Category: friends


916 Acklen Ave., in Nashville

[Read Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine]

Okay, so it was more a skirmish than a war, but it could have escalated into a war.

Most of the time we lived at 916 Acklen Ave. an older African American woman lived downstairs. Ms. Patricia, as we called her at her request, would sit on the top step of the front stairs and watch the world go by – at least the people on the street.

There was a gas station down on the corner that had acceptable greasy fried chicken and great potato wedges, if they cooked them enough. We’re talking actual wedges of a freaking potato, not the miniature things in the frozen food section or fast food places. And it was pretty cheap so it wasn’t unusual that we would frequent the place to avoid the “what should we have tonight” conundrum.

When we left to walk down to the gas station, Ms. Patricia would give us a couple of dollars and ask us to get her a quart of beer. She never accepted the change. From what we could ever ascertain, she preferred to be called Ms. Patricia because she hadn’t had a last name she liked or could relate herself to.

Then for some reason, Ms. Patricia moved out and Martin moved in. Sonja, our other roommate at the time, began dating Martin. As it turned out, Martin sold pot. Which at first was a good thing. When he got a shipment in, he would give us free product to help him break up the bricks into baggies. We didn’t think grass was all he was selling. Which made me nervous. However, having no frame of reference, we didn’t know to be wary and worried. (Did I say we were young and stupid?)

Turns out a neighborhood gang did not appreciate Martin – and us by extension – selling to their customers. Since we didn’t do any selling, or buying for that matter, we had no idea. Until one late afternoon when we were hanging around in our apartment upstairs. Assumably, Martin was downstairs.

Suddenly we heard the screech of tires. It sounded like someone was doing donuts in the street – which wasn’t too far off. Whoever was in the old Cadillac was making sure we all had time to get to the window with the rest of the neighborhood. One more reverse laying of tread in the street, then forward, a hard right, and then they rammed into the side of Martin’s car. It was the closest I’ve ever been to a gang war. But it wasn’t really a war because Martin wasn’t in a gang. It was more of a warning statement.

We decided we would just stay in for the rest of the night, staying clear of Martin. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t around too much longer after that. We went back to being harmless musicians and college students to the neighborhood.

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Tune in tonight and every Monday night for a stellar show of songwriters performing their songs. On Mondays they perform to benefit Poor David’s Pub and the Kerrville Folk Festival – two of Texas’ oldest continually operating venues. All venues across the country – and, indeed, the world – need assistance. We can only focus on local venues. Thankfully, due to Save Our Stages efforts and concerts, songwriters across the country are doing the same thing in their small way to save the venues.

So grab a cold beverage and maybe something to eat, then go to Rob Case’s Open Mic Facebook page at 7 p.m. Central time. Settle in and watch a line up of seasoned songwriters playing their songs. Tonight’s line up is in the picture to the right or above, depending on your device. I play at 10:15 – just sayin’.

And please, don’t forget to donate. The donations are split between the two venues and they could use your help. The donation links are also in the picture. Please be generous – let’s make sure when this crap is through we still have places to play.

____________________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

I’m getting ready to leave for the mini tour this weekend surrounding my first live show since March. Today I’ll play a half hour set on my YouTube channel from the hotel in Amarillo at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Tomorrow I’ll play a half hour show at 8:30 p.m. CT from my friend’s home in Colorado.

Saturday, I will be livestreaming the last set of my show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City, Colorado at 9 p.m. CT. The set includes a tribute to John Prine on his birthday.

Sunday, I will be playing another half hour set at my friend’s home at 8:30 p.m. CT. The half hour sets will include stories behind the songs. All shows before the open mic on Monday will be on my YouTube channel.

