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Tag Archive: Texas


Heading out to Georgia and Tennessee last week I stayed in KOAs when I wasn’t staying with friends. As a member, I get 10% off every night and points for every stay. I got a tent site with hookups, pulled the van into the site, plugged in my power strip, and settled in.

An ill-fated trip to Colorado where I made it no farther than Amarillo in late April began with a stay at the KOA in Abilene. The staff was very nice and helpful. The high temperature of a warm 80 dropped when the sun went down to the 60s and made for a pleasant night.

I was remembering that night with fondness as I pulled into the Toomsuba, Mississippi KOA on Tuesday the 21st. Before I left Farmers Branch, the Weather Channel was announcing a coming heat wave that could possibly set records – the center of which was right around Atlanta, Ga which was where I was headed. What they didn’t say was that the humidity percentage was going to rival the temperature.

Fortunately, it was not yet that humid in Toomsuba, even though it was in the middle of a large wooded area. But it was upwards of 90 when I pulled in about 6:30. The woman in the office/store greeted me and checked me in.

“Nice to have you here. The store closes at 7.” She checked the time again. “Oh good, you made it before the mosquitos come out.”

Well, good. I put the extension cord through the slightly open passenger front window, then stuffed my towel in the crack. Fortunately, mosquitos don’t care for me much, but I’m not immune. I have an Arctic Air that Cameron loaned me. It doesn’t work like they say on tv. It worked okay sitting behind my fan blowing cool air into it, but it wouldn’t have cooled the van by itself. Hell, both together were struggling against the heat before the sun went down. But after the sun went down, I had a peaceful night.

I stayed with friends, Joe and Lisa Catanese, while in Athens. Joe and I played at Akademia Brewing Company on Thursday. On Wednesday and Thursday in Athens, the temperature was in the 90s and the humidity was 89%. Fortunately, on Friday afternoon when I pulled into the KOA in Cartersville, Ga, the humidity was only about 50%, but at 92 degrees at 6 p.m. the Arctic Air and fan had more work to do. I worked on the computer and watched a movie sitting in front of the fan(s) moving as little as I needed to. It’s the only time I wear shorts. And again, after dark it got cooler and relatively pleasant.

You never can depend on the weather. But you can depend on KOA camps. It costs considerably less than a hotel room, it has a bathroom, shower, and sense of community. Keeping costs down is essential to any possible monetary success for a touring artist. I utilize travel centers and rest areas as well. I couldn’t stay every night in a KOA on a two week tour. But it’s nice to know they’re there when I need a break, electricity, and a shower.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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Okay, so now to catch up after the whirlwind of the past two and a half weeks.  I returned to Gilmer Brewing Company on Friday, May 10. But before talking about the brewery, an update on a subject of great concern to craft breweries for their continued success.

The Texas Senate passed an amendment to current laws that would allow craft breweries to sell beer to go from the breweries up to approximately a case per customer per day. The House is expected it to pass it as well, and the governor is expected to sign it. Breweries should be able to sell beer to go starting September 1st. This has been a long time coming, considering Texas is the last state to allow breweries to sell beer to go.

Gilmer Brewing Company is a small brewery on the square in downtown Gilmer. Playing there is always a fun time, even when the crowd is not as big as other times. The regulars at the bar are dedicated supporters of live music. The owners, Drew and Ruth Emory, are sweet people and they know how to brew beer. After working at their “day jobs” during the week, they throw themselves into running the brewery on weekends.

The first time I play at Gilmer after September 1st, I plan on bringing home their current newest beer, Upshur Amber. It’s a smooth full-bodied lager with a nice taste, named after the county of Upshur by the winner of the contest for the name. But don’t just go by me. Besides, I like the Peacemaker and Buckeye beers- a pilsner and blonde, respectively – as well. Pritchett Fog and Shrapnel are distinctly different takes on an IPA with the former an NE IPA. If you have a preference for a stout, Big Woods will smooth your weary palate and ease your mind.

Visit Gimer Brewing Company when you have a chance. There is live music most weekends – please tip to support live music. Have a flight of four beers and see which beers you prefer. And tell the Emorys I said hi!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

My son, J.D., playing college ball.

I’ve been watching the playoff games. For one thing it’s easy to have on in the background while I work on booking shows for next year. For another thing, at this point I have a love-hate relationship with the Astros. I go back and forth between wanting them to go all the way again, and wanting them to get their asses kicked. They are a Texas team, true, but they are still – the Astros.

Then again, watching the playoffs reminds me that it’s not freaking raining EVERYWHERE! More importantly, I overload on baseball to get me through the drought until spring training. The only other sport we watch is some golf on the weekends – the tournaments of which have also been having some good weather, by the way.

The playoffs are getting interesting now. The games from the wild card games to the current two series were decidedly one-sided. It’s a competition in both series now. I’m interested to see how it turns out. The announcers are freaking annoying, but that’s why the mute button was invented.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

While it was the final TexasSelectRadio.com Shaun and Dan show, the radio show will continue to be hosted by Shaun at Stan’s Main Street. I will be playing at Malarkey’s Tavern on Wednesdays. Here were the performers for the show:

Shaun Outen

Shaun Outen and Scott

Dan Roark

Dan Roark

Michael Franceus

Michael Franceus

Baylis Laramore

Baylis Laramore

Harold King

Harold King

Taylor Chicks

Taylor Chicks

Brett Cox

Brett Cox

Follow the links to hear their music for yourself. Make a note of when they’re playing so you can see them play live. Keep an eye out for possible future Shaun and Dan shows.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

TexasSelectRadio.com Shaun and Dan show at Stan’s Main Street in Frisco on Wednesday, March 7:

 

 

 

Mark Burnaugh and Jason Gibson

 

Check out the links and listen to their music for yourself. Make a note of when they are playing next, go see them play, and support live music. Songwriters who would like to be on the show, send Dan a message.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

TexasSelectRadio.com Shaun and Dan show at Canucks in Lewisville on March 1st:

 

 

Check out the links and listen to their music for yourself. Make a note of when they are playing next, go see them play, and support live music. Songwriters who would like to be on the show, send Dan a message.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

First of all, it was for about five minutes. And, obviously, I wasn’t really Jesus.

I received an email on Saturday from Tina Thompson-Broussard, the Choir Director at Christ UMC, Farmers Branch, saying that she had asked the staff who they thought would play Jesus, and Pam Capener mentioned me. Tina asked if I would be Jesus during a song in the early service on Sunday – no speaking, just acting. The early service begins at 8:50 a.m. so I was to be there at 8:20.

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

I didn’t have a show on Saturday, but we were to turn the clocks forward. It was doable – needless to say, I don’t usually go to the early service. Besides, how many times do you get the chance to be an Irish Jesus? After a few hours deliberation, I replied in the affirmative.

All I knew was that I was to be Jesus. The sermon series is on Jesus Christ Superstar, so as an old hippie, I knew that what I usually wear would probably work. I did have a pair of sandals, just in case. I thought about having my tie-dyed shirt at the ready, but it is the early service and it might not go over.

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

I was getting ready for my role Saturday night. I knew she was looking for the Jesus Christ Superstar Jesus. But I kept falling back into the Eric Clapton Jesus in the Who musical, Tommy, when he walks down the aisle of the church in a white robe playing a Les Paul. But I didn’t have a white robe. I’m just more comfortable with a guitar.

I walked into the church at 8:15, coffee in hand. The choir was practicing in the choir room, so I just hung out in the hallway reading the bulletin board over and over and drinking coffee. After about 4 minutes, Katie Buck walked in and smiled at me

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

like she expected to see me. I commented that it was really early, and she agreed. Katie and her older sister, Lillian, were in youth with our boys. Her father, Charles, led the confirmation class that all the kids went through. So I didn’t think anything about it.

Then Tina walked in the door, put something in the choir room, and took Katie and I to the sanctuary. Then I learned what the plan was. The sermon was entitled “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” We were to do our little “skit” during the Anthem -Kyrie – Schubert Mass in G Major by Franz Schubert. (I know, it surprised me, too – and I was Jesus.)

