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Tag Archive: music


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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Layne Elizabeth

The final TexasSelectRadio.com Shaun and Dan show at Guitars and Growlers on February 26 began with Layne Elizabeth. A talented teenage songwriter, Layne played her original songs. Which included Third Wheel and Hey Girl from her self-titled Ep, and Filter.

John Jaggers followed Elizabeth. John played

John Jaggers

his original songs such as The Obits and Vigil in the Rain, mixed with a couple of cover songs.

Baylis Laramore

Baylis Laramore took the stage next and played his songs that tell stories like All in the River’s Time, Land’s End, and one of my favorites, Ghost of Galveston. It was the first time he played the new All in the River’s Time live.

Tom May closed out the last TSR Shaun and Dan show at Guitars and Growlers with a set of covers that he played in his own style.

Tom May

As always, follow the links and listen to their music for yourself. Notice when they are playing next and go see them and support live music. While the Monday show at Guitars and Growlers has ended, come see the Shaun and Dan show at Stan’s Main Street in Frisco on Wednesdays and Canucks in Lewisville on Thursdays. Songwriters who want to be on the show should message Dan.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Harry Hewlett

The TexasSelectRadio.com Shaun and Dan Show  at Guitars and Growlers on February 19 began with Harry Hewlett and his west Texas music and humor. Harry grew up on a farm in west Texas. His songs, such as Dirty Old Man, and Everclear illustrate that.

Lynn McCracken, with Bill Hudson on guitar, and Gigi Gostas on cajon, played her introspective songs, such as I Wrote You a Letter, and Fear.

Gigi Gostas, Lynn McCracken, Bill Hudson

Rob Case, with Alayna Mitchakes adding vocals, played songs from his cd, Last Call in Texas, such as Bayou City, and and a couple of cover songs.

Allen Larson followed Case, and played a mix of his original tunes, such as You Got This, and cover

Alayna Mitchakes, Rob Case

tunes which included a song by Bruce Cockburn.

John Herbert played a short set of cover songs. Dan Roark  wrapped up the show with I Just Want to get Social, Waffle House, and Hitchhiking Song.

Follow the links, hear the music for yourself, and notice when they are playing so you can see them live. Come to Guitars and Growlers on Mondays for good

Allen Larson

music, good food, a large variety of craft beers that changes constantly, and be a part of the radio show. Songwriters – message Dan or Shaun to be on a coming show.

John Herbert

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark

 

 

 

Robbie Marks

The inaugural TexasSelectRadio.com Shaun and Dan show at Canuck’s in Lewsiville on Thursday, February 15 began with Robbie Marks. Robbie shared his songs mixed in with country covers. John Mason followed Marks and played his original Americana songs, such as I Wanna Know, and California.

John Mason

Mr. Troll took the stage next and sang his original tunes like Cry, and Goin’ Nowhere. Robin Willis followed Mr. Troll. Her powerful voice lends an extra ounce of interpretation to her songs.

Mr. Troll

Shaun Outen wrapped up the show with a few songs that included his singles  Senoritas and Tequila, and Without Your Love.

Follow the links, hear the music for yourself,

Robin Willis

and notice when they’re playing so you can see them live. And come see the next TSR Shaun and Dan show at Canuck’s and enjoy some good food along with the music. If you are a songwriter, message Dan or Shaun to be on a future show.

Shaun Outen

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Layne Elizabeth

Layne Elizabeth opened the last Shaun and Dan  show at Love and War in Texas, Plano on Tuesday, February 6 on TexasSelectRadio.com. Layne is another of the talented young singer-songwriters playing around the Dallas area. She shared her own originals and a couple of cover songs. She has a lovely voice and insights in her songs that belie her age. Follow the link above to know where she’s playing next

Craig Langford is a bassist by profession, but he like’s the “songwriting thing.” Which is good for us because he’s pretty good at it. He illustrated

Craig Langford

his talent in a set of original songs. The most touching of which was a song about his mother, entitled simply, My Mom.

Rickey Gene Wright followed Langford on stage. Due to the encroaching storm, Rickey was the last performer of the evening. He played a set of his

Rickey Gene Wright

Americana music. Songs such as There is Nothin’ Like the Love of a Texas Girl, and Island Red. He played my favorite song of his, the haunting Waitin’ On My Time.

As always, follow the links and hear their songs for yourself. Better yet, go see them play.

If you would like a spot on the Shaun and Dan TSR Show at Guitars and Growlers on Mondays, send me a message.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Robbie Marks

Robbie Marks opened the showcase last Tuesday, January 9 at Love and War in Texas, Plano that Shaun Outen and I host. Marks played a set of originals mixed with country covers.

Ray White took the stage after Robbie Marks. The show was broadcast on TexasSelectRadio.com as usual on Tuesdays. Ray followed Robbie’s example of playing originals and covers.

Ray White

Troy James has a unique sense of humor that he displays in his clever songs. He is also a fellow author. I didn’t realize until later that we had both been judges at Little Anthony’s Reach For the Stars Talent Competition. Follow his link to find his music – as with all the performers. It’s hard to take notes, pictures, and be a host at the same time.                          

 

 

Rob Case followed Troy on stage. Case played played a number of his originals, including my favorite, Bayou City. He closed with a couple of cover songs.

Shaun Outen played a few covers, including one of his favorites, Willie Nelson’s Me and Paul. Shaun ended with his recent single, Senoritas and Tequila.

Rob Case

Dan Roark closed out the evening with three songs from his upcoming EP. Then the waitress, Yvonne – I don’t have her last name – sang “Crazy” A Capella. She did a very nice job.

Come on out and join us on Tuesdays – except for tonight (January 16). Come listen or plan to play a few of your songs on TexasSelectRadio.com. The heaters usually suffice to make it comfortable. Good music, good food, friendly staff. More pictures will be found on my Facebook music page. Follow the performer’s links to hear the music for yourself.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark

I was guest host for Bill Hook at the first Wednesday night Songwriters Showcase/ Open Mic of 2018 on January 3rd at Guitars and Growlers. While it was every other Wednesday in 2017, SS/Open mic is now weekly.

I was getting over a cold

Jade Nickol

that I got for Christmas. I opened the show and made it through two songs before I realized it was time to pass the mic. Jade Nickol took the stage and played her original songs as well as a Stevie Nicks cover.

Remy Reilly, another teenage songwriter, played piano and sang her original songs. She also played a Stevie Nicks cover – since Jade had.

Remy Reilly

Anna DiTommaso took the stage after we got the keyboard off the stage. “I will now play some songs that I definitely didn’t write,” Anna said as she introduced herself. She then did musical justice to four cover songs.

Local songwriter, Alex Benavides, followed DiTommaso. Benavides played his original songs and ended with Country Roads by John Denver and everyone singing along. Karl King played a couple of tunes on harmonica before asking Joe Gerard, who was up next, to join him on stage for a song. The two performed Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull. Gerard then stayed on stage to play a set of cover songs. Donna Weis closed out the evening with her unique brand of folk music, hearkening back to the ’60s and ’70s.

In all, an interesting musical evening. More pictures will be on my Facebook music page. Join Bill Hook each Wednesday to hear some good songwriters and/or play a few of your songs. Good music, good food, great craft beer selection and friendly staff.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

Shelby Ballenger

Shaun Outen and Dan Roark hosted the Songwriters Showcase on November 28 at Love and War in Texas in Plano. I’m a little behind, but it was too good a show not to share.

Shelby Ballenger and Brad Wayne Purdom swapped songs to start the show. Ballenger played her songs Messing With a Cowboy, and Smell the Rain among others. She also played Hank William’s You’re Cheating Heart, and Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee.

Brad Wayne Purdom

Purdom’s “set” included his songs, Gypsy Soul and Bright Light of Day. Brad Wayne also played his song about John Fulbright. He assisted Shelby on lead and harmonica.

Mr. Troll and I took the stage next and swapped songs. Troll played what open mic regulars would refer to as his “greatest hits.” Which obviously included Cry, which is one of my favorites. And of course, Going Nowhere. I played songs from my

Dan Roark

upcoming cd, Hello Out There. Shaun Outen closed out the show with a set of his own tunes mixed with covers.

Check out the links and hear the music for yourself. You won’t regret it. Go see them live when and if you get the chance. You won’t regret that either.

Mr. Troll Mallow

Come out and listen or play on Tuesday’s at Love and War. The heaters and enclosures make it comfortable. Come join us!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Shaun Outen

Bill Hook, Host

Bill Hook, host, opened the Songwriters Night at Guitars and Growlers on Wednesday, November 22. He played his songs, Let’s Dance, Give Me a Chance, and Heartache Blues.

Dan Roark took the stage next and played four songs from his upcoming cd, Hello Out ThereRob Case followed Dan with his signature song, Bayou City – about Houston. Case also played his version of Stormy Monday.

Dan Roark

Bill Nash played next and played four original songs, the last of which was a song with great wordplay, James Dean’s Genes. Alex Benavides played a set of covers with an original. He turned Country Roads into a sing-a-long that everyone enjoyed.

Khalil Coffield

Khalil Coffield just happened to stop in with a couple of friends. He signed up for an impromptu performance. Coffield is a good young songwriter with interesting songs.

Emma and her father were with the fairly large party in front of the stage. Emma put only her first name on the signup sheet. I had to leave without getting her last name. She sang a song or two with the words on her phone and her father playing guitar.

Follow the links and listen to these songwriters yourself. You’ll enjoy the experience. The next time you get a chance, go listen to them perform their songs live. More pictures will be posted on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Kerry Watts

Kerry Watts opened the show at the Tuesday Songwriters Showcase Shaun Outen and I host on Tuesdays at Love and War in Texas in Plano on November 21st. It’s sponsored by Texas Select Beverage Company and is often streamed live on TexasSelectRadio.com. There are heaters on the enclosed patio which make it comfortable.

Kerry mixed a couple of cover songs in with his original songs. It’s Too

Shaun Outen

Late and Love Means Forever were the first two. Love Means Forever stood out to me. But it’s a toss up between it and his last original, My Heart Doesn’t Know You Left Me.

Shaun Outen got up at the end of Watts’ set and played a few songs with Kerry’s guitar. Kenneth Waters took the stage after Outen. His set included his original songs, Crazy Mind and Turns Me On. Additionally, he did Walk Away, and Witch in Wichita – a cute song.

Kenneth Waters

I took the stage and played my set before Terry Strange followed me to close out the night. I particularly like his song, How About the Truth.

Come out and join us on Tuesdays. Always good music and they serve really good food at Love and War.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Terry Strange

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