Welcome to the World and Music of Dan Roark

Welcome to the world and music of Dan Roark. I have lived here for a while now and it's not a bad place to live, really. Although on some level, it's probably just as well you're only visiting. But hang around as long as you like.

Here you can listen to my songs - and buy them if you wish - read my thoughts in posts on my blog, see my pictures, and find out when and where I am playing. 

You can also hear live versions of my songs on Reverbnation, as well as see videos of live performances. You can also see my videos on, and subscribe to, my YouTube channel


Open Mic Tales – The Proposal (Seriously) 

shaquilla-hooks-and-chris-hatcherI hosted the Monday night open mic at Angela’s on Sept. 5th. As it turns out, I’ll be hosting the open mic every third Monday, with some exceptions. Be that as it may, on the fifth I opened the show. People began to show up as I finished my set. Bah Jaz followed me with some nice instrumentals on guitar.

Keith Dzygun (Dijun) played next with some cover tunes. Rachel Stokes followed with a bass player and guitar player – collectively called Salt and Light. Temi George was next, followed by Johnny Cromer. Then Allen Larson played his usual eclectic set. Pamela Pantea and Dianna Rice harmonized nicely on some standard hymns. Eric Jones played a nice set of his tunes.

During Eric’s set, Shaquilla Hooks, who had signed up to be next online just that evening, made sure I knew she had signed up. It had occurred to me earlier to check online for new signups, so I knew. I asked her what she was going to play or need. She said she was just reading poetry. So I thought, cool, some spoken word.

Shaquilla sat on the stool, grabbed the mic, and started reading a poem. It was a nice poem and I was getting in to it. I began to wonder where it was going. It was obviously about a particular person. She became nervous and it showed in her reading of the poem. She reached a point, looked behind me, and continuing the poem she said “Will you marry me?”

The person behind me was Chris Hatcher, who works at Angela’s. Naturally, he said yes, and everything stopped while they hugged and she cried. With time left, and no one else signed up, Eric played a few more tunes. During which time I took the picture shown here. It was the first proposal I have seen at an open mic – much less one I was hosting.

Have you ever had someone propose at your open mic? Or something similar?

Peace be with you.

Open Mic Tales – Jared and the Jewelers 


I’m taking a break from recording to catch up on posts. When Troll posted the event page for Poor David’s Pub open mic that said Jared and the Jewelers were the next featured artist for open mic, I was naturally curious. Obviously, Jared was making use of his name. Was it his first name or last name? Did he have anything to do with the jewelry store?

After Troll began the evening – as usual – and Chris Weising and Rickey Gene Wright played their sets, my questions were answered. Troll had informed me earlier that Jared was his first name. Either way, if my name was Jared, that is exactly what I would call my band. The band consists of Jared Caraway on guitar and vocals, Arik Harris on bass, and Francisco Gonzalez on drums.

They define their music as heartfelt alternative rock with pop sensibilities. I would like to add energetic and kick-ass. Caraway put as much into his stage moves as he did into guitar playing and vocals, without detracting from either. Harris kept the low end going smoothly, with Gonzalez steady on the backbeat.

Larry Pevey followed the band. Regulars wrapping up the evening included myself, Gary Hurst, Darren Rozell, Scott Thornton and John Mason. It was a good show, regardless of the small crowd. If you get a chance, and want to hear some good music, check out the Poor David’s Pub open mic. Then check out other open mics – including Dallas Songwriter events. If you get a chance to see Jared and the Jewelers, definitely do that, too. You won’t regret it if you do any of them, but you might as well do them all. Just saying.

Peace be with you.


Open Mic Tales – You Sound Like… 

Dan RoarkEvery now and then someone at an open mic tells me after my set that they think I sound like someone. It happens at other times, but it’s also unique to open mics because open mics tend to be held in the spirit of a mutual admiration society. The  comments, however, are usually sincere. Having people come just to listen and to hear it from them is a bonus.

An example of one of the other times was the church talent show on Sunday night. One of the youth said I reminded him of Jerry Jeff Walker. Another man said Arlo Guthrie. One guy said Judy Collins, but he was only talking about the folk scene in general. He had seen her perform in a folk club in Oklahoma in the ‘60s.

