Tag Archive: Refrigerator Records


So I left Colorado on Friday morning – a beautiful day. The traffic was still rather light, but had picked up a little each day. It was a nice day for a drive. A damn long drive, but there you are. The weather warmed up, the air was clear, and the clouds were seemingly drifting through space and time. 

Radio reception cut out on the drive through New Mexico. I listened to the latest mix Conner sent me of the songs for the LA Session cd to be released later this year on Refrigerator Records. The songs sounded so good I was tempted to release it earlier, but everything in its own time. It is good traveling music.

The timing worked out perfect. Radio reception kicked back in when I finished listening to the mixes. A couple of hours later I was past Amarillo. Weather warnings began to interrupt the radio show. Rain, ping pong ball size hail, and sixty mile an hour winds were attacking the panhandle behind me. I was appreciating the fact that I had dodged that particular bullet. 

I appreciated that fact all the way to Hwy 380. The wind had picked up considerably by that time. Then I hit a little light rain. No big deal. I called Cameron to see if he was at his apartment in Denton. I was going to stop off, say hi, and use the bathroom. But soon after we hung up, the bottom dropped out. God’s way of telling me he didn’t appreciate my over confidence. 

On 35, visibility was reduced to having to turn on the flashers to warn those behind us. I worried about those whose common sense seemed lacking. I had to go around two accidents, the first of which I was almost in. But I arrived home with no incident in which I was involved.

I’ve been wearing a mask and social distancing the whole time. On one level of my conscience I’m getting used to it. On another level, I’m kinda tired of the whole damn thing. I would like to have a beer at the bar and then finish my show when the break is over.

In my dream last night, the trip – as well as events of the past few months – invaded that same conscience. There is a lot of jumbled parts that made an impression, but I don’t remember what happened. However, one scene struck me vividly. 

I was at a gathering of some sort. It was obviously pre(or post)- Covid 19. While the groups were away from each other, it was closer than six feet. I was walking through the crowd, saying hello to what seemed like everyone. I wasn’t shaking hands, but I was patting everyone on the shoulder. I got halfway through the crowd when I became horrified at what I was doing. Yet I couldn’t stop. Then I suddenly woke up with a shake.

I’d rather not have that dream again, if it’s all the same.

_____________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

Since the first single from Southern Plains Revisited will be released May 29 on Refrigerator Records (whether I play the show at World’s End Brewing or not), I thought I would fill you in on the beginning of Southern Plains. Cyndy and I have been married for twenty-eight years. We’ve been in love, as we say, since right after high school – where we were friends.

Our first date was during her senior year. I had graduated the year before. We went to see Rusty Weir at the Lone Star Opry House on Industrial in Dallas and had a blast, drinking – you guessed it – Lone Star Beer. Industrial is called Riverfront now. We had a couple of dates after that.

Then, in early ’76, we had a disaster of a double date. We had an okay time together. But the date sucked. We ended up in an apartment lying on the floor next to a couple who were getting excited by the movie they were playing of people doing things we had no intention of doing at the time. But the other couple seemed to be moving in that direction. Neither of us remember exactly how the date ended, but mercifully it ended.

Cyndy called me before Super Bowl Sunday and invited me to a party at a friend’s apartment to watch the game. There were Cyndy, myself, and Joel Nichols at Bruce and Charlotte Gibson’s apartment. We spent more time talking about music than watching the game. By the time the party was over, Joel, Bruce, and I agreed to meet again with guitars and beer to see what transpired.

Stay tuned!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

I don’t mean I’m on the road, but I wish I was. I was supposed to start my tour the first of the month. The first half is shot to hell, and I’m not all that optimistic about the last half. And I’m just one of many.  When I say on the road, I mean by myself in my van.

When this all began, I immediately began getting emails about how I, too, could teach music at home online. If I had an inclination to teach music online, I would already be doing it. And where would all the students come from? It’s been said that there is an increase of online learning, but that is across all subjects. The total would also have to include all of those at colleges, high schools, and lower grades who weren’t learning completely online before.

Then they said to take this time to sell more merchandise (I’m a writer – I refuse to call it “merch” – more than just that once). Merchandise didn’t fly out the door before, even for performers with a much larger fan base than mine. Besides, some of those who might buy some stuff are out of a job and on unemployment.

Then there’s the streaming thing. Everyone and his uncle are doing Facebook Live, videos on Instagram, Zoom concerts, and so forth. I don’t have the time to see all the “live shows” because I’m too busy doing other things. So why would I expect a lot of people to be able to watch my “live shows”?

Then they said to release new material. Well that I can do. I was about to release my EP, Southern Plains Revisited, right before my tour began. Joel Nichols, Bruce Gibson, and myself, were Southern Plains. When the gig paid enough, we had bass and drums. Joel and I were a duo for most of the nearly twenty-five years of Southern Plains. With all the extra time currently available, I was able to digitize some of the cassettes and tapes from those days and now have enough material for a full cd rather than just the EP of our last recording session before Joel died. Possibly enough material for future releases. I’ll be releasing music from that project shortly.

My, son, Conner, and I put the finishing touches on the L.A. Sessions cd while in quarantine in Iowa a couple of weeks ago. It includes the remastered songs from my Hello Out There cd in addition to the rest of the songs from that session. It will be released later this year. We also laid down the basic tracks for another cd. Look for new songs throughout the next year. All songs and cds are on the Refrigerator Records label.

While I feel that the streaming game is not for me, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to play for you. When I get my home studio back up to speed, I plan to start a podcast so you can hear it anytime while you’re doing other things. I will also be releasing songs and videos along the way.

Come along for the journey. It’ll be fun!

Oh, and if you like what you read or enjoy what I do, please let me know – paypal.me/danroark.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

The first week of isolation, I lamented the loss of shows and wondered if the places I played around the country – primarily breweries and craft beer bars – would survive for me to play there again. I thought of things I could be doing, but then went back to the lamenting and the wondering. I could still support the local breweries. I could still to “essential” things (albeit being careful). I could drive around for a bit if I wanted to – not getting out of the car. But I couldn’t get out of my own head. Or more correctly, get back to my happy place. The current path is filled with a mixture of anxiety and panic, in just enough strength to be a pain in the ass. I had a live streaming gig in the Starving Artist Festival benefiItting Feeding America that Saturday. So I had something to practice for.

The second week our oldest son, Conner, was down from Des Moines isolating with us, so I could do some recording with him for upcoming projects. I came up with a solid plan for what to do going forward and proceeded to do nothing about it. The funny thing is, except for playing shows, I didn’t leave the house a lot anyway (although shows could run into weeks). Cyndy works at home and didn’t either. But it was the few times we did that mattered. Cyndy’s groups, my groups, church on Sundays, and so forth. But when you’re told you can’t do something, you want to do it more. The Zoom meetings help, but it’s not the same.

The third week Conner and I did some recording before he packed everything up and I took him back to Des Moines. We stopped at two travel centers, a CBD shop, and drove through a Chick-fil-a. I isolated with him at his house and did some more recording. He works maintenance at Adventureland Hotel. They are closed and the hotel was sterilized by the employees before they left and filed for unemployment. There is a restaurant that still does carryout. So the maintenance staff is equal parts maintenance and security. We recorded one night in the cabana room. We also filmed a few songs, so I’ll be releasing those videos when the editing is finished.

I was looking forward to the drive back home alone. It wasn’t on the way to or from a show, but it gave me time to think. Bullshit! It rained from Des Moines, Iowa, to Lawrence, Kansas. Which I can tell you is a long freaking way. Not only was I not getting out of my head – or simply making it a more comfortable place to be in – I found myself locked inside with the key on the outside. It’s a good thing I don’t have serious depression, because that was freaking depressing. Fortunately, when I reached Oklahoma, the sun was at least trying to break through, which was something. Then there’s that whole, I can’t really get out of the van thing.

And now I’m home, still in isolation, and healthy, thank God. But I’m working on the the plan I came up with in the first place. By myself and in conjunction with Conner. I hope you’ll join us on the journey. This post represents the start of that plan. Stay tuned and stay safe.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Dan Roark, Lou Castro, Ryan Brown

My oldest son, Conner, an audio engineer and owner of Refrigerator Records, and I arrived at Mikal Reid’s studio in Woodland Hills, California. We had come out the night before to get everything ready. So it didn’t take Conner too long to get things set up.

When Conner told me he had Lou Castro, noted LA session musician,

Ryan Brown, Lou Castro, Dan Roark

and Ryan Brown, drummer for Dweezil Zappa, lined up to play on my cd, I was elated, as you can understand. I had not expected to play with that level of talent. And I didn’t know what they would think of my songs.

Lou Castro

I sent Lou and Ryan the songs I wanted to record. A couple of days later, I talked to Lou and he said he liked my songs. So I felt a little better, but I hadn’t talked to Ryan. So I’m in the studio playing guitar and warming up while Conner sets up the mics and headphones. About twenty minutes later there was a knock on the door. It was Ryan Brown. Lou was going to arrive a little later. Conner let him in. Before I had a chance to react, Ryan walked up to me.

Ryan Brown

“Are you Dan?” I nodded. “I like your music. Awesome songs.”

I was blown away, to say the least. While Ryan was setting up the drums the way he wanted them, Lou arrived and got set up with his bass. After Conner got all the levels set, we started the session with the Aardvark song. Once we began playing, all nervousness left me and it was just fun.

Dan Roark

Four to five hours later, we had nine songs done, a couple on the first two takes. We didn’t take any breaks. Mainly because I got so involved in playing that I didn’t think about it. Nobody else said anything either. When you have a groove going, no reason to stop.

Except that after three hours of straight playing and singing, I felt a cramp in my right hand gaining intensity. My voice was sounding rough. We weren’t using the vocal track anyway, but I was still straining my vocal chords. The cramping was a more immediate issue.

I made it through the nine songs. I only had eleven in mind. Of the two we didn’t get recorded, one was a song I already had recorded, but wanted to redo it. The other song was more of an acoustic song anyway.

We spent the next hour talking about music and telling stories while Conner transferred the files to his hard drive. As well as comparing music scenes. It was a very pleasant way to end a good day of recording – with the exception of the throbbing in my hand.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

In less than a week I’ll be in North Hollywood. I have eight shows in ten days, while recording during the day on six of those days. I have the good fortune to have noted LA bassist, Lou Castro, playing on my cd. Not to mention Ryan Brown, Dweezil Zappa’s drummer. Then there is Jimena Fosado, one of the hottest young guitarists in LA. With my son, Conner as engineer and producer. Conner also owns Refrigerator Records.

As if that wasn’t enough, I play at Rumi Cafe on Thursday and Friday. Then Tribal Cafe on Sunday and Ireland’s 32 on Monday. The Cork Lounge on Tuesday, then Guitar Merchant on Wednesday. Back at Rumi on Thursday and Friday. The Saturdays are in the works.

If you would like pre-order the cd, Hello Out There, you can do so on the store page of my website. Buying anything else in my store would also help with expenses.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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