I have a “mega-lot” of things going on. For those not familiar with the metric system, that means “lots” times one thousand squared, or something. Of course I’d like to be busier in a broader sense, but right now, details and specific actions are targeted toward goals that are focused and attainable.

Let’s talk about sponge brain.

In this business that changes every day, there is no way to think “I know everything.” The concept that “I know enough,” is an unforgiving brick wall. So, I attend conferences, exchange ideas, watch webinars, enroll in courses, associate with other performers and writers, rehearse, write every day and try to learn everything I can. It’s like saturating a sponge, hoping that as much of the important stuff stays in and doesn’t leak out my ears.

I have spent the past couple of months since the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, performing at every opportunity, networking, and getting a new CD ready for release. I have also freed Gump (my 2001 Subaru Forester) to a new life and found a 1993 GMC Vandura for touring with more room for gear and some living space. A recent short trip through Roanoke, Charlottesville and back through Damascus, VA have proven Ursa, the big blue bear, road worthy, indeed.

So, back to the CD.

Live at the Hideaway was recorded earlier this year at The Hideaway Recording Studio, Inc./ The Hideaway Café in St. Petersburg, Florida by John Kelly. John’s level of expertise created a smooth and relaxed performing experience. It was so easy to get in the groove, and I think you can hear that in the music. Thank you, John.

I took the live recording to Robert George at Sound Temple Recording Studios in Asheville, where I recorded Panes in 2016, for some final editing and remastering and then sent that bad boy off to be made into CDs.

Live at the Hideaway is a live recording of a 45 minute set: a few songs from Panes and newer songs that I have only released as self-produced demo versions or that I haven’t recorded at all. I am thrilled with the results and am eager to share it with you.

Hey, it’s darn near August already! Coming up soon is the Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair, where I am part of the Live Music lineup. I am also performing for the 3rd year at the Soulshine Farm Music Festival. Soulshine is always one of the highlights of my year. With a lineup that includes the Jeff Austin Band, Malcolm Holcombe, and Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues, this festival promises to be a stellar musical experience. See my calendar for dates and times.

As you know, Panes was recorded in Asheville. If you say that really fast, it sounds impressive, eh? Sorta like, “…recorded in Nashville.”  I often explain the difference between Asheville with two “E’s” and Nashville with one “E.”

Speaking of Nashville and conferences and networking and learning, I am attending CD Baby's DIY Musician Conference at the end of August. I plan on stopping by the Nashville Songwriters Association International offices and meeting a few folks that I only get to talk to on the phone. I’ll also get to the BMI offices to do the same.  Of course, The Bluebird Café is on my list of things to do if I stay through Monday. That promises to be a busy and productive week!

Then, September! (with 3 “E’s)

September 7th is the release date of Live at the Hideaway with a CD Release Concert at OOAK, One of a Kind Art Gallery in Micaville. OOAK Art Gallery is the home of the Micaville Music Thursday Concert Series. The Gallery provides an intimate setting and captivating backdrop for local and regional touring performances.

It’s good to be busy. I am looking forward to everything that is coming up and also to seeing you soon. Let’s sit and chat for a spell. I’ll probably appreciate a few moments of rest!

Peace Y’all,

da6d        

 

Two hundred and seventy-six Folk Singers in one place, what else do you need? How about one more and a harmonica. You’d think we could solve all the world’s problems, one note at a time, in harmony and with feeling.  

I spent four days in May at the Montreat Conference Center near Asheville NC at the 10th Annual Southeast Regional Folk Alliance (SERFA).  It’s a learning and performing opportunity that I am grateful to have attended for the past two years. It is exciting to meet other performers and songwriters. The energy is magnetic as we are all drawn together to promote goodness, and peace, and to share our passion for what we do. It is uplifting. It is enlightening. And it is inspiring.

I performed in two guerilla showcases during the conference. The first showcase was a late Friday night Songwriters-in-the-Round with Mike Aiken, and Todd Dennison with Diane Perry. Diane played some beautiful fiddle tracks on a couple of my songs.

Saturday’s showcase was also a Songwriters-in-the-Round, this time with Mike Aiken and with Noah Zacharin, It was indeed a privilege to perform with these amazing artists.  Glynace Eastham was our host in the Texas Sugarbaby Room. She was great to work with and I hope to see her soon at the 18th Annual Southwest Folk Alliance Conference (SWRFA) in late September.

