Tag Archive: DSA


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.

Layne Elizabeth

The Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday showcase at Angela’s at the Crosswalk on March 18, began with young songwriter, Layne Elizabeth. We have started a tradition of opening with a young songwriter each month. The content and poetry of Layne’s songs belie her young age. Her show is straightforward without displaying any pretense. If you have a chance to catch her show, it’s definitely worth the effort. Layne and her mother plan to join DSA. We will gladly accept them into our songwriting family.

Rio King followed Layne at 8:00 with his honky-tonk Americana. Rio takes you back to when country was

Rio King

simple and uncomplicated. Songs like Last Chance to Dance in Texas, inspired by the signs saying “last chance for gas.”

John Mason played next, with his thought-provoking, story-telling Americana songs. Stories of journeys, both literal and introspective. Leaving the audience with the last song wondering “Why I Call My Coffee Joe.”

I was host and came on after John. I started with my song for those on the

John Mason

autism spectrum, Hello Out There. I ended with the Hitchhiking Song.

Rckey Gene Wright was scheduled to play at 9:30 when I finished. However, he had an earlier gig that began and ended later than expected. As he arrived at Angela’s after finding a parking space, the crowd had dispersed, leaving a handful of people. Apparently, there was a lot going on in the area. Rickey and I visited for a while before I began breaking down the sound system. He will be back in a future showcase.

The April showcase will be on the 15th. Look for the line-up to be posted before too long.

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

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.

Bobby Montgomery and Barbe McMillen

Bobby Montgomery and Barbe McMillen

The DSA 4th Saturday Showcase at Angela’s on the Crosswalk will now be the DSA 3rd Saturday Showcase. At the showcase on January 21st, Barbe McMillen opened the show at 7:30. Steve Sullivan joined her on harmonica for a few songs. Barbe’s set included her song, America the Free.

Bobby Montgomery joined Barbe to perform a song the two of them recently wrote, Love Without Money. Then Bobby took the stage and played his country songs. Bobby songs are warm, old style country songs about hearth and home and coming of age. Like his song about dancing with his mother when he was a boy.

Darren Rozell

Darren Rozell

Darren Rozell followed Bobby and took the mood to up tempo country. His songs range from honky-tonk  to a waltz  to a bluesy tune. Songs such as I’m All Whiskeyed  Up, Now, Don’t Water Down My Crown, and It’s Complicated.

Dan Roark (but you knew that)

Dan Roark (but you knew that)

I played after Darren. I began with Hello Out There, my song for those on the autism spectrum. I played a couple more songs and noticed that I could hear the conversations over the music. This is not uncommon when you play in restaurants or bars. And generally, it doesn’t mean they don’t hear you. Which is when I play  Chocolate Eclairs and Supermarket Wreck of 75, to get the crowd going and involved. Which they did.

The final act for the evening was Richie Smith. Richie sang his songs to tracks on his iPod that he played through a Bose speaker. Richie had an operation four years ago for stage 4 brain cancer that left him paralyzed on his left side. On other occasions, he plays piano with one hand and sings. A couple of weeks ago they discovered that Richie is in remission – which is supposed to be impossible. Obviously not for God though.

Richie Smith

Richie Smith

Richie’s set included his song, For A Reason, which is also the name of his charity foundation. He also played Lemonade, a song written for his mother. Tunnel Vision is another good song – and one of his oldest. A song Richie wrote for his paternal grandmother included a recorded phone message she left on his answering machine. Following his set, it was time for the obligatory group picture. Richie’s mom takes the picture. My son, Cameron, took the picture with her in it. [More pictures will be on Facebook.]

The picture is a tradition when Richie plays, and we might just make it one for the showcase. All in all a good night of music, with plenty of talent and variety. You should try to make the next showcase on February 18. I’ll be posting the lineup soon, but it’s sure to be a good one. I’m working on a few surprises.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Tommy LeBoeuf

Tommy LeBoeuf

One of the enjoyable things about hosting open mics is getting to hear young upcoming and talented songwriters. Which is what happened the last time I was the host at Angela’s.

Tommy LeBoeuf is a regular at the Angela’s at the Crosswalk Monday open mic. He has also played shows during the week occasionally. On December 26, he brought the family, which included his daughters, Sabrina, and Elisa. In addition, Sabrina brought her boyfriend, Addis Riddle.

Sabrina played after her dad. Elisa joined her for the first song and their two voices blended well. None of the three songs were familiar to me. I had to ask her later if any of the songs were hers. The last song she did was an original. It was a very nice song, but I never caught the name of it. She said it was the only song she’s written. I told her to keep writing and told her about the Dallas Songwriters

Sabrina LeBoeuf

Sabrina LeBoeuf

Association.

A little while later, her other friend, Addis Riddle, played his three songs.  One of the songs he played was based on the Curious George song. I think one or two of the songs were original. Either way, he has written a number of songs.

Sabrina had a slightly stronger delivery than Addis. Though they both are relatively soft-spoken, their singing voices come across more powerfully. I’m looking forward to hearing them again and I’m thinking of including the two of them in a future DSA showcase.

Addis Riddle

Addis Riddle

You can catch Sabrina and Addis at the open mic at Angela’s. Sabrina sometimes plays shows at Angela’s with her dad. But if you get the chance to hear and support them, do so. You won’t be disappointed.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Cat McGee

Cat McGee

Are you confused yet? Or did you figure out that we had the Dallas Songwriters Association 4th Saturday showcase at Angela’s at the Crosswalk a week early this month – and last month as well – due to Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was my first showcase as the new host. As showcase director for the DSA, I have been a guest host before. But with both Buck Morgan and Harry Hewlett having life changes coming about, I became the host.

I had the sound system set up by 7:15. Despite a problem I did not discover until I was breaking down the system, everyone sounded good to the audience, except me on part of my set.

The show began with Cat McGee – after a few technical adjustments. She delivered her show in her usual humble sincerity. Cat doesn’t take herself all that seriously, but her songwriting is a different matter. That alone lends a certain urgency to her lyrics juxtaposed with the casualness of her delivery. I have known Cat a while and consider her a good friend. I have read the press on her website before, but it evades me now. But simply thinking about it while replaying her set in my mind, her songwriting and performance remind me of Judy Collins and Joan Baez. The decidedly female perspective, with self-assurance and purpose. One of my favorite songs of hers – and there are a few – is Mydan-roark-3Tribe. Her tribe, of course, is songwriters.

Then the host, some guy named Dan Roark, came on and played his set. Which included several songs from his new cd of live songs. As well as the bonus song on the cd, What the Lord Intends. Which is also the song in his first music video which you can find on his YouTube channel.

Mark Evans, who followed me (the moment has past, if you catch my drift), has a band called Safety Meeting. Alone, on acoustic guitar – as he was at the showcase – Mark comes through as folk with a bit of an edge – albeit with a positive outlook. And a love song is simply a love song. The band’s description of Safety Meeting’s music is “alternative, americana, and pop.” Having heard them live and recorded, I can say that sums them up fairly well. I’m not exactly sure how alternative they are, as far as lyrics and music are concerned. But pertaining to their live show, I can hear alternative to a point. Listening to

Mark Evans

Mark Evans

their recorded songs on Reverbnation before writing this, I caught a John Cougar Mellencamp feel to their songs. Hence the americana and pop distinctions. Catch one of their shows when you can. Their music deserves a good crowd.

Baylis Laramore ended the evening’s line up. Baylis‘ music is folk and americana. He’s a laid-back type of guy, and his music reflects that. He was born in Galveston and grew up around east Texas as a child. He “spent [his] teenage years living in Australia and Indonesia.” He has traveled to other places as well. Some of Baylis’ songs come from those years, such as Blonde Spanish Girls, written while he was in Spain. Other songs, like Ghosts of Galveston, are from stories he has heard and read. He also has written some humorous songs as witnessed by the song Junk Food Highway, written from a song prompt at the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance.

It was a good show. I’m sorry you missed it. Do yourself a favor and make it to the next DSA 4th

Baylis Laramore

Baylis Laramore

Saturday showcase at Angela’s at the Crosswalk on January 28. I’ll have the list of songwriters who will by playing in the next couple of weeks. But you can be sure it will be a good show.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

 

Mark Evans followed me

The Dallas Songwriters Association’s annual song contest awards ceremony and Christmas party takes the place of the monthly meeting. Which was Tuesday, December 13th this year (The meeting day is changing in the new year – just to give you a heads up.) The event was once again held at Sons of Hermann Hall. What follows is from the program for the event with the pictures I took included. Because a couple of performers were stuck in traffic, the order was altered somewhat, but was essentially the same in the individual categories.

The winners are listed following the program. Congratulations to all the winners!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Barbe McMillen - DSA President Emeritus

Barbe McMillen – DSA President Emeritus

WELCOME – Barbe McMillen Founding President Emeritus, Newsletter Editor, Administration & Song Contest Director Barbara founded the DSA in 1987 after running the group for several years as part of the now defunct Texas Music Association. Currently a working Music Therapist, performer, and Associate Professor of Songwriting at Collin College, Barbara is caring for the admin duties and editing a newsletter for DSA. She is a voting member of the Recording Academy and a member of the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Academy. She has produced a number of albums for other artists and her own. Her songwriting spans the genres of Rock, Pop, R&B to Americana. Her rock musical, Give Me A Break, has been performed in the metroplex and off Broadway. To get to know more about Barbe or to sign up for an online Songwriting Class, visit her website, http://www.barbaramcmillen.com.

PERFORMANCE by multi-semifinalist DeDe Wedekind, Houston, Tx
Stronger from Dream of You, My Unsung Hero, A
Leaning on Heaven , Sell Me Out, Recipe of Love, Love Lives On
DeDe’s music is a mix of pop, Americana, and jazz, with some Gospel thrown in and has been compared todedewedekind everyone from Michael Buble to Adele, and from Linda Rondstadt to Emmylou Harris.
Her music has been and remains on several WORLD TOP 10 CHARTS on Broadjam.com Although she writes mainly pop, she’s also a Crossover Gospel artist. Recognizing that a lot of the current popular music out there is focused on young teens, and also may have depressing, violent, or negative messages, she decided to “fill the gap”, and write positive music She writes beautiful melodies, powerful and inspiring lyrics, and good clean music full of hope. Breathecast.com’s Timothy Yap says, ” When it comes to song interpretation, she is without peer.’

PERFORMANCE by multi-semifinalist Rick Babb, Dallas, Tx
Lucky In Love, Praise You, Roly Poly , Walk Away
Born and raised in Tulsa, OK, Rick was introduced to music and the guitar by his Uncle Don. 3
Rick began writing his own tunes and started performing them at family reunions as a teen. When he moved to Texas in 1969, he began performing in coffee houses and working behind the scenes in the concert industry in the early 1970s. In the 1990s, Rick moved to Nashville

Rick Babb and his wife Paula McClanahan

Rick Babb and his wife Paula McClanahan

to pursue a song-writing career and, during that time, also worked various odd jobs from radio DJ and dishwasher to bartender and circus wrangler.He returned to Dallas in 2003, performing again in the Dallas/ Ft Worth area. He now performs regularly with Royce David James on mandolin and Paula McClanahan on upright bass and vocals.
PERFORMANCE by Americana semifinalist John Mason, Grand Prairie, Tx California   For 30 years gifted singer-songwriter, John Mason, has been a musical inspiration. During the 1970’s and 80’s, John recorded and performed in Southern California. Now living in Grand Prairie Texas John writes and plays a contemporary style of folk, country and Americana.

Dan Roark, Director of Showcases and Workshops In addition to being a singer/songwriter, Dan Roark is an author, writer, and poet. He played in the band, Southern Plains, for twenty-five years prior to the death of bandmate and musical partner, Joel Nichols. After

Dan Roark

Dan Roark, Showcase Director

taking time off from performing while he and his wife, Cyndy raised their three boys, he has returned to performing and the Dallas Songwriters Association.  You can find out more and listen to his music at danroark.com. Follow his blog at chasingafterwind.net. He also writes posts for the dallassongwriters.org blog.
Dan Roark presents AMERICANA Semifinalists
California by John Mason, Grand Prairie, TX
Just Can’t Drown a Broken Heart by Jared LoStracco, Nacogdoches, TX
Lucky in Love by Rick Babb, Dallas, TX
My Unsung Hero by DeDe Wedekind, Houston, TX
Two Trains by Renee Saffier, Andy Hill and Hard Rain, LA, CA

AMERICANA AWARD

PERFORMANCE by Pop semifinalist Richie Smith, Richardson, TX
For A Reason
At the age of 3, the first instrument Richie learned was the bass then later on he learned to play the

John Mason

John Mason

piano, violin, ukulele, guitar, harmonium, and more. While attending Collin College, he was a student in Barbe McMillen’s songwriting class where his love of singing and writing music matured. Towards the end of that semester, he underwent brain surgery and was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer which he is still battling.
On this journey for 4 years now, he’s written music through all of it. Ritchie says, “God does everything for a reason”.

Barbe Presents
CHRISTIAN/ INSPIRATIONAL Semifinalists
Only A Prayer Away (Acoustic) by John Nelson Kullberg, Rivervale, NJ
Stronger from Dream of You by DeDe Wedekind, Houston, TX
Once Again by Jeff Moore, Dallas, TX
I WILL SING by Matt Stemme, Castaic, CA
It Could Be You by Robert Graham, Toronto, Can.
Love Lives On by DeDe Wedekind, Houston, TX
Praise You by Rick Babb, Dallas, TX
On the Breath of God by Len Seligman, Sarasota, FL
God is Too Big for Any One Religion by Len Seligman, Sarasota, FL

Richie Smith

Richie Smith

Hearts Wide Open by Michael Roth, Arlington, VA

CHRISTIAN/ INSPIRATIONAL AWARD

PERFORMANCE by COUNTRY SEMIFINALIST finalist Chris Michael (Sjostrom), Bedford, TX Wanted Man
He began singing and performing and developed his songwriting skills at a young age. A recent graduate of Dallas Baptist University with a degree in Music Business and an emphasis in songwriting, Chris has traveled across Texas and has performed shows, events, venues, clubs, bars, festivals and sororities. Many of his songs

Bobby Montgomery and Chris SJostrom

Bobby Montgomery and Chris SJostrom

and lyrics are embedded with Texas Culture and way of life in which he was raised,
DSA Executive Vice President, Bobby Montgomery, 2014 Songwriter of the Year, has been writing songs since he was a teenager. He says songwriting is a form of therapy and is his reason for writing. He has performed his songs at private parties, festivals, local venues and church. Recording his songs at JoMusik studios this past year, many have won the monthly critiques. Many thanks to Bobby for leading our fundraising drive and helping DSA stay afloat. He was Songwriter of the Year last year and is in the running for Song of the Year tonight. Thanks to Bobby for organizing our buffet tonight.

COUNTRY Semifinalists presented by Bobby Montgomery
Still Enough by Tim Sharp, Tomball, TX
Pills by Tim Sharp, Tomball, TX
I’m Singing My Heart Out by Charles Carter, Dallas, TX
Behind Bars by T Edwin Doss, Silver Spring, MD
90 Proof by Amy Abernathy, Canton, GA
Small Town Masquerade by Hayley McDaniel, Denton, TX
It Ain’t Half Bad by John Swantner, Bellville, TX
Wanted Man by Christopher Sjostrom, Bedford, TX
Coal Dust by Nitanee Paris, Jean-Pierre Williams, Clarence Lawson, Malibu, CA
Malibu, CA
Just Want My Baby Back by Rick Babb, Dallas, TX
COUNTRY AWARD

DSA President, Michael Brandenberger has been involved in music for over 40 years playing blues and jazz

James Pappas and the Christmas tree sculpture he made for the event.

James Pappas and the Christmas tree sculpture he made for the event.

guitar since his high school days in San Antonio.  His most recent band in Dallas was Big Daddy and the Swell-Tones who made the Hole In The Wall their home base up until its demise.  He only started writing songs several years ago but has had a few on local and internet radio stations.  The Dallas Songwriters Association has given him many opportunities to play his original songs at open mics plus the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, the Wildflower Festival and the House of Blues.
INSTRUMENTAL Semifinalists presented by Michael Brandenberger
Aural Therapy by Al Marcy, Downers Grove, IL
Analyze by Al Marcy, Downers Grove, IL
Russian Odyssey by Marc Tilson, Sacremento, CA
Enchanted Kingdom by Bill Wren, Port Aransas, TX
Recipe of Love by DeDe Wedekind, Houston, TX
Sell Me Out by DeDe Wedekind, Houston, TX
Shoot Out by Conrad Swartz, Vancouver, WA
Welcome Home by John Miltano, Miller Place, NY
INSTRUMENTAL AWARD

Jeff Palmer, Sean Layer, and Carlos Silva

Jeff Palmer, Sean Layer, and Carlos Silva

PERFORMANCE – Love semifinalist Sean Layer, vocals, keys, Carlos Silva, guitar, Plano, Tx
Under a Starlit Sky
Virginia born, Sean has lived in Iowa, England, and Texas. He is a multi instrumentalist who’s played both in orchestra and a rock band though out middle school and high school. His influences include Ed Sheeran, The Flipside, Marvin Gaye, and Passenger.

LOVE SONGS/ EASY LISTENING Semifinalists presented by Michael
Under a Starlit Sky by Sean Layer, Plano, TX
Let My Heart Take It From Here by Randy Overton, Waxahachie, TX
Sanctuary by Nitanee Paris Lawson, Rachelle Lynn Gislason, Malibu, CA
The Warmth of Your Love by Don Coyne, LA, CA
River of Memories by Charles Carter, Dallas, TX
Hate That I Love You by Deborah Gussin, Brian Bell, Luther Russell, LA, CA
Recipe of Love by DeDe Wedekind, Houston, TX
Let Me Love You by Mimi Balkey, Plano, TX
LOVE SONGS/ EASY LISTENING AWARD

PERFORMANCE – Novelty/Childrens semifinalist Ireland, Casteel, Grapevine, TX Eenie Meenie

Ireland Casteel

Ireland Casteel

Ireland is a local singer songwriter who, even at the young age of 15, is a storyteller at heart that effortlessly captivates listeners with lyrics that speak directly to the audience.  She started writing songs and playing guitar and ukulele at age 12 and has over 20 originals already under her belt!

NOVELTY / CHILDREN Semifinalists presented by Barbe
Today I’ll Marry My Friend by DeDe WedeKind, Houston, TX
Dreamland by Charles Carter, Dallas, Tx
The Christmas Song No One Knows by Renee Saffier, Andy Hill and Hard Rain, LA, CA
Chicken or Beer by T. Edwin Doss, Silver Spring, MD
Grow Up by Lauren Paley, Lauren Paley, Cedar Hill, Tx
Roly Poly With You by Rick Babb, Dallas, TX
Eenie Meenie by Ireland Casteel, Grapevine, TX
Cool To Be Kind by Randy Sauer, Hays, KS
What Would I Do by Randy Sauer, Hays, KS
NOVELTY / CHILDRENS AWARD

Harry Hewlett and Richie Smith

Harry Hewlett and Richie Smith

Harry Hewlett, Director of A&R, Co-Director of Song Contest, Harry grew up near Lubbock, Tx, and went to Texas Tech, where he sang and played guitar in the quintessential 1960’s 4-piece garage band, performing mostly for frat parties and HS dances. He began songwriting years later, while living in NYC, where he joined the Songwriters Guild and Nashville Songwriters AssocHe’s been writing and entertaining with his own songs and humor ever since. Now retired, he lives in Dallas, and has two CDs, World Class Dirty Old Man and Tahoka Daisy. He is currently serving as A/R Director on the DSA board of directors. We thank him tonight for providing the song cues of the winning songs.

POP/ROCK Semifinalists presented by Harry Hewlett
Break Me Open by Debra Gussin, Brian Bell, Luther Russell, LA, CA
Find Myself by Jonathan Ditto, Kona, Hawaii
For A Reason by Richie Smith, Richardson, TX
Insignificant Other by Andy Hill, Renee Safier and Hard Rain, LA, CA
I’m Alright by Jeff Moore, Baton Rouge, LA
I’m Looking at You by Clark Ford, Ames, IA

Harry Hewlett and Hayley McDaniel

Harry Hewlett and Hayley McDaniel

Leaning On Heaven by DeDe Wedekind, Houston TX
Mystery Girl by Andre Kerek, Miami, FL
Never Come by Sebastien Parentin, Strasbourg, Lorraine, France
Oh Jenny by Debra Gussin, Brian Bell, Nate Shaw,LA, CA
Ordinary Day by Susan Odella, Virginia, MN
Sell Me Out by DeDe Wedekind, Houston, TX
She’s A Pistol by Vicki Lee, Pine Bluff, AK
Sunrise by Pamela Olivia, Santa Clarita, CA
This Means War by Mary Jennings, Nashville, TN
Word Man by Stefanie Johnson, Allentown, PA
Dear Fear by Katie Riley, Poetry, TX
KIcks by Jacquelyn Schwartz, Dallas, TX
Lost by Jacquelyn Schwartz, Dallas, TX
Walk Away by Rick Babb, Dallas, TX
POP/ROCK AWARD

PERFORMANCE by Singer Songwriter semifinalist Haley McDaniel, Denton, Tx Aaron See, Guitar
Small Town Masquerade
Haley has taken the Texas Country Music Scene by storm since the release of her hit, “Small Town

Aaron See and Hayley McDaniel

Aaron See and Hayley McDaniel

Masquerade” and shows no sign of slowing! Her writing style is authentic, conversational and reminiscent of 90’s Traditional Country; When steel guitars and story-telling lyrics ruled the airwaves. Her Hosting gig for The ETX ROCKS Show Podcast and YouTube channel has even further solidified her as a truly influential VOICE in Texas! She has received numerous awards and accolades for her Songwriting. Please welcome Hayley McDaniel performing Small Town Masquerade.
SINGER SONGWRITER Semifinalists presented by Harry Hewlett
10 Feet Under by M’Lynn Musgrove, Dallas, TX
Cleansing Rain by Jared LoStracco, Nacogdoches, TX
Crash by M’Lynn Musgrove, Dallas, TX
Halleluyah Today by Denise Rosier, Lake Forest, CA
I’ll Be Coming Home Soon by Edwin T. Doss, Silver Springs, MD
Let My Heart Take It From Here by Randy Overton, Waxahachie, TX
Running Throuhg The New Brown Corn by Edwin T. Doss, Silver Springs, MD
Small Town Masquerade by Haley McDaniel, Denton, TX
Soft Place To Fall by Debra Gussin, Jonathan Bluth, LA, CA
Wilted Flower by Erin James, Nashville, TN
SINGER SONGWRITER AWARD presented by David Card

GRAND PRIZE WINNERS Anounced- presented by Barbe McMillen
Roy Elkins of Broadjam.com was our grand prize judge. You can read his detailed comments on the DSA website.
Explanation of the process.
All three winners in each category were placed in dropbox for our Grand Prize judge to listen to and pick the Grand Prize Winners. It is unknown to the judge how each song placed in it’s category. In the past we’ve had an HM win the grand prize. Also, he does not know who the songwriter and singer is. It’s very blind judging.

WINNER OF THE IPOD – Jeffery Moore, Baton Rouge, LA

LYRIC CONTEST WINNERS 2016
FALL 2015 Memories of the Future by David Byboth
WINTER In His Hands by Lauren Smith, Livermore, CA
SPRING Fences by Bill Kapac, Williamstown, PA
SUMMER  Addiction by Ireland Casteel, Grapevine, TX

Harry Hewlett, Mr. Troll, Rio King, Michael Brandenberger

Harry Hewlett, Mr. Troll, Rio King, Michael Brandenberger

PERFORMANCE by critique finalist Rio King, Plano, Tx Last Chance to Dance, Play Sump’n Like Dat & That Window Closes Fast
After early successes with his college rock and roll band, The Techniques out of Lubbock, and as a solo singer songwriter at Kerrville, Rio King has re-emerged from musical retirement. With deep affection for his native state, Rio has recently recorded his album, I’d Love To See Texas Again with Chris Gage of MoonHouse Studio in Austin to bring a great collection of original Texas Music. He is performing songs that were winners of the Best Songs of the Second Tuesday Meeting.
BEST SONGS OF THE 2016 SECOND TUESDAY MEETING

SONG OF THE YEAR presented by Harry Hewlett

Michael Brandenberger and Rio King

Michael Brandenberger and Rio King

Explanation of the process
Each month songs of members are critiqued at the 2nd Tuesday meeting. Winners each month are published in Songwriters Notes. At the end of each year, the songs are judged by industry pros and the Song of the Year is awarded to the songwriter whose song garnered the most points from the judges.
SONG OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
1 Time to Leave by Beth Murphy, Richardson, TX
2 My Pickup Truck She Never Lets Me Down by Charles Carter, Dallas, TX
3 Last Chance To Dance In Texas by Rio King, Plano, TX
4 I’m Singing My heart Out in Dallas Tonight by Charles Carter, Dallas, TX
5 Play Sump’n Like Dat by Rio King, Plano, TX
6 That Window Closes Fast by Rio King, Plano, TX
ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNER

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR presented by Michael Brandenberger
Explanation of the process.
The songwriter who has won the most Best Songs of the Meeting throughout the year becomes our songwriter of the year.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNER

Thank You
Special thanks to Harry Hewlett for co-directing the contest, and providing the audio clips tonight.
Dan Roark, Cameron Roark and Dave Lewis of Sons of Hermann Hall for our live sound reinforcement, .
Bobby Montgomery for catering, fundraising and many other things.
Lisa Byrn, SOH Manager, Our Song Contest and Lyric Judges, Nancy Rynders
Ginger Stanoiu for setting up, Ken Duren for helping at the door
Michael Brandenberger for ramroding DSA through 2016

DSA Board of Directors 2016
President / Membership Director – Michael Brandenberger
Executive Vice President, Program Director, Fundraising – Bobby Montgomery
Newsletter, Song Contest, Admin – Barbe McMillen
Workshop, Showcases and Open Mics & Lyric Contest Director – Dan Roark
Treasurer – Dickey Johnson
A&R and Co-Director Song Contest – Harry Hewlett
Secretary – Ginger Stanoiu
Technical Director – Rachel Wilhelm
Marcus Belmore – Webmaster
At-Large: Joe Milton, James Pappas, Ken Duren, Steve Sullivan

Directors for 2017
Michael Brandenberger, Bobby Montgomery, Barbe McMillen, Harry Hewlett, Dicky Johnson, Ginger Stanoiu, Rachel Wilhelm, Steve Sullivan, Ken Duren, Dan Roark, Joe Milton, Marcus Belmore, James Pappas, Malini Shaw

2016 SONG CONTEST JUDGES
Grand Prize Judge : ROY ELKINS, CEO of Broadjam, Inc.

CATEGORY JUDGES
Americana: KENDRA TERRY, Booking manager of Uncle Calvin’s Coffee House.
Christian/Inspirational:  KIMBERLY INGRAM – Open Heart Musicals
Country: ROD PHELPS – VP Global Music Development, the American Music Channel
Children’s/Novelty :MONTY HARPER , award-winning children’s performer, and songwriter http://www.montyharper.com
Instrumental: TERRY HANKINS, premier jazz guitarist
Love Songs/Easy Listening : TONY HAKIM , Jazz performer and owner of the jazz venue, Kitchen Cafe.
Pop/Rock – Music Director KATHY FORSTE, KC Café Radio   http://www.kccaferadio.com
Singer Songwriter: DAVID CARD, Owner, Poor David’s Pub

SONG OF THE YEAR JUDGE
MR TROLL, Open mic host and doer of things at Poor David’s Pub

AMERICANA

1. Two Trains by Renee Saffier, Andy Hill and Hard Rain, LA, CA

2. Just Can’t Drown a Broken Heart by Jared LoStracco, Nacogdoches, TX

3. My Unsung Hero by DeDe Wedekind, Houston, TX

CHRISTIAN

1. Hearts Wide Open by Michael Roth, Arlington, VA

2. It Could Be You by Robert Graham, Toronto, Can.

3. Praise You by Rick Babb, Dallas, TX

COUNTRY

1. Still Enough by Tim Sharp, Tomball, TX

2. Pills by Tim Sharp, Tomball, TX

3. Wanted Man by Christopher Sjostrom, Bedford, TX

LOVE / EASY LISTENING

1. The Warmth of Your Love by Don Coyne, LA, CA

2. Let My Heart Take It From Here by Randy Overton, Waxahachie, TX

3. Sanctuary by Nitanee Paris Lawson, Rachelle Lynn Gislason, Malibu, CA

INSTRUMENTAL

1. Shoot Out by Conrad Swartz, Vancouver, WA

2. Aural Therapy by Al Marcy, Downers Grove, IL

3. Enchanted Kingdom by Bill Wren and Frank Ralls, Port Aransas, TX

NOVELTY / CHILDRENS

1. Grow Up by Lauren Paley, Lauren Paley, Cedar Hill, Tx (email)

2. Cool To Be Kind by Randy Sauer, Hays, KS (email)

3. The Christmas Song No One Knows by Renee Saffier, Andy Hill and Hard Rain, LA, CA

3. Roly Poly With You by Rick Babb, Dallas, TX

HM Eenie Meenie by Ireland Casteel, Grapevine, TX    (email)

HM Dreamland by Charles Carter, Dallas, Tx

POP

1. INSIGNIFICANT OTHER by Andy Hill, Renee Safier and Hard Rain, LA, CA

2. BREAK ME OPEN by Debra Gussin, Brian Bell, Luther Russell, LA, CA

3. SUNRISE by Pamela Olivia, Santa Clarita, CA

HM FOR A REASON by Richie Smith, Richardson, TX

SINGER SONGWRITER

1. SMALL TOWN MASQUERADE by Haley McDaniel, Denton, TX

2. CLEANSING RAIN by Jared LoStracco, Nacogdoches, TX

3. HALLELUYAH TODAY by Denise Rosier, Lake Forest, CA

HM SOFT PLACE TO FALL by Debra Gussin, Jonathan Bluth, LA, CA

GRAND PRIZE WINNERS

1. Enchanted Kingdom by Bill Wren and Frank Ralls, Port Aransas, TX

2. Just Can’t Drown a Broken Heart by Jared LoStracco, Nacogdoches, TX

3. CLEANSING RAIN by Jared LoStracco, Nacogdoches, TX

WINNER OF THE IPOD

Jeffery Moore, Baton Rouge, LA  His entry, This Love, #102 was drawn.

 

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

ultimate-picksOn the weekend of the 15th, I was volunteering at the Dallas Songwriters Association booth at the Arlington Guitar Show. It was slower this year than it was last year – the booth and the guitar show. Bobby Montgomery and I were there for most of both days. Marcus Belmore helped out on Saturday with Harry Hewlett and Steve Sullivan helping out on Sunday.

There was plenty of time for each of us to wander around and see all the booths. As I tell people, if I bought another guitar I’d have to get divorce papers on the way home. So, while I look at the guitars while I’m walking around, I mainly concentrate on picks, capos, and accessories. I have impressive pick and capo collections.

Regardless of the collections, fortunately people are always coming up with something new. Despite the lower attendance, dsc08772there were more booths. At the same time, some of the regular booths weren’t there this year – V-Picks being one. So there wasn’t a whole lot of new booths. Then Gus Gustafson dropped by the DSA booth. He told me about the picks that he and Jim Cobb had created and told me to stop by his booth.

I stopped by the Ultimate Fingerpick booth at the first opportunity. I believe it was Gus’ brother, Bob, I talked to. He explained to me about dipping my fingers in water to get them to feel snug. The idea for them came from the making of prosthetics. With a couple of close friends with prosthetics, I was fascinated. And the picks – or “fingers,” as the case may be, felt comfortable.

I bought the show special which included two packages of two fingers (Ultimate Fingerpicks) and two one thumb packages (Pick Pocket Ultimate Thumb Pick). I liked the way the samples felt, and I was anxious to see how they worked. When my son, Cameron, and I got home, I tuned my guitar and put the picks on. The way the picks are on my fingers in the picture is not how I use them.

ultimate-fingerpickI wanted to illustrate the two ways you wear the fingerpicks. You can either wear them as extensions of your own fingernails or upside down – which is how I wear  them. You can also file the nails down to the shape you want. Gus said he takes his to the manicurist. If you’re picky (sorry), that would be the way to go. Particularly if you’re using them as extensions of your own fingernails – to keep the underside smooth. I use Cyndy’s bigass emery board. But it’s not easy or quick.

When you’re playing with them, they actually feel like your  fingers – as opposed to regular picks. With no chance of them falling, particularly the thumb pick. I used to finger pick with just my thumb and first finger because the fingerpick felt weird on my second finger and it just didn’t happen. When I was using these picks on Saturday night, it felt entirely natural and, of course, added to the sound. You can also use any regular shaped pick in the thumb pick. Just wet it a bit and slide it in. Wet your thumb before you put it on and it will slide on easier.

On Sunday at the Arlington Guitar Show, I went back by the booth. Bob was talking to a customer so I looked at the picks while they talked. I interjected that I had used them the night before and they worked great. Which I hope helped make the sale to the customer.

I tried them out in a live setting at the Poor David’s Pub open mic that next Monday, hosted by Mr. Troll. Overall, theyultimate-thumb-pick worked just fine, as expected. When I used the thumb pick as a regular pick – without the other two – it caught on the strings at times. But it was a blues tune, so it was more a matter of my not being used to them. As well as the fact that it was not designed for that. However, on one of my songs when I used the thumb pick alone on parts, it worked really well.

If you’re a guitar player and/or singer-songwriter, do your self a favor and try out these picks. The price is reasonable and it’s always fun to try new things. Who knows, it may even spark some creative juices to flowing and inspire a new song or style.

Peace be with you.

%d bloggers like this: