Apology

I apologize. Eight full months have come and gone without a post to this blog. And frankly, I’m not sure if I have the energy to write one now.

Well, maybe energy isn’t the problem,. Maybe it’s just unwillingness to attempt dealing with the WordPress user interface that changed a couple years ago rendering my former skills obsolete. Maybe I’m just getting old and technology is beginning to irritate me.

Then, to be absolutely honest, I’ve been in a funk of sorts since last January when I failed, for the first time in many years, to make the cut for the Tucson Folk Festival. It took a lot of wind out of my sails. I didn’t realize just how much I counted on that event to revalidate my self-worth. Silly? Perhaps.

And we were on-pace to perform a great set with Michael Parker on drums and Matt Bruner on bass. Matt, who is a great singer/songwriter himself, agreed to back me up on bass (he’s multi-talented) and really worked the bass parts that Michael and I shared with him. He made them his own and with just a couple rehearsals, we sounded like a trio that had been together for years. So perhaps it was my anticipation that over-inflated my focus on the festival. Whatever the case, it was a deep disappointment. I have to admit though, the line-up this year was stupendous – really quality acts from around the country. And I was able to enjoy them on-line instead of making the 4-hour drive to Tucson.

Compounding the funk was the passing of our older dog Rocket whom we had rescued as a pup 14 years before. The younger dog Sally (11 years) had passed the previous August. Now dogless, we gave away a lot of supplies, keeping only memories. And work was bear. I worked a lot of overtime at NASA on testing a newly-launched satellite. I managed somehow to write yet another Valentine’s Day song for my Bride: “Another Good Reason”, written from the perspective of a single man ready to make the leap. I recorded it hastily in order to share it by Valentine’s Day, so eventually, I must go back and refine it. But that requires dealing with irritating technology.

Summertime brought a big lift of spirits when the great Eric Ramsey once again graced our home with a house concert. We reprised our duo show from 3 years before with newer songs and I had a ball trading songs with him before a live audience.

But, just after Eric was again on the road, I went “under the knife” for parathyroid surgery. It has taken the past two months to get my voice fully back where I think it should be, and even now, I’m not sure I’m dome healing.

After a month of healing time.

My younger daughter Sarah was kind enough to make the trip from California to be here during my surgery and we really appreciated her help and enjoyed her company.

So, it’s not like I haven’t been busy. It’s just that I’ve been “one poor correspondent”. And for that. I apologize.

///Darrell
Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

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Reunion of the Original Trio

I promised a month ago to tell you about the reunion of the original Darrell Elmer Rodgers Trio. Well let me reconstruct some memories…

Back in September I got calls from both Michael Parker (drums) and Rick Heyman (bass) about doing a reunion show in Tucson. I guess the two of them had been reminiscing about our 10 years together and they were missing the fun. I was too. It had been over 2 years since I performed with a trio and over 3 years since I had played with Rick (who had to take a break back in 2018).

The idea was that they’d book a show for Mid-November and we would have a couple rehearsals before hand to knock the rust and dust off our performance. Well, things happen, and among them was my road trip back East, Michael’s schedule, and the rise of more covid cases. So it boiled down to a marathon rehearsal over Halloween weekend and a limited attendance house party at Michaels on the following Saturday – basically just family.

We had a blast. The rehearsals started rusty and quickly rev’d up to full speed. Well, better than half speed anyway. We played so many of our older songs (like Sailin’ and Second Chance) that we had to cut down the party play list to keep it at a reasonable two 45-minute sets.

The party was a gathering of about 20 people, all vaccinated, all masked, and a pot luck lunch. We played two sets and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Sometime next year, we’ll do it again. Before then, there will be Trio rehearsals with Matt Bruner on bass and hopefully a performance at the Tucson Folk Festival during the first weekend in April.

Here are some photos:

///Darrell
Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist
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A Time of Transition

Long time no see. These past 2 years have not inspired much writing. I’m sorry about that. But then, you likely had a bunch of other things to do than read blogs anyway.

To catch you up on big things that happened this past summer: Nothing really.

Since the Tucson Folk Festival, we began to slowly emerge from Quarantine and made a trip to see my granddaughters in Arizona and let them cut off Grandpa’s beard. It had grown rather long. I had become “Grandalf”

But Emily helped reduce the length of it and the local barber shop shortened the hair.

Now, the start of Autumn has been busier.
For one, we lost one of our dogs to an unknown liver infection. Sally, the younger of the two, passed away in the animal hospital. Very shocking and quite depressing.

But in October, I took the WHOLE MONTH off work and we made a tremendous road trip from Las Cruces to Virginia to Chicago and home. 5,425 miles round trip. (And about as many dollars!!) I had never done a trip like that before. I may not try it again, but who knows? It was worth it, I think, for the reunions along the way. We stopped in Memphis to visit with a great musician, craftsman, and human being, Don McGregor. We were introduced on Facebook by our mutual friend, the late Bob Frank, a country songwriter who passed away recently. We both felt it fitting to heed Bob’s instruction that we should meet, and I’m glad we did. We even took a little time to pick a tune together.