Kathy Mattea was the keynote speaker for this event. It was inspiring to hear her stories about her influences and motivations for her art. The video ends with the performance of Nancy Griffith’s song, “Love at the Five and Dime.” Wonderful.

We’ll do this again next year. We’ll do this again in Austin, Texas at the SWRFA Conference from September 27 to Oct 1. And I hope to join the over 2000 people who will attend the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City, Missouri In February next year. At every opportunity, we share our music. We share our knowledge. We share.

Summer 2017 is getting big, and broad, and busy. I am booking Fall dates already. Virginia, Texas, SC, GA, TN, MO and places in between are targets for places to plant my feet, sow a few songs, and grow a better understanding and friendship with everyone I meet. I look forward to seeing you.  

I appreciate Your help. I also appreciate Your support. Most of all, I appreciate You.  And I am grateful for every opportunity I get to perform. That is special! 

Peace, y’all!

da6d

“What are you going to do if this music thing doesn’t work out?”

Huh?

“You know, ‘plan B.’ You do have a backup plan, don’t you?”

Friend, this is the backup plan. I have forgotten all that crap from high school, college, the Army, and land surveying. I’ve probably forgotten how to flip a burger, even. I have barely retained enough gumption to paint a house, drive a truck, or dig a ditch. I’m trying to forget that, too. Yep, this is the backup plan.

Any more questions?

“Yeah, but…”

There ain’t no “Yeah, buts.” This is it (period). One gig at a time. One song at a time. One friend at a time. “Every day is a new life. Everything is a new sight. Every moment makes a memory.” (Hey, I just quoted my own song lyrics, “Kari Waits”). Well, that’s how it works, as best as I can tell. It takes solid, enthusiastic work, not winning a TV Reality Show. 

“But, you’re 54 years old.”  

You know, if I live as long as Willie, I’ve got 30 more years of this. I’m looking forward to every minute of it. I will plow and plant, sow and hoe. Let the Universe provide the wind, the rain, and the soil.

The only plan I have is Be.

 

Peace y’all,

da6d

“That’s a mighty fine cart you’ve got there, Mister. Where’s your horse?”

This something I’ll often say to myself or to others in situations where the cart is in front of the horse. Honestly, I say it to myself a lot because I often have several carts and not enough horses. The situation isn’t a direct comparison, but I do remind myself to follow through with projects without getting too many balls in the air at one time.

I just returned from my Southern Travels Tour in February to Central Florida.  House Concerts, a return to a few familiar places, a few new ones, (a hookah lounge, even,) and an Open Mic at Hendershot’s in Athens, Ga made this a wonderful trip! I’ll do it again in any direction!

Another highlight of the trip was being the featured performer at St. Pete’s Hideaway Recording Studio and Hideaway Café! John Kelly recorded, mixed and mastered the 10 songs in the 45 minute set. Two songs, “Missouri River Runner” and “Chronos Drives the Train” have been combined with video taken by Janice Schilling, and released on youtube. I’m hoping to release the full recording as a “Live at the Hideaway” CD soon. Keep in touch!

What else in happening, eh? On March 1st, I turned 20,000 days old. I celebrated by releasing the song “Chronos Drives the Train" (see above.) It is my four minute autobiography.  It was therapeutic trying to condense almost 55 years down to four minutes. I got the highlights in there, most of the details are hidden, and I have big plans for the next 10,000 days.

Speaking of big plans, I’ve got a mighty fine cart! There are songs, stories, truths and lies that I can’t wait to travel around and share. Sign-up on my email list and I’ll let you know where and when. If you have an interest in hosting a House Concert, let me know. We’ll make it a grand experience. If our paths cross, let’s take the time to enjoy the company.

Where’s your horse? 

Yep, the horse, eh?

Well, booking and performance dates, that’s the horse I’m looking for. Spring, Summer, and Fall dates are shaping up, but I’ve still got a lot of dates to fill: barns, and sidewalks, backyards, living rooms, listening rooms...anywhere to plant my feet and share a song. I’ll keep on greasing the wheels and polishing the cart, but it’s the horse that is going to make this wagon roll. For booking information, please contact me, or send me a message on da6dmusic on Facebook.

