Tag Archive: Texas


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.

 

When I knew I was going to be in LA to see Conner and record, I contacted the Tribal Cafe and Gary Stockdale and booked a gig. I was trying for Friday, but Gary was busy, so I arranged for a Sunday afternoon show. The Tribal Cafe, as you can see, is a funky little place in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. It has an extremely varied menu and the food is really good. They have an open mic five days a week.

The show was from 4:30 to 6:30. Gary played first because he had an obligation later. I really wanted to do a show with Gary and hear a full set of his songs. I met him at the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance in Austin a few years ago and see him there each year. But I only got to hear a few songs at a time. Gary is the consumate folk entertainer. He has some really good songs which you can find through his website.

Gary Stockdale

Fortunately, he had a couple of friends show up to hear him play. There were few other people in the cafe. Gary played a good, full set which included a song from his show, Bumpersticker – the Musical. He also played my favorite song – so far – Who’s That Old Man. I think that’s the title.

After his set, Gary was able to listen to a few of my songs, but then he had to leave – a couple of songs after Conner and his girlfriend, Jimena, arrived.

A few songs into my set, people began to arrive. For the last half of my set, I had a full crowd. Granted, it was not a huge place, but a full group of people for my first show in LA felt really good. And they liked my songs. I almost always adjust my set list when the crowd isn’t the type or size I expected. I switched places with a few songs, but I actually played the set as planned and even did the two standby tunes.

The fact that Conner and Jimena were there was a bonus. It was the first time she heard me play. She’s quite the guitarist and songwriter herself. Jimena Fosado is one of the angels in Corey Feldman‘s band. I also have her to thank for the pictures of me playing.

I spent the rest of the evening grinning quite often. All in all, my first show in LA was a success.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

KristyLee Hair

KristyLee Hair

If you are a regular reader, you know that I am one of the rotating hosts of the Monday night open mic at Angela’s at the Crosswalk in Plano. There is a group of regulars that play the open mic, in large part due to the list being online the week before. But I say usual suspects (something a friend often says) tongue in cheek – they are neither usual nor actual suspects.

Take Monday the 14th for example. The first performer on the list was a no-show, so I played a couple of songs before KristyLee Hair played her set. KristyLee is charming, good-looking young woman from Prosper, Texas. She is a college student at UNT and has a beautiful voice. With another no-show, I invited her to extend her set.

I followed next in my scheduled spot. Mr. Joe played after me. Joe is a teacher who is called Mr. Joe at school. As he says, “the name just stuck” and he got used to it. He had recent throat issues. He tried to sing one, which we thought he did well. He didn’t think so though, so he played instrumentals.

Johnny Cromer played a few songs since we were still ahead of schedule. He returned to the mic to close out the evening in his scheduled spot at 9:30. Johnny is one of those stalwart open mic performers who shows up early on to support the other performers.

Pamela Pantea and Dianna Rice sang next when Richie Smith called and said he was running late. Pamela usually sings one song by herself

Dianna Rice and Pamela  Pantea

Dianna Rice and Pamela Pantea

before Dianna joins her for the next two songs.  The two call themselves the Daughters of the Gospel. They sing hyms and Christian songs to tracks on the computer. And they sing them very well.

Richie Smith, who followed Pamela and Dianna, is an amazing young man whose story calls for it’s own post. Look for it shortly.

Allen Larson was on the list next. Allen is a good friend who is also a fellow member of the Dallas Songwriters Association. He plays a number of open mics around town. Check out his Facebook page for coming appearances with longer shows. But you can pretty much count on him being at Angela’s. He is also one of the rotating hosts of the open mic.

Joe Dan (JD) Webb decided recently that he was going to pick the guitar up regularly and get his chops back. He is making very good progress. Although he might tell you differently. Come out on a Monday to hear him and see for yourself. Let him know if you enjoy his set.

Tommy LeBoeuf has a pedal setup that includes a looper and other effects. Which is not unique, but not all that common with acoustic guitars. He plays cover songs and plays them as close to the original as he can with pedals and looper.

Johnny Cromer finished out the evening. Angela’s Monday night open mic is always an interesting mix of performers, some playing original songs, others playing cover songs, and a few playing both. Stay tuned for the post on Richie Smith. Watch my Facebook page for all the pictures.

Peace be with you.

 

Cast - courtesy of Water Tower Theater

Cast – courtesy of Water Tower Theater

I won tickets to see Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash at the Water Tower Theater in Addison. I entered the drawing in the KERA Art & Seek newsletter. Cyndy and I arrived at the theater not knowing what to expect, other than Johnny Cash music. We’re not really current on Broadway Musicals. We were pleasantly surprised with both the theater and the musical.

The staff was very helpful and friendly. At the box office we were told that they had seats for us, but wanted to wait to see if they could have better seats. We returned to the box office just as the doors opened. There were other people waiting that were on standby. A staff member with the list came out and called out a name, but the person wasn’t there.

The next name she called out was mine. She handed us generic tickets without seat numbers, pointed to the usher, and said we could sit in any empty seats except K103. The usher looked at the tickets and said to wait because there were still people coming in. When he realized they were standby, he said he guessed we could sit in the seats I asked about. We sat on the front row.

Ring of Fire is four people playing Johnny Cash music: in the order of the picture -Sonny Franks as David, Katrina Kratzer as Trenna, Spencer Baker, as Eddie, Ian Ferguson as Mark, and Brian Mathis as Jason. Sonny Franks was also the musical director. He played accompaniment and comic relief. The choreography between songs was sparse but very effective without flaw.

Mathis/Jason entered the stage through the audience dressed in black. For all intents and purposes Jason played the mature Johnny Cash. He also did the lion’s share of narration. Kratzer/Trenna represented June Carter Cash by default and by design. Although I do not think June could come close to playing the fiddle/violin like Kratzer does. As we musicians say “she flat tore it up.” And while I think she would also fit in an orchestral setting, she seemed more at home playing fiddle.

Eddie and Mark alternated between representing the younger Cash and being accompanist, depending on the song. By representing, I mean loosely. No one was actually being Johnny or June. Which made it all the more fun.

In Act 1, the cast performed some of the couple’s more popular tunes such as Five Feet High and Rising, Daddy Sang Bass, Get Rhythm, Ring of Fire, and Jackson. As well as lesser known comical songs, Egg Suckin’ Dog, and Flushed From the Bathroom Of Your Heart. During Egg Suckin’ Dog, played by the male members of the cast, David went into the audience for a “fourth member of the quartet.” The young man stood wearing a silly hat and sheepish grin – being the egg suckin’ dog. Thus ended the mystery of why we couldn’t sit in K103.

In Act 2, they performed the heavy hitters – the most popular of the couple’s songs. I’ve Been Everywhere, Sunday Morning Coming Down, Delia’s Gone, and Folsom Prison Blues, to name a few. As well as Man In Black, I Walk the Line, Hey Porter, and A Boy Named Sue (the final song). One of the most emotional parts of the evening was when Trenna and Jason did a duet on Waiting on the Far Side of Jordan. If you don’t know the song or the story, it’s about a woman who says that if she is the first to go, she will wait on the “far side of Jordan” with her hand outstretched for her husband to join her. June did, in fact, pass away first, with Johnny following not long after. There was not a dry eye in the house when the song ended.

Ring of Fire runs through Sunday at the Water Tower Theater. Do yourself a favor and go see the musical. Even if you have to get on the standby list – which could work in your favor. It is a delightful musical journey through the life of Johnny Cash and his lifelong love with June Carter Cash.

Peace be with you.

 

Summer NAMM opening party.

Summer NAMM opening party.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable fourth of July weekend. I took the time to catch up on some things, like posts. My son, Cameron, and I went to Nashville a week ago to attend Summer NAMM. NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants. They have Winter NAMM in LA and Summer NAMM in Nashville. They will have one in Russia soon.

The three events are where music merchants – and prospective music merchants – come to show their products to buyers representing companies country-wide (and worldwide in some cases). There are also companies that fall into the category of the House of Worship area. They cater to everyone, but houses of worship in particular. Which is why Cameron and I were there.

We were representing our church, Christ UMC in Farmers Branch. The church is making some changes and we were there for information pertaining to the potential remodeling of the sanctuary. The A/V team, in particular. But don’t get the idea that as a singer-songwriter I couldn’t glean some information and contacts for myself. And having fun at the same time never hurts.

Cameron and I left home at 6 a.m. Thursday morning. We wanted to arrive in time to check into the hotel before going to Music City Center. Hopefully, we’d have some time after picking up our badges to wander around before Charlie Daniels was to play for the opening party. He had been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier in the day.

Which is exactly what we did and how it went. We had time to walk around the exhibit hall and get an idea where we needed to go on Friday morning. Then we went out on the terrace and tried to find shade and not move a lot waiting for things to begin at 6 p.m. The food and drinks were free. Fortunately, Cameron and I were near a food table.

When it was time, we got some fruits and pulled pork sliders. We went to another table later for grilled corn on the cob and other things. There were only a few choices for beer, but when it’s free you just suck it up. They had water as well so that helped.

Charlie Daniels came on while we were eating our sliders. I have yet to hear any outdoor concert sound that is not lacking. Then there is the fact that it was downtown and sound was also bouncing off of the surrounding buildings. We may not have been able to understand him when he talked, but we could hear him when he sang, and that is more important. I haven’t seen Charlie Daniels in thirty years and he still sounds the same. They played a great set. We went back to the hotel, watched the Rangers game, and called it a day.

Peace be with you.

Cat, Dan, and John 4Thanks to everyone who came out to see the Sack Summer Hunger Concert on Sunday at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. We raised $98 for Sack Summer Hunger. It was a small, but enthusiastic, crowd, and they very much enjoyed the show. I don’t care for the word “awesome” because it’s so over-used. But when someone uses it to refer to my music, my friends’ music, and the show, it feels pretty good.

We played the show “in the round,” playing three rounds of two songs each, telling stories behind the songs. John Mason began the round, Cat McGee followed and I ended each round. We ended the show with the three of us playing Will the Circle Be Unbroken. I would like to thank John and Cat for coming out and playing in support of Sack Summer Hunger.

Thanks again to those who made it out. The list of those who wrote checks will be included in the report given to Metrocrest Social Services with the money raised.

Peace be with you.

Dan at MichaelsIt’s odd how things turn out. You can attribute it to it being a small world, but that does not explain the timing of the incident. God has a hand in it, but he has a lot of things to deal with more important than a chance meeting. Then again, sometimes God’s hand is enough. Be that as it may, these instances are enjoyable to be part of. Reinforces your faith, as it were.

My first night playing at Michael’s Sports Grill on Josey in Farmers Branch, I was hoping someone would come. It had been raining for a couple of days. I was happy to see a friend from church walk in the door. It was Marthann Daft – the purple lady to those who know her (and some who don’t, come to think about it).

Marthann sat at the bar and struck up a conversation with a couple while I was playing. [I’ve been playing long enough to realize that – as long as you play well – they hear you and appreciate you.] Anyway, it turns out that the woman was not only in dentistry – as Marthann has been for decades – but she also knew Marthann’s son, David, who has not been with us for quite some time. Marthann felt as though she had a momentary time with David while connecting with part of his past. I know that through experience, but that is another post.

On another night when I was playing at Michael’s, my daughter, Jennifer, came to hear me. She also sat at the bar. And, again, a couple came in and sat at the bar – Justin and Monica Blackburn. After my last set, Justin helped me get everything in my car except my guitar. Then he and Monica bought me a beer while we talked for a while.

If you recognized the last name and have ever put Blackburn’s preserves, jellies, etc., on your toast, Justin is a part of that family. TJ Blackburn Syrup Company, Inc. is located in Jefferson, Texas. My wife, Cyndy,s, family on her mother’s side is from Jefferson. We own the part of the family land that her mother left her. Justin and I spent time talking about Jefferson before I left.

We all know it’s a small world. Come see me at Michael’s Grill (Fridays and Saturdays 7 – 9 p.m.) – or any of my shows – and you never know who you might run into. At the very least, we can run into each other. That works for me.

Peace be with you.

barbequeIn the shuttle on the way to LAX after the ASCAP Expo last year, Cameron and I were chatting with the driver. In the LA cross town traffic there was plenty of time to chat. There were the usual comments about the traffic, the weather, and the drought. When I told him we were from Texas, the conversation turned to food.

“What do you eat in Texas? I know it’s barbecue in Kansas and Tennessee, but what do you in Texas eat?”

When Cameron and I quit laughing, I decided to forego the pig-cow debate. He might not understand.

“We have barbecue, too. No matter what size town you go to in Texas, you can be sure there’s a barbecue place.”

“Oh, kind of like burritos out here, huh?”                                 Burrito

I guess it’s all in your perspective.

Peace be with you.

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