At Mr. Troll’s Poor David’s Pub Open Mic, someone said I sounded like John Prine. Which was nice because he is one of my mentors. But on another occasion a listener said I reminded him of Elvis Costello. Okay. If you take all of those mentioned here and put them on a page in Highlights Magazine -“ which does not belong” – Elvis Costello would pretty much stand out like a sore thumb. I regret not taking the time to ask him what song of mine brought Costello to mind. I like Elvis but I don’t know how I sound like him.

Who have people said you sounded like? I’m actually interested, so please comment.

Peace be with you.

NTC Children’s and Youth Volunteer Training at CUMC, FB 

Christ Alive Band with JR Byrd 2Christ UMC Farmers Branch hosted the conference-wide Children’s and Youth Volunteer Training Event on Saturday morning, August 13. Amy Ruppersberg, Children’s Director, and David Magallanes, Student Ministries Director, welcomed the volunteers at 8:30 a.m. Amy thanked everyone for volunteering and went over the positions and the schedule. David said a prayer before the group departed to the greeting stations or the narthex for registration and giving directions.

A breakfast table had a variety of pastry options, fruit, and even homemade sausage biscuits. People from churches around the conference arrived to check in or register at 9 a.m. Worship began in the sanctuary at 9:15 with the Christ Alive Band. The keynote speaker was Joe Stobaugh, Executive Minister of Worship and Arts at Grace Avenue UMC in Frisco.

Stobaugh began by playing a praise song on ukulele, then had the congregation to join Joe Stobaugh on ukulelehim in singing. He is the leader of the ukulele choir at Grace Avenue. Joe is also a very outgoing and affable man and a practiced speaker. He shared a nice – and personal – story of not being interested at all in singing when he was growing up. A mentor saw some potential in him and talked him into playing guitar in the band, even offering to give him a very nice guitar for one dollar. Stobaugh said he could not do that. To which his mentor said he would give it to him for free with two conditions. One, he would only play music for God on the guitar. Two, when the time came, he would pass it on to another youth. Joe still has the guitar and plays it. When the time comes he will pass it on as agreed. An excellent example of the effect a volunteer can have on children and youth.

Beth McClure

Beth McClure

Appreciating and Equipping Your Volunteers was facilitated by the Children’s Minister at Grace Avenue UMC, Kristen Lane. She discussed tools of the trade and giving volunteers what they need and more. Kristen was a lively and vibrant speaker, as was Beth McClure. Beth led the Your Classroom is God’s Classroom workshop. She is the Director of the Early Development Program at Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton. McClure demonstrated the way she motivated the children to behave by using little “jingles” that let the children know was coming next.

Kelly Carpenter of the Children, Youth, and Young Adult Ministry of the North Texas

Kelly Carpenter at left corner of table

Kelly Carpenter at left corner of table

Conference, led a roundtable for Children’s Ministry in the first session and Youth Ministry in the second session. The round tables were discussions about life, ministry, balance, programming, and anything needing to be discussed. Some good ideas were shared and a few people were able to get some things off their chest as to some effects of volunteering.

Morgan Stafford

Morgan Stafford

In the second session, which pertained to youth, Morgan Stafford led the workshop on The Adventure of Youth Mentoring. As Executive Director at Christ’s Foundry, Stafford discussed the joys and challenges of youth mentoring. Bill Mauldin, Director of Family Ministries at Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton, talked to volunteers about applying principles from the book “Good to Great” to youth programs.


Working together to create a smooth handoff between Children’s and Youth Ministry was

Amy Ruppersberg on left, David Magallanes on right.

Amy Ruppersberg on left, David Magallanes on right.

the subject of The Phases of Children’s and Youth Ministry. Amy Ruppersberg and David Magallanes are well positioned to tackle the subject. For one thing, they talk often and are working toward that smooth handoff with the children at Christ UMC. The transition from one phase of life to another can be a lot for some children to absorb all at once. Knowing the youth director personally while still in elementary school goes a long way toward easing the effect of growing up.

