Category: Songwriting


(Read the first part of the Southern Plains story here. Along with what the cover of the album was supposed to be like if the distributors had let me use the cover I wanted.)

The next time Joel, Bruce, and I got together – with guitars and beer – we each played songs we’d written. We enjoyed each other’s songs, re-playing some so the other two could harmonize. We were excited about what we were hearing. I hadn’t had anyone singing along with me on my songs and I was blown away.

Joel returned to school in Nashville, Tennessee at Scarritt College, which is now the Scarritt Bennett Center. He came back to Dallas over the summer and we played gigs before and after Joel’s summer courses in Nashville, including a show at a party in Slidell, Lousiana. Joel then decided, after three and a half years, that he would forego returning to school to play gigs. I paused my own schooling to move to Nashville with Joel so he would finish his last semester (and play gigs) and live with his other two roommates on the second floor of an old house.

The painting pictured above is a painting of a picture of mine and Joel’s guitars crossed. More to come!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Since live shows are not possible at the moment, the single release party for River That Flows will be the Poor David’s Pub/Kerrville Folk Festival open mic hosted by Rob Case, Monday night, August 10, on Facebook from 7 – 10:30 p.m. I will play about 8:15 p.m. The open mic will be on the Rob Case Open Mic Page. I will be sharing the show on my Facebook pages, personal and music.

River That Flows is the first single from the coming album, Southern Plains Revisited. It is a reissue of the last recording Joel Nichols and I did as Southern Plains before he died in 1999, plus a couple of songs I recorded but didn’t use on my Chasing After Wind Cd.

Tomorrow’s post will tell the story of Southern Plains and the last recording in the 90’s.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

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

So I left Colorado on Friday morning – a beautiful day. The traffic was still rather light, but had picked up a little each day. It was a nice day for a drive. A damn long drive, but there you are. The weather warmed up, the air was clear, and the clouds were seemingly drifting through space and time. 

Radio reception cut out on the drive through New Mexico. I listened to the latest mix Conner sent me of the songs for the LA Session cd to be released later this year on Refrigerator Records. The songs sounded so good I was tempted to release it earlier, but everything in its own time. It is good traveling music.

The timing worked out perfect. Radio reception kicked back in when I finished listening to the mixes. A couple of hours later I was past Amarillo. Weather warnings began to interrupt the radio show. Rain, ping pong ball size hail, and sixty mile an hour winds were attacking the panhandle behind me. I was appreciating the fact that I had dodged that particular bullet. 

I appreciated that fact all the way to Hwy 380. The wind had picked up considerably by that time. Then I hit a little light rain. No big deal. I called Cameron to see if he was at his apartment in Denton. I was going to stop off, say hi, and use the bathroom. But soon after we hung up, the bottom dropped out. God’s way of telling me he didn’t appreciate my over confidence. 

On 35, visibility was reduced to having to turn on the flashers to warn those behind us. I worried about those whose common sense seemed lacking. I had to go around two accidents, the first of which I was almost in. But I arrived home with no incident in which I was involved.

I’ve been wearing a mask and social distancing the whole time. On one level of my conscience I’m getting used to it. On another level, I’m kinda tired of the whole damn thing. I would like to have a beer at the bar and then finish my show when the break is over.

In my dream last night, the trip – as well as events of the past few months – invaded that same conscience. There is a lot of jumbled parts that made an impression, but I don’t remember what happened. However, one scene struck me vividly. 

I was at a gathering of some sort. It was obviously pre(or post)- Covid 19. While the groups were away from each other, it was closer than six feet. I was walking through the crowd, saying hello to what seemed like everyone. I wasn’t shaking hands, but I was patting everyone on the shoulder. I got halfway through the crowd when I became horrified at what I was doing. Yet I couldn’t stop. Then I suddenly woke up with a shake.

I’d rather not have that dream again, if it’s all the same.

_____________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

Since the first single from Southern Plains Revisited will be released May 29 on Refrigerator Records (whether I play the show at World’s End Brewing or not), I thought I would fill you in on the beginning of Southern Plains. Cyndy and I have been married for twenty-eight years. We’ve been in love, as we say, since right after high school – where we were friends.

Our first date was during her senior year. I had graduated the year before. We went to see Rusty Weir at the Lone Star Opry House on Industrial in Dallas and had a blast, drinking – you guessed it – Lone Star Beer. Industrial is called Riverfront now. We had a couple of dates after that.

Then, in early ’76, we had a disaster of a double date. We had an okay time together. But the date sucked. We ended up in an apartment lying on the floor next to a couple who were getting excited by the movie they were playing of people doing things we had no intention of doing at the time. But the other couple seemed to be moving in that direction. Neither of us remember exactly how the date ended, but mercifully it ended.

Cyndy called me before Super Bowl Sunday and invited me to a party at a friend’s apartment to watch the game. There were Cyndy, myself, and Joel Nichols at Bruce and Charlotte Gibson’s apartment. We spent more time talking about music than watching the game. By the time the party was over, Joel, Bruce, and I agreed to meet again with guitars and beer to see what transpired.

Stay tuned!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

I had planned on publishing a post yesterday. But with social distancing and so forth on the road, There just wasn’t a convenient time to whip out the laptop. I’m getting used to the WordPress app on my phone – I just hadn’t taken the time to check it out. Which is odd considering that time is the one thing I have too much of.

With states taking steps to open up, Sally and I didn’t know what to expect in the way of traffic on the way to Colorado. Of course Dallas and Denton traffic was increasing. Not too much traffic through west Texas, but then, why would there be? The rest areas had very few people, most of whom were either wearing masks or kept their distance. When we stopped for gas, the employees were wearing masks as were most of the customers. Most, but not all, were social distancing.

From Trinidad, Colorado north through Colorado Springs the traffic kept picking up. Enough so that we were caught in bumper to bumper traffic for a time in Manitou Springs. People are still being sensible here for the most part, but there are always those people. Some people were getting back to work in Colorado Springs which caused quite a bit of the traffic.

As for me and mine, except for the masks and social distancing, with the accompanying fear and paranoia, basic life has not changed much. Thankfully, Cyndy is still working and I have writing projects. Granted I’m not playing any live shows at the moment. But I can record videos, do some streaming, and work on new songs. My point is that we have always washed our hands. We have always been careful of door handles and so forth. And we keep a distance from people on a regular basis.

Be that as it may, we’ll see what unfolds. I don’t know if I will get to play what would have been the last show on my tour the end of the month. I’m going home the end of the week. Cyndy and I will come back up here the last week of the month for Cyndy’s vacation and what would have been my shows. We may not be doing much.

Governor Polis of Colorado has said that he would make a decision on restaurants on the 25th. The show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City  is scheduled for the 29th. Since I can set up back in a corner alcove, easily leaving 6-9 feet, I would really like to play the show. The customers are mostly local and probably haven’t left.

But after that, who knows? I have a few shows booked for July that I hope to play. But I’m getting recordings ready to release, writing new songs and other things. I’m not in that much of a hurry if it keeps me from being sick.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

A random shot of me playing when I did that kind of thing.

Of course, live shows are out of the question for an undetermined length of time. And my period of social distancing long distances has also been extended for an undetermined length of time. Our friend, Sam, was interred this morning in Ft. Worth and I’ll be driving Sally back to Colorado. That’s just the way things work during the accelerated circumstances of our present reality.

Yet things have to continue in whatever form they can. In a previous post, I said that I received numerous emails – and still do – that tell me all the things I can do while quarantined. If anyone else wants to learn online, they probably already have a teacher. Then they said I could release new music. And I said (if you’ve been following along) “that I could do.”

And that time is approaching. As I said earlier, my plan was to release the final studio session of myself and Joel Nichols as Southern Plains – beginning with Bruce Gibson and so forth – with two unreleased songs from my Chasing After Wind sessions that we played as Southern Plains, but I did all the parts. Then I bought a cassette to digital device that allowed me to revive most of the Southern Plains recordings. I was anal about recording practices, shows, etc. back then. After I add songs to complete Southern Plains Revisited, who knows what recordings I’ll have for future releases. I should release the first single from the cd in the next few weeks.

But wait…there’s more! Stay tuned…

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

This song and video is dedicated to Sam Shank. May he rest in peace.

 

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.

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