Tag Archive: open mic


I was guest host for Mr. Troll at the Poor David’s Pub (PDP) open mic on Monday, August 28. I started the evening off at 7:30 with my Poor David’s Pub song and a couple of others. A second time newcomer, Michael Williams came next. He played three nice songs, including a bluesy number, despite his insistence that he “still needs to practice.”

The inimitable and cynical Roy Howell

Michael Williams

followed Michael with three songs, including his “mass murderer song” dedicated to John Lennon. Cort Harris, a first time newcomer, preceded the featured artists, Dan and the Decade. He had a nice voice and country/americana style.

Visually, Dan and the Decade look like a culturally diverse Buddy Holly and the Crickets. And these young men can certainly rock and roll. They are definitely in sync with one another. Lead vocalist Dan Friedman and Vivek Koshti both play guitar, with Kyle Lester on bass, and Vinay Kotamarti on drums.

Dan and the Decade

Dan and the Decade brought friends and fans and played a tight half hour set. This was their premier performance and they did quite nicely. A band to watch as they bond more musically. They will only get better. Like them on Facebook and go see them when you can. It will be worth it.

Rob Case, former Houston resident with family still there, played a set which included

Cort Harris

Bayou City. Bayou City is about Houston and why Rob left in the first place. Rob and Lynda’s family are safe, but they may be headed down to help out.

Michael Newkirk began what I called the “extended absence” set. Michael, Jeff Stachowski, and Tin Man Travis returned to PDP open mic after an extended period of time. We were glad to see them. Michael Newkirk is a country crooner of sorts. Jeff has also been a comedian. The humor and cynicism shows in his songs, such as 99 Postcards. Tin Man Travis played Stormy Monday, and Georgia, to end the open mic.

Another good show you didn’t get to see. (More pictures on my Facebook music page.) Support open mics – you won’t regret it.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

While Ben Wheeler is not exactly down the street – particularly for me in Farmers Branch – it is a very enjoyable open mic. For one thing, the Forge is usually full when the open mic begins. As a general rule, it’s also a very receptive crowd.

There are usually people who are willing to play along, on cajon, harmonica, and so on. All the performers are good and varied musically. TD Wilt is a jovial host and plays a short set to begin the evening – setting the pace quite nicely.

So pick a Wednesday and head on out. Ben Wheeler is a quaint little country town and the Forge is a local watering hole. You will enjoy the people, the music, and the food. Following is a video TD put together of one of the nights I played.

https://www.facebook.com/guitartud/videos/1726998757594243/

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Joe Catanese, Mr. Troll, Lynda Case

The featured artist at the Poor David’s Pub (PDP) Open Mic hosted by Mr. Troll on Monday, August 14th, was Joe Cat (Catanese). Joe comes by the open mic whenever he tours through Texas on a weekend.  In fact, it’s the only open mic he plays at any more because of the “vibe at Poor David’s.” And there is a good vibe at PDP.

It starts with the chairs that don’t all match. The listening atmosphere which was a hallmark of all three PDP locations. The pictures on the wall of the many performers who have graced PDP stages over the years. Not to mention Poor David his own self.

But, as with David, it’s the people that top off the vibe. There’s Samantha Sanders, her sister, Leslie, and Kevin Hale behind the bar – always with a smile and occasional joke. Mr. Troll, when he is not hosting the open mic on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, is everyone’s introduction to Poor David’s. Sitting at the table in the vestibule, he greets everyone with a smile and hearty hello as he takes money or checks the list. Other than that, he is, as he says, doer of things at Poor David’s.

Last, but definitely not least, there’s Carlos Sanchez running sound. As architect of the sound system, he sits behind the sound board – when not darting to the stage to make adjustments – as grand master of sound. And at the open mic, for a nominal fee he will record your set. Which is more than worth it. If you’re on stage for your set, if you need any adjustments, just ask Carlos. More likely than not, you’ll hear him holler out, “I got it!”

Then there are the “usual suspects” at the open mic. All uniquely individual characters in a bowl of musical soup. Roy Howell, the philosophical cynic. Rob Case, with his disdain for Houston in his song Bayou City. Along with his “minions,” consisting mainly of  talented family and friends. John Mason, myself, Darren Rozell, and Scott Thornton are others.

Come on down, get on the list, and play. Or come and listen. We will talk to you, thank you from the stage, and make you welcome. We love listeners. But most of all, enjoy the vibe.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

When I’m headed to a show, a few blocks away from home I reach back and pat my guitar case in the back floor. As long as I’ve got my guitar, everything will work out. Even if I’m missing a cord or other piece of equipment, I can still play the show as long as I have my guitar. But I’m usually not missing anything.

I had a friend who had to borrow my guitar at an open mic. He brought his guitar case – his guitar just wasn’t in it. Another friend left his guitar in the parking lot when he left for the evening.

Anyone that knows me knows I am a creature of habit. I’m not anal about it, but I do things the same way all the time. And I usually have good reasons for doing so. As the previous examples illustrate.

But (didn’t you see a but coming?), a couple of weeks ago, I was heading to an open mic. I loaded everything but my water bottle and my guitar, as usual. Something distracted me: a phone call, unexpected conversation, who knows.