Kenny Dickson

Kenny Dickson

Pastor Kenny Dickson of Christ UMC, along with members Jerry Russell and Darren Gardner, presented the Taking It To the Streets session. Dickson explained how the title to a Doobie Brothers song became the church’s theme for the year. Which means intentionally going beyond the walls of the church into the community and actually becoming involved, not just simply being a presence. Going back to thinking of the church as the people, not just the physical building. Activities were planned with just that interaction with the community in mind. From the Easter egg hunt in a local park, to swim nights at the community pool, and delivering food to elementary children as part of Sack Summer Hunger. Mission, fellowship, and worship opportunities with the community are relatively endless. There is always a new need, a new soul to be saved, or new crises to help someone deal with. And all outside of the church building.

After the final sessions, everyone gathered in the gym for lunch. Which consisted of box Lunch 2lunches from Jason’s Deli provided by the North Texas Conference. Dot Stewart of CUMC helped set up the tables for lunch, as well as the breakfast table, and served drinks at both. Attendees and presenters alike gathered to go over what they had learned, new ideas they came up with, and general church and conference news.

Amy Ruppersberg and David Magallanes should be commended for planning the training event. The presenters should be commended for passing along the knowledge they have acquired through practical application. Amy and David thanked the volunteers from Christ UMC who helped the morning move along smoothly. The attendees should be appreciated for taking time out of their weekend to learn how to more effectively serve the children and youth. And all volunteers everywhere need to be thanked and appreciated. Since biblical times, when faithful volunteers kept house churches alive, volunteers are still keeping churches alive through ministry and mission – inside and outside of the church building.

Peace be with you.

The Squirrel Episode -or- Squirrels in August 

Squirrel 1I was letting the dogs, Buddy and Misty, out into the backyard. Buddy took off to make his rounds through the backyard. Misty, who is quite a bit older and heavier, rumbled out past the large trunk of the tree. When she was just past the tree, she stopped, looked up at the tree, and half-heartedly let out a quick bark. Then she turned her head back around as if to say “oh, the hell with it, it’s too hot,” and sauntered on to one of her favorite resting spots.

So I looked up at the tree, and sure enough, there was a squirrel hunkered down in the crook of the tree. I went to get my camera and he hadn’t moved. I walked up closer slowly while taking pictures. As you can see, the only thing he really moved was his eyes – and his head just a bit, as he looked at me. I imagined him talking to me and saying the following:

“Look, I don’t mind you taking pictures. In fact, take as many as you want. But please don’t tell those damn dogs I’m here. This is the coolest spot in the tree and I really don’t want to move right now.”

So I didn’t. I’ve felt like that myself. When I find a good spot that puts me in a good place, I want it to last as long as it can – Squirrel adon’t you? Come to think about it, most of my best memories are those times when I’ve found myself in a new good place, feeling the same way. I hope I’ll always have those memories. I have relatives and friends who have already lost some of their memories.

I’ll cherish those memories as long as I can. So that, in a tough period, I can pause and reflect and re-live those memories. So they can take me back to those good places. And I can get that sense of calm and peace again. Once again still wanting it to last forever.

Peace be with you.

In the Don’t I Feel Stupid Category, Pt. 1 

Towel on showerI say part one because people are doing stupid things all the time and some of them make really good stories. And, as they say, the hits just keep on coming. And part one usually means there is a better than good chance that there will be a part two. And so we begin.

When I finish drying off after a shower, I throw my towel over the shower rod so it can dry. I make sure that the tag end goes over the shower rod on the inside of the towel. I do the same with the hand towels. That’s the way I learned to do it. The tag is not supposed to be obviously apparent. I don’t go spastic about it or anything. It’s just the way I think it’s supposed be hung.

I had a big long towel that I really liked until it began to wear out. But when I got it, I thought it was great. I finished my shower, grabbed the towel and dried off. Which I also do the same way every time. When I finished drying off and found the end with the tag and threw it over the shower rod.

Then I saw that the tag was on the end showing on the outside of the shower curtain. Well, crap. So I switched it around threw that end over the shower rod. I looked down and there was the damn tag. It was early in the day, but still. I repeated the action one more time before I realized there was a tag on both ends. Who freaking does that?

I figure there was one guy or gal in the towel factory that decided he was going to screw with some customers by putting tags on both ends. I haven’t had it happen since. Maybe I’m just getting the right towels. I don’t have a clue. Anyone else do something stupid they’re willing to admit?

Peace be with you.

