Tag Archive: Nashville


[Read part one, two, three, four, five, six, seven]

My immediate concern following the robbery was to get another guitar – the sooner, the better. Fortunately, my parents’ homeowners insurance covered the loss, but not did not pay enough to replace my Martin.

I flew back to Dallas. The next day I was in McCord Music in Valley View Mall. They had sound-proof rooms in the back. I picked out about six guitars. Four were within the range of the insurance check, and two were in the “if I like one of these, maybe I can talk Dad into it” category.

I was apprehensive because I wanted a guitar then, but I wanted to get the right guitar. I don’t remember what kind the other guitars were. I picked up the first two, played them a bit, and put them back. Then I picked up the handmade bicentennial edition Alvarez. I loved the color because it matched my red hair. It had a clear pick guard which I loved. Then I began to play it. It sounded so sweet and when I sang it complimented my voice. It still does – and it really sounds good now with John Pearse strings. The only other set of strings the Alvarez has had on was whatever was on it when I bought it.

Obviously, I’ve never regretted my decision – or losing my Martin really.  I have three Alvarez guitars now. They’re all three great sounding guitars, although I still call that first Alvarez the “good” guitar. It’s the one I’ve got in the picture above. As you can hear when you listen to River That Flows that is out now from Southern Plains Revisited and other songs to come from that album, the Alvarez became an integral part of the Southern Plains sound.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.(

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

[Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six]

The rent on our upstairs apartment was $35 a month. I guess, with the house being in the neighborhood it was in, the owner just appreciated people who paid rent on time, took care of the place, and didn’t attract a lot of attention. That would change a bit, but that’s another story.

When any one of the four of us got paid, we would go to Spats in the West End for happy hour. Then we would pick up food and beer and head home. Joel and I – and anyone who happened by to jam – would play late into the night. When it neared three a.m. we’d head back to the store for more beer. Then the next time someone got paid, we’d do it again. But, with the exception of Spats, that was the routine on really any given evening. We worked at Deli Junction during the day.

One day we were running errands or somesuch. Joel was driving and I was drinking coffee in a styrofoam cup. We hit a bump and I held my cup up and didn’t spill a drop.

“I’m pretty good at that,” I boasted proudly.

Before too long, Joel stomped on the brakes. Of course I spilled coffee on my last clean shirt. And those were laundromat days. I was really pissed and couldn’t understand why he would do that just to be a smart ass. It didn’t take long for us to get past it, but I’ll never forget it. (I’m still pissed.)

________________________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Paypal.me/danroark

916 Acklen Ave., in Nashville

[Read Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five]

Joel and I worked at a sandwich shop in Nashville called Deli Junction. We worked days so we could play or practice at night. One afternoon while we were working, Joel got a phone call. The look on his face told me something was seriously wrong. We couldn’t both leave. He said someone had broken into the apartment. He said he would let me know what had happened.

What had happened was that someone had broken in and stolen every music and sound device in the apartment. My Martin D35 guitar, cassette recorder, stereo, tv, radio, and so forth. Joel’s room was a small room to the left of the kitchen. His Martin D35 was still there in its case.

As we sat there in the den in silence that night, we figured it must have been somebody who knew Joel, so he didn’t take his guitar. As we talked, I thought about the tv against the wall under a blanket or rug – I don’t remember which.

“They probably just figured it didn’t work, so they left it,” I said. “Let’s try it to see if it works.”

We uncovered it, turned it on, and sure as shit it worked. We laughed and everyone looked at me.

“I didn’t watch Perry Mason for nothing!”

It took a while, but we replaced the stereo, the cassette recorder and so on.

Stay tuned for what I did about my guitar being stolen.

_________________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

[Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4] The picture is of tuna fish salad Cyndy made. I can eat tuna fish and tuna fish salad now. I haven’t had the impulse to gag when I smelled it in years…

….In the upstairs apartment at 916 Acklen Ave. in Nashville, we took turns fixing meals when we ate int. On one occasion when it was my turn, I decided to fix tuna casserole. It was pretty freaking good as I recall – as long as I’m not smelling tuna while I think about it. It received compliments.

