Category: guitars


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

 

[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

 

 

 

V-Picks

It’s been a while since I’ve written about V-Picks. I’ve been using them for a good number of years. As I told Vinni – owner of V-Picks – a few years back:

“Since I can’t buy any more guitars and stay happily married, I began to collect capos, ending up with a collection of nice capos. I’ve been saving picks for years, but the material they were made of didn’t vary too much – mostly promotional picks. I had always used John Pearse picks which had the point offset so it fit my style perfectly. But it was still the old plastic medium pick, like the Fender tortoise shell pick everyone else used for years.

I began to see picks of different materials. Which was convenient so when I went to guitar and music trade shows, I could pick up different picks and Cyndy wouldn’t mind. But none of them produced a different tone on my guitar that was worth switching for fulltime. Some of the pick materials were not comfortable enough when playing. It was just an interesting collection.”

Then I tried V-Picks. Vinni Smith had a booth at a guitar show. I haven’t played anything else since. I never knew how much picks can change the tone of my guitars. I use different picks for certain songs. The Nashville pick on the bottom right is like a regular medium to heavy pick. V-Picks are acrylic picks. The heat from your hand sticks them to your fingers, making them easier to hold onto and almost impossible to drop.

V-Slide by V-Picks

Vinni, his wife, Nancy, and crew also make acrylic slides, among other things. Check out their products at V-Picks.com. Try their picks – you won’t be disappointed.

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

River That Flows is the first song I wrote about Cyndy, wife now, girlfriend then. Or rather, I was thinking about Cyndy when I wrote my half of the song. I was in college at NTSU (now UNT). Tim Duggins was my roommate. We met the year before at Richland Junior College (now Community College). On a Sunday, I think it was, we took our guitars and a 6-pack to the park.

We played the usual songs and practiced Sister Golden Hair by America. We had come to write a new song though. I don’t remember which one of us had the original idea. But after a lot of back and forth of ideas, moments of exhilaration and excitement, and when the 6-pack was gone, we had a song called River That Flows.

Southern Plains would be formed the next year. As I’ve said before, River That Flows was a staple of our set and it remains in my set list today. Joel Nichols and I added leads and flurries, but the song you hear now is the same song we wrote that day.

Unfortunately, Timothy James Duggins died of lung cancer a few years ago. I got in touch with him again

Tim Duggins on the left with his brother, Mike.

before he died. We were going to try to get together, but the last couple of years were tremendously hard on him. It was tough for him to get around.

Rest in Peace Tim!

 

 

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

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.

Dan Roark

The Poor David’s Pub open mic on Monday, October 23 was one of those magical musical nights when you should have been there.

Guest host, Dan Roark, welcomed everyone at 7:30. He played his set of upbeat tunes and the songwriting talent never slowed down. John Mason followed the host. His set, played on his newly acquired Taylor guitar, included the title song from his upcoming cd, Branches and Leaves.

John Mason

Harry Hewlett took the stage next with his west Texas country, including a song about the effects of drinking Everclear. Called, oddly enough, Everclear. Cat McGee, with her hypnotic voice, followed Harry with her music consisting of stories she tells so well through song.

Laurelle and 3ple were the first featured act. They began the Make It Change tour in New York and the two musical friends are traveling across the country to California and back. Based on the saying that you can do nothing or you can make it change. The two are doing what they can as they play in various cities. With tracks on computer, and 3ple  on guitar, Lourelle sings her soulful music with a positive spin. They played a delightful set of inspiring, toe-tapping, heart filling music.

3ple and Laurelle

Keith Crow played his homespun songs for the audience, which included members of his family. Tracy Allen followed with a set of nice cover songs. Monk played his introspective, stories and lessons from life, songs that leave you with no doubt about how he felt at the time. His set included What’d I Say and My Mom. Rob Case followed Monk and played songs from Last Call in Texas, such as Bayou City.

Joe Cat was the second featured artist. Joe hails from Athens, Georgia, where he works the first half of the month and tours the last half. He writes songs of the heartland and the working man. He just released his new cd, Preaching Drunk, which he is working on putting out in vinyl.

Joe Cat

On one of his previous visits to Poor David’s, Joe was caught up in the spirit of the occasion and said that the PDP open mic was the only one he played anymore. I published a post on the show and quoted him. “I have to be careful what I say in front of Dan,” he said last Monday, before he told the story. “A host of an open mic called me up and asked, “You don’t play open mics anymore.”” “I said, No, wait!” He went on to play a number of his earthy songs including two of my favorites, America’s Best and Silver Thread City. He played Red Hawk from Preachin’ Drunk, which includes Americas’s Best. Follow the link and check out his music.

Scott Thornton took the stage after Joe Cat. Scott played his music that seems to be stream of consciousness at times. His songs are spiritual observations of what is happening in the world. You certainly seem to be at peace listening to him.

Craig Langford closed out the evening with his country songs that take you to the places and times he sings about. With a distinct unique voice that adds to the effect. Check his music out for yourself.

In fact do yourself a favor and check everyone’s music out. And go out and support live music. More pictures will be on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart. Peace be with you.

Bill Hook

I went to play at Guitars and Growlers at the third installment of the every other Wednesday open mic, hosted by Bill Hook on October 11. Guitars and Growlers is – to quote the website – “an adventure of Rob and Amy Baker to bring craft beer and hand crafted instruments to the great folks of Richardson Texas.” There mission is to build a new way for people to see what is going on in world of guitar building while enjoying a great craft beer. And pretty damn good food I may add. Handmade guitars hang on one wall.

So quite naturally, they would have live music. And, of course, an open mic to showcase local songwriters. A number of local songwriters and performers were in attendance to play on this particular occasion. Bill Hook opened the show – as hosts are wont to do.

Cat McGee followed Bill. John Mason took the stage next. Alex Benavides followed

Cat McGee

Mason and preceded the inimitable Bill Nash. Riley Curnutt took the stage after Bill Nash. Riley is a fourteen year old songwriter and she performs her songs nicely.

David Christian followed Riley with his own take on cover songs. Richard Hunt, Dan Roark, and Baylis Laramore ended the list of performers with Bill Hook coming back to the stage to end the evening. Links are provided so you can check their music out for yourselves. Everyone performed well, receiving ample applause.

Come to the next open mic on Wednesday, October 25, have some good food and craft beer, and get on the list to play, or just listen. Guitars and Growlers is a good venue and it’s always a good time. More pictures will be posted on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark

Dan Roark and Ray White opened the show at Love and War in Texas New Faces Tuesday on September 19. Terry Strange

Ray White

started out as host while regular host, Shaun Outen, had a scheduling conflict.

Dan and Ray swapped songs for five original songs each. The pictures are from a previous New Faces. It’s difficult to take pictures of

Jerrett Zoch

yourself when you are playing on stage. White’s traditional country style was a fitting counterpoint to Roark’s Americana style. Ray played lead on a few of Dan’s songs, but they really jammed on Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters.

Terry Strange

Jerrett Zoch took the stage next for a set of originals and cover songs in his strong, forceful voice. Shaun arrived to take up hosting, and Terry Strange played a set of his red dirty country music to end the show.

Join Shaun Outen, Dan Roark, and other songwriters on Tuesday, September 26 for another installment of New Faces Tuesday. One thing you can be sure of – it’s good music and a good time. And it supposed to be cooler on Tuesday.

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.

 

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