Open Mic Tales – Adventures of a Guest Host 

Dan at WildflowerI substituted for Mr. Troll at the Poor David’s Pub open mic last Monday night while he took care of personal business. Unlike other open mics I have hosted – including PDP open mic – Monday’s went relatively smoothly. One guy showed up after the show had started and wanted to sign up. But he wanted me to bump somebody from before the featured artist to after to accommodate him. Other than that though, it was a good show. It was as if we were doing it for Troll.

I opened the evening. I remembered to talk about the drink special, but I forgot to mention Carlos Sanchez on sound and to tell people to be sure to tip Leslie, the bartender. Shame on me. I told people about Carlos, just not on stage. Regardless, I played a good tight set. Mike Newkirk followed me. He performed well, despite having a sore throat previously. Jovani Flores played a good set, in his unassuming fashion.

Emma Walsh preceded the featured artist. As I said in my introduction, I have had the privilege of watching her grow in her musical career for the past few years. Her voice is mesmerizing, though it still has a ways to grow. She played a song she wrote about the shooting during the protest called I Said Hello to the Devil. It’s a nice song.

Sleepy Creek, the featured artist, took the stage next. I’ve been waiting to post for the names of the band members and haven’t heard back. I didn’t have a chance to write them down. But I do know that Joel Edgar Hill is the acoustic guitarist and lead singer. They are definitely a down home band. One of the songs I really liked was the song about cornbread and making it without sugar. A good time band with interesting stories to tell in a blues and Americana way.

Mike Freiley followed Sleepy Creek, then Wild Bill Skye before Darren Rozell played his three song set. Newcomers to the open mic, Travis Armes and Justin Kemp, both played a tight set. Gary Hurst and Tull Rea rounded out the evening. From first to last, it was an evening of good music. But that’s not uncommon at the Poor David’s Pub open mic. Just saying.

Peace be with you.

When You’re Stopped Behind a Loaded Flatbed 

Stopped behind truckI don’t know if this happens with any of you. I don’t mean if you are ever stopped behind a truck, because I know most of you are – at some point – or have been in the past. But when I’m stopped behind a truck that has something strapped on at a slant, my mind wanders.

I begin to picture the straps coming loose and objects hurdling toward my car. In this case, the top few “slats” (or whatever they were) would have ended up in my chest, as close as I can determine.  And I had a feeling that the longer the light took to change, the better the chances were of that actually happening.  Which would only be true if the straps were slipping, but one never knows.

There are times on the highway when I’m passing one of those big flatbed trucks with a load of pipes approximately six inches in diameter. I get stuck beside it when traffic doesn’t move like I expected it to. Unlike the truck in the picture, not only is it two and a half times longer, but the pipes are shaking and the straps are straining. Then my mind goes into overdrive.

In both instances, the main thought that occupies my nervous mind is ” what would I do if they came loose?” Which leads very quickly to “what the hell can I do?” When the obvious answer is – not a damn thing. Which is disconcerting to me, because I drive with an awareness of what move I need to make at any moment.

I reach a point of calm panic. I can’t even enjoy the song on the radio that I like. Then the person who has been holding us up moves over.  I move on past the truck and the incident is over.  Until someone doesn’t drive like he should and the whole scene is replayed again. I consider myself lucky that none of the scenarios have come to pass. And then it occurs to me that it could still happen. Which guarantees the next time will be worse – in my mind.

Anyone else have the same sort of thing happen to you?

Peace be with you.


Chocolate Eclairs, Apple Fritters, and Weird Times at DSA Showcase 

Chocolate Eclair and Apple Fritter

To take it in order – besides, it’s the first picture – Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters is a song of mine. I call it my pastry song. I always play it when I play at Angela’s because they’re known for their tasty pastries. As I was waiting for the showcase to get started, Bayliss Laramore, a friend and fellow songwriter, brought me a box from Dunkin Donuts. In it – as you see in the picture- was a chocolate eclair and apple fritter with a candle in each one.

With apologies to the Bills for interrupting the song, I busted out laughing. Thanks to Bayliss for the gift, it was perfect. I’m sorry he couldn’t hang around to play, but it was getting late and the crowd was beginning to thin. If you get a chance to hear Bayliss’ music, you’ll enjoy it.

