Thursday, November 20, 2003

I'll be playing the open mike at the Six String on Tuesday, and then taking off work on Wednesday to work with dangerous powertools to once-and-for-all clean up accumulated storm debris from my parent's yard...

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Wrote a new song Friday night. I was inspired by the double concert on Thursday, so I'll give partial credit to Kyler England and Vienna Teng. New musical phrases and melodies have been running through my head non-stop for the past day. I was actually listening to Kyler's song, "Something so Beautiful", and figuring out the chords (drop-D tuning). Then, a simple chord progression popped into mind and immediately a melody with a first verse popped into my head. Downhill from there. Spent the next half-hour writing the song.

It's called "Shopping Mom", and I've finally posted something to my spartan website. You can download the mp3 here, but keep in mind it's a rough recording, done with my MiniDisc's tiny microphones on the couch in the living room. I did a little quick post-production on the audio file, but the source is a live recording, voice and guitar all at once. Listen to it here, but please right-click and download it instead of streaming it, so I don't get charged for excessive bandwidth usage.

. . . Shopping Mom . . .

Ever seen a little girl standing forlornly in the middle of a department store, mommy nowhere in sight? I have, plenty of times. As a guy, it's awkward, cause I want to help, but I'm also wary of appearing ill-intentioned. And no one wants to feel the wrath of momma bear if she returns and thinks her cub is in danger. But I'm not going to walk away, either. Sometimes I wait at a safe distance, until the mom returns, just to be sure they find each other. Sometimes I'll look around, take an educated guess as to who the mom might be, and ask her if she's missing her kid. Or I'll find a sales associate. I'll approach and talk to the kid if I feel like the kid is possibly in danger.

Funny thing, I don't often notice little boys standing around. When I was a kid, if I got separated from my parents, which was a frequent enough occurence in department stores, I just ran around like the Tasmanian Devil tearing through the store until I found them. :)

Friday, November 14, 2003


The concert was AWESOME!
It was a very special treat, because Kyler and Vienna decided to do 2 joint concerts, one at 7pm, and one at 9pm.

Ha ha, Dave at the Six String apparently didn't know about it. You should have seen his face when Vienna started into one of her own songs shortly after what-was-supposed-to-be Kyler's concert began... Ha ha ha! But it's all good, both concerts were fantastic, with each performer singing solo songs, and doing several duets too. Great complements. Had the concerts been separate, I wouldn't have enjoyed them as much as I did when they played together.

There's a great dynamic between the two performers. They're comfortable with each other, the stage banter is unscripted, casual, and personal. It draws the audience in when the performers are obviously enjoying each others company and having fun.

I went to hear Vienna Teng, who I "discovered" like two months ago at the recommendation of a friend, and I "discovered" another fantastic artist I had never heard about. Hey, good deal! New music is good. And I love supporting musicians who are enduring the grueling indie-musician life.

Maybe I'll be there someday myself. As a reminder, I am playing at the TYF Concert, opening for Koo Chung. Pearl tea will be sold at the concert!!! Also known as Bubble tea.
Admission will be canned food, which will benefit a local charitable organization.

Anyways, funny thing about last night. Turns out that one of my friends went to school at Stanford, and recognized Vienna Teng. And another friend went to high school with her. And ANOTHER friend who is now out-of-state told us to send her greetings, having seen Kyler somewhat recently up in New York.

Great concert... Inspiring... Went home and recorded a few musical snippets. Song ideas, mainly guitar riffs, although I should sit down at the keyboard and write more piano songs soon... Great, fantastic, awesome concert.

You can next hear Kyler at the North Carolina Songwriter's Competition, THIS SATURDAY, at 8pm in Carrboro (Chapel Hill). She will be performing during the competition judging, because she was last year's winner.

Her next full concert locally will be on December 20th, again at the Six String Cafe. "Homegrown Holiday Hoopla w/ Kyler and Taylor Roberts Music"... See more tour schedules here... She'll be in D.C., the Midwest, and California in the next two months.

See if Vienna Teng is playing anywhere near you...

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I told some friends they could donate via direct deposit into the "Feed Dan" fund by coming to this website, but I must confess, that is UNTRUE!!

But since you're here, you can check back on this web log periodically to see the next time I'm performing. Heh heh... If you're interested in live music, tonight there will be two incredible acclaimed musicians at the Six String Cafe-- indie alternative rocker Kyler England (7pm - 9pm, $5 cover), and evocative pianist/songwriter Vienna Teng (9pm - 11pm?, $5 cover).

Both are up-and-coming artists who are on the verge of nationwide recognition. Kyler grew up in Raleigh, and turns out that my friends went to school with her! She recently won first place in a major songwriting competition.

Vienna Teng went to Stanford, pre-med, switched to Comp Sci, and was working for Cisco as a programmer until last year, when she quit to do music full-time. Can you see why I identify with her life direction? Her music has been featured on the David Letterman Show, and on NBC's hit comedy Ed.

David Letterman said, "I've heard the entire CD and there's not a dud on this. You get your money's worth here!"

Okay, I'll shut up about the concert. I've been plugging it on email lists and on this web log for a while now, so I keep circulating the same information and trivia...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

... Thursday Concert ...

*CORRECTION - Cover charge for Kyler England and Vienna Teng is actually $5 PER CONCERT ! ! I asked the Six String today, and found out it's $5 for EACH. So the 7pm Kyler show is one concert, and the 9pm Vienna Teng one is another one, each being $5, so $10 if you want to listen to both.

Kyler England's concert proceeds will benefit INTERACT, a local organization dedicated to promoting awareness and prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault.


Tonight's Open Mike was good. Lots of incredible musicians, and even the ones who were just starting out as beginners did quite admirably.

It was a good performance for me. I was relaxed, well-prepared, and sang my heart out. When you put on a good performance, it's a feeling that's hard to describe. There's a momentum that seems unstoppable, and yet also an acceleration of time where suddenly, you've played your whole set and you're surprised that it's over. The audience in the room fades slightly from the picture, and yet you're still tuned to them, and you can pick out in your mind the people who are really connecting with the music. I think it's similar to being in a zone when you're playing a sport.

Strange analogy, but it reminds me of when I used to play LaserTag in a local arena. If I was in a zone, which happened occasionally, then no one could stop me. I could tear through multiple opponents without dodging or ducking because I simply shot everyone before they could shoot me. I didn't so much see opponents as feel where they were, and I didn't have to even look at someone to shoot them. When you're in a zone, at first opponents converge and gang up on you. Then, after you've wiped them out a couple times, they start running away when they see you.

I guess when you're in a zone musically, you're hitting every note, and not even trying. You're not thinking about the mechanics of music, you're completely wrapped inside the flow of the song and it carries you with an irresistable momentum. I don't know if I was "in the zone" tonight, but it was definitely close.

As I tend to do, the songs were rather intense tonight. I sang "The Jewelry Box," "Got to Move On", and "Blow Wind Blow" (a.k.a., "The Wind Song" -- sorry, Jason! ). I'll have to sing some "lighter" songs next time. I plan to do it again in two weeks.

...Taken for Granted...

Later, an older man came up to me with a smile and a compliment, and added, "Christian songs?" I smiled in return and said, "Yes! Songs of hope." "I write a few of those myself," he returned.

On the drive home, I spent the whole time thinking about the rights we take for granted in this country. And the right to choose our beliefs and vocalize them in public is one I think is very much taken for granted. I thought about family friends who were separated from their spouses and sent off to hard labor camps for more than a decade, simply because they did not believe according to their government's party line. I thought about my grandfather, repeatedly dragged from his house and beaten in the streets because his sons had fought on the "wrong side" in a civil war. I thought about a relative who sometimes goes into hiding whenever there is a regime change, because in the chaos of transition, old enemies come looking for him.

Regardless of the complaints I hear about this country, it is still unique in its valuation of free speech and the sanctity of human life. In some other countries, life is very cheap. And where life is cheap, speech is not free. To speak freely brings persecution or death. God has blessed America, but America does not have a monopoly on God's blessings. Don't take what we have for granted.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

11/13/2003 - Kyler England and Vienna Teng are both playing at Six String this Thursday. Cover is $5 for both concerts, Kyler plays at 7pm, Vienna plays at 9pm. It'