I said good-bye to Cyndy and left for the restaurant. I was wrestling with the air conditioner for the first part of the trip. I got to the restaurant, got my backpack and my hat. As I opened the back door, it occurred to me that for the first time in over forty years, I had left without my guitar. And for the first time in quite some time, I hadn’t reached around and patted my guitar case. I won’t make that mistake again.

But I sure felt stupid. And I don’t like feeling stupid. What did you do that made you feel stupid?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

I drove out to play the open mic at The Forge in Ben Wheeler on Wednesday, June 28th. It’s a rustic, friendly restaurant in a rustic friendly little town.

I was on the list among locals and didn’t get the names. Eddie Pardee was the guest host for TD Wilt. Eddie let me play a couple extra songs since I’d driven out from Farmers Branch. I had fun and the crowd seemed to enjoy my songs.

Then I had the chance to hear some more local

Aimee Pietzsch

talent, including a young woman with more bracelets than I’ve ever seen any one person wear. Her name was Aimee Pietzsch and she seemed to wear the bracelets naturally and with a little class. She sat down at the mic with a friend on guitar. Aimee sang one hell of a version of Me and Bobby McGee. Both Janis Joplin and Kris Kristofferson would be proud. Unfortunately, it was the only song she had prepared.

I love to promote younger songwriters and younger performers. It’s gives me a feeling of warmth to hear young people perform songs with intensity of those who preceded them. I’ll have to make it back out to play and hopefully hear her again. If you’re out that way, drop in. The food, talent, and staff are all top notch and small town friendly.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Mr. Troll

The Monday, April 10th edition of the Poor David’s Pub Open Mic was another one of those open mic shows you’d be sorry you missed. If you knew you missed it. And now I’m here to tell you what you missed. So you can be sorry.

The show began, as it usually does, with the host, the

Josh Vincent

inimitable Mr. Troll. Keith Crow, one of the regulars, followed Troll. Josh Vincent played next – you should check him out if you get the chance. Yours truly, Dan Roark, followed Josh and preceded the featured artist.

The featured artist was Voodoo Witness. They rocked the house for the next forty minutes. People go completely crazy these days when it comes to music genres. Those who are into genres might use two or three kinds of rock to describe their

Voodoo Witness

music. I only need one – kick ass rock and roll. Of course, they put their own spin on it, but they simply rock. Do not miss a chance to see them.

Harry Hewlett, a fellow member of Dallas Songwriters Association – as is Troll – played next and thanked Voodoo Witness for opening for him, tongue in cheek. Then he played his West Texas farm sort of country. Diana Gale played next. Diana is a vocalist, voice instructor, and creative artist and coach. She also writes some pretty nice songs.

Harper O’Neil

Zane Cook is an interesting young songwriter who followed Gale. Harper O’Neil is cute as a button and has some very good introspective songs. Unfortunately, I had to leave and was not able to hear Corey Clark and Mike Newkirk.

Do yourself a favor and go to an open mic, any open mic – either to play or listen. There will almost always some excellent songwriters and some really good music.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

Now that I have a chance, here is another video from the 40th anniversary Poor David’s Pub open mic. It’s the host, Mr. Troll, playing his song Cold Grey Sky. If I am wrong about the title of the song, it will mysteriously be corrected in a few days and the words you are reading will mysteriously disappear.

Peace be with you.

Poor David’s Pub has only one Monday night open mic – hosted by Mr. Troll – in March, due to a flurry of 40th anniversary shows. The one open mic was held on March 13. Mr. Troll opened the show with two songs, followed by Life in Hollywood, and Ireland Casteel. It was a long list of performers. There are more info and videos to come, but after Ireland played, David Card came up to thank everyone. He did such a good job, I thought everyone who has ever been to or played in Poor David’s Pub would like to see it.

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.

 

Mr. Troll

Mr. Troll

The Poor David’s Pub open mic on January 16 was one of those nights when the open mic is a mutual admiration society. Fortunately, for venue owners and hosts, they do not happen all that often. But on occasion, only a few songwriters show up. Granted, it was Martin Luther King, Jr. day. But a few of us figured that playing the open mic was a good way to celebrate the day. We played a few songs that MLK Jr. would have appreciated.

But the point is we sang our asses off. It was the best show you never saw. Even Troll muscled through his set admirably well – despite coming off of a case of strep throat. Cat McGee came across stronger and more confident than I’ve seen her – and I’ve seen her a good number of times. Her voice was in powerful form. Songs such as Sleeper Awake and Suspect. But the one MLK Jr. would have appreciated is City of Steeples.

Darren Rozell followed with his original country songs, with a little blues thrown in. I took the stage after

Cat McGee

Cat McGee

Darren and played a good solid set myself, which included Peace Be With You, my song that includes MLK, Jr. Kathleen Farris, a newcomer who hadn’t expected to play, played a few of her songs. Then Joe Cat showed up after his gig at Opening Bell. I wasn’t able to stay for his full set, so it’s a good thing he played my favorite song of his first – Silver Thread City.

It was a solid night of good music. And you missed it. As I have said previously, I am writing about the Poor David’s Pub open mic specifically, but also about open mics in general. This one wasn’t the only one you missed. To paraphrase Droo D’Anna, one of many open mic hosts, about  the Wednesday night open mic at Tutta’s Pizza:

“If you’re not coming out to our [insert day] open mic at [insert venue], you need to seriously reconsider your life…all the fun is being had here.”

Keep supporting live music.

Keep writing songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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