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Dan Roark and Roy Elkins

Dan Roark and Roy Elkins

People began to arrive at Sons of Hermann Hall at 6:30 on Tuesday, December 8 for the Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA) Song Contest Award Ceremony and Christmas party. Board members Barbe McMillen, Bobby Montgomery, Ken Duren, and Dan Roark, with member and SOHH employee, Lisa Byrn, David Lewis (SOHH), and the sound man, Logan Hughes, had arrived early to set up the hall. Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Roy Elkins, CEO of Broadjam.com, pitched in to help Bobby set up the food tables. Board member, James Pappas, owner of Dallas Ice Sculptures, supplied the Christmas tree sculpture for the table.
Christmas Tree Ice Sculpture
The ceremony began promptly at 7 p.m. with a welcome from Barbe McMillen, DSA Founding President Emeritus and an explanation of the song contest process and breakdown of prizes. She then introduced MC Roy Elkins. As mentioned earlier, Roy is founder and ceo of Broadjam.com. He came down from Wisconsin a day early to present a free workshop the night before at Tone Shop Guitars in Addison. The workshop was called Your Music and Your Business. Elkins shared from his experiences in the music business and Broadjam, as well as information from music contacts. More information about the workshop can be found here.

AudienceAfter a few opening comments, Roy introduced Dickey Johnson. Dickey, along with Mary Guthrie and Mary Hestand (Sugar Daddy and the M&Ms), played his winning critique song, Alone with Alone. Then Elkins introduced Dan Roark, Showcase, Workshop, and Lyric Contest Director. Dan gave a short bio of the Americana judge, Kendra Terry, booking manager at Uncle Calvin’s Coffee House. He read the list of semifinalists and announced the winners.

Roark then introduced Katie Riley, with her mother and sister. They played both of Katie’s Dan Roarksemfinal songs, I Believe (Christian), and Dry Bones (Pop/rock). After which, Dan gave a short bio of the Christian/Inspirational judge, Scott Dicken, currently music director at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. He then read the semifinalists and announced the winners, before introducing Rio King. Rio played his four winning critique songs, Sweet Rolls and Cream, Boogie Woogie Rhythm, Boomer Boogie, and The Old Wrecked Vet.

Roy Elkins stepped back up and introduced Bobby Montgomery, DSA Executive Vice President, and 2014 Songwriter of the year. Bobby gave a short bio of Larry Beaird, owner of Beaird Music Group, and judge of the country category. After reading the semifinalists and announcing the country winners, Montgomery introduced M’Lynn Musgrove. M’Lynn played her two semifinalist songs, Healed, and Preaching to the Choir, both in the singer-songwriter category.

M'Lynn Musgrove

M’Lynn Musgrove

Elkins then introduced Michael Brandenberger, DSA President. Michael gave a bio of the Instrumental judge, Tony Hakim, owner of jazz venue, Kitchen Café, and a positive force in the Dallas-Ft. Worth jazz scene for over 25 years. After reading the semifinalists and announcing the winners, Brandenberger introduced Dori Weavers, who played her winning critique song, Waiting to Breathe. He then read the Love Songs/Easy Listening semi-finalists and announced the winners.

Barbe McMillen came back to the podium to give a bio of the Children’s/Novelty judge, Monty Harper, who has been on the Oklahoma Arts Council Touring Roster since 1995. Barbe read the semifinalists and announced the winners. She then introduced, Jon Storm. Jon played his semifinalist song in the Pop/Rock category, Love Me Now.

Roy Elkins returned to the podium and introduced Harry Hewlett, co-director of the song

Warren Hanson

Warren Hanson

contest this year and director next year. Harry gave a short bio of Pop/Rock judge Kathy Forste, who has worked in television and radio for the past 30 years in various capacities. He read the semifinalists and announced the winners. Then he introduced Warren Hanson, who performed his semifinalist song in the singer-songwriter category, Just Lucky I Guess.

Roy Elkins returned to introduce Michael Waid. Michael performed his singer-songwriter semifinal song, Lost and Found. Roy then introduced Jennifer Marler, who, joined with her husband, Justin, played her semifinalist song, Memories Don’t Burn. Then Elkins called Barbe McMillen back to the podium.

