Category: Recording


Genaro Sendejas

Genaro Sendejas

The second week of the Reach for the Stars competition at Harbor Point on Friday began with Little Anthony introducing Deano Isaac, winner of week one. He sang a couple of Frank Sinatra songs, and a song that Elvis Presley covered. James Idley began the week’s competition with a few R&B tunes. My fellow judges were Lonny Schonfeld, Pete Cormican, and Gus Garza. [Read on if you would like to play as a fill-in or compete.]

Darby Martin played next. As he did when he played the week before when he came in second, he played an original song. For his third song, he put his guitar down and sang to a track. Isaac came back up and sang a couple more songs in a fill-in performance. Then Jack King – the Magic Guy with the Bow Tie – performed a few magic tricks, also as a fill-in performer.

The competition continued with Rachel Schriver, who also sang the week before. She seemed to have more

James Idley

James Idley

confidence this week and did well. She is also a veteran, for which she received applause and support. Genaro Sendejas followed with three good original songs, accompanying himself on guitar. David Marcus followed Sendejas. Marcus has a very good voice that is reminiscent of Frankie Valle and singers of that era.

LTD is a man and woman duo. I tried to get their names, but was told just to put LTD. They sang a couple of songs, including a Doobie Brothers tune, before she sang the last song alone. Cheryl McGuire came on next as a fill-in performer. She sang a few of the songs she sings at her nursing home shows.

David Marcus

David Marcus

A guy named Dan Roark closed the show with of few of his songs before the winners were announced. Genaro Sendejas came in first and will open the show next week. James Idley and David Marcus came in second and third, respectively.

Come join us at Harbor Point next Friday at 8 p.m. to hear Genaro and see what the evening brings. If you would like to play as a fill-in or compete, call Anthony at    214-660-4799 (no texts). Good food, reasonable drinks, and friendly staff. And a lot of good music. See more pictures on my FB music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Dan during video shoot

The week before we filmed footage for the What the Lord Intends (Sack Summer Hunger) music video, I kept practicing the song. I had already been playing it frequently in support of the program. But since we were going to film me playing the song, I wanted to be able to do it in as few takes as possible.

On Friday night, I played it numerous times. Then I got up Saturday and played the song to warm up. I arrived at the church at 8 a.m. I set up my camera and filmed myself playing the song a couple of times. Marcus Belmore arrived and began getting footage of the volunteers, including me, sorting and delivering the food to the families whose children received free or reduced lunches during the school year, but nothing during the summer.

I don’t know about other songwriters, but when I write a new song that I really like, I have a hard time getting it out of my head. And since I was playing it in support of the program during the summer, What the Lord Intends was really stuck in my head. I played it a couple of times after I got home from the church.

After a nap and dinner, I later decided to play the song again. I fingerpick on the song and couldn’t play the opening licks for the likes of me. My fingers just wouldn’t work together in the syncopated way they normally would. It was comically frustrating, if you catch my drift.

The lack of dexterity actually concerned me for a moment – even though it was only on that song. Working at the computer a lot of the time, I’m used to carpal tunnel type symptoms. I exercise my hands frequently. Playing guitar helps to stretch the fingers. Except in this case when the two worlds collided, so to speak.

Are there any lessons to be learned? Never play guitar after a nap and dinner? I don’t think so. Never film a video at a church on Saturday morning? Again, no. Don’t play the same song one more time, being tired, without playing other songs? That’s closer.

Anyone had this, or something similar, happen to them? Any other lessons to be learned? I laugh about it now, but it was scary for a while, not having the fingers work on a song.

Peace be with you.

jbl-harman-truckI’m on the home stretch – catching up-wise. On September 28, I had the good fortune to play one of my songs for a video in the EON ONE Take – One Song One Take contest from JBL Professional and Harman. I had been picked from a large number of people to receive a slot. I arrived at the Harman truck in the Guitar Center parking lot in Farmers Branch before my required time. I signed the required form and waited my turn.

J.T. – I’m pretty sure that was his name – had me tune and set up, then do a sound check. When the red line came on, I played my newest song at the time – Peace Be With You, which I wrote about the strange year we’re having and the shooting during the protest in downtown Dallas. [A live version will be available soon.] J.T. seemed to like the song. I’m sure he has to be careful lest someone misunderstand. He explained how the contest would go from there.

The tour around the country concludes about the end of October. Voting will take place the first couple of weeks in November and the top ten finalists will be picked and notified. I’m not sure how the grand prize winner will be picked from the finalists, but the grand prize is a trip to LA to record the song at a noted studio.                                                                                                                                                              akg-d5

As I thanked J.T. and left, he handed me an AKG D5 microphone for recording the video and entering the contest. I used the microphone when I hosted the Monday open mic at Angela’s at the Crosswalk a week ago Monday and the mic performed beautifully. A very clear sounding mic without any of the annoying whine or scream on the high end. At $99, it’s a great deal.

Hopefully, I’ll be asking for your help to do whatever I have to do should I be chosen as a finalist. But I’m not holding my breath.

Peace be with you.

West Texas Mammoths 1In a previous open mic tales post, I talked about the two guitarists of West Texas Mammoths. David Kapsner and Michael Jekot played an acoustic set that night. Michael sat in with me on my song, Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters. Monday night I had the pleasure – as did all those in attendance at the Poor David’s Pub open mic, hosted by Mr. Troll, to see the whole band play. There was a decent crowd, there for both the band and the open mic.

The duo played a very good acoustic set the previous time. The full band played a fantastic set equally as impressive as the acoustic show, but on a different level. That level was set by the punch and drive of Tyler Rosa on bass and Joseph Noga on drums. The set began with Backwoods, and One More Beer, from their three song EP. And every band needs a beer song. Red Dress, and Moth to Flame, preceded Wasted Days, the third song from the EP. So Cold came next.

Pistol Point was the next to last song, but was easily the best song of the set. All of WTM’s songs are steady West Texas Mammoths 2driving songs with the nicely timed leads of Michael Jekot. Kapsner kept the rhythm in his own right as his vocals blended seamlessly into the songs. But, in Pistol Point, they pulled out all the stops. The band whipped into jam mode, with the two guitarists playing duel leads reminiscent of the Allman Brothers. Queen of Diamonds nicely wrapped up the set.

It is refreshing to hear a young rock band that is more into playing good music than outer trappings and a spastic stage show. They took control with the first song and never let go, with one song driving into the next. You have a chance to hear them for yourselves. They are playing at Trees tomorrow night with Bart Crow, Madison King, and Marcus Woolverton. Don’t miss the chance for a really good show.

Peace be with you.

Space Gringos 2The first open mic tales post of the new year is about the featured artist at the last open mic at Poor David’s Pub – hosted by Mr. Troll – of 2015. The featured artist was Space Gringos. Troll wrote a post about them being the featured artist, but their music is not online – yet, read on. So I had no idea what to expect.

Troll kicked off the open mic, as usual. Three other songwriters played their songs. Then Space Gringos set up on stage. The serious electronic drum set that Tim Moffet was setting up made me wonder what type of music we were about to hear. Then his brother, Dan, set up their personal monitors and broke out his AX-Synth Synthesizer and looper which took my thoughts of what we were about to hear in a totally new direction.                                                                                                                          Space Gringos

When they kicked off their set, there was a familiarity with some of their music I couldn’t place. Then either Tin Man Travis or Troll said the synthesizer reminded him of Edgar Winter. Which explained the familiarity I felt. Except that the keyboard, then synthesizer, that Winter first played was much bigger and bulkier than the sleek AX-Synth.

Space Gringos is an apt name. With the driving beat of Tim’s drums, and Dan’s synthesizer and looping finesse, the result is full sounding in-your-face rock –  with a liberal dose of otherworldly quality reminiscent of not only Edgar Winter, but some of David Bowie’s work. Which you will be able to hear soon – I told you to read on – their album will be on CD Baby soon. In the meantime, you can find them on Facebook and Bandmix. Be sure to catch their show when you can.

Peace be with you.

Roy Elkins 1Roy Elkins, CEO of Broadjam.com, has been Master of Ceremonies for the Dallas Songwriters Association Song Contest Award Ceremony for several years now. This year, he offered to come a day early and give a Your Music and Your Business workshop – at no cost. With the awards ceremony/Christmas party always on the second Tuesday of December, which would be our regular meeting night, we decided on Monday for the workshp.

DSA President Michael Brandenberger has known Tommy Roberts for many years. Tommy Roberts is co-owner of Tone Shop Guitars, north of Beltline on Midway, in Addison. Michael asked Tommy if we could have the workshop in their very large showroom. It is a very nice store. Tommy said they would be happy to have us. I met with him and we went over details.

The day of the workshop, we had 26 rsvps. We were shooting for 30 people. I brought 32 chairs. The Attendees workshop was to begin at 6 p.m. I arrived at 5 p.m. and one person was already there. Since it was a guitar shop, the early arrivals had something to do – which was one of the reasons Tommy was eager to have us.

Since a few people had not arrived by 6, we started a little late. Several people arrived during the presentation. The final tally was 28, with two no-shows of the original rsvps. At such a busy time of year, with traffic like it was, we had a great turnout.

Roy gave a very entertaining and informative presentation. He talked about starting Broadjam because he wanted to help songwriters. The used Broadjam, as well as his experience in the music business to illustrate his points. Roy discussed what, and how, to prepare for a pitch. He described good and bad music or song pitches.

Roy Elkins 2Elkins showed the crowd a written pitch that he had actually been given by a member of a band. The writer was apparently inviting Roy to see them at a show. He went on to basically say that the drummer sucked, but they were still going to use him just for the night. He made some more excuses – with bad punctuation and grammar. He ended by saying “you can find our music on soundcloud, sonicbidz, and revernation.”

Roy talked about how ridiculous the mistakes were. The punctuation and grammar mistakes were obvious. Have good material for them to hear. If it’s good, there’s no need to make excuses. Stand behind your work. And if you want someone to listen to your music, you don’t tell them they can find your music on their competitors website.

“It happens more than you think. I talk to those guys all the time (representatives from the three companies mentioned above) when we’re on panels together,” Elkins said, “and we always laugh about it.”

It was a great workshop. Stay tuned for posts with advice culled from the recent meetings and workshops and experience. You will also read a bit more about Roy in a post about the song contest award ceremony. In the meantime, however, if you are a songwriter, join Broadjam, fill out your profile, and check it out. As with most online music sites, there is a free level. But there is quite a bit you can do, with extras at a la carte expense (which is reasonable). You can have your song reviewed by professional songwriters. And much more.

Peace be with you.

Carlos and Dan Monday, November 30th, at Poor David’s Pub, was not only the regular open mic, but a birthday party for the sound man, Carlos Sanchez. Even though his birthday was actually on Sunday. Open mic started a little late, giving some of the band members time to get there and set up. There was to be a featured artist, Daze of the Moon at 8:30, with Carlos and the Ghoulies playing at 9.

The open mic started about 8 – rather than the customary 7:30 – with the host, Mr. Troll. He played two songs, one of which was Cry. It is my favorite of Troll’s songs. Cyndy made a point of telling Troll how much she liked the song – not knowing it was my favorite.

Troll then introduced PDP owner, David Card,

David Card

David Card

who played a song for Carlos. He had just finished the song a couple of hours earlier. It was a humorous, as well as touching, tribute to Carlos. Craig Langford played next. Craig is a good songwriter with a unique voice. Follow the link to hear his music or check out his music on iTunes.

I followed Craig. Before I played my two songs, I ask Carlos up to the stage. As Showcase Director for the Dallas Songwriters Association, I presented Carlos with the inaugural DSA Sound Man of the Year Trophy for his sound work on the DSA quarterly showcase/fundraisers and his work in general. Carlos recorded the shows and gave them to us on cds. He is easily one of the best sound men in Dallas.
Dan Roark 1
One of the songs I played was a new song I wrote with Carlos in mind, called the Sound Man. When Daze of the Moon finally came on they played a tight, rocking set. They call their music alternative rock, but it simply sounded like rock and roll to me. And that’s a good thing. Carlos and the Ghoulies jammed the house down, with open mic continuing after they left the stage.

It was a great night of music to celebrate Carlos Sanchez’s birthday. And his sound work. Congratulations to Carlos – DSA Sound Man of the Year!

Peace be with you.

West Texas Mammoths

West Texas Mammoths

Open Mic Tales will be a regular feature since the stories keep turning up. If I run out of stories – which is highly unlikely – there are open mic hosts and performers that could fill in the gaps. There is a lot of good music being played at open mics in the Dallas area. With many interesting stories of those who were passing through and showed up at an open mic. It is my intent to feature some of the better singer/songwriters as well as to share some of those interesting stories.

The first featured act is the West Texas Mammoths. To be truthful, only two of the band members were playing at Poor David’s Pub open mic with Mr. Troll: David Kapsner, and Michael Jekot. David is the lead singer and guitarist and Michael is the lead guitar player. I’m looking forward to seeing the entire band play live. The other members are Tyler Rush, on bass, and Joseph Noga on drums. They say their music is a unique flavor of blues inspired rock and roll with a southern twist. And that’s pretty much “on the money,” as it were.

With just David and Michael playing, it was simply good acoustic music. Mike was playing lead (and playing it well) on a dobro. They reminded me of myself and Joel Nichols in Southern Plains before Joel passed away in 1999. When I played my set, I asked Mike to come up and play lead. As it happened, I had decided to bring my dobro that night, so it was dueling dobros on my song, Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters. It took me back to when I was playing with Joel.

So check out the West Texas Mammoths when you have a chance. They are playing at Three Links in Deep Ellum on December 19. Or you can check them out on their website or on Reverbnation, Facebook, or Twitter. Tell Mike and David, Dan said hi.

Peace be with you.

Tone Shop In case you don’t know, there is a new guitar shop on Midway, just north of Beltline, in Addison – Tone Shop Guitars. Co-owners Tommy Roberts, Grant Sheffield and staff will be happy to show you around. They have one of the few Taylor rooms in the country. For the uninitiated, they have a partnership with Taylor and have a room dedicated to Tayor guitars.

Tone Shop also has an extensive line of Martin guitars in a separate room with other guitars. Then there is the amp room. And the wall of electric guitars, as well as other guitars and basses hung around the showroom. You can see the layout in the pictures. They also have vinyl records.
Tone Shop 2
Having only been open a little over six months, their concentration is on guitars, basses, and amps. The accessories and sound equipment “departments” are works in progress. It is safe to say that they are, literally, just getting started. Tommy refers to it as a “Mom and Pop” operation (although I think “Pop and Pop” would be closer to the truth). Regardless, they are locally owned and operated. Which is a plus in several ways, one of which is the personalized service from a neighbor, who listens to what you’re saying and pays attention to what you need. The Dallas Songwriters Association will be working with the Tone Shop on a special event or two, beginning with a workshop.
Tone Shop 4
So drop in and see Tommy and Grant. Play a few guitars – there is sure to be one, or several, that you like. Test out an amp or two. Pick up strings, replace your humidifier or pouches, and buy that accessory you’ve been considering. Tell them I said “hi.” And follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Peace be with you.

IMG_1710[Re-post from DSA blog] Larry Beaird presented his “Arranging the Hit” songwriting workshop on Saturday, October 24 at the Kitchen Café. The workshop was held from noon – 4 p.m. The start was delayed for several minutes – through no fault of Larry’s. The restaurant offered a limited lunch menu for the workshop attendees. Quite a few people took advantage of the lunch offerings. The waitress, Maria, took care of business well, while taking care not to disturb the workshop.

When he began his presentation, he introduced himself while passing out entry forms for a drawing to win a $625 demo session at his Beaird Music Group recording studio in Nashville. He charted the number one country songs for the past two years. He used standards such as the Nashville number system, and the length of time between certain components of each song, as well as the structure of those components.

It was apparent at times, from the questions, that some of the songwriters in the room were concerned about their songs. Beaird was careful to point out several times that he was just talking about songs that had reached number one on the charts.

“Write your songs for you. I’m not telling you how to write your songs. I’m just talking about number one hits. There are aIMG_1711 lot of good songs out there. They just don’t make number one for whatever reason.”

I hesitate to give too much away out of respect to Larry and those in attendance. But I will let you in on a couple of key points. Every line of a song should point to the title. And the title should be in the last line of the chorus and the last line of the song.

Larry Beaird and DSA President, Michael Brandenberger

Larry Beaird and DSA President, Michael Brandenberger

Beaird spent the last hour of the workshop critiquing the songs that he had received beforehand. After locating the songwriter, he played the song, after which everyone applauded. Larry then critiqued the song, while also telling the songwriter what he liked. He made suggestions as to what they could do to improve the song. His suggestions were very good and well received.

The workshop went past 4 p.m. with people excited about the subject of songwriting. Question after question was asked. And answered fully by Larry. An enjoyable, successful day was had by everyone in attendance, with good food, good conversation, and an informative songwriting workshop. The workshop participants and DSA want to thank Larry for coming to Dallas to present his workshop for us. We will announce the winner of the drawing for the demo session when Larry lets us know.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

%d bloggers like this: