Tag Archive: sound


Ryan Brown snare drum

Among the percussion instruments Ryan Brown brought to the recording session was a handmade snare drum. Ironically, the man that made the drum lives in Texas near San Antonio. He’s a woodworker who uses trees on his land for his projects. If I find out his name, I’ll edit this post.

He told Ryan he wanted to make a drum for him. He had made a lot of things out of wood, but not instruments. He wanted to give it a try. What was Ryan going to say?

When he brought it to the studio, he had just picked it up when he got home from a tour with Dweezil Zappa. My songs were the first songs ever played with that snare drum, particularly on a recording. As you can see, it is a piece of art. You can tell by the changing color and grain of wood that it is strips of wood, painstakingly arranged and fitted.

And you’ll be able to hear the first recordings with it on my cd. Incidentally, you can pre-order the cd at danroark.com.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

sound-system-setupI mentioned a few posts back that I had people talk to me while setting up my sound system. They were friendly and well-meaning, but they kept asking questions. Which disturbed my routine and I missed a couple of steps. It’s harder to find the problem later when you think you’ve done everything as usual.

When the show has begun, it’s harder to adjust on the fly. You use every trick in your book and sweat a lot. If you’re lucky – and you know what you’re doing – you can get good sound for the audience at least. Which is the important thing. In a smaller venue, like Angela’s at the Crosswalk, the performer can still hear herself, she just doesn’t know how it’s coming across to the audience. But in a larger venue, it could potentially be a disaster.

But the point I’m trying to make is that when the sound man is setting up the system – particularly if he is setting up the system from scratch – avoid talking to him or her, if possible. Say hi and ask a question of course. But try not to engage them in extended conversation. They may be running late for one reason or another. They are volunteering after all, as a general rule. Either way they will have time to talk after the sound system is ready and before the show begins. Particularly, if the sound man is also the host. It’s a little different in places with a built-in sound system, like Poor David’s Pub, with a professional sound man. But still, let the sound man do his job. He wants to hear from you, but he also has a job to do. You will sound better when you play as a result. And thank him when you leave.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Samantha as we sang to her.

Samantha as we sang to her.

On Monday, December 12th, the Poor David’s Pub open mic, hosted by Mr. Troll, was a celebration of Samantha Sanders’, birthday. Samantha Sanders is the bar manager at PDP, a hairdresser, a mother of three talented baseball playing boys, and an all around beautiful person.

Keith Crow started the show. He had to leave early, so Troll let him start. Troll followed Keith with Billy Keith Bucher joining him on cajon.  When Troll and Billy Keith finished, I took the stage – with a box rather than a guitar.

I asked Carlos to come up to the stage. While he was coming to the stage, I announced that Carlos was the 2016 Best Sound Man of the Year Award. When he reached the stage, I announced that, as showcase director for the Dallas Songwriters Association, I was presenting Carlos with the 2017 Best Sound Man of the Year award.carlos-sanchez-and-dan-roark

I was not trying to take away from Samantha’s celebration by giving Carlos the trophy. I was guest hosting when it was Carlos’ birthday celebration and I wanted Troll to be there when I gave Carlos the award. And, as in Carlos’ case, it wasn’t the actual birthday.

After the presentation and the two of us leaving the stage, David Card and Mr. Troll took our place. David expounded for a bit about Samantha’s talents as a bar manager and her charms as a person. Which we all echoed with shouts of agreement and applause. Then David and Troll led us all in singing Happy Birthday.

Poor David Card and Mr. Troll

Poor David Card and Mr. Troll

Then it was back to the open mic with the featured artist, Eric Sommer. Sommer is originally from Boston and now pretty much from the road. He has an old style blues guitar setup – from the amps to the acoustic guitars to the telecasters to the Shure iconic unidyne vocal mic. Eric reminds one of the blues players who came before him. Mixed, however, with a punk, salty, edge.

Sometimes being late to post works out right. Today is Samantha’s actual birthday. Go to her Facebook page and say Happy Birthday!

And the music plays on….

Peace be with you.

Carlos and Dan Monday, November 30th, at Poor David’s Pub, was not only the regular open mic, but a birthday party for the sound man, Carlos Sanchez. Even though his birthday was actually on Sunday. Open mic started a little late, giving some of the band members time to get there and set up. There was to be a featured artist, Daze of the Moon at 8:30, with Carlos and the Ghoulies playing at 9.

The open mic started about 8 – rather than the customary 7:30 – with the host, Mr. Troll. He played two songs, one of which was Cry. It is my favorite of Troll’s songs. Cyndy made a point of telling Troll how much she liked the song – not knowing it was my favorite.

Troll then introduced PDP owner, David Card,

David Card

David Card

who played a song for Carlos. He had just finished the song a couple of hours earlier. It was a humorous, as well as touching, tribute to Carlos. Craig Langford played next. Craig is a good songwriter with a unique voice. Follow the link to hear his music or check out his music on iTunes.

I followed Craig. Before I played my two songs, I ask Carlos up to the stage. As Showcase Director for the Dallas Songwriters Association, I presented Carlos with the inaugural DSA Sound Man of the Year Trophy for his sound work on the DSA quarterly showcase/fundraisers and his work in general. Carlos recorded the shows and gave them to us on cds. He is easily one of the best sound men in Dallas.
Dan Roark 1
One of the songs I played was a new song I wrote with Carlos in mind, called the Sound Man. When Daze of the Moon finally came on they played a tight, rocking set. They call their music alternative rock, but it simply sounded like rock and roll to me. And that’s a good thing. Carlos and the Ghoulies jammed the house down, with open mic continuing after they left the stage.

It was a great night of music to celebrate Carlos Sanchez’s birthday. And his sound work. Congratulations to Carlos – DSA Sound Man of the Year!

Peace be with you.

Tone Shop In case you don’t know, there is a new guitar shop on Midway, just north of Beltline, in Addison – Tone Shop Guitars. Co-owners Tommy Roberts, Grant Sheffield and staff will be happy to show you around. They have one of the few Taylor rooms in the country. For the uninitiated, they have a partnership with Taylor and have a room dedicated to Tayor guitars.

Tone Shop also has an extensive line of Martin guitars in a separate room with other guitars. Then there is the amp room. And the wall of electric guitars, as well as other guitars and basses hung around the showroom. You can see the layout in the pictures. They also have vinyl records.
Tone Shop 2
Having only been open a little over six months, their concentration is on guitars, basses, and amps. The accessories and sound equipment “departments” are works in progress. It is safe to say that they are, literally, just getting started. Tommy refers to it as a “Mom and Pop” operation (although I think “Pop and Pop” would be closer to the truth). Regardless, they are locally owned and operated. Which is a plus in several ways, one of which is the personalized service from a neighbor, who listens to what you’re saying and pays attention to what you need. The Dallas Songwriters Association will be working with the Tone Shop on a special event or two, beginning with a workshop.
Tone Shop 4
So drop in and see Tommy and Grant. Play a few guitars – there is sure to be one, or several, that you like. Test out an amp or two. Pick up strings, replace your humidifier or pouches, and buy that accessory you’ve been considering. Tell them I said “hi.” And follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Peace be with you.

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