As the music began, I was to walk up the middle aisle of the sanctuary to the chancel. Where I was to step up on the riser, turn, and stand there “looking Jesus-y.” Then, after so many measures, Katie came up. I turned as she was coming up and faced her when she got there. We looked each other in the eye, then Katie “the fallen woman” (I know – I felt better, too when I learned that) would bow before me, look up, and then back down. I patted her on the shoulder, and helped her up. We looked each other in the eye. Then she looked down again, I reached out and raised her chin, and we looked at each other, Katie looking relieved, and me looking Jesus-y.

Katie Buck and Dan Roark

We practiced it once and Tina asked if we wanted to go through it again. We said we were good. Katie had actually brought a sheet fashioned into a tunic. As you see, I wore my shirt with the fish on it, untucked, and jeans. Before the service began, I went to Charles and Rebecca Buck with Katie.

“I’ve gotta be honest with you,” I was telling them, “I don’t think even Jesus would get up this early. I see him strolling down to the synagogue about noon.”

So I went and sat with Cyndy toward the back, and Katie sat on the front row. The service began. After the scripture reading, the anthem began. I walked up the aisle, turned and looked Jesus-y, Katie came up and we did our thing, and returned to our seats.

After the service, people thought we did well, and it all worked – Katie has done some acting – hence the tunic. While Katie and I were looking at each other, we actually had a conversation with our eyes. And then, just like that, I was plain old Dan again. Which is a good thing. Being Jesus ain’t easy!

Peace be with you.

Alex Francisco Caruthers

I had the good fortune to be in the lineup for New Faces Tuesday on August 22 at Love and War in Texas in Plano.

Christopher Odell Mills

Shaun Outen was hosting the evening. The sponsor, Texas Select/Texas Select Radio, was broadcasting live on TexasSelectRadio.com. Dana Verrill of Texas Select was on hand for the first part of the show.

Alex Francisco Caruthers opened the evenings performances. His music and songs are reminiscent of Dan Fogelberg. Although the lyrics were a little hard to distinguish through the harmony pedal up a little too loud. But we could distinguish enough to know that they were good songs. After a few songs, he was joined on stage by Christopher Odell Mills and they traded songs. Christopher  made one think of Darius Rucker – in stage manner and vocal style more than looks or sound of his voice. He had nice songs and stage banter  – which Alex shared with him.

Dusty Fields

Next up to trade off songs were Dusty Fields, Kenneth Waters, and Mandalyn Mack.

Kenneth Waters

Whereas Alex and Christopher were more Americana, these three were straight country. Real country, not the crap you hear on mainstream country stations. Some of the cover songs played throughout the evening may have been played on those stations, but not in heavy rotation.

Dusty Fields is also in Shaun Outen’s band and a good friend of Shaun’s. At one point during the set, Shaun took Dusty’s place and played his single, Senoritas and Tequila. Kenneth Waters calls his music red dirt – as does Shaun – which works in both cases. You can find their music on Reverbnation.

Mandalyn Mack

Mandalyn Mack is a sixteen year old girl with a big voice. She played mixed cover songs and originals as well. The most memorable of her originals was My Love Song to Beer. Which is ironic – as her father Alvin pointed out – because she is sixteen years old and has never had a drink. Nevertheless, the song was good.

Following them were Jeff Smithart and Ray White. Which mixed outlaw and traditional country. Check the links for their music.

Last up was Dan Roark, John Willis, and Scoot  Drescher. Mixing americana, folk, and country. John and Scoot played together since they

Dan Roark

are part of the Garage Door Boys. They played along with Dan on I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville, Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters, and the Aardvark Song. Likewise, Dan joined them, adding his voice on Why You Been Gone So Long.

Shaun joined John and Scoot for the last songs of the evening. (More pictures on my Facebook music page.)

Thanks to Shaun Outen, Texas Select Radio, Dana Verrill, and Love and War in Texas Plano for New Faces Tuesday. You don’t want to miss the next one. Hopefully, it will be a little cooler and less humid.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

This is the video I took of Jimena’s solo. I had my hands stretched above my head and the people in front of me. The blood began to run out of my arms and I almost got a crick in my neck watching the viewer, but I got the solo. The sound could be a little better, but I had as much control over the sound as I did the people screaming around me. When she started her solo, it was like the crowd came alive. See for yourself.

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.

 

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