Peace y'all,

da6d

“Eh, how are you?”

“How are you doing?”

“Hey, what’s up?”

“Welcome to Mega-Low Mart. How are you today?”…don’t make eye contact. Bag the groceries, move along please. Next. “Welcome to Mega-Low Mart. How are you today?”

The expected response is, “I’m fine/good,” “I’m doing good,” “Blah, blah, blah, how are you?”

“Do you have your Extra-Value Customer Card with you?” Next, please. Move along.

Often, my reply to the Mega-Low Mart cashier is, “None of your business.” I don’t say it in a mean way. I don’t say it to be unkind. I just say it. There is always a response from the cashier. Checkout stops. Parents cover their children’s ears. Usually, eye contact is made, but from that point on, we are more fully engaged in a conversation.

Then, I’ll tell them how I’m doing. Honestly. Not in full detail about ailments and maladies or worries, or about winning the lottery, and appointment to cabinet positions, but a general assessment of “How I am today.”

I know I’m going to be asked that question many times during the day. Having a truthful answer is the least that I could do for anyone that is concerned enough to ask. …and then I’ll ask, “Are you well?”

I usually find out that they are tired from a long shift, getting over a cold, starting a new job, something important, but far more honest than the generic “I’m doing good.”  “I’m doing good,” always makes me think about rescuing puppies and helping old ladies cross the street. I tried that once. It turns out, she didn’t really want to cross the street. “I’m not a chicken,” she said. Oh, well.

“Are you well today?”

“How’s your kin?”

 

Peace, Y’all,

da6d

Recently, a question came to me. “Where’s your money?” It’s a simple question. The answer can be simple too, tho’ varied. I guess that mostly depends on how well the question is understood.

I am not asking about where your cash is, or where your dollars and coins are. I not inquiring about your financial investments or portfolio, so eliminate answers that refer to those.

(This space intentionally left blank.)

Figuratively and literally, it seems like the world around me is burning to the ground! Though I cannot see the flames, I can hear the crackling and roar and smell the smoke that blows all the way from Washington, DC, and from North Dakota (figuratively,) and from WNC and TN wildfires that rage close by (literally). I have a constant concern for the welfare of the Nation, for the ethical treatment of all people, and for the welfare and safety of family, friends, and strangers. Strangers are just friends I haven’t met yet.

That’s where my money is.

Often, I see Vets at the Asheville VA who need. We all see homeless people on street corners who need. Everywhere there are atrocities committed, nation against nation, races against races, people against people. All for power or money or greed in some form.

And as often, I see strangers treated with kindness. I experience generosity from friends. We all witness degrees of compassion from or toward our fellow beings. For every gift of mercy or gratitude or kind consideration we receive, we should at least “pass it on.” Try to share it with more than one person. Or, even begin the cycle, eh? I am not waiting to make this a soon-to-be-forgotten New Year’s Resolution. This is my “Life Resolution” now. “We all could use a little Mercy Now.” – Mary Gauthier

That’s where my money is.

I believe in You. If you are doing anything to help anyone, I believe in You! Even in the process of striving against oppression, inequality, hate, or hostility, I am with You. Any difference made toward the betterment of Our World serves us all. Great strides need to be made toward civility. We should all step higher.

That’s where my money is.

My most recent favorite quote that I read on Facebook read “Human Kind. Be both.” I’m all for that, eh? Let’s all be kind to one another.

Peace y’all,

da6d  

Ten days back from the 32nd Annual Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival has given me some time to absorb a portion of the awesomeness of this event. I CAN begin to describe the grandness of the FBIS Festival, but beginning is about as far as I’ll get.

I left the ‘ville on Sunday afternoon anticipating a stop in some state park somewhere to camp along the way. Eh, good plan so far, I suppose. Well, I ending up camping in a truck stop in Montgomery, Alabama just to catch the sunrise at the grave of Hiram King Williams. That story is in an earlier blog. http://www.da6dmusic.com/blog/a_monday_in_montgomery_alabama/

On to Perdido Key, FL.

My first couple of evenings were spent at the Big Lagoon State Park where I fed mosquitos and picked with a neighboring camper. The famous Blue Angels were also nearby and flying over in those beautiful jets. It was often hard to determine if it was a jet flying over or mosquitos coming by for a meal.

The next few days brought to me the realization that there are only four hours a day to sleep. I surely didn’t want to miss anything. 10:00am would bring a few to life in the legendary Riverhouse across from the Flora-Bama. I would stir at the first sound of a guitar being tuned or a voice telling a story. That was my cue to start listening…and learning.

“The Table” at the Riverhouse, is somewhat of an altar. As a table, it would seat 8 to 10 people, but as pickers and singers and writers gather around throughout the day and into the night, even into the early hours of the next day, the circle expanded. Some sit with paper and pencil, cellphones and iPads. Others join with guitars, resonators, harmonicas, bass and voice. Others come with ears just to listen to the “offerings” laid out for all to enjoy. The jams and “pulls” at the Riverhouse are nothing less than perfect homage to the “song.” That was the focus of all of it. The Song.

I would be amiss not to thank Joe Gilchrist, Linda Ponder, Bobbie Perry, Smokey Joe Peoples, Dave McCormick, Chris “Moondawg” Hall, Cass Hunter, Nikki Talley, Shane Locklear, Buzz M. Kiefer, Jason Sharp, Bruce Wawrzyniak, oh my, The Flora-Bama Main Listening Room, The New Malibu Lounge, Lillian’s Pizza, La Brisa Restaurant, whomever carried out the garbage, washed the dishes and kept toilet paper in the bathroom, the guy that didn’t run over me in the parking lot, …Well, I’m sure you get my point. I am grateful to everyone that was part of this experience.

Oh, let’s do this again, real soon, eh?

Peace y'all,

da6d

It wasn't a busy Saturday morning here at the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, so I decide to make it busy...with business. That's my "day job!"

A seminar called "Promoting Your Music Career" was presented by Now Hear This, Inc. and Bruce Wawrzyniak. It was certainly everything that I'd expect and way more. I don't begin to think that I know everything that I need to know, but now I'm a bit closer. It was time well spent.

I have an night off from performing tonight, so I'll get to see a few of the great songwriters and performers here at the festival...more education. Dave McCormick and Taylor Craven are playing the Flora-Bama Ole River Bar.

Tomorrow night, I perform at the Flora-Bama Main Listening Room along with Smokey Joe Peoples, Ted Jones and Gove Scrivenor. Wow, damn good company I'm keeping, eh?

Peace y'all,
da6d

It’s been a few months since I have been able to lace these boots up all the way. There was a broken hook at the top. Since my shoe guy in Asheville couldn’t fix it, I had decided to only lace them up as far as I could. That plan did leave me with long dangly laces and bows. I even tried a new, shorter pair of laces, but that just looked absolutely silly on these old boots.

Well, on the way through Pensacola, Florida I saw a sign for the Pensacola Shoe Hospital & the Boot Store. Sure enough, a $5 repair fixed everything.

This is my first time being on the Gulf Shore. My goodness, it is beautiful. If my face is ever on a milk carton, look for me here!

Thursday morning, I registered at the Floma-Bama Lounge with the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival and have settled in to a very comfortable room at the River House…this is the place for the “all-night jams” and “song writings” that are legendary around here. Every time I think that I have shaken a stick at all the songwriters here, I’ll see a few more.  There’s just so many. Most have multiple Grammys and other awards, so I think it might average out to 2 or 3 per person. That’s not so intimidating, eh?

I have four performances scheduled during this festival. They’re listed on my events page. I am looking forward to these. I plan on spending more time learning than I will be performing. That’s the part that I am really looking forward to. It is an opportunity for which I am very grateful.

So, metaphorically speaking, it IS time to lace up my boots (all the way) and get busy. That’s the plan.

Peace y’all,

da6d

All things da6d

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UPCOMING DATES

  • Oct 26
    OOAK Art Gallery,  Burnsville
     
  • Oct 27
    Orchard at Altapass,  Spruce Pine
     
  • Nov 10
    Zuma Coffee House,  Marshall
     
  • Dec 9
    Pizza Shop & Dry County Brewing,  Spruce Pine
     
  • Dec 14
    OOAK Art Gallery,  Burnsville
     

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