Monday night, I will be playing in the Poor David’s Pub/Kerrville Folk Festival online open mic on Rob Case’s Open Mic Facebook page or on my Facebook page from the hotel in Amarillo. It’s always an enjoyable show with a variety of good songwriters and is always a fun time. It you would like to play at a future open mic, contact Lynda Case. Donations during the open mic are split between Poor David’s Pub and the Kerrville Folk Festival to save the venues.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Southern Plains – Nashville Edition: Joel NIchols, Cat Waldeman, Dan Roark

[Part one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight]

This is a rare picture of the Nashville version of Southern Plains. It’s also a rare picture of me with a beard (it was short-lived). Cat Waldeman was a session musician and would help us get studio gigs occasionally, in between gigs and numerous jam sessions.

As I said in Nashville, part two, our core songs were Cold Wind Blows, River That Flows, and Can’t You See. Almost every show began with those three songs. I also talked about the three of us writing the music for Cold Wind Blows to Mostly Williams’ poem and I added some lyrics. Now you’ve got a picture (albeit blurry) to put to Cat’s name. Hopefully, I’ll run across a few more pictures that will be clearer.

In the meantime, here is a picture of the original Southern Plains.

Joel Nichols, Dan Roark, Bruce Gibson

 

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

Charles the Buck

[Previous post about the deer here.]

As I said earlier, when Cyndy and I left our friend, Sally’s, home in Colorado to return home the last few times, a deer – a buck as it were – was laying in Sally’s front yard watching us pack and leave. We’d like to think he was saying good-bye in some way, but who the hell knows?

Turns out he’s been hanging out in the yard more lately. Sally said he’d been there most of the day today. We figured if he was going to hang out at her house, we might as well name him. We have a friend named Charles Buck. And the deer is a buck. Hence, Charles the Buck.

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark 

 

 

 

[Read part one, two, three, four, five, six, seven]

My immediate concern following the robbery was to get another guitar – the sooner, the better. Fortunately, my parents’ homeowners insurance covered the loss, but not did not pay enough to replace my Martin.

I flew back to Dallas. The next day I was in McCord Music in Valley View Mall. They had sound-proof rooms in the back. I picked out about six guitars. Four were within the range of the insurance check, and two were in the “if I like one of these, maybe I can talk Dad into it” category.

I was apprehensive because I wanted a guitar then, but I wanted to get the right guitar. I don’t remember what kind the other guitars were. I picked up the first two, played them a bit, and put them back. Then I picked up the handmade bicentennial edition Alvarez. I loved the color because it matched my red hair. It had a clear pick guard which I loved. Then I began to play it. It sounded so sweet and when I sang it complimented my voice. It still does – and it really sounds good now with John Pearse strings. The only other set of strings the Alvarez has had on was whatever was on it when I bought it.

Obviously, I’ve never regretted my decision – or losing my Martin really.  I have three Alvarez guitars now. They’re all three great sounding guitars, although I still call that first Alvarez the “good” guitar. It’s the one I’ve got in the picture above. As you can hear when you listen to River That Flows that is out now from Southern Plains Revisited and other songs to come from that album, the Alvarez became an integral part of the Southern Plains sound.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.(

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Taken Labor Day evening.

Okay, so snow is not necessarily a mountain thing, although it is prevalent for six months out of the year. But the temperature dropping from 90 to 30 degrees in a few hours with snow beginning to fall, on Labor Day, as it did last week, is most certainly a mountain thing.

As is the deer wandering around town as if they own the place, because, well, they were there first. So when they graze in the front yard or wander through the yard next door to reach the cul de sac as they have for years, you just watch. It’s a cool thing to watch anyway.

Bears have been wandering through for a couple of months now. They only tolerate the humans because they’re nice enough – and stupid enough in some cases – to provide their trash. As well as forgetting to close the garage door with a full refrigerator and freezer inside. Making a note of the bonus location, the bear hit that particular house three times. Apparently, he really enjoyed the freezer full of shrimp he got the first time.  

