Advertisements

Tag Archive: Addison


Cast - courtesy of Water Tower Theater

Cast – courtesy of Water Tower Theater

I won tickets to see Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash at the Water Tower Theater in Addison. I entered the drawing in the KERA Art & Seek newsletter. Cyndy and I arrived at the theater not knowing what to expect, other than Johnny Cash music. We’re not really current on Broadway Musicals. We were pleasantly surprised with both the theater and the musical.

The staff was very helpful and friendly. At the box office we were told that they had seats for us, but wanted to wait to see if they could have better seats. We returned to the box office just as the doors opened. There were other people waiting that were on standby. A staff member with the list came out and called out a name, but the person wasn’t there.

The next name she called out was mine. She handed us generic tickets without seat numbers, pointed to the usher, and said we could sit in any empty seats except K103. The usher looked at the tickets and said to wait because there were still people coming in. When he realized they were standby, he said he guessed we could sit in the seats I asked about. We sat on the front row.

Ring of Fire is four people playing Johnny Cash music: in the order of the picture -Sonny Franks as David, Katrina Kratzer as Trenna, Spencer Baker, as Eddie, Ian Ferguson as Mark, and Brian Mathis as Jason. Sonny Franks was also the musical director. He played accompaniment and comic relief. The choreography between songs was sparse but very effective without flaw.

Mathis/Jason entered the stage through the audience dressed in black. For all intents and purposes Jason played the mature Johnny Cash. He also did the lion’s share of narration. Kratzer/Trenna represented June Carter Cash by default and by design. Although I do not think June could come close to playing the fiddle/violin like Kratzer does. As we musicians say “she flat tore it up.” And while I think she would also fit in an orchestral setting, she seemed more at home playing fiddle.

Eddie and Mark alternated between representing the younger Cash and being accompanist, depending on the song. By representing, I mean loosely. No one was actually being Johnny or June. Which made it all the more fun.

In Act 1, the cast performed some of the couple’s more popular tunes such as Five Feet High and Rising, Daddy Sang Bass, Get Rhythm, Ring of Fire, and Jackson. As well as lesser known comical songs, Egg Suckin’ Dog, and Flushed From the Bathroom Of Your Heart. During Egg Suckin’ Dog, played by the male members of the cast, David went into the audience for a “fourth member of the quartet.” The young man stood wearing a silly hat and sheepish grin – being the egg suckin’ dog. Thus ended the mystery of why we couldn’t sit in K103.

In Act 2, they performed the heavy hitters – the most popular of the couple’s songs. I’ve Been Everywhere, Sunday Morning Coming Down, Delia’s Gone, and Folsom Prison Blues, to name a few. As well as Man In Black, I Walk the Line, Hey Porter, and A Boy Named Sue (the final song). One of the most emotional parts of the evening was when Trenna and Jason did a duet on Waiting on the Far Side of Jordan. If you don’t know the song or the story, it’s about a woman who says that if she is the first to go, she will wait on the “far side of Jordan” with her hand outstretched for her husband to join her. June did, in fact, pass away first, with Johnny following not long after. There was not a dry eye in the house when the song ended.

Ring of Fire runs through Sunday at the Water Tower Theater. Do yourself a favor and go see the musical. Even if you have to get on the standby list – which could work in your favor. It is a delightful musical journey through the life of Johnny Cash and his lifelong love with June Carter Cash.

Peace be with you.

 

Advertisements
Dan Roark and Roy Elkins

Dan Roark and Roy Elkins

People began to arrive at Sons of Hermann Hall at 6:30 on Tuesday, December 8 for the Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA) Song Contest Award Ceremony and Christmas party. Board members Barbe McMillen, Bobby Montgomery, Ken Duren, and Dan Roark, with member and SOHH employee, Lisa Byrn, David Lewis (SOHH), and the sound man, Logan Hughes, had arrived early to set up the hall. Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Roy Elkins, CEO of Broadjam.com, pitched in to help Bobby set up the food tables. Board member, James Pappas, owner of Dallas Ice Sculptures, supplied the Christmas tree sculpture for the table.
Christmas Tree Ice Sculpture
The ceremony began promptly at 7 p.m. with a welcome from Barbe McMillen, DSA Founding President Emeritus and an explanation of the song contest process and breakdown of prizes. She then introduced MC Roy Elkins. As mentioned earlier, Roy is founder and ceo of Broadjam.com. He came down from Wisconsin a day early to present a free workshop the night before at Tone Shop Guitars in Addison. The workshop was called Your Music and Your Business. Elkins shared from his experiences in the music business and Broadjam, as well as information from music contacts. More information about the workshop can be found here.

AudienceAfter a few opening comments, Roy introduced Dickey Johnson. Dickey, along with Mary Guthrie and Mary Hestand (Sugar Daddy and the M&Ms), played his winning critique song, Alone with Alone. Then Elkins introduced Dan Roark, Showcase, Workshop, and Lyric Contest Director. Dan gave a short bio of the Americana judge, Kendra Terry, booking manager at Uncle Calvin’s Coffee House. He read the list of semifinalists and announced the winners.

Roark then introduced Katie Riley, with her mother and sister. They played both of Katie’s Dan Roarksemfinal songs, I Believe (Christian), and Dry Bones (Pop/rock). After which, Dan gave a short bio of the Christian/Inspirational judge, Scott Dicken, currently music director at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. He then read the semifinalists and announced the winners, before introducing Rio King. Rio played his four winning critique songs, Sweet Rolls and Cream, Boogie Woogie Rhythm, Boomer Boogie, and The Old Wrecked Vet.

Roy Elkins stepped back up and introduced Bobby Montgomery, DSA Executive Vice President, and 2014 Songwriter of the year. Bobby gave a short bio of Larry Beaird, owner of Beaird Music Group, and judge of the country category. After reading the semifinalists and announcing the country winners, Montgomery introduced M’Lynn Musgrove. M’Lynn played her two semifinalist songs, Healed, and Preaching to the Choir, both in the singer-songwriter category.

M'Lynn Musgrove

M’Lynn Musgrove

Elkins then introduced Michael Brandenberger, DSA President. Michael gave a bio of the Instrumental judge, Tony Hakim, owner of jazz venue, Kitchen Café, and a positive force in the Dallas-Ft. Worth jazz scene for over 25 years. After reading the semifinalists and announcing the winners, Brandenberger introduced Dori Weavers, who played her winning critique song, Waiting to Breathe. He then read the Love Songs/Easy Listening semi-finalists and announced the winners.

Barbe McMillen came back to the podium to give a bio of the Children’s/Novelty judge, Monty Harper, who has been on the Oklahoma Arts Council Touring Roster since 1995. Barbe read the semifinalists and announced the winners. She then introduced, Jon Storm. Jon played his semifinalist song in the Pop/Rock category, Love Me Now.

Roy Elkins returned to the podium and introduced Harry Hewlett, co-director of the song

Warren Hanson

Warren Hanson

contest this year and director next year. Harry gave a short bio of Pop/Rock judge Kathy Forste, who has worked in television and radio for the past 30 years in various capacities. He read the semifinalists and announced the winners. Then he introduced Warren Hanson, who performed his semifinalist song in the singer-songwriter category, Just Lucky I Guess.

Roy Elkins returned to introduce Michael Waid. Michael performed his singer-songwriter semifinal song, Lost and Found. Roy then introduced Jennifer Marler, who, joined with her husband, Justin, played her semifinalist song, Memories Don’t Burn. Then Elkins called Barbe McMillen back to the podium.

Harry Hewlett, Dori Weaver, and Michael Brandenberger

Harry Hewlett, Dori Weaver, and Michael Brandenberger

Barbe gave a brief bio of singer-songwriter judge, David Card, owner of Poor David’s Pub, one of Dallas’ best listening rooms. David also founded the BW Stevenson Memorial Singer-Songwriter Competition. Then Barbe read the semifinalists and announced the winners. She then announced the winner of the iPod for which each contest entrant received an entry. The winner was Samuel Miller from Chico, California. Miller’s song, Can’t Get Enough, was a semifinalist song in the singer-songwriter category.

McMillen explained the judging process – which can be found on the DSA website – and introduced grand prize judge, Roy Elkins. Roy talked about the song entries and announced the Grand Prize winner. He then introduced Buck Morgan, who played his winning critique song, Jimmy Loves Jesus. Elkins then introduced Bobby Montgomery, who played his winning critique song, Give ‘Em Time, Lord.

Harry Hewlett, Rio King,Barbe McMillen

Harry Hewlett, Rio King,Barbe McMillen

Roy brought Harry Hewlett back to the podium. Harry explained the process for song of the year. Then he gave a short bio of the song of the year judge, Ian Dickson, a singer-songwriter having performed for a number of years. Then Harry announced the Song of the Year winner. Harry made some closing remarks and then Michael Brandenberger started the open mic. A list of semifinalists can be found here and the a list of winners can be found here.

Although time and space did not allow me to elaborate more, all the performances were wonderful and the evening was a huge success.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

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.

Marie, D.B. (Daniel), and Mary Lou

Marie, D.B. (Daniel), and Mary Lou

I stopped at Office Depot to pick up the programs for the Dallas Songwriters Association Song Contest Awards Ceremony Tuesday afternoon. After getting the programs, I went to buy a bottle of water from the other clerk because I left my bottle at the house. The price tags on the different waters were not clear. I took a couple of different waters to the counter and ask what the prices were. He checked and I put the one back I didn’t want.

When I handed him my card, he looked at the name.

“Daniel Roark, I knew a Daniel Roark once.”

“Well, we’re probably related.” There are a quite a few Roarks in the area and the state.

He kept running the card and finishing the transaction. His name tag said Richy, but no last name.

“That was a long time ago,” he was saying under his breath, “Levitz Furniture.” He shook his head.

I perked up. “Did you say Levitz Furniture?”

“Yes.”

“That was my uncle!”

“Really?

I nodded yes.

“What would that make him now, 100?”

“Close to.”

“Well, then.” And he shook my hand.

I smiled, and thanked him. As I was leaving, I made a mental note to call Dad. He would love the story. I knew my uncle as D. B. Roark. Which he went by, like my grandfather. Which is also why I didn’t put it together until Richy mentioned Levitz.

The huge Levitz Furniture showroom was west of I-35 just north of the Continental exit – where the SoftLayer company is now – at, approximately, 1329 N Stemmons Fwy . And, yes, it was a long time ago. I remember going there with my parents to shop for furniture one time. It was a cavernous store. I’ve never seen as many bedroom suites again in my life. They seemed to go on forever. And being a huge warehouse /showroom, the lighting was not all that bright.

That was one of the few times I saw D. B. before I was in high school. D. B. was an entrepreneur of sorts. Until I was in high school, there were periods when we didn’t talk about D.B. and Mary Lou. Particularly when we were at Aunt Marie’s or Aunt Juanita’s houses. Mom just told me not to ask. Then, in high school, they started coming to family events again. Which they continued to do.

When we went to Levitz that day, the first salesman we ran into went to tell D. B. we were there. While D. B. was showing us furniture, we met a few more employees. I was just following my Dad, Mom, and D. B. around, not at all interested. I was a teenage boy and it was furniture, for God’s sake. Nothing in the experience led me to believe, or even imagine, that 40+ years later I would run into a Levitz ex-employee at an Office Depot in Addison.

Even better, what are the odds that Richy was one of the employees I met that day?

Peace be with you.

%d bloggers like this: