Tag Archive: song


Something to think about in light of recent events – and history really. Just sayin’…

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Kevin Edwards

I had the pleasure of participating in the weekly songwriter challenge at the Louisiana St. Grill in McKinney. The challenge is hosted by Kevin Edwards and the Guitar Gallery on the Square of McKinney. You can sign up for the next week’s challenge by sending Kevin a text. He shares the event page to several Facebook pages, but you can find it on the Guitar Gallery’s page.

Ariana Ortiz

Edwards started the show by playing a few songs. Ariana Ortiz was the first songwriter of the evening. She  was filling in for one of the two people who had cancelled. Since she called at the last minute, she did not have time to write a song for the challenge. Ariana has a voice approaching what one would call sultry. Her lyrics added drama to her voice.

Dan Roark

Dan Roark followed Ariana. The crowd especially liked the Aardvark Song. Ray White followed me. Joe Watson followed White. Spencer Hamilton ended the performing part of the evening and began the song challenge. Then in reverse order – Joe Watson, Ray White, then me – we played our challenge songs from the prompt “I don’t do.”

Ray White

Each songwriter in the challenge circled two names on the list of their names. Kevin tallied up the votes. Spencer Hamilton was the winner of the challenge.

It was  an enjoyable evening. I plan to return on a future Tuesday. I’m going to try to write a song with the prompts each week as it goes along.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Joe Watson

Peace be with you.

Spencer Hamilton

Here is a song I wrote for women in response to the derogatory comments we have heard about them in recent times, played for a small group. I will be recording the song in the next month. Copyright 2017

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

target-on-montfort-3Now that I’m past the pesky winter cold that thousands of us had to varying degrees over the past few weeks, I can continue the Valley View mall saga – read part one here. First of all, thanks to Andy Merritt for calling my attention to the Shell station that was on the corner next to the McDonalds that I didn’t mention in part one.

It occurred to me when I was thinking about the Target being there before VV mall that it was arguably one of the first super Targets. From inside Target, you could walk through a small cafeteria area to the grocery store on the other end of the building. At one time – or another – Target owned the grocery store. At other times, it had different owners.

When it stopped being a grocery store, it was the original site of the Chuck E. Cheese that is now down the block – connected by concrete to the ill-fated VV mall. It was a few other things over the years, but they escape me. I’ve slept since then. But it was an experience in that grocery store that led to my song Supermarket Wreck of ’75. Which I still end a lot of my shows with.

But back to the issue at hand, it could very well have been one of the first super Targets by design. An experiment, as it were. If you were around then, you remember there was always a sense of change when you went into the store. People greeted you cheerfully and there always seemed to be something new or different. But at the time that sense of change was felt a lot.

The irony of this post just occurred to me. I’m writing about the Target being one of the only businesses there before the mall was built. And it will be there after the mall is gone.

Peace be with you.

 

 

As I was enjoying Christmas with family, I couldn’t help but think about the families that we delivered food to during the summer and for Thanksgiving and all families like them. I hoped and prayed that they were able to have Christmas dinner and presents of some sort. Or whichever religious celebration they observe. Thanks should be given to Metrocrest Social Services, North Texas Food Bank, churches, and other organizations that make sure families – children and seniors in particular – have the nourishment they need.

Here is the music video of my song, What the Lord Intends (Sack Summer Hunger). Feel free to click on the YouTube logo in the bottom right corner to watch it on my YouTube channel and subscribe to the channel (you will only get an email when I upload a new video).

Peace be with you.

Dan during video shoot

The week before we filmed footage for the What the Lord Intends (Sack Summer Hunger) music video, I kept practicing the song. I had already been playing it frequently in support of the program. But since we were going to film me playing the song, I wanted to be able to do it in as few takes as possible.

On Friday night, I played it numerous times. Then I got up Saturday and played the song to warm up. I arrived at the church at 8 a.m. I set up my camera and filmed myself playing the song a couple of times. Marcus Belmore arrived and began getting footage of the volunteers, including me, sorting and delivering the food to the families whose children received free or reduced lunches during the school year, but nothing during the summer.

I don’t know about other songwriters, but when I write a new song that I really like, I have a hard time getting it out of my head. And since I was playing it in support of the program during the summer, What the Lord Intends was really stuck in my head. I played it a couple of times after I got home from the church.

After a nap and dinner, I later decided to play the song again. I fingerpick on the song and couldn’t play the opening licks for the likes of me. My fingers just wouldn’t work together in the syncopated way they normally would. It was comically frustrating, if you catch my drift.

The lack of dexterity actually concerned me for a moment – even though it was only on that song. Working at the computer a lot of the time, I’m used to carpal tunnel type symptoms. I exercise my hands frequently. Playing guitar helps to stretch the fingers. Except in this case when the two worlds collided, so to speak.

Are there any lessons to be learned? Never play guitar after a nap and dinner? I don’t think so. Never film a video at a church on Saturday morning? Again, no. Don’t play the same song one more time, being tired, without playing other songs? That’s closer.

Anyone had this, or something similar, happen to them? Any other lessons to be learned? I laugh about it now, but it was scary for a while, not having the fingers work on a song.

Peace be with you.

foreign-figuresThe featured artist at the Poor David’s Pub open mic, hosted by Mr. Troll, on Monday, October 24 was a band from Utah called Foreign Figures. Separately the band is Eric Michels – Vocals, Steve Michels – Drums, Seth Dunshee- Bass, and Johnny Tanner – Guitar. Collectively, they are one kickass ball of sound. For a band that has only been together for two years, the four young men seem naturally tight.

The energy of the members of Foreign Figures seems to be boundless. One of the unique things about the band is that they all play percussion at different times. They have a tom-tom, a floor tom, and a snare drum outside of Steve’s trap set. There were times when Seth Dunshee and Johnny Tanner would play their respective drums. Eric as well.

On one particular song, Steve left his drum set, set the beat on the tom-tom, then Dunshee took over the beat. Steve moved the snare drum, set the beat, then his brother, Eric, took over. Next was the floor tom before Tanner took over the beat, then back to the trap set. What followed was a percussive explosion with a back beat. They took us just short of overwhelming and brought it back around to an explosive conclusion. I’ve always loved a good drum solo and this was a drum solo on steroids.

But it wasn’t all about percussion. Tanner played the guitar like the old familiar friend I’m sure it has been. Dunshee placed the bass notes foreign-figures-2between percussion, guitar, and piano seamlessly, emphasizing notes when necessary. Eric Michels sang and danced or moved around with seemingly reckless abandon that was actually very good timing and planning.

It was the band’s first gig in Texas. We showed them they were welcome. If you get the chance to see Foreign Figures, don’t pass it up. As I said earlier, for a band only together for two years, these young men are tight. And as Troll said when he posted a picture of himself and Samantha Saunders (Bar Manager) with the band – “these guys rocked it.”

Peace be with you.

jbl-harman-truckI’m on the home stretch – catching up-wise. On September 28, I had the good fortune to play one of my songs for a video in the EON ONE Take – One Song One Take contest from JBL Professional and Harman. I had been picked from a large number of people to receive a slot. I arrived at the Harman truck in the Guitar Center parking lot in Farmers Branch before my required time. I signed the required form and waited my turn.

J.T. – I’m pretty sure that was his name – had me tune and set up, then do a sound check. When the red line came on, I played my newest song at the time – Peace Be With You, which I wrote about the strange year we’re having and the shooting during the protest in downtown Dallas. [A live version will be available soon.] J.T. seemed to like the song. I’m sure he has to be careful lest someone misunderstand. He explained how the contest would go from there.

The tour around the country concludes about the end of October. Voting will take place the first couple of weeks in November and the top ten finalists will be picked and notified. I’m not sure how the grand prize winner will be picked from the finalists, but the grand prize is a trip to LA to record the song at a noted studio.                                                                                                                                                              akg-d5

As I thanked J.T. and left, he handed me an AKG D5 microphone for recording the video and entering the contest. I used the microphone when I hosted the Monday open mic at Angela’s at the Crosswalk a week ago Monday and the mic performed beautifully. A very clear sounding mic without any of the annoying whine or scream on the high end. At $99, it’s a great deal.

Hopefully, I’ll be asking for your help to do whatever I have to do should I be chosen as a finalist. But I’m not holding my breath.

Peace be with you.

Okay, so it’s not really a tour. But since I wrote a song for Sack Summer Hunger, I have played it at every show and talked about SSH to increase awareness and support – both volunteers and donations – before the program begins on June 11. So it is, in a way, a tour. Several of the “shows” consisted of playing “What the Lord Intends” for congregations of churches. Which included the congregation of The Norkirk Presbyterian Church Sunday morning. The tour ends this coming Sunday, June 5th, with the Sack Summer Hunger Concert.
[The video is of my show at Angela’s during the DSA Showcase. The SSH song is third.]

The Norkirk is a very friendly church. I felt welcome right away. I was looking forward to seeing Nancy Pratt, who is the Christian Education Director. Nancy and I went to high school together. I wrote for the school paper and Nancy was my first in a long line of editors throughout the years.

I wrote a music review column for the paper. I reviewed albums, books, concerts, and so forth. Since it was for school, my parents paid for most of the concerts. I saw a lot of concerts. I would write my column in the style of Hunter S. Thompson or Tom Wolfe – as a participant rather than an observer.

I never knew how much space was available in the next issue. So I would write until the column was finished. Usually on deadline day, or rather deadline hour. The newspaper office had a manual typewriter. After an hour or more of frantic typing, my fingers were sore, but I had a finished column. She would tell me she had room for 250 words. I would hand her the final copy.

“Here’s 400. You choose the 250.”

I actually think I said that to her once. I hope it was only once, but I doubt it. I wasn’t really trying to be pompous. I had written it as a complete piece and would have a hard time cutting it down. Mainly because I was covering a lot of events, depending on the month. I don’t know that she even remembers, but I will apologize when I get a chance.

I walked into the church to smiles and hellos. I set my guitar down when I spotted the restroom. On my way, Rev. Bill Parr approached me.

“You must be here for our minute for mission.”

“I am.”

“Bill Parr,” he said as he shook my hand. “ We’re glad you’re here.”

After I did what was necessary, I picked my guitar up and went into the sanctuary. I didn’t know what to do, so I set my guitar down at the rear of the sanctuary. I looked up and there was Charlotte and Bruce Gibson. I went over and hugged Charlotte and shook Bruce’s hand.

I was in a band with Bruce’s dad and Charlotte’s ex, Bruce, and Joel Nichols, named Southern Plains. Joel and I were a duo for twenty-five years, with Bruce joining in when we played in Dallas and he was able. Joel and I had a band when we made enough money to pay them. Joel died in 1999. Bruce and I played at his funeral.

I went up in the front of the sanctuary and set my guitar case down out of the way. I pulled out my guitar and quickly tuned it. Several people greeted me and thanked me for being there. Then Nancy came up and gave me a hug. She introduced other members that had gone to W.T. White.

The service was an experience in fellowship. John Reas gave me a very nice introduction. I played What the Lord Intends (Sack Summer Hunger) and the congregation appreciated it, judging from the applause.

I appreciate all of the old friends I meet, and I hope I continue to run into old friends. As well as meet new friends who will become old friends. Far too many old friends are no longer with us.

Peace be with you.

 

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