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Tag Archive: Angela’s


Richie Smith and I

Richie Smith and I

Richie lost his fight with brain cancer and went to his heavenly home within the past twelve hours. Below is the post I wrote when I met Richie in 2016. He was a wonderful young man. Even at the worst, he had a smile on his face, a song in his heart, and praise for God. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends – which includes everyone he ever met. I can still hear him sing his song, For A Reason. Rest in peace, Richie.

I was hosting the Angela’s at the Crosswalk Monday night open mic on Halloween when I first met Richie Smith. He came in with his mom and dad, waving to people as they came by the tables – just saying hi. His dad, Rick, came over and told me who he was so I knew when his slot came up. I asked him what he needed, sound-wise. He said Richie just needed a mic because he was going to play the song on a small Bose iPod/iPhone player.

When his time came, Rick helped Richie up to the microphone. Richie’s left leg was in a brace and his left arm was in a sling. I got him set up with the mic and his dad helped him start the songs. I adjusted the sound and Richie introduced himself.

“I’m Richie Smith. I had surgery for brain cancer to remove a tumor and what was left was diagnosed as grade 4 brain cancer. After surgery, I came out I was like this. This isn’t part of my costume.”

The crowd erupted in laughter. That is a perfect introduction to Richie. He is a twenty-two year old young man who has always loved music. He could play piano as well as other instruments. Music came to him naturally. He performed in cafes for charity.

Then he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011. No one outside of his family knew he had brain cancer. When it worsened in 2012, he had two

Richie and his father, Rick.

Richie and his father, Rick.

days to live without immediate brain surgery. After the surgery on November 24, 2012, what could not be removed was diagnosed as grade 4 brain cancer, and he was given two years to live. “The fight raged on, and in 2013 there were two brain tumors growing in size, leading Richie to lose most mobility on the left side of his body, but he never gave up.”1

Richie thanks God for his music even after all that has happened. His positive attitude and faith in God is infectious. There were a number of his close friends there, but, as far as Richie is concerned, everyone there was his friend. He had everyone laughing and dancing along to one of his songs. Even me – and I don’t dance – used to long ago,  but not anymore. Except for Halloween night.

Two weeks later, when I once again hosted the open mic, Richie was on the list. His left arm hung by his side rather than held up in a sling. He played piano with his right hand while he sat behind it and sang. His father, Rick, played the cajon. Once again, his laughter and infectious spirit filled the room. He played a hilarious cover of Skinny Girl Jeans with some additions of his own. Richie had the crowd singing along on Lean on Me by Bill Withers.

Veronica, Richie, and Rick Smith

Veronica, Richie, and Rick Smith

And, naturally, he played his song, For A Reason. Not only is it the name of his song, but it is also the name of his For A Reason Foundation. For A Reason is also Richie first official song release, produced by multi-platinum producer, John Kurzweg. The song was released this past Thursday, the fourth anniversary of his first brain surgery. It was also – as Richie pointed out at Angela’s – Thanksgiving, his mother, Veronica’s, birthday, and his re-birth. His re-birth is how he refers to the immediate emergency surgery.

For A Reason is available on iTunes, Amazon, and the usual online music distribution sites. You can also check out Richie’s Facebook page and his YouTube channel. You can see Richie on Mondays at Angela’s or  at the fourth Saturday Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA) showcase on December 17.

Peace be with you.

                                                                                        1  Quoted from ournewmonarch.com
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After a high speed drive back from Memphis with Cameron on Saturday the 15th, I took a nap, and headed to Angela’s at the Crosswalk for the Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday showcase which I host. As you can imagine, I was a bit tired. A trip to Nashville, Memphis, and back in three days can do that. Then as I was setting up my sound system, a man and woman walked in the door.

The man looked at me and said, “Hi Dan.” I recognized him, but I couldn’t think of his name.

“You don’t remember me, do you?”

“You look familiar.”

“I’m Kevin Burns. And this is Tim’s wife, Jan.”

They asked if I would have time to talk to them. I assured them I would and then they went to

Cat McGee

be seated. I finished setting up the sound, all the while trying to remember who they were. When I went to park my car, I called Cyndy and asked her if his name sounded familiar. No such luck. So I searched for his name in Facebook. There are a few Kevin Burns, as you would imagine. But one said we had two mutual friends, Tim Duggins and Jan Duggins. Between the two mutual friends and his pictures, I knew exactly who they were.

If you have heard me play more than once, chances are you have heard me play “River That Flows.” I co-wrote it with Tim Duggins while we were roommates in West Hall at North Texas State (now UNT). Kevin was a member of the group that grew out of our dorm gang.

Because of that, I altered my setlist to begin with River That Flows. In shows with Joel Nichols – for twenty-five years before he died in ’99 – we always started with River That Flows. Jan was Tim’s wife, as you already know.

John Mason

The rest of that story will be in part two. I want to give Cat McGee and John Mason their due. Their combined fans and friends were there. Cat thought that the extended table should be called Johnny Cat. Cat was at her best, as was John. The pictures are of past performances at Angela’s. I usually take pictures and am on top of things, but I was distracted. Find their music at the above links. Their Facebook pages (Cat McGee, John Mason) are the fastest way to know where they are playing. If you get to see either one or both of them play I guarantee you will enjoy the experience.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Janelle Nichole

The Dallas Songwriters Association 3rd Saturday showcase on June 17 began at 7:30 with Janelle Nichole. Janelle is a young woman from Fredricksburg with a beautiful voice and a kind spirit. She entertained the diners with cover songs mixed with her nice original songs. She is currently working on funds for a cd. From the songs she played at Angela’s, the cd will be worth getting  – and putting the songs on your playlist when she’s on Spotify. It’s only a matter of when.

As host, Dan Roark went on after Janelle. I played a mixture of old and new songs, ending with my newest song, I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville. The title is the first line of the chorus. The second line is “seems like all the way to St. Paul.” The first night I played it live, among the people that commented on it was a couple who happend to be from St. Paul. Go figure.

Rob Case

Rob Case ended the showcase with songs from his Last Call in Texas cd. Bayou City, Song about Texas, Last Call in Texas,  and Are We Even Yet? were some of the highlights. He said there were a few he didn’t care for as much, so he wasn’t going to do those. Rob didn’t tell us what they were though.

It was an evening of songs and stories about life and events past for a good appreciative crowd. Make plans to go to Angela’s on the third Saturday to hear more good songwriters in the showcase. On July 15, John Mason and Cat McGee will be co-guest hosting. The opening songwriter will be announced soon.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Ireland Casteel

Ireland Casteel

The Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday Showcase at Angela’s at the Crosswalk on February 18 began with Ireland Casteel. Ireland is a very good young songwriter.  Each month we will try to have one of our younger songwriters open the show to highlight them. A way to encourage them and help them receive feedback.

Buck Morgan followed Casteel with a mix of his originals and covers, ending with his song, Jimmy Loves

Buck Morgan

Buck Morgan

Jesus. Don Wall played next. He started off his set with his song, Corn Bread. Corn Bread was successfully entered in the DSA quarterly lyric contest. He played a lively set of country music. Host Dan Roark began at 9 p.m. and played a set which included Peace Be With You, and his signature songs, Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters, and Supermarket Wreck of ’75.

Young & Rusty closed out the show with a full set including songs from their cd, Back Road Love. Sue Young and Rusty Nelson were special guests from

Don Wall

Don Wall

Austin. They are members of the Austin Songwriters Group. They played the title song from the cd as well as my favorite song, Where the Ferryboats Used to Run. They also played Angelitos – Little Angels from Sue’s cd, Gliding. It was a quite the entertaining set.

Dan Roark

Dan Roark

The audience was very receptive to the entire show and showed their appreciation. Don’t miss the next DSA third Saturday showcase on March 18. The lineup will be announced soon, but it will be a good show. Good music, good food, great desserts, reasonable drinks, and friendly staff.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Rusty Nelson and Sue Young

Rusty Nelson and Sue Young

Richie Smith and I

Richie Smith and I

I was hosting the Angela’s at the Crosswalk Monday night open mic on Halloween when I first met Richie Smith. He came in with his mom and dad, waving to people as they came by the tables – just saying hi. His dad, Rick, came over and told me who he was so I knew when his slot came up. I asked him what he needed, sound-wise. He said Richie just needed a mic because he was going to play the song on a small Bose iPod/iPhone player.

When his time came, Rick helped Richie up to the microphone. Richie’s left leg was in a brace and his left arm was in a sling. I got him set up with the mic and his dad helped him start the songs. I adjusted the sound and Richie introduced himself.

“I’m Richie Smith. I had surgery for brain cancer to remove a tumor and what was left was diagnosed as grade 4 brain cancer. After surgery, I came out I was like this. This isn’t part of my costume.”

The crowd erupted in laughter. That is a perfect introduction to Richie. He is a twenty-two year old young man who has always loved music. He could play piano as well as other instruments. Music came to him naturally. He performed in cafes for charity.

Then he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011. No one outside of his family knew he had brain cancer. When it worsened in 2012, he had two

Richie and his father, Rick.

Richie and his father, Rick.

days to live without immediate brain surgery. After the surgery on November 24, 2012, what could not be removed was diagnosed as grade 4 brain cancer, and he was given two years to live. “The fight raged on, and in 2013 there were two brain tumors growing in size, leading Richie to lose most mobility on the left side of his body, but he never gave up.”1

Richie thanks God for his music even after all that has happened. His positive attitude and faith in God is infectious. There were a number of his close friends there, but, as far as Richie is concerned, everyone there was his friend. He had everyone laughing and dancing along to one of his songs. Even me – and I don’t dance – used to long ago,  but not anymore. Except for Halloween night.

Two weeks later, when I once again hosted the open mic, Richie was on the list. His left arm hung by his side rather than held up in a sling. He played piano with his right hand while he sat behind it and sang. His father, Rick, played the cajon. Once again, his laughter and infectious spirit filled the room. He played a hilarious cover of Skinny Girl Jeans with some additions of his own. Richie had the crowd singing along on Lean on Me by Bill Withers.

Veronica, Richie, and Rick Smith

Veronica, Richie, and Rick Smith

And, naturally, he played his song, For A Reason. Not only is it the name of his song, but it is also the name of his For A Reason Foundation. For A Reason is also Richie first official song release, produced by multi-platinum producer, John Kurzweg. The song was released this past Thursday, the fourth anniversary of his first brain surgery. It was also – as Richie pointed out at Angela’s – Thanksgiving, his mother, Veronica’s, birthday, and his re-birth. His re-birth is how he refers to the immediate emergency surgery.

For A Reason is available on iTunes, Amazon, and the usual online music distribution sites. You can also check out Richie’s Facebook page and his YouTube channel. You can see Richie on Mondays at Angela’s or  at the fourth Saturday Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA) showcase on December 17.

Peace be with you.

                                                                                        1  Quoted from ournewmonarch.com
KristyLee Hair

KristyLee Hair

If you are a regular reader, you know that I am one of the rotating hosts of the Monday night open mic at Angela’s at the Crosswalk in Plano. There is a group of regulars that play the open mic, in large part due to the list being online the week before. But I say usual suspects (something a friend often says) tongue in cheek – they are neither usual nor actual suspects.

Take Monday the 14th for example. The first performer on the list was a no-show, so I played a couple of songs before KristyLee Hair played her set. KristyLee is charming, good-looking young woman from Prosper, Texas. She is a college student at UNT and has a beautiful voice. With another no-show, I invited her to extend her set.

I followed next in my scheduled spot. Mr. Joe played after me. Joe is a teacher who is called Mr. Joe at school. As he says, “the name just stuck” and he got used to it. He had recent throat issues. He tried to sing one, which we thought he did well. He didn’t think so though, so he played instrumentals.

Johnny Cromer played a few songs since we were still ahead of schedule. He returned to the mic to close out the evening in his scheduled spot at 9:30. Johnny is one of those stalwart open mic performers who shows up early on to support the other performers.

Pamela Pantea and Dianna Rice sang next when Richie Smith called and said he was running late. Pamela usually sings one song by herself

Dianna Rice and Pamela  Pantea

Dianna Rice and Pamela Pantea

before Dianna joins her for the next two songs.  The two call themselves the Daughters of the Gospel. They sing hyms and Christian songs to tracks on the computer. And they sing them very well.

Richie Smith, who followed Pamela and Dianna, is an amazing young man whose story calls for it’s own post. Look for it shortly.

Allen Larson was on the list next. Allen is a good friend who is also a fellow member of the Dallas Songwriters Association. He plays a number of open mics around town. Check out his Facebook page for coming appearances with longer shows. But you can pretty much count on him being at Angela’s. He is also one of the rotating hosts of the open mic.

Joe Dan (JD) Webb decided recently that he was going to pick the guitar up regularly and get his chops back. He is making very good progress. Although he might tell you differently. Come out on a Monday to hear him and see for yourself. Let him know if you enjoy his set.

Tommy LeBoeuf has a pedal setup that includes a looper and other effects. Which is not unique, but not all that common with acoustic guitars. He plays cover songs and plays them as close to the original as he can with pedals and looper.

Johnny Cromer finished out the evening. Angela’s Monday night open mic is always an interesting mix of performers, some playing original songs, others playing cover songs, and a few playing both. Stay tuned for the post on Richie Smith. Watch my Facebook page for all the pictures.

Peace be with you.

 

shaquilla-hooks-and-chris-hatcherI hosted the Monday night open mic at Angela’s on Sept. 5th. As it turns out, I’ll be hosting the open mic every third Monday, with some exceptions. Be that as it may, on the fifth I opened the show. People began to show up as I finished my set. Bah Jaz followed me with some nice instrumentals on guitar.

Keith Dzygun (Dijun) played next with some cover tunes. Rachel Stokes followed with a bass player and guitar player – collectively called Salt and Light. Temi George was next, followed by Johnny Cromer. Then Allen Larson played his usual eclectic set. Pamela Pantea and Dianna Rice harmonized nicely on some standard hymns. Eric Jones played a nice set of his tunes.

During Eric’s set, Shaquilla Hooks, who had signed up to be next online just that evening, made sure I knew she had signed up. It had occurred to me earlier to check online for new signups, so I knew. I asked her what she was going to play or need. She said she was just reading poetry. So I thought, cool, some spoken word.

Shaquilla sat on the stool, grabbed the mic, and started reading a poem. It was a nice poem and I was getting in to it. I began to wonder where it was going. It was obviously about a particular person. She became nervous and it showed in her reading of the poem. She reached a point, looked behind me, and continuing the poem she said “Will you marry me?”

The person behind me was Chris Hatcher, who works at Angela’s. Naturally, he said yes, and everything stopped while they hugged and she cried. With time left, and no one else signed up, Eric played a few more tunes. During which time I took the picture shown here. It was the first proposal I have seen at an open mic – much less one I was hosting.

Have you ever had someone propose at your open mic? Or something similar?

Peace be with you.

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