Category: Recording


My wife, Cyndy, came home from volunteering at the local market. She looked at me and said, “You have to write a song called Goat Yoga and a Stolen Kubota.” I said, “let’s do it!,” because it was weird enough for me. She told me the story, I whipped out my poetic license and went to work. After days of letting the song germinate in my brain, it finally blossomed into a complete song. Enjoy the first song Cyndy and I have ever written together.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

Good question, thank you for asking. More waiting, I’m afraid. Waiting for the single to be released. Waiting for the time when live music becomes common again. I’m in no hurry if health is at issue.

The reason I am in no hurry is the positive news. The single will be released. I can still play live, as it were. I played my first livestream last Friday that went well until Conner’s camera died. We did get a chance to record a few videos. Waiting does not imply sitting around doing nothing. I have to admit though, that I had a few weeks of not being able to finish a thought at the beginning of this madness.

To answer the question however, quite a bit lies ahead. I’ll be releasing a video this weekend. There will be livestreams to come starting next week – I’m working on the schedule and material now. I play in the Poor David’s Pub Virtual Open Mic hosted by Rob Case every Monday. Check it out at 7 p.m. CT.

More singles will be released, but not on my schedule. The release of the Southern Plains Revisited album has also been moved back along with everything else. Hopefully by September.

So keep an eye out for my new video this weekend. And my next livestream coming very shortly.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

I don’t mean I’m on the road, but I wish I was. I was supposed to start my tour the first of the month. The first half is shot to hell, and I’m not all that optimistic about the last half. And I’m just one of many.  When I say on the road, I mean by myself in my van.

When this all began, I immediately began getting emails about how I, too, could teach music at home online. If I had an inclination to teach music online, I would already be doing it. And where would all the students come from? It’s been said that there is an increase of online learning, but that is across all subjects. The total would also have to include all of those at colleges, high schools, and lower grades who weren’t learning completely online before.

Then they said to take this time to sell more merchandise (I’m a writer – I refuse to call it “merch” – more than just that once). Merchandise didn’t fly out the door before, even for performers with a much larger fan base than mine. Besides, some of those who might buy some stuff are out of a job and on unemployment.

Then there’s the streaming thing. Everyone and his uncle are doing Facebook Live, videos on Instagram, Zoom concerts, and so forth. I don’t have the time to see all the “live shows” because I’m too busy doing other things. So why would I expect a lot of people to be able to watch my “live shows”?

Then they said to release new material. Well that I can do. I was about to release my EP, Southern Plains Revisited, right before my tour began. Joel Nichols, Bruce Gibson, and myself, were Southern Plains. When the gig paid enough, we had bass and drums. Joel and I were a duo for most of the nearly twenty-five years of Southern Plains. With all the extra time currently available, I was able to digitize some of the cassettes and tapes from those days and now have enough material for a full cd rather than just the EP of our last recording session before Joel died. Possibly enough material for future releases. I’ll be releasing music from that project shortly.

My, son, Conner, and I put the finishing touches on the L.A. Sessions cd while in quarantine in Iowa a couple of weeks ago. It includes the remastered songs from my Hello Out There cd in addition to the rest of the songs from that session. It will be released later this year. We also laid down the basic tracks for another cd. Look for new songs throughout the next year. All songs and cds are on the Refrigerator Records label.

While I feel that the streaming game is not for me, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to play for you. When I get my home studio back up to speed, I plan to start a podcast so you can hear it anytime while you’re doing other things. I will also be releasing songs and videos along the way.

Come along for the journey. It’ll be fun!

Oh, and if you like what you read or enjoy what I do, please let me know – paypal.me/danroark.

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.

Dweezil Zappa and Ryan Brown

I had been waiting for Dweezil Zappa to play at House of Blues since November. Which was when Dweezil’s drummer, Ryan Brown, played on my songs when I recorded in LA in November with my son, Conner, producing.

Not so incidentally, the first of two five song EPs that we recorded will be released within the next few weeks – Hello Out There. Ryan did a great job on my songs, as did Lou Castro, L.A. session bassist, and I was looking forward to seeing him play the massive drum set he plays with Dweezil.

I, and the rest of those in the audience, were not disappointed. It was an excellent show. And Ryan was impressive on the drums, as the other performers were on their respective instruments. The songs they played of Frank’s I recognized. But all songs were played exceptionally well. It was a kickass show.

When I walked into the room before the show, I was getting ready to send Ryan a message to let him know I was there. Before I had a chance to get my phone out, I looked up and there he was with his friend, Collin, who had also come to see the show. We talked for a few minutes before Ryan had to go get ready. He was going to come out when the show was over. But when they played a two song encore, it was getting late and I didn’t want to hang around until the after show backstage activities were over. I sent him a message telling him the show was excellent and I’d see him later.

On my way back to my car – as I do every time I’m down there – I remembered that HOB is in the old White Swan building. When I was working at Famous Ramos Hot Dog Place that was in mall food courts in the early 80’s, when the stores needed more pretzels, I would drive down to the basement dock at the White Swan building and get as many boxes as my car would carry. Famous Ramos, and other companies, paid them for freezer space. That was when the only thing in what would become the West End was the Old Spaghetti Warehouse.

Things change. But sometimes it’s kind of nice to remember what it was like then. I know the memories floating around in the ether would appreciate it.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

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.

 

 

In less than a week I’ll be in North Hollywood. I have eight shows in ten days, while recording during the day on six of those days. I have the good fortune to have noted LA bassist, Lou Castro, playing on my cd. Not to mention Ryan Brown, Dweezil Zappa’s drummer. Then there is Jimena Fosado, one of the hottest young guitarists in LA. With my son, Conner as engineer and producer. Conner also owns Refrigerator Records.

As if that wasn’t enough, I play at Rumi Cafe on Thursday and Friday. Then Tribal Cafe on Sunday and Ireland’s 32 on Monday. The Cork Lounge on Tuesday, then Guitar Merchant on Wednesday. Back at Rumi on Thursday and Friday. The Saturdays are in the works.

If you would like pre-order the cd, Hello Out There, you can do so on the store page of my website. Buying anything else in my store would also help with expenses.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Last night I went to Bedford for the Movie Tavern micro music festival. Dillon Moses was the host. They also have a micro music festival at the Movie Tavern in Denton on Thursday. With every performer playing four to six songs, and a relaxed atmosphere, it really was more like a micro music festival.

I seemed to be the only one who wasn’t from the “neighborhood.” There’s some good, young, local talent in the area judging from what I saw and heard.  We entertained the crowd having a few drinks before their showing of Thor came around.

I usually have a standing appointment on Thursday nights. It was called off for this week, so I headed to Bedford. With a recording session in LA coming up next week, I figure I can’t practice too much and there is no better way of doing it than playing an open mic, micro music festival, showcase, or the like. My plan is to play tonight at Mex-Go on Central in Allen. Then the LSA Burger Co. open mic in Denton on Monday, New Faces Tuesday at Love and War in Texas, Plano in the heated patio, and Songwriters Night at Guitars and Growlers in Richardson on Wednesday.

Then home to get ready for an early morning flight on Thursday that will begin ten days in LA. Which will include eight shows – a mixture of open mics and showcases – with an eye for setting up shows for a future trip. It will also include six days in the studio – an entire post in itself.

So come on out and join me at any of the places I’m playing through Wednesday. Come to listen or play. They’ve all got good food and drinks.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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