Category: Songwriting


This Friday, October 30, I will be doing a livestream at 5:30 p.m. CT on my YouTube channel and Facebook page. I will be playing songs, telling stories, and talking about the beer at Bitter Sisters Brewery. I will be displaying my virtual tip jar and all donations during the show will go to Bitter Sisters, unless otherwise noted.

You can buy beer from Bitter Sisters Mon.-Fri. 4-7 p.m, Sat. 2-7 p.m. and Sunday 2-6 p.m. So after my show, if the beers sound good to you, you still have time to get to the brewery to buy beer – depending on how far you live from Addison.

Or take a day trip on Saturday and pick up some beer for watching the moon Halloween night. Not only is it a blue moon, but it will be visible to the whole world for the first time since since World War II.  A Bitter Sisters beer would make it all that much more pleasant.

So tune in Friday evening, listen to some tunes and beer talk, and show your support for craft breweries, music venues, and family businesses.  #SaveOurStages  #SaveCraftBreweries

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark 

 

 

 

For those of you just tuning in, the World’s End Tour that I had to cancel earlier in the year was to begin and end at World’s End Brewing in Canon City, Colorado. I thought calling it the World’s End Tour was perfect during this bullshit (collectively, but feel free to pick up to two). Fortunately, Tom Martinez from World’s End Brewing sent me a text asking if I wanted to play in October – he was doing social distance shows.

I played on Saturday, the 10th, and the crowd, though small and changing through the evening, were appreciative and responsive to my show. I also had a virtual mini tour throughout the weekend from hotel rooms and a friend’s house. The mini tour ended on Monday night, the 12th, with Rob Case’s Virtual Open Mic benefiting Poor David’s Pub and the Kerrville Folk Festival.

The open mic – which started out good – is now a smooth running show made up of great songwriters. I include my appearance on the show as part of my tour, although I only play about fifteen minutes. Any exposure I can help give the open mic (please share by the way) is all that much better.

Live shows are slowly returning and will continue to do so (albeit slowly). However, if we don’t help the venues out, there may be a lot fewer places to play. Same with the craft breweries. Some places have already given up the fight.

I’m returning to World’s End Brewing on the 20th of November. In the meantime I’ll be playing livestream shows at venues and breweries in support of the #SaveOurStages and #SaveCraftBreweries movements. I don’t know if the second one is a real movement other than just Cyndy and I, but I want to do my part.

More on that later, but for the moment, plan to listen in and watch the open mic on Facebook – tonight and every Monday night. Don’t forget to donate what you can. Donations will be split between Poor David’s Pub and Kerrville Folk Festival. Tonight is the Halloween version with a costume contest and you don’t have to play to enter the contest. Message Rob on the open mic page for the Zoom info.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

916 Acklen Ave., in Nashville

[Read Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine]

Okay, so it was more a skirmish than a war, but it could have escalated into a war.

Most of the time we lived at 916 Acklen Ave. an older African American woman lived downstairs. Ms. Patricia, as we called her at her request, would sit on the top step of the front stairs and watch the world go by – at least the people on the street.

There was a gas station down on the corner that had acceptable greasy fried chicken and great potato wedges, if they cooked them enough. We’re talking actual wedges of a freaking potato, not the miniature things in the frozen food section or fast food places. And it was pretty cheap so it wasn’t unusual that we would frequent the place to avoid the “what should we have tonight” conundrum.

When we left to walk down to the gas station, Ms. Patricia would give us a couple of dollars and ask us to get her a quart of beer. She never accepted the change. From what we could ever ascertain, she preferred to be called Ms. Patricia because she hadn’t had a last name she liked or could relate herself to.

Then for some reason, Ms. Patricia moved out and Martin moved in. Sonja, our other roommate at the time, began dating Martin. As it turned out, Martin sold pot. Which at first was a good thing. When he got a shipment in, he would give us free product to help him break up the bricks into baggies. We didn’t think grass was all he was selling. Which made me nervous. However, having no frame of reference, we didn’t know to be wary and worried. (Did I say we were young and stupid?)

