Charlotte.

During the R. L. Turner High School’s 100th anniversary celebration a few years ago, alumni from all years were invited to the homecoming game. Each class with members present would be called out onto the field for celebration. Bruce E. had graduated from Turner so we talked after the game and he met our boys who attended Turner at the time.  He also works for Metrocrest Services and I volunteer for their Sack Summer Hunger program.

Charlotte has had health problems for a while, but she was a fighter. This time she just didn’t have enough fight left in her. And another door closes on a part of the past.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Vinnie Smith and I

After our tour of my old digs in Nashville on Friday, the 14th, Cameron and I had lunch at The Row and then headed out to the V-Picks shop. It’s actually a building outside of Vinnie Smith’s house on his property. We talked about picks, guitars, music, and this, that, and the other thing. He gave me a good deal on picks so I could stock up.

Vinnie also said he would send me the V-Picks logo so I could put it on the banner for my merchandise table.

The table I use for my drink, capos, harmonicas, etc.

Which, incidentally, Cameron is making for me. Naturally, it will be guitar-shaped. You can see other examples of Cameron’s work in the store at DanRoark.com.

After we visited for a while, Vinni had to go check on some people doing repair work at the house. We said our good-byes, then Cameron and I headed for Memphis.

When you come see me play, you’ll get a v-picks demonstration. Or you can order a few to try at v-picks.com. The cost is more than regular picks, but they heat up with your fingers helping them to stick to your skin and it takes a good while before they wear out. And they really make the instrument sound good. Each pick has their own unique sound. They also work with ukuleles and mandolins. Give them a try.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

916 Acklen Ave., in Nashville

When my family went to South Dakota on vacation to see where our parents met and were married, we found out that the church where the wedding had been had been torn down. It became a running joke that continues to this day. Anytime we couldn’t find the building we were looking for, I would say “they tore it down.”

Last Friday, the 14th, after visiting NAMM one last time, Cameron and I then drove to the area of Nashville where I lived in the ’70s. Going

Picture of a bad picture from the ’70s

through Hillsboro Village, we saw that the Villager was still open. Joel Nichols and I played there. Of course Belmont College and Vanderbilt College have expanded incredibly. There is a fraternity on Music Row. It’s quite a bit different than the street I walked with my songs on cassette, shopping publishers. Thankfully though, it’s still recognized as Music Row, there are still some publishers there, and most of the businesses are music or arts related. In the same buildings, with a few remodels.

916 Acklen Avenue today

A number of years back, Cyndy and I took the same basic drive, although it looked quite a bit different. I wanted to show the children the house I lived in. And – you saw it coming didn’t you – they tore it down.  In the picture above, the door on the far right was the door to our apartment upstairs.

I wanted to show Cameron where it was and I wanted to get a picture. 916 Acklen Avenue is a parking lot for the church across the street. Which is larger than it was then. There was a lot of good music made in that house. A lot of other things were done there too, but mainly a lot of good music. I wouldn’t expect a historical marker, but they could have at least put a plaque in the sidewalk. Just sayin’……..

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Crystal Gayle

Cameron and I arrived in Nashville in time to  check into the hotel and be at Music City Center to register for Summer NAMM  just before 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 13.  After a mad dash around the show floor, we headed upstairs for the American Eagle Awards of the National Music Council  (NMC).

David Sanders, director of the NMC, welcomed the audience  and talked about the awards and the past recipients. Then he introduced Richard Leigh, who introduced Crystal Gayle before presenting her with the award. During her acceptance speech, she talked about growing up in Butcher Hollow and how valuable music was to her and what a vital service the NMC and its members do to involve children in music. Gayle asked Richard to play while she sang Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue. Which is only appropriate, considering he was the songwriter of the song.

Patti Smith

John Ingrassia introduced Patti Smith and presented her award. He talked about her long history of arts, music, and activism involvement. He said that she was also a very good and devoted mother. When Patti reached the microphone, she said that she hadn’t known she was going to have to say anything, so she didn’t bring any remarks. In true Patti Smith fashion, it was not long before she was off and running about activism, music, and working together – quite eloquently, in her own way. She sang a song with her bass player on acoustic guitar. There was noise and activity around me, so I didn’t get the name of the song.

Paul Shaffer introduced Harry Shearer with the worst introduction I have heard- and I’ve heard a few. He said he had his comments on his phone, but I’m not sure there was anything on it. He babbled some stupid jokes – including one that I will not repeat and that repulsed the audience. Everyone held their breath for a second, wondering if he had really said what they heard. Harry’s reaction seemed a cross between surprise, pain, and trying to act nonchalant. Then Shaffer sat down at the keyboard to play a song for Shearer. I think it was supposed to be funny, but it fell as flat as his jokes, only with music – which wasn’t all that swell either.

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer brought it back in line by talking about the real reason he was there – as a passionate advocate for creators and artists. Among other things, he was voice-over artist on The Simpsons and writer for Fernwood 2 Night. He played bassist Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap. He has received to this day $18 for Spinal Tap. An effort has been underway for some time for those involved to recoup the money they should have made. That is a large part of what fueled his activism for creators and artists.

After Harry’s acceptance speech, the entire ensemble joined together on stage to play Patti Smith’s People Have the Power. Shearer played a ukulele bass and Shaffer actually sounded good on keyboard. Patti felt the spirit rise up in her. No doubt stirred up by the memory of co-writing and performing the song with her late husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith, from MC5. Many people got into the spirit of the activist song while others weren’t quite sure. As an old hippie, I thought it was great. It was a perfect end to the awards.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

Sanger-Harris

Sanger-Harris

[Read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4] As I mentioned in an earlier post, McCord Music was upstairs on the right side of the wing toward Sanger Harris. When our house burned down – see part 4 – I bugged the crap out of my parents to replace at least one of the two guitars that had burned in my room. For some reason, they were a little more concerned about the blackened house on Courtshire Dr. with no roof.

I finally convinced them that my way of dealing with the situation was with a guitar and writing songs. I can be stubborn. So I went to McCord at the mall and bought another Yamaha to replace the one that had burned.

By the end of the school year, we were back in the house. During the summer, I started working at the car wash at Forest Ln. and the Tollway. In front of the Pizza Inn by the Safeway. Then the Pizza Inn became Kel’s Kitchen. It now sits empty. The Safeway is now an Antique Mall. Or was last time I bothered to check.

I was still working there went I started at Richland College before transferring to NTSU, now UNT. When I had some money saved up, I talked my dad into co-signing a loan for a Martin guitar. Thanks in large part to the staff at McCord Music.

A year and a half later, I took a break from school and moved to Nashville with Joel Nichols. One day while we were working at Deli Junction (our day job), Joel got a phone call. One of our roommates called to tell him that our apartment had been broken into and his guitar was stolen. It turned out that it was my guitar that had been stolen, along with anything that you could play music on or with. When Joel looked into his room off of the kitchen, his guitar was still there. We figured it was a friend of his that didn’t want to take his guitar.

Fortunately, my parent’s home insurance policy would cover the guitar and tape recorder. I took the bus back to Dallas. Unfortunately, the insurance wouldn’t pay out enough to replace the Martin. So I took what they gave us and went to McCord Music of course. I sat in one of the listening rooms, surrounded by guitars. Most of them were in the price range. A couple of them were a little more. I’ve always thought positively.

I came to an Alvarez. I played a couple of songs and then called the salesmen back. I told him I’d found my guitar and he could put the rest up. The sound actually fit my voice. It had a clear pick guard and the wood matched my hair. I had my guitar.

That’s my history with McCord Music in Valley View Mall. Although I was in there at least a hundred times over the years. That Alvarez guitar sounds better today than it ever has. You can hear it at my show on Sunday.

Peace be with you.

Sears Store at VV

Sears Store at VV

[Read part one, part two, part three]  The Friday before the first Monday of senior year, I came back from an evening at Up Your Alley – still close to the coldest beer I’ve ever had – to find that our house was burning down.  The fireman saved a lot of our possessions. But with the fire starting in the garage and attic, it burned straight through my room next to the attic. What I was wearing was pretty much all I had left. By Monday, we were living in an apartment on Noel road near the mall. Our apartment was in the far back upstairs so we could see Alpha from the walkway.

We bought furniture for the apartment at Sears. Over the years, if it had to do with tools, yard equipment, or appliances, and furniture on occasion, we got them at Sears. When I stopped showing up at home to live “for just a little while” for the final, last time, I bought things at other places. But when Cyndy and I and the boys moved into this house eight years ago, we got appliances at Sears. Even after shopping around.

Ten years or so after we bought the furniture at Sears for the apartment, I worked at Sears as a “facilities engineer” in the morning before the sears-automotivestore opened. Besides being a cleanup person – there wasn’t a carpet I didn’t clean on the second floor facing the mall – I had two other part-time jobs. One I don’t really remember. The other was writing a music/entertainment column for the North Richland Hills News, which is long gone now.

Fast forward to last year when our youngest son, J.D., got a job at Sears while he was home from school for Christmas. We hadn’t been to the mall Sears for some time. Buying stuff while J.D. was working there brought back a lot of old memories. Which is a good thing considering its future.

Peace be with you.

buddy-at-tvWhen a dog or dogs bark on TV – or there are any animal sounds at all – Buddy heads to the television. Our son, Conner, rescued Buddy from his former “owner” who had him chained  on a short chain in the backyard. His food and water bowls had ants crawling all over them. Conner told them he was taking the puppy and brought him home.

Buddy was so thin you could see his bones through his skin. We held him and petted him and kept food and water available. Our older dog, Misty’s, mother instincts kicked in. Buddy grew quickly. As I said in an earlier post, he would run up the stairs and all around the house – just because he could.

Buddy still runs through the house when he comes in from the backyard. Partly to see who is in the house misty-and-buddyand partly – again, still – because he can. He still gets this look on his face that says, “this house is freaking cool!” Having Misty to play with is a bonus. At times it seems like he remembers before Conner brought him home. If we do a certain thing – we haven’t quite figured out what it is – he’ll snap at us. Not to hurt us, more as an automatic response.

Buddy does, however, have some odd habits. He will bark at his reflection, thinking it is another dog. Whether it is in the dryer door, the glass of the back door, or the television when it is off. But, as I said earlier, if he hears animal noises – dogs in particular – he runs in and starts barking at the television. He loves cartoons with animals. After he barks, he just stands there watching. If we bought her a small TV and set it on Animal Planet he would be in dog-heaven.

Peace be with you.

 

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