The Dallas Songwriters Association 4th Saturday Showcase at Angela’s at the Crosswalk began with Bill Sibley and Bill Hudson. Their set started off well except for some red-headed guy laughing his ass off. Bill Sibley’s down to earth songs relate hard knocks, lost loves, and motorcycle rides. His voice sounds like the result of those experiences. If I were to make a voice comparison, I would say Kris Kristofferson. A voice that relays hardships and experience. Thanks to Harry Hewlett, you can see his set here.

Loralee Pearman’s songs and voice, in contrast to Bill Sibley, evoked a youthful spirit and the hope in what lies ahead. Her lyrics show a maturity beyond her youthful looks. Loralee is a ball of energy and cute as a button. See her set here.

It was during my set that things began to get weird. You probably saw that coming – I didn’t. But it’s good in a way, because it gives me a chance to talk about my set since I can’t review myself. Well I could, but that would be pompous and silly.

A few songs into my set, my back up band arrived outside. Two fire trucks and an EMT truck pulled up on the street outside with lights and sirens going full tilt. The sirens were turned off before very long. But the lights kept flashing for quite some time. Which made quite a backdrop for my songs. You can see some of the songs from my set here and another one here.

Harry Hewlett closed the show with a few songs after I finished. As they say – a good time was had by all.

Peace be with you.

Open Mic Tales – When an Open Mic Feels Like a Second Home Pt. 2 

Me playing at Poor David's Pub open mic

Me playing at Poor David’s Pub open mic

To recap (or see part 1), the first two qualities of an open mic that feels like a second home are – variety of performers (age, talent, and experience), and performers who lack egos and are willing to support those less experienced than themselves. It should be mentioned, however, that there will always be that visiting performer who thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips and wonders why everyone’s not telling him how good he played.

While I’m using the Poor David’s Pub open mic as an example, there are a number of open mics that have these qualities in varying degrees. The Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA) open mics and song swaps are welcoming and supportive. I’m hoping other open mic hosts will chime in with comments on their open mic. I’ve also tried to show that open mics have a hard time getting started. It takes the performing community to support it. Some members of DSA and their friends play at open mics several nights a week.

In fact, the third quality of an open mic that feels like a second home is a sense of community – like a weekly reunion as I mentioned in part one. An atmosphere of friendship and camaraderie. The fourth quality is friendly hosts, bartenders, and staff. Mr. Troll (host), Samantha Sanders, and Kevin Hale at PDP are excellent examples. The fifth quality – last, but no way in hell least – is a good sound man. Carlos Sanchez, in particular, is past good.

So there are the basic qualities of an open mic that feels like a second home. Yet for the first quality, variety of performers, something is missing. And that is you. Go to an open mic near you, or near where you are going to be. Sing your songs, sing covers, read your poems, do comedy, spoken word, whatever. Or just go and listen – performers need listeners, too.

Then spread the word. Open mics are places where young talent hones their performing and writing skills. They learn, not only from playing, but from watching more seasoned performers. Open mics are where songwriters go to try out new songs. When word gets out, people come to perform and bring their friends. People come to listen because of the combination of qualities I discussed. So play an open mic tonight or go and listen. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Peace be with you.


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Autism Speaks Night with Dan Roark

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Stan's Lakeview Draft House, 4847 Main St., The Colony, TX

Autism Speaks is the beneficiary of Stan's Give Back Tuesday on September 20. Dan Roark will play his song about autism and songs from his last and upcoming cds. 10% of food sales from 7 - 11 p.m. will go to Autism Speaks. Good music, good food, friendly staff, and great atmosphere with a view of the lake. Come join us and support Autism Speaks.


Monday Open Mic - Dan Roark Hosts

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Angela's at the Crosswalk, 1010 E. 15th St., Plano

Dan will host the open mic - from 6:45 - 10 p.m. Go to https://www.facebook.com/AngelasCrosswalk/?fref=ts the weekend before and click on the link in the post about open mic to get on the signup genius list. There you can sign up to play. Or just come listen. Good food, good music, great desserts and friendly staff. Join us!


Monday Open Mic - Dan Roark Hosts

 —  —

Angela's at the Crosswalk, 1010 E. 15th St., Plano

Dan will host the open mic - from 6:45 - 10 p.m. Go to https://www.facebook.com/AngelasCrosswalk/?fref=ts the weekend before and click on the link in the post about open mic to get on the signup genius list. There you can sign up to play. Or just come listen. Good food, good music, great desserts and friendly staff. Join us!