Turns out a neighborhood gang did not appreciate Martin – and us by extension – selling to their customers. Since we didn’t do any selling, or buying for that matter, we had no idea. Until one late afternoon when we were hanging around in our apartment upstairs. Assumably, Martin was downstairs.

Suddenly we heard the screech of tires. It sounded like someone was doing donuts in the street – which wasn’t too far off. Whoever was in the old Cadillac was making sure we all had time to get to the window with the rest of the neighborhood. One more reverse laying of tread in the street, then forward, a hard right, and then they rammed into the side of Martin’s car. It was the closest I’ve ever been to a gang war. But it wasn’t really a war because Martin wasn’t in a gang. It was more of a warning statement.

We decided we would just stay in for the rest of the night, staying clear of Martin. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t around too much longer after that. We went back to being harmless musicians and college students to the neighborhood.

_________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Tune in tonight and every Monday night for a stellar show of songwriters performing their songs. On Mondays they perform to benefit Poor David’s Pub and the Kerrville Folk Festival – two of Texas’ oldest continually operating venues. All venues across the country – and, indeed, the world – need assistance. We can only focus on local venues. Thankfully, due to Save Our Stages efforts and concerts, songwriters across the country are doing the same thing in their small way to save the venues.

So grab a cold beverage and maybe something to eat, then go to Rob Case’s Open Mic Facebook page at 7 p.m. Central time. Settle in and watch a line up of seasoned songwriters playing their songs. Tonight’s line up is in the picture to the right or above, depending on your device. I play at 10:15 – just sayin’.

And please, don’t forget to donate. The donations are split between the two venues and they could use your help. The donation links are also in the picture. Please be generous – let’s make sure when this crap is through we still have places to play.

____________________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

I didn’t play the cajon this time around so I took up less room.

I got  back yesterday from my Mini World’s End Tour this last weekend – the extended World’s End Tour was the tour I had to cancel earlier in the year and will hopefully schedule again next year. The mini tour consisted of four virtual events and one live, social distanced show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City, Colorado. Friday’s show had to be cancelled due to spotty reception. I thought I would start with an end of tour story first – for various reasons. The last show was the Poor David’s Pub/Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriters Showcase on Monday, donations during which are split between the two venues to support them in this difficult time we find ourselves in.

The show went very well for all of the songwriters. I was playing from my hotel room in Amarillo. You can find the show at Rob Case’s Open Mic – Poor David’s Pub Facebook page, as well as the donation links.

I woke up Tuesday morning and fixed coffee that was pretty passable for hotel coffee. I packed the stuff in the van and headed to Sam’s to get gas. After I got gas, I pulled into a parking space to place my order on the Whataburger app. There was a location not too far from Sam’s, but it was out of the way. I picked the location on I40 and Grand.

I ordered a biscuit sandwich with egg, extra bacon, and no cheese. I added an apple pie for later on the road. I picked the card I wanted to use to pay and tapped Checkout.

The next thing I saw on my phone was No Cheese not available at this location.

What else is there to say?

________________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

I’m getting ready to leave for the mini tour this weekend surrounding my first live show since March. Today I’ll play a half hour set on my YouTube channel from the hotel in Amarillo at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Tomorrow I’ll play a half hour show at 8:30 p.m. CT from my friend’s home in Colorado.

Saturday, I will be livestreaming the last set of my show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City, Colorado at 9 p.m. CT. The set includes a tribute to John Prine on his birthday.

Sunday, I will be playing another half hour set at my friend’s home at 8:30 p.m. CT. The half hour sets will include stories behind the songs. All shows before the open mic on Monday will be on my YouTube channel.

Monday night, I will be playing in the Poor David’s Pub/Kerrville Folk Festival online open mic on Rob Case’s Open Mic Facebook page or on my Facebook page from the hotel in Amarillo. It’s always an enjoyable show with a variety of good songwriters and is always a fun time. It you would like to play at a future open mic, contact Lynda Case. Donations during the open mic are split between Poor David’s Pub and the Kerrville Folk Festival to save the venues.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

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

 

_________________________________________________

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.)

________________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Paypal.me/danroark

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