Harry Hewlett, Dori Weaver, and Michael Brandenberger

Harry Hewlett, Dori Weaver, and Michael Brandenberger

Barbe gave a brief bio of singer-songwriter judge, David Card, owner of Poor David’s Pub, one of Dallas’ best listening rooms. David also founded the BW Stevenson Memorial Singer-Songwriter Competition. Then Barbe read the semifinalists and announced the winners. She then announced the winner of the iPod for which each contest entrant received an entry. The winner was Samuel Miller from Chico, California. Miller’s song, Can’t Get Enough, was a semifinalist song in the singer-songwriter category.

McMillen explained the judging process – which can be found on the DSA website – and introduced grand prize judge, Roy Elkins. Roy talked about the song entries and announced the Grand Prize winner. He then introduced Buck Morgan, who played his winning critique song, Jimmy Loves Jesus. Elkins then introduced Bobby Montgomery, who played his winning critique song, Give ‘Em Time, Lord.

Harry Hewlett, Rio King,Barbe McMillen

Harry Hewlett, Rio King,Barbe McMillen

Roy brought Harry Hewlett back to the podium. Harry explained the process for song of the year. Then he gave a short bio of the song of the year judge, Ian Dickson, a singer-songwriter having performed for a number of years. Then Harry announced the Song of the Year winner. Harry made some closing remarks and then Michael Brandenberger started the open mic. A list of semifinalists can be found here and the a list of winners can be found here.

Although time and space did not allow me to elaborate more, all the performances were wonderful and the evening was a huge success.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

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Roy Elkins 1Roy Elkins, CEO of Broadjam.com, has been Master of Ceremonies for the Dallas Songwriters Association Song Contest Award Ceremony for several years now. This year, he offered to come a day early and give a Your Music and Your Business workshop – at no cost. With the awards ceremony/Christmas party always on the second Tuesday of December, which would be our regular meeting night, we decided on Monday for the workshp.

DSA President Michael Brandenberger has known Tommy Roberts for many years. Tommy Roberts is co-owner of Tone Shop Guitars, north of Beltline on Midway, in Addison. Michael asked Tommy if we could have the workshop in their very large showroom. It is a very nice store. Tommy said they would be happy to have us. I met with him and we went over details.

The day of the workshop, we had 26 rsvps. We were shooting for 30 people. I brought 32 chairs. The Attendees workshop was to begin at 6 p.m. I arrived at 5 p.m. and one person was already there. Since it was a guitar shop, the early arrivals had something to do – which was one of the reasons Tommy was eager to have us.

Since a few people had not arrived by 6, we started a little late. Several people arrived during the presentation. The final tally was 28, with two no-shows of the original rsvps. At such a busy time of year, with traffic like it was, we had a great turnout.

Roy gave a very entertaining and informative presentation. He talked about starting Broadjam because he wanted to help songwriters. The used Broadjam, as well as his experience in the music business to illustrate his points. Roy discussed what, and how, to prepare for a pitch. He described good and bad music or song pitches.

Roy Elkins 2Elkins showed the crowd a written pitch that he had actually been given by a member of a band. The writer was apparently inviting Roy to see them at a show. He went on to basically say that the drummer sucked, but they were still going to use him just for the night. He made some more excuses – with bad punctuation and grammar. He ended by saying “you can find our music on soundcloud, sonicbidz, and revernation.”

Roy talked about how ridiculous the mistakes were. The punctuation and grammar mistakes were obvious. Have good material for them to hear. If it’s good, there’s no need to make excuses. Stand behind your work. And if you want someone to listen to your music, you don’t tell them they can find your music on their competitors website.

“It happens more than you think. I talk to those guys all the time (representatives from the three companies mentioned above) when we’re on panels together,” Elkins said, “and we always laugh about it.”

It was a great workshop. Stay tuned for posts with advice culled from the recent meetings and workshops and experience. You will also read a bit more about Roy in a post about the song contest award ceremony. In the meantime, however, if you are a songwriter, join Broadjam, fill out your profile, and check it out. As with most online music sites, there is a free level. But there is quite a bit you can do, with extras at a la carte expense (which is reasonable). You can have your song reviewed by professional songwriters. And much more.

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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