It’s a morning routine for Sally, Cyndy, and I in Colorado. Drinking our coftfee and watching the street, front and side yards for grazing or passing deer. We’re beginning to recognize some of them. It’s also fun to be driving around town and see deer in a yard, a roadside grassy area, or any grassy or shady area really.

The previous trip to Sally’s.

There is a particular deer that we know well. Each time Cyndy and I leave to head back home – like we did last Saturday – he’s laying in Sally’s front yard telling us good-bye. 

The same deer last Saturday.

 

______________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

[Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six]

The rent on our upstairs apartment was $35 a month. I guess, with the house being in the neighborhood it was in, the owner just appreciated people who paid rent on time, took care of the place, and didn’t attract a lot of attention. That would change a bit, but that’s another story.

When any one of the four of us got paid, we would go to Spats in the West End for happy hour. Then we would pick up food and beer and head home. Joel and I – and anyone who happened by to jam – would play late into the night. When it neared three a.m. we’d head back to the store for more beer. Then the next time someone got paid, we’d do it again. But, with the exception of Spats, that was the routine on really any given evening. We worked at Deli Junction during the day.

One day we were running errands or somesuch. Joel was driving and I was drinking coffee in a styrofoam cup. We hit a bump and I held my cup up and didn’t spill a drop.

“I’m pretty good at that,” I boasted proudly.

Before too long, Joel stomped on the brakes. Of course I spilled coffee on my last clean shirt. And those were laundromat days. I was really pissed and couldn’t understand why he would do that just to be a smart ass. It didn’t take long for us to get past it, but I’ll never forget it. (I’m still pissed.)

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Paypal.me/danroark

916 Acklen Ave., in Nashville

[Read Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five]

Joel and I worked at a sandwich shop in Nashville called Deli Junction. We worked days so we could play or practice at night. One afternoon while we were working, Joel got a phone call. The look on his face told me something was seriously wrong. We couldn’t both leave. He said someone had broken into the apartment. He said he would let me know what had happened.

What had happened was that someone had broken in and stolen every music and sound device in the apartment. My Martin D35 guitar, cassette recorder, stereo, tv, radio, and so forth. Joel’s room was a small room to the left of the kitchen. His Martin D35 was still there in its case.

As we sat there in the den in silence that night, we figured it must have been somebody who knew Joel, so he didn’t take his guitar. As we talked, I thought about the tv against the wall under a blanket or rug – I don’t remember which.

“They probably just figured it didn’t work, so they left it,” I said. “Let’s try it to see if it works.”

We uncovered it, turned it on, and sure as shit it worked. We laughed and everyone looked at me.

“I didn’t watch Perry Mason for nothing!”

It took a while, but we replaced the stereo, the cassette recorder and so on.

Stay tuned for what I did about my guitar being stolen.

_________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

[Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4] The picture is of tuna fish salad Cyndy made. I can eat tuna fish and tuna fish salad now. I haven’t had the impulse to gag when I smelled it in years…

….In the upstairs apartment at 916 Acklen Ave. in Nashville, we took turns fixing meals when we ate int. On one occasion when it was my turn, I decided to fix tuna casserole. It was pretty freaking good as I recall – as long as I’m not smelling tuna while I think about it. It received compliments.

After dinner we went out for drinks. We we got back, we drank beer and watched tv, among other things. The casserole dish – meanwhile – had been pushed to the side of the table in the kitchen. It got covered up by other things. With all of us actually working at the same time, as well as practicing and playing shows, the dish was forgotten, for a while.

But, it happened to be particularly warm for the next few days. We began to notice a smell. I don’t remember how long we looked, but obviously we found it. Which is when everyone looked at me and said, “you cooked it, you clean it.” So I did, alternately holding my breath and gagging.

Finally, it was over and I was seriously sniffing dishwashing soap. I will not describe it for a couple of reasons. One is because I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone else. The second is because I don’t know if I could accurately describe it and not run to the bathroom. As it is, it will be a few hours before I can have any of the tuna fish salad.

____________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

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