From Memphis we made our way to Virginia for a stop in Winchester to visit my friend since childhood, Vic Lail, and his delightful wife Gwen. I had just learned that Vic’s older brother Bob, who played drums in our rock band “Wasatch Front” in the late 70’s, had just passed away in hospice care after a long struggle. It broke my heart. Bob and had been quite close in our youthful years. Seeing Vic and talking with him was cathartic.

Then it was quick jump to my sister’s house in Harper’s Ferry, WV. I love that place and my family. Scott Tatina, Robin’s husband of many years, is quite a talented man and I so enjoy their company. We of course also visited my brother Pat and his wife Jody and my nephew Ian. And we ventured out to visit my cousin Robert “Robbie” Murdick and wife Kathy and got to meet their grand-baby. We made an overnight trip to Clymer PA – my mother’s hometown. Mom, who will turn 96 this month, had expressed a desire to see that place one more time. So we did and I got to visit with most of my cousins (both sides of the family) and meet some “grand-cousins” on the Rodgers side. And this photo of Mom’s (left) reunion with her sister in law, my Aunt Naomi Jean Rodgers (right), was quite the pay-off. I believe this return to the old hometown was the real reason for the whole trip.

After that visit, we took mom to a memorial service in Leesburg Va, for her nearest and dearest friend Joyce Bengtson. The Bengtson family lived across the street from us and were such close friends, they’re like extended family. Joyce and her late husband Paul, had relocated to Arizona years ago and we visited them many times when we too lived there – mainly Christmas and Thanksgiving. The memorial was yet another heart-warming reunion with so many mutual friends of my mother.

We took a trip to Charles Town WV to meet up with my friend and fellow Baha’i, Robert Greg Shaw. Greg gave me a tour of the local Baha’i Center that was quite nice. The back yard was a perfect wedding venue. We also visited retire State Senator Charlie Waddell whose family I have also known since childhood. He’s quite a guy with many historical stories of Northern Va in our growing-up years.

We also had a short visit with Kathy and Ben Lacy. Ben’s another friend from waaay back (like 2nd grade). I think the first time I met Ben he was in 3rd grade and I was in second. He performed “Sinking of the Bismarck” before the school assembly. We went on to become a guitar instructor, teacher, and finally a school principal (several times). He and Kathy have a massive townhome with their own gym. They’re so trim and fit it hurts.

When we hit the road for home, we decided to go by way of Chicago so we could visit the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette. We stopped in Pittsburg for lunch with some more dear friends Robin and Wade Bell, who I knew in Utah before they were married. Wade was the sound man for Wasatch Front and a wizard in many ways.

Then upon arrival in the Wilmette area, we had a wonderful reunion with my old friend Van Gilmer. Van is the Music Director for the Baha’i House of worship, but we met back when he and his late wife Cookie and their wonderful children (now adults) lived in the DC area. Just being around Van is inspirational to me. His grand piano is high-tech. It’s also a “player piano” but from a CD with full orchestration if you wish. Incredible.

I also had a reunion with Glen Schallmo, lead guitarist for Wasatch Front, back in the day. We played a few tunes together and Glenn shared some recordings of the band from those days. Deb, my Bride, was impressed. (She’s a former head-banger you know)

We got back home safely and re-engaged with work and other responsibilities. Later, I’ll tell you about the Darrell Elmer Rodgers Trio band reunion we just had in Tucson.

///Darrell
Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

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My 2021 Tucson Folk Festival Video

The Tucson Folk Festival was an amazing hybrid of Live and pre-recorded performances – all Broadcast on the internet. What an incredible job by an army of volunteers! Thanks to all of you who worked so hard to produce the festival under such conditions. You’ve done a great service to Tucson, and now, the world!

For those who missed my pre-recorded performance, here it is:

I sure hope you enjoyed that “live recording”. I watched myself couple times and I always made the same mistakes. But that’s how it goes sometimes – and it’s just like “being there”!

I am SO looking forward to next year when we can get back to playing before large audiences and greeting each other in person!

///Darrell
Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

Posted in Events, Folk, General Conversation, Guitars, Music, Music Performance, songwriter, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Video Show for the Tucson Folk Festival!

SUNDAY APRIL 11th at 2PM AZ Time
https://www.tucsonfolkfest.org/broadcast/

See me on-line 2 PM (AZ Time) Sunday 11 April – CENTENNIAL HALL STAGE Channel (scroll to middle of page)

Remember (AZ Time currently = PDT) , so,
For Eastern Daylight Time, that’s 5PM
For Central Daylight Time, that’s 4PM
For Mountain Daylight Time, that’s 3PM

I’ll be performing six of my own original songs, and ONE that you have not heard before. It’s a little risque’, but a bit of “double entendre” too good not to share (if I do say so myself). It’s a song about priorities called “She Comes First” (I think you get the idea already)

This is first time that the Tucson Folk Festival will be viewable right from your own home. So be part of HISTORY! Tune in, or more aptly, BROWSE in, and see Darrell Elmer Rodgers in a video recording of a live performance.

///Darrell
Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist
Posted in General Conversation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment