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Tag Archive: Dallas


The first TexasSelectRadio.com Songwriters Series show that I, Dan Roark, hosted on Sunday at Malarkey’s Tavern began to go awry on Saturday. Cyndy and I were at the EarthX event at Fair Park. On the way back to Fair Park Station I hit a slick spot on the wet walkway and went tumbling. Damn the concrete came up fast!

As if that wasn’t enough, I slid along the pavement. Not only did I fall on my knee, but the slid took skin off of two places on my right hand. It was that part of the pavement at Fair Park that looks like it has hundreds of pebbles glued to it – double-whammy.

With effort I stood up and waited for the tremendous pain

Terry Bloss

in my knee to subside enough to be able to limp. We started walking again when I realized I had sprained my left wrist. Then I saw the blood dripping from my right hand in two places. With the napkins Cyndy had I managed to get the blood to stop to a point. After washing my hand off and putting on bandaids when we arrived home, I checked to see if I could still play guitar. It hurt, but I could play with the pain.

[Due to time constraints, we move ahead in the game.]

When I woke up on Sunday, I was sore in places I had not previously known existed. A software issue meant I couldn’t stream the show live. I had planned to record it anyway, but had to adjust my method at the last minute. One of the performers had a migraine and couldn’t make it. One other person I hadn’t

John Mason

heard back from at show time. But John Mason and Terry Bloss were there at showtime. Rob Case was on the way.

I started the show a little after 2 p.m. I played for a little over half an hour when I was through playing with the pain. Terry Bloss followed me. John Mason took the stage next, and Rob Case closed out the show. All three performers went above and beyond, playing longer sets than they had planned – covering the missing performers and my inability to play again due to soreness and pain.

Follow the links and hear their music for yourself. It will be time well spent. Also see where they are playing live so you can go see them play and support live music. Contact me if you

Rob Casef

would like to play on future TexasSelectRadio.com live radio shows.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

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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

Colleen Francis

The Dallas Songwriters Association 3rd Saturday showcase on September 16, was held in the lounge at Plano Super Bowl (PSB) due to a last minute change. Angela’s at the Crosswalk has been sold and the new owner cancelled all music indefinitely. Julie Holmer, one of the former owners, assisted DSA in finding a location because of the sudden announcement.

The showcase was from 9-11 p.m. – as opposed to 7:30 – 10 at Angela’s. League play at the bowling alley ends at 9 p.m. and open bowl begins. The sound system was set up so that the performers  were playing to the people in the lounge, but could be heard by customers walking into PSB and bowlers on that end of the building.

Colleen Francis opened the show at 9. With the casual bowling atmosphere, she played

Host Dan Roark

mostly originals, but threw in a few covers. The crowd in the lounge was fluid, mostly consisting of bowlers coming in from the bowling lanes and people waiting for a lane. While there was little applause at the end of songs, it was obvious people were listening and looking in to see who was playing. Colleen’s set included her songs, Wildflower, and crowd favorite, Better Than This.

Host Dan Roark followed Francis at 9:45. While people moved in and out of, and by, the bar, he played River That Flows and the Aardvark song among others. A small crowd of people were standing in the bar when Dan played Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters and I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville to finish his set. The security guard was seen tapping his foot and nodding his head.

Jeff Stachowski

Jeff Stachowski began to play about 10:20 for the final set of the evening. He began with his love trilogy: It’s Not Love, 99 Postcards, and Month of Mondays. He also played crowd favorites, 5 Miles of Smiles, and Little Green Men. Jeff also has a band called PROPELLER. Being a comedian in a former life, Stachowski mixes humor with his music.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

The lounge at Plano Super Bowl

The Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday showcase has moved. Angela’s at the Crosswalk was sold last week and the new owner is cancelling most of the music events. This Saturday, September 16, the showcase will be from 9 – 11 p.m. in the lounge at Plano Super Bowl on K Ave. on a trial basis (for both parties).

Colleen Francis will open the show at 9 p.m. and play until 9:40. Host Dan Roark will play from 9:40-10:20. Jeff Stachowski will play from 10:20 – 11p.m. It will be a good show.

After the show, bowl a game or two during open bowling. Plano Super Bowl is open 24 hours. They also have really good food.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

The Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday showcase at Angela’s at the Crosswalk on August 19 began at 7:30 with host, Dan Roark. There was a good sized audience, considering the myriad of musical and culinary choices in the neighborhood. Dan played until 8:10 with a set that included his song, Hello Out There, for those with autism. As well as his pastry song, Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters, which he usually plays at Angela’s.

Loralee Pearman took the mic about 8:10. Loralee is a young

Loralee Pearman

woman – although she looks younger than she really is – with a sweet voice and music in her heart. During the week she teaches  music to young children. With teaching and planning  her upcoming wedding, Pearman doesn’t get to play many shows. She took this time to play some of her newer songs. There was too much going on to write down titles – when they were given. But one doesn’t need song titles to tell you that through her soft, youthful voice she weaves songs of love and life, intertwined with lessons learned.

Bill Hook

Bill Hook began playing about 8:45. He mixed his original songs with chosen cover songs. His choice of cover songs worked for the audience. His originals were varied subject-wise. But in them all dwelt insights. Such as the song he wrote for a friend in a bad relationship. Bill said he “played it for her and she still didn’t get it.”

Which ended another night of good music at the DSA third Saturday showcase. Mark your calendar for the next one on September 16th.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

My last posts were about seeing my old friends and hearing my friend, Tim Duggins, had died. I also mentioned Joel Nichols, my musical partner for twenty-five years who died in 1999. While writing the last post, I learned from Bruce Eugene Gibson that his mother, Charlotte Gibson, was in the hospital and not doing well.