After dinner we went out for drinks. We we got back, we drank beer and watched tv, among other things. The casserole dish – meanwhile – had been pushed to the side of the table in the kitchen. It got covered up by other things. With all of us actually working at the same time, as well as practicing and playing shows, the dish was forgotten, for a while.

But, it happened to be particularly warm for the next few days. We began to notice a smell. I don’t remember how long we looked, but obviously we found it. Which is when everyone looked at me and said, “you cooked it, you clean it.” So I did, alternately holding my breath and gagging.

Finally, it was over and I was seriously sniffing dishwashing soap. I will not describe it for a couple of reasons. One is because I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone else. The second is because I don’t know if I could accurately describe it and not run to the bathroom. As it is, it will be a few hours before I can have any of the tuna fish salad.

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Picture of a bad picture of The Villager from the ’70s

[Read part I, part II and Nashville part I] [When we had to have the film developed, we never knew if the picture was blurry until we got the pictures back.]

The Villager is one of the first places we played in Nashville – and one of only two venues we played that are still open. The other is the Exit/Inn. Joel had been jamming with a Nashville musician named Cat Waldeman. So Southern Plains was a trio again, with Bruce Gibson (the original third member) still in Dallas.

One of many things that hasn’t changed in Nashville is that most of the time when you play it is open mics or showcases. Meaning you only get to play one to three songs. We had three core songs that we played – two originals and one cover. We began each set with those three, which meant those were often the three songs we played, period.

The three songs were Cold Wind Blows, River That Flows, and Can’t You See. Kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? It was a sort of mantra. If you read the previous posts, you know that the last recorded version of River That Flows that Joel and I recorded just came out as a single this week. Cold Wind Blows is also on the Southern Plains Revisited and will be released as a single.

We called Cold Wind Blows our “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”. Only because of the style of the song. We were jamming one day and we had a poem by a local street poet named Mostly Williams. If you let him crash at your place for a few days, he paid you with poems. So we wrote the music together and I added a few lyrics to Mostly’s poem. It’s a long jam song so we primarily played it live. But I found this version recorded and produced by George Turner. I made a few edits and re-mastered it for the album. There are other songs on the album that he recorded.

At the Villager, we played at least one full set. Of course we were paid in beer. It’s a small place and the crowd wasn’t near what you would call large. They seemed to enjoy the music, nonetheless.

Next up…well, you’ll just have to wait…it’s a good story….

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

 

916 Acklen Ave., in Nashville

This was the house in Nashville where we lived on the second floor. The room with the three windows upstairs was my room. The front door of our apartment is on the far right side of the porch. Our other two roommates were Sonja and Debbie. (I’m not so sure about Debbie, but it’s close.)

Sonja was a pretty cool person. Debbie was a nice person, but she was a clean freak. We used to say she’d empty the ashtray after you simply tapped your cigarette on it. That’s an exaggeration, but not by much.

Building a beer can mountain is no easy task. First you have to drink a lot of beer – so it doesn’t happen overnight. Then you have to find a good corner of the room in which to build it. Joel, Sonja, and I – with a little help from our friends – did both. I don’t know how many cans high it was, or how many total cans, but it almost reached the ceiling. We were rather proud of it. People would come over to see it. It was rather impressive.

Joel, Sonja, and I were gone for the good part of a Saturday. When we arrived back home, Debbie had gotten rid of the can mountain. We were understandably pissed off. And we let her know in no uncertain terms. She wasn’t our roommate for too much longer after that. The can mountain wasn’t the only incident and we found out she was irritating as well.

___________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

(Read the first part of the Southern Plains story here. Along with what the cover of the album was supposed to be like if the distributors had let me use the cover I wanted.)

The next time Joel, Bruce, and I got together – with guitars and beer – we each played songs we’d written. We enjoyed each other’s songs, re-playing some so the other two could harmonize. We were excited about what we were hearing. I hadn’t had anyone singing along with me on my songs and I was blown away.

Joel returned to school in Nashville, Tennessee at Scarritt College, which is now the Scarritt Bennett Center. He came back to Dallas over the summer and we played gigs before and after Joel’s summer courses in Nashville, including a show at a party in Slidell, Lousiana. Joel then decided, after three and a half years, that he would forego returning to school to play gigs. I paused my own schooling to move to Nashville with Joel so he would finish his last semester (and play gigs) and live with his other two roommates on the second floor of an old house.

The painting pictured above is a painting of a picture of mine and Joel’s guitars crossed. More to come!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Cameron and I got to the Ryman Auditorium about noon on Friday. After we got up and drove to Kentucky so Cameron could get a few 6-packs of Ale 8, a drink he likes that can only be found in certain places. When we got back to Nashville, we drove to Music City Center, parked the van, and checked my guitar into the bag check for Summer NAMM. Then we walked the two blocks to the Ryman Auditorium.

We took the self-guided tour and it wasn’t as easy as you would think. But we wandered around and worked it out. Cameron enjoyed it, and it’s always a special thing, but I was a little disappointed. Only because I had the chance to see it before the restoration. I was fortunate to tour the Ryman when you could see the back stage dressing rooms. We would call them closets. Just enough room for them to change clothes and sit waiting.

With the exception of the theater, the restaurant, and the stage lighting, it still looks pretty much the same. When we left I had to have a beer at Tootsies across the alley – as did the performers when the Grand Old Opry was still at the Ryman.

Then we headed back to Music City Center….

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Doobie Jones, Dan Roark

Cameron and I arrived at Skully’s Saloon about 6:30 on Thursday June 28. It’s called a dive bar, but it’s one of the biggest dive bars I’ve seen and has a stage. But it’s between railroad tracks at a railway station, so there’s that. It’s in Old Hickory, just northeast of Nashville on the Cumberland River.

Doobie Jones and I opened the Music City’s Unsigned Best Songwriters Night hosted by Billy Lee of Truckstop Honey. Doobie is a card and writes some interesting songs. I played three songs from my new EP, Hello Out There. The crowd was very receptive.

The following is the line-up with links. It was a stellar group of songwriters, all playing their heart out. I didn’t get a chance to hear the last two sets of songwriters because we had to get back to the hotel. But I have no doubt they sang their hearts out as well.

Take the time to follow the links and listen to their music – you won’t be disappointed. Billy was a good host and he and Amanda Jo Kielpinski (Truckstop Honey) had colorful songs. Arvie and Bunny Bennett were a gracious couple and sang some really nice songs.

I felt a little out of place not being in the local group. But songwriters are a pretty accepting lot as a general rule. Arvie and Bunny made me feel like I was part of the group. Arvie apologized for not being there early enough to hear me play. They had gotten ready, got in the truck, and it wouldn’t start. I have no doubt we’ll keep in touch. Billy has invited me back so they’ll get a chance to hear me play.

Dan Roark/Doobie Jones

Luke Hatfield/Jerr Grunn,

Marc Oriet/Arvie & Bunny,

Truckstop Honey,

Jeffrey Allen/Christina Valentino,

Jeff Dezern/Eli Locke,

Andrew Ullman/Colt Stroud

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

If you were ever at a Stuckey’s when they were around, you know they were a far cry from anything associated with adult products. They were rectangular buildings at countless exit/entrances on highways with a green roof. They had a lunch counter and you could get chocolates, candies, and souvenirs. When the company closed, the buildings were left empty.

When my son, Cameron, and I were driving to Nashville for Summer NAMM – a yearly trip – I noticed that the Stuckey’s buildings in Tennessee have been re-purposed. They are now part of the Miranda’s chain of Adult Stores – toys, videos, and lingerie. Your pornographic one stop shop.

I couldn’t get a picture because of the trees, and I’m not about to get any closer to one than I was driving by at 75 miles an hour. But I do think the re-purposing is ironic or disgusting – I’m not sure which. Maybe both.

Then we were miles down the road and it didn’t matter anymore.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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