Category: showcases


Sabor y Cultura

Last Saturday night I played at Sabor y Cultura cafe on Hollywood Blvd. in West Hollywood.

Before I continue with the open mic story, I need to give a little back story for the small world part of the title. My American flight arrived at LAX about 7:50 a.m. on Thursday morning. My son, Conner, and his girlfriend, Jimena, were stuck in traffic.

Rob King

So I retrieved my checked bag in the baggage claim area. The delay was a wreck which was still ahead of Conner. I went to the Starbucks just outside of the baggage claim area – the only place I could see outside of the vending machines by the bathrooms to get food. I bought a breakfast sandwich and a house dark roast. I watched everyone in the area while I waited for my order, and ate it at a small table – I’m a writer, it’s what I do. Conner and Jimena arrived a while later when I was out waiting by the curb.

 

Dan Roark

I arrived at the open mic early. I bought a tea and a snack. Before too long, Tonde R Colle arrived to set up for open mic, as did Morgan B. – she helped with the signup and announced the performers. When they got set up, the open mic began with one of Tonde’s recorded songs, and his welcome to the open mic.

Kendra Van De Graff

Rob King, who plays with Sweet Friday – a local LA band – was the first performer. His music had a latin/folk sort of vibe. He played three nice songs, ending with his song, Pieces.

A young man, Ray Goren, was next. He had a large pedalboard with pedals, some I’m not sure he used very often. It included a harmonizer and a looping pedal. Ray is a talented young man who also has a latin musical strain. But more in the crooner type category. His songs included Maybe I Don’t Need to Know and Can’t Help Myself.

Roger Gomez

Roger Gomez, who followed Goren, is from Australia – which you would not immediately guess. He is soft spoken and friendly. Roger has a distinctive voice and some interesting songs. One of which was She’s Always Landing on Her Feet.

I followed Roger. I played Hello Out There, Peace Be With You, and Wishy Washy World. Kendra Van De Graaff came up after me. She only had one original song and it was titled Date Me.

When Kendra was leaving, I caught up with her and asked her to write down her name so I could spell it right. After she wrote it down, she looked at me.

Rodney Porter and Tonde R Celle

“Actually, I saw you at the airport. I was next to you in line at Starbucks. I saw you get up to play, and I thought, no way.”

I said that was cool and thanked her again. I had thought I had seen her before, but I wasn’t sure. By the time she cleared the door, Tonde was ready to sing his set. He had his tracks for backup. After he sang his first song, Rodney Porter joined him. They sounded really good together. Their voices blended nicely. I don’t know what genre they would put their music in, but it sounded like good soul music to me – one way or the other.

After their set ended, the performers were invited to come up and do another song. I had to leave before my turn came around. If you’re in LA, drop by on Thursdays and Saturdays for open mic. If you’re not in LA, if you happen to go there, check out Sabor y Cultura and play a few songs. You could borrow a guitar if you don’t have it with you.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

John Mason

New Faces Tuesday at Love and War in Texas on November 7, hosted by Shaun Outen, and sponsored – with a live broadcast – by Texas Select Radio, began about 7:30 with John Mason. His set included the title song of his upcoming cd, Branches and Leaves. Mason also played I Wanna Know – asking why we call coffee “joe.” He switched guitars and ended with Lone Star State.

Cat McGee took the stage next, opening with Summertime. Following with A Place of Their Own, and Coda. Coda and Summertime

Cat McGee

are the first and last song, respectively, of Cat’s recently released EP, ironically called, Don’t Rush Me. McGee ended with Four Guns and a Mercedes.

Dan Roark played his song for those on the autism spectrum, Hello Out There, to begin his set. Peace Be With You – written about the police shootings at the protest in downtown Dallas in the summer of 2016 – came next. Then he played Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress before finishing with I Got My Ass

Dan Roark

Kicked in Nashville.

Dave Ross, touring with Madison Rising, announced that his was an impromptu set because he hadn’t planned on performing. He borrowed Dan Roark’s guitar and started with Stormy Monday. He followed with two of Bob Dylan’s songs and one of his own about his daughter when she was about two years old.

Host Shaun Outen closed out the evening’s music. Beginning with Wear My Ring, by Bart Crow, his set also included his own single from a couple of years ago, All I Saw Was a Flash. He concluded with Holding Her and Loving You, and the Willie Nelson tune, Me and Paul.

New Faces Tuesday is always a good time for music at Love and War in Texas in Plano. Come on at and have something to eat on the heated patio while you listen to the performers. Or bring your guitar or instrument of choice and get your time on stage.

More pictures will be on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Dan at a previous showcase.

Before we get to Raphael’s, we’ll get to the heads up. I headed up to Denton for the open mic at LSA Burger Co. I had called earlier to make sure they had it before I drove all the way up there. I scored a parking place in front. But my positive vibes were short-lived.

It turns out the “open mic” is booked through Dec. 4. Not only am I damned if I can figure out how an open mic can be booked that far in advance, but LSA has nothing about the open mic on it’s website or Facebook page. So there’s the heads up – moving on.

Since I was up that way anyway, I left my prime parking spot to the guy stopping traffic because he really, really wanted it, and drove out to Raphael’s Mexican Restaurant in Aubrey to play at the open mic. Which is hosted by Shaun Outen and is live on Texas Select Radio. It’s actually more of a showcase than an open mic.

They were getting started when I arrived. Kaleb McIntire was beginning his set. Fiddle player, Billy Western was

Kaleb McIntire and Billy Western

playing with him. Western has played with a variety of country performers as back up or studio musician. McIntire played a good set of varied country covers. From Merle Haggard to Waylon Jennings and so on. Mixed in were a few of his original songs. Follow the link for his music. I couldn’t understand what he was saying for the noise at the bar. But the songs sounded good – it was easier to understand the words of the song. Catch Kaleb and/or his band when you have a chance.

I took the stage and got ready to begin my set. This wasn’t my first time to play to a loud audience. I’d rather not mention how long ago that was. Suffice it to say, it didn’t surprise me.

If you know me and my music, you know that I have quiet, softer songs and then loud, often comedic, songs. When I play to a noisy crowd, I take it as a personal challenge to get them to pay attention. The finger picks stay in the pocket and it’s all systems go.

It started off a little rough. The Aardvark Song and John Prine song, Paradise, barely phased them. Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress got their attention. I had them with I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville.

So that’s my musical prescription for a loud crowd. Keep pounding and don’t give up. Just remember – you have the microphone.

Keep on 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.

You were not happy when you didn’t have shows booked for Friday and Saturday. But you thought it was a good thing when you came down with a cold because the weather was changing. You feel better Monday and feel like you can play. Whether it’s a gig or an open mic, you’re ready to get out and play. You order a glass of water with your beer – because you usually do and, well, you’re not stupid.

Then you get called to play before you’re ready. In the middle of your routine, as it were. You take your water with you. You tuned your guitar as soon as you knew you’d be playing. But it’s outside on the patio and you’re praying it stays in tune – which it usually does. But you keep checking to make sure.

You start the first song and your voice sounds better than you thought it would. Then about the third line you realize that moisture is escaping from your mouth in rapid fashion. Just before you hit the chorus, you feel a frog crawling up your throat. Well, not quite a frog really – more like one of those little frogs that used to be as prevalent in a backyard as fireflies, but you don’t see them much any more.

You turn your mouth away from the mic – hoping it’s quick and quiet – while still keeping the rhythm going. You recover in time to start the chorus – maybe a beat late. You finish the song with only a couple of incidents.

You keep drinking water. As each successive song goes by, you begin to think you’re going to pull it off. As the water begins to run out, you take a chance and push it a little, getting a little louder. You finish with another loud song. Fortunately, no one heard the coughs and gurgles.

The crowd enjoyed it and you leave the stage to get more water – hoping you didn’t do any damage to your vocal cords. The time I refer to was not too bad. Unfortunately, other times have not gone as well.

What is your “show must go on” story?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

Ben Martinec

Ben Martinec and Mandalyn Mack swapped songs to start New Faces Tuesday at Love

Mandalyn Mack

and War in Texas in Plano on September 26. The weekly showcase was live on TexasSelectRadio.com, the event’s sponsor. Shaun Outen hosts New Faces Tuesday.

Martinec was in a bluesy mood, mixed in with his signature, laid-back delivery and songwriting style with some handy guitar work. Mandalyn answered each time with a country song she had written. One of her most memorable songs is My Love Song to Beer – given the fact that she is only 16 years old.

John Morgan took the stage next and played a set of solid country cover songs. Dan Roark played after

Dan Roark

Morgan with his original songs, including Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress. Mr. Troll wrapped up the evening entertainment. He played

Mr. Troll

about four songs before the audience left. They didn’t leave because of Troll, because he played well. They had their carryout containers before he took the stage.

Come on out next Tuesday and join in the fun. There’s always a lot of good, original music mixed with some sing-along covers. The food is good, the staff is friendly, and the drink prices are reasonable. Songwriters interested in performing should message Shaun Outen on Facebook. The  show will be live on TexasSelectRadio.com and sponsored by Texas Select.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Peggy Houlihan

On September 24, the last day of the Oktoberfest celebration in McKinney, the square was awash with activity. From bounce houses and climbing walls, to the various stages, food booths, and miscellaneous vendors. People and families moved among the booths and activities.

But away from all the noise – up the stairs above Spoons Cafe – from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., songwriters were sharing their songs for a receptive audience and a good cause. Kevin Edwards, of Guitar Gallery on the Square – where the songwriters were playing – organizes the event each year. He gives music lessons during the week. This year the event was benefitting Warriors Keep, a charitable organization that aids veterans in the transition back to civilian life after active duty. The purpose was to create awareness for the young charity as much as to collect funds. Kayak McKinney and

Ken Maxwell

Cedar Creek Brewery also sponsored the event.

Originally planned for noon until 7, so many people responded that the jam was to begin at 11 a.m. But things can happen. And they did. But that’s to be expected and the music played on.

Ray White began the day’s performances followed by Jud Block. Peggy Houlihan preceded Ken Maxwell, Russ Lowry, and Stephanie Sammons. Dan Roark led the next batch of songwriters, followed by Jess Skelton, and trio, Wooden Nickel. Ben Shook, Sean & Faye, Larry Martin, and Samantha Beall wrapped up the performances. Kevin Edwards closed out the show.

Dan Roark

It was nearly eight hours of continuous performers and music. With a good number of original songs and healthy doses of sing-a-long cover songs in an intimate setting above the square. Follow the links to learn more about the performers, hear their music, and see other pictures from the event. Also find some more pictures 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.

Colleen Francis

The Dallas Songwriters Association 3rd Saturday showcase on September 16, was held in the lounge at Plano Super Bowl (PSB) due to a last minute change. Angela’s at the Crosswalk has been sold and the new owner cancelled all music indefinitely. Julie Holmer, one of the former owners, assisted DSA in finding a location because of the sudden announcement.

The showcase was from 9-11 p.m. – as opposed to 7:30 – 10 at Angela’s. League play at the bowling alley ends at 9 p.m. and open bowl begins. The sound system was set up so that the performers  were playing to the people in the lounge, but could be heard by customers walking into PSB and bowlers on that end of the building.

Colleen Francis opened the show at 9. With the casual bowling atmosphere, she played

Host Dan Roark

mostly originals, but threw in a few covers. The crowd in the lounge was fluid, mostly consisting of bowlers coming in from the bowling lanes and people waiting for a lane. While there was little applause at the end of songs, it was obvious people were listening and looking in to see who was playing. Colleen’s set included her songs, Wildflower, and crowd favorite, Better Than This.

Host Dan Roark followed Francis at 9:45. While people moved in and out of, and by, the bar, he played River That Flows and the Aardvark song among others. A small crowd of people were standing in the bar when Dan played Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters and I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville to finish his set. The security guard was seen tapping his foot and nodding his head.

Jeff Stachowski

Jeff Stachowski began to play about 10:20 for the final set of the evening. He began with his love trilogy: It’s Not Love, 99 Postcards, and Month of Mondays. He also played crowd favorites, 5 Miles of Smiles, and Little Green Men. Jeff also has a band called PROPELLER. Being a comedian in a former life, Stachowski mixes humor with his music.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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