Cyndy and I met in high school and dated after graduating. It would have been a blind date, but I knew here. It was a strange evening. The other couple was more interested in fooling around than we were. That Sunday, Cyndy called and invited me to a Super Bowl party. At the party I met Bruce and Charlotte Gibson, and Joel Nichols. Bruce Eugene was asleep in the bedroom, being a newborn.

After that party, Bruce, Joel, and I got together to play music. That was the beginning of Southern Plains. We would practice at Bruce and Charlotte’s apartment. I wrote a song for Bruce Eugene called Today A Child. It’s on my Chasing After Wind cd.

Joel and I moved to Nashville a year later. After Nashville, I moved back to Dallas and went back to school. I kept playing solo. Off and on I would play with Joel, after he moved back to Dallas. I also played with Tim occasionally. Although Bruce played with Joel and I at times, it was hard for him to deviate from his schedule. I lost touch with Bruce and Charlotte.

During the R. L. Turner High School’s 100th anniversary celebration a few years ago, alumni from all years were invited to the homecoming game. Each class with members present would be called out onto the field for celebration. Bruce E. had graduated from Turner so we talked after the game and he met our boys who attended Turner at the time.  He also works for Metrocrest Services and I volunteer for their Sack Summer Hunger program.

Charlotte has had health problems for a while, but she was a fighter. This time she just didn’t have enough fight left in her. And another door closes on a part of the past.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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.

 

V-Picks

There came a time when I could no longer buy any more guitars. I certainly don’t need any more guitars. Which is what led to the moratorium on buying guitars. Well, that and Cyndy wouldn’t buy any justification I might come up with.

So when I worked the Dallas Songwriters Association booth at the Dallas and Arlington guitar shows, I started looking at accessories. I have an impressive capo collection (more later). I have picks of many sizes, shapes, thickness, material, etc.

For years I used Fender medium picks like everyone else. Then John Pearse picks with the off-center point that helped with the way I played. A few years ago, a lot of people started making picks out of just about anything you can imagine. I have one out of petrified wood and one of granite.

So I began to experiment with all different kinds of picks. They were cheaper so Cyndy didn’t mind. It had never occurred to me how the pick can change the sound. Like everyone else, I tried different strings, different gauges, and so forth. I was amazed at the different sounds I could get with the different picks.

Then Vinni Smith introduced me to his V-Picks picks. I use them exclusively now- except for finger picks, which he doesn’t make. I also use different picks for different songs. The picture below is my V-Pick leather wrist band with the picks I use. Check out the website and see the variety of shapes and styles. There is bound to be one that fits your sound or even enhances it. They are made with Vinni’s special acrylic blend. And they stick to your fingers with the heat of your fingers.

Last week, I got an email from Vinni with the picks on sale and a new pick. The Nashville pick is a return in his special acrylic blend to that same Fender pick except “on steroids.” I didn’t like using a heavy pick, but I love this pick. It rounds out my wristband onstage selection quite nicely.

Check out the website. They have sets you can order to try different ones. Tell Vinni I sent you.  Or catch me when I play and you’ll have a demonstration. I’d be glad to show them to you and let you try them.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Madalyn White

Madalyn White

There are nights at open mics that are full of surprises and guest performances. People who are traveling through town for whatever reason and find an open mic to play. Such was the case on Monday, February 20, at the Poor David’s Pub open mic, hosted by Mr. Troll. After Troll opened the show, Madalyn White, one of  two young performers playing that night.

Madalyn White, began by saying that she would do a song by her favorite band. Much to the surprise of the

Michael Freidman

Michael Freidman

audience – that band is the Grateful Dead. But at the same time, it was a comforting thought. Even more confounding was that the song she played was from one of the lesser knows albums. Madalyn is a young woman with a nice voice and a laid-back “Grateful Dead” attitude. Just saying.

Rob Case was next, followed by Michael Freidman. All he put on the signup sheet was Michael, so I have no idea if I spelled his last name right. Michael is from Baltimore. He had come to Dallas for a good deal on a couple of speakers for his studio. The Dobro he was playing might have been new as well. The loudness of the instrument seemed to surprise him. Next on the list were Roy Howell, Dan Roark, Alex Kovach, Ron Sexton, and M’Lynn Musgrove (a good young singer-songwriter).

Titus Waldenfels

Titus Waldenfels

Then came Titus Waldenfels. Titus is from Germany and was traveling through – which explains the “around the world” part. He is a very entertaining and interesting fellow. He played his first song on guitar. His second song he played on violin/fiddle. He preceded the song by saying that he had grown fond of country music in Texas. See the video on my Facebook music page.

John Mason followed Waldenfels. I had to leave during John’s set. But following Mason were Baylis Laramore, Joe Watson, Darren Rozell, Blake Edwards, Fiyad, Lori Mosely, and Mark Brandt. A good complete show. See other pictures – up to John Mason – on my music page.

Go out to an open mic tonight. You never know who you will see. But it’s bound to be highly entertaining.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Host Dan Roark at Angela's

Host Dan Roark at Angela’s

After we moved to the 3rd Saturday due to Thanksgiving and Christmas, we decided to continue on the third Saturday rather than the fourth. The February showcase will be on February 18th. Ireland Casteel will open the show at 7:30. Buck Morgan will follow at 8:00. Don Wall will perform after Buck at 8:30. Host Dan Roark will come on at 9:00, followed by Young & Rusty (Sue Young and Rusty Nelson) at 9:30. Young & Rusty are members of the Austin Songwriters Group and are driving up from Austin to perform for us.

From youth to veterans (music-wise), this show has it all. Come on out and hear the good songwriting and performances. Angela’s has good food, great desserts, reasonable drinks and friendly staff – as well as a down home atmosphere. Come join us. You won’t regret it.

Ireland Casteel

Ireland Casteel

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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