Back on track with a new track

“OK, Break’s over! Back on your heads!” – that’s a punch line from an old joke about hell. And it almost applies here.

After my last post, I fired up my aged iMac and began the process of finishing production of a song I started recording years ago.  Give a listen to “Listen to Your Heart” below.

The Darrell Elmer Rodgers TRIO (with Rick Heyman & Michael Parker) performs this live and at a slightly slower tempo and with a nice intro.  But that stretches the song to over 5 minutes.  This version is closer to 4.

I wrote the guitar hook on this one back around 2002. The first verse followed a year or so later. But then it languished, waiting for me to figure out where it would go. Funny how hard times make for good songs. I lost my job in in 2015 and the demoralizing process of enduring unanswered applications and remaining unemployed for over a year stood in stark contrast to the encouragement and loving patience of my dear bride and the laughter and joy provided by my daughters and grand children. The experience seemed to crystallize the lyrics in my mind.  I guess you could say it’s a song of grateful resignation and hope.

So today, with a new job in a new city, I need now to crank up the creativity work and get back to song writing and, frustratingly, production. On this old slow struggling hardware, recording and production is a bit hellish for me.  But even a broken clock gets it right twice a day.

So this guy dies and gets sent to hell where he sees everyone standing in sewage up to their knees, but they’re all chatting, laughing, drinking coffee, and eating delightful pastries and he thinks “this ain’t so bad!”.  Suddenly the devil appears and says:
“OK, Break’s over! Back on your heads!”

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

Well, the Folk Festival is a month behind us and I haven’t done much, musically speaking, since then – just a couple performances here at the house. I don’t know if it’s waxing age or waning inspiration, but my vitality seems to have ebbed a bit.  Maybe it’s just the Summertime Blues, and we ALL know there’s no cure for THAT.

I started writing a new song back before the Folk Festival that the guys (Rick and Michael) really liked, but Michael and I both knew we could not perform it in public in Arizona (even though, as Rick pointed out, Tucson may have been the safest city to do so).  You see, it’s called “Sexy Gun” and it’s written from the perspective of a totally honest assault rifle owner who knows that technically, his new weapon is no different than any other rifle he owns, except for its appearance. Yep, it’s sexy.
Lyrics excerpt: “I got me a sexy gun, yes it’s a sexy gun,
it’s black and mean and guaranteed to scare everyone.

I made a modification to my studio a couple months ago. I replaced two mic stands with booms mounted to my recording bench.  It really cleared the floor area for easily rolling my new chair.  Now if I could just get my aging electronics (primarily my 9-year-old iMac) to work as well. That computer’s software has been upgraded darn near to inoperable.  Maybe it too, has a case of the Summertime Blues. And “there ain’t no cure for the Summertime Blues”.

///Darrell
Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist
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Scenes from the 33rd Annual Tucson Folk Festival

Well, we did it. We made it to the show for the tenth year in a row. It got real hot, but we delivered!  And we certainly weren’t alone! So many fine musicians and wonderful performances! Here are some pics:

Greg & Randall Morton and band – top notch bluegrass.

Our friend from the Northwest, Dan Weber

The fabulous Eric Ramsey (slide blues don’t get better than this)

Sabre Faulk and the Angel Band – they packed the house at La Cocina and knocked us all out!

The Wayback Machine! With John Coinman! doing John’s song “All the Way from Memphis” – Outstanding.

Eric Schaffer & the Other Troublemakers – These guys are pros – great set!

Our dear friends JC & Laney getting ready on the Plaza stage with some help from Matt Rolland on fiddle.

The Robby Roberson Band – well three of them. And what a job they did on their harmonies. Saaweet.

Greg LaCosse with his 12-string and some fiddle by Lex Browning. Fun stuff.

Yours truly. I’m doing a rendition of “Die Workin'” after having tried a new one “Meat & Potatoes”. I barely survived.

The Great Don Armstrong – 50-years of professional Folk Music – yes, he’s broke. With Lex browning and Jim Lipson

Eb Eberline with Jim Lipson. Eb will be touring this summer and might make it to my town.

a better shot of Eric Ramsey. Guitar players and songwriters can learn from this man.

Eric Schaffer and the Other Troublemakers delivering the goods. I love this band.

JC & Laney singing their magnificent harmony with Jim Lipson providing percussion.

Another photo of Arizona’s best duo. JC & Laney.

The Robby Roberson Band delivering original inspired music in 3-part harmony. Ed Garnero, Arlienne Scofield, and Robby Roberson.

More RRB – take a close look at Ed’s bass. He made that one.

My grand daughters. They were my favorite dancers.

The Determined Luddites! a Tucson institution! “Making America Drunk Again” I don’t know how they ended up playing so far from the beer. That has NEVER happened before. L-R Dan Davis, Gabe Hostetler, Kevin Schramm, and Daniel Hostetler

Darrell Elmer Rodgers Trio with Rick Heyman on bass and Michael Parker on drums

Darrell Elmer Rodgers Trio

Darrell Elmer Rodgers Trio – With Cliff Cordes from Chandler AZ doing the harmonica work on “Hard to Believe” – it got folks dancing!

Darrell Elmer Rodgers Trio – making America dance again.

Darrell Elmer Rodgers Trio – see my favorite dancers down front? Katie & Emily cutting a rug.

 

That’s all for now,

///Darrell
Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist
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Almost Ready for the TFF

Me and the band have been practicing. We surprised ourselves with how quickly we got back into groove.  Of course, we’ve been playing together for 10 years, but since I moved to New Mexico, we rarely team up. Michael Parker said he hadn’t touched his drums in quite a while. He works harder than any of us. Still, he’s back in all his glory, adding just the right “punch” to my new songs as well as some old ones.  We’re looking forward to performing together at the Tucson Folk Festival again this year. I’ve heard from a number of you that you’re planning to see us there. This will be fun!

For those who have been to the TFF before, we’ll be playing on a NEW stage.  Since the Museum of Art is renovating, the TKMA arranged for a couple of streets to be blocked off, mainly Telles St. shown below.

Like I said, this will be fun!   C’mon Over!

 

///Darrell
Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist
Posted in Events, Folk, General Conversation, Guitars, Music, Music Performance, songwriter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day, once again, a new song

Yes, I have a new song for my Bride.  This year’s song is explicitly interracial!  Yes indeed, and it’s the first one I’ve ever written in that light.  This is a celebration of a love that might have never happened except for our involvement in our common faith – The Baha’i Faith. Here it is, “Hard To Believe””

This song came from the realization that differences do not keep people apart – sameness does: same old thinking, in the same old places, with the same old people. It is travel and exposure to other cultures, customs, and colors that allow us to see just how trivial some “differences” really are. Isolation preserves ignorance. Exploration eradicates it! Once we arm ourselves with first-hand knowledge and heart-felt relationships, we become empowered to change the world – at least our own little part of it.

My Bride and I have done that. Life is good. (not always easy, but always good)  This coming May, we’ll celebrate 12 years together – 144 months, appreciated one at a time.  Meanwhile, Valentine’s Day provides a nice warm-up.

///Darrell
Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist
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Happy 2018! (it’s a bidding)

It’s NOT an assessment – way too early for that. But it IS a bidding. I’m wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2018.  Of course, with the state of world affairs right now, our collective health may be challenged by forces beyond our direct control. So let’s do our part to make life better locally for all.

My bride and I spent three days over Christmas visiting family in Arizona. We had a therapeutic immersion in Grand-Baby Love!  THAT was soul-reviving.  And it came in the middle of 12-days off work from my day-job at NASA.
Tomorrow morning may be hard to take.

And having some time off gave me an opportunity to finish a new song I had begun back when my local doctor gave me some sobering news (I’m old) and recommended a severe change in my diet (along with blood pressure medication).  It’s called “Meat and Potatoes”

I hadn’t written a “slide guitar song” in quite some time, but the theme seemed to fit a slide-blues instrumentation, as it is after all, a lament.  If you’d like to own a copy (in full resolution if desired), you can download it for a dollar on my bandcamp download site. And you could just share the link with your friends who may be facing similar choices.

I also realized that there are a number of songs I have not yet made available for download. I started organizing them and realized I may have enough to create not one, but THREE new albums. Sounds like a New Year’s Resolution to me!

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

IF we could wipe away the genocidal history of the American Thanksgiving, it would be the perfect holiday for me. Imagine that the atrocities heaped upon the indigenous people of this land were not associated with it’s origin. Imagine if it were simply a day to give thanks. Such a worthy day it would be with no desecration of a concurrent holy birth, or a sacred moment of salvation, but just a day to gather in Unity and be grateful.  Maybe we could redefine it that way and be grateful for a hopeful future instead of an unjust past.  Maybe.

My Bride and I just enjoyed the best Thanksgiving of our 12 years together.  Now we have enjoyed some EXCELLENT Thanksgiving feasts with family and friends through the years, but THIS year we were joined in our own home by GRAND KIDS and of course, their parents (you remember, my daughter Rachel and her husband Cody Langness). Nothing beats that!

Aside from the enormous dinner prepared by my bride Deb and daughter Rachel, the festivities were like a 3-D movie of pure delight. I so loved seeing our grand daughters enjoy themselves and interact with each other. It was an unparalleled treat!

Did someone say “Photos please”?

I hope you had an enjoyable day too.  Before I sign off, I want you to know I’m working on a new song called “Meat and Potatoes”.  It’s a lament of a man being forced, by his own desire to live longer, into eating a more plant-based diet.  Personal?  You bet it is.  Stay tuned.

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