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Category: Music


Back in September of last year, I had a week long tour to the east, ending in a show at Akademia Brewing Company with my friend, Joe Cat in Athens, Georgia. The day before our show, I had some time in Atlanta before my show that night. I couldn’t be in the land of Waffle House and not go by the Waffle House Museum where the first location stood. I also went by the Waffle House Headquarters which is a campus in every sense of the word.

Here is a video of my song, Waffle House (Is a Mighty Fortress), about the Waffle House Index.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

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[Read Part One] There was another time that I saw someone who became a celebrity at the Cellar. I could have seen others, but I was more focused on the girls at the time.

I woke up with rocks being thrown at my second floor bedroom window. My friends wanted me to sneak out and go with them. I don’t think they had anything in mind – just hanging out. I jumped out of the window. Then they decided they wanted to go to the Cellar – having never been there before. But, for reasons I don’t remember, I was not wearing any shoes. I didn’t know they were planning to go anywhere.

So we’re going into the Cellar and – surprise, surprise – I can’t get in barefooted. My friends were kind of pissed because they really wanted to go. But they couldn’t take it out on me, because they didn’t tell me we were going anywhere. We go back to the car, where we find some plastic wrap, a sack, and some other materials. I’m not exactly sure what all – I’ve slept since then. But my feet were wrapped in something resembling shoes. Undaunted, we walked back to the club.

It wouldn’t work today. Not only were they not shoes, we were underage. But the doorman just laughed with his buddy, shook his head, and waved us on in. We went and sat on the mats in front of the stage. The band came out and started to play. As I said in the previous post on the subject, the girls would come out and dance in front of the band on a stage that was actually four risers stuck together end to end. Like the ones you stood on in grade school to stand behind the tall kids in the class picture.

Then the red light would flash and the girls would scamper off stage as if the police had arrived and they needed to get dressed in a hurry. Which couldn’t have been hard – they didn’t take a lot off. The whole act would have been a lot more convincing if there hadn’t been an officer hanging out in the back talking to the bouncer.

I was drinking a Tom Collins – yea, yea, I know. I can’t stand either ingredient now. But I was underaged and it was a common drink at the time. I was watching the band. There was a kid about my age playing guitar. I was jealous that he was playing with a band. I wondered what it was like to play in strip club underage. Then after a while we left and went home.

But I would hear the guitar player again. It was Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

When I was finished setting up at Gilmer Brewing Company, I went to the men’s room. I’m used to seeing my poster in the bathroom. I’m not used to seeing them marked up. But I got such a kick out of it that I took it with me at the end of the evening.

I’m thinking about asking all the venues to specifically put a poster in the bathroom. It would be interesting to see what people come up with. But I have to be prepared for the not so funny comments.

What the hell. You’ve got to have something to look forward to, right?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Last Saturday I had the good fortune to play at Gilmer Brewing Company in – you guessed it – Gilmer, Texas. It’s located on the town square, which is always a nice touch. And, after dealing with metroplex driving all the time, a drive in East Texas is rather pleasant.

My son, Cameron, and I arrived at the brewery about 6 p.m. I was to play from 7-9. Owners, Ruth and Drew Emory, were welcoming and gracious. We set up the sound and were ready in plenty of time. Then it was time to get a beer. Kyleen Hunter and Matt Collier were helpful with that.

I tried the Peacemaker – a 6.2% Pilsner, and Buckeye – a 6.0% blonde lager. The NE IPA, “Pritchett Fog”, Shrapnel IPA, and the Big Woods stout all looked really inviting, but we still had to drive back to Dallas. Maybe next time…

The Saturday crowd at the Gilmer Brewing Company is a friendly, charming, and accepting bunch. Which is why I like to play breweries. It was a small but enthusiastic crowd as they say. They clapped, laughed, and even danced at one point (albeit slowly). And they were appreciative, I must say.

I certainly hope to return to Gilmer – town and brewery – but in the meantime, if you happen to be driving out 20 headed east: turn left just past Tyler and take a side trip to Gilmer and visit the brewery. You will be wholly welcomed and the brewery food is the perfect compliment to their five beers. Tell ’em I said hi!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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