Tag Archive: country


If you’re taking Highway 287 coming from Dallas toward Colorado, you pass a little stop in the road about forty miles before Amarillo called Goodnight, Tx. The only reason you would know you were there is the Herd Wear Retail Store and Goodnight Country Inn.

Goodnight, Texas is an unincorporated “community” in Armstrong County. As of 2000, the population was 18. The address is actually Clarendon, Tx. The town is named for Charles Goodnight and his wife who settled there and had a bison ranch. (We don’t have buffalo in the United States, we have bison, cousins to the buffalo on the other side of the planet.)

Charles Goodnight was one of the biggest cattle ranchers in the Texas Panhandle in the late1800s, having already created the Goodnight-Loving trail to move the cattle to market. He made and lost a fortune in Pueblo, Colorado, before moving to the Texas Panhandle and recreating his success with cattle ranching. While buying land with partners and enlarging the ranch, they had to push the bison back about fifteen miles. Which didn’t help relations with the Indians. Charles made a deal with Quanah Parker to give her followers two beeves (cows) every other day to keep peace.                                                                     

It was about that time that Charles began raising bison as well as antelope and elk. He tried creating a cattalo, crossing cattle and bison, but it wasn’t a huge success. When he quit working with the cattle ranch, Charles concentrated on bison, beginning with 250 head. Charles and his wife – who had encouraged him to raise bison and oversaw the younger bison – shipped bison to Yellowstone, Europe, and other places.

Which brings us back to Cecil Miskin and Darlene Wright at Herd Wear Store/Goodnight Country Inn. The store is smack on 287. If you’re paying attention, you can’t miss it. Back down the road from the highway you can see the Goodnight House. The Country Inn is a one unit bed and breakfast back of the store. Cyndy and I plan to go one weekend when we can see the museums we want to see in the area.

The Herd Wear Store has everything bison, plus more. Check them out on Facebook and the website. A lot of wonderful things. We’re getting stuff for Christmas from them. Best of all though, is bison meat. The kippered bison beef makes great tender steak sticks for snacking. We’ve also tried the bison bratwurst, the jalapeno cheese bratwurst, and the ribs. We still have summer sausage to try. The bison products are a little pricey, but oh, so freaking tasty. And Cecil and Darlene will work with you.

I’ve spent time talking with Cecil on two different occasions now – once with Cyndy and once this last trip on my mini tour. Cecil can tell you all things bison/buffalo and he’ll happily talk about Charles Goodnight and the ranch. They had to get rid of some of the bison in the past fifteen years, but they kept just enough to be able to call it a herd.

So the next time you’re going through, be sure to stop by and see Cecil and Darlene. They’d love to have you and answer any and all questions. They’ve got enough stuff to warrant a day trip just to go there. I know Cecil has enough stories to keep you entertained while you shop. Not to mention the many museums in the area.

Tell them I sent you and I’ll see them next time through!

_______________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

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.

 

IMG_1710[Re-post from DSA blog] Larry Beaird presented his “Arranging the Hit” songwriting workshop on Saturday, October 24 at the Kitchen Café. The workshop was held from noon – 4 p.m. The start was delayed for several minutes – through no fault of Larry’s. The restaurant offered a limited lunch menu for the workshop attendees. Quite a few people took advantage of the lunch offerings. The waitress, Maria, took care of business well, while taking care not to disturb the workshop.

When he began his presentation, he introduced himself while passing out entry forms for a drawing to win a $625 demo session at his Beaird Music Group recording studio in Nashville. He charted the number one country songs for the past two years. He used standards such as the Nashville number system, and the length of time between certain components of each song, as well as the structure of those components.

It was apparent at times, from the questions, that some of the songwriters in the room were concerned about their songs. Beaird was careful to point out several times that he was just talking about songs that had reached number one on the charts.

“Write your songs for you. I’m not telling you how to write your songs. I’m just talking about number one hits. There are aIMG_1711 lot of good songs out there. They just don’t make number one for whatever reason.”

I hesitate to give too much away out of respect to Larry and those in attendance. But I will let you in on a couple of key points. Every line of a song should point to the title. And the title should be in the last line of the chorus and the last line of the song.

Larry Beaird and DSA President, Michael Brandenberger

Larry Beaird and DSA President, Michael Brandenberger

Beaird spent the last hour of the workshop critiquing the songs that he had received beforehand. After locating the songwriter, he played the song, after which everyone applauded. Larry then critiqued the song, while also telling the songwriter what he liked. He made suggestions as to what they could do to improve the song. His suggestions were very good and well received.

The workshop went past 4 p.m. with people excited about the subject of songwriting. Question after question was asked. And answered fully by Larry. An enjoyable, successful day was had by everyone in attendance, with good food, good conversation, and an informative songwriting workshop. The workshop participants and DSA want to thank Larry for coming to Dallas to present his workshop for us. We will announce the winner of the drawing for the demo session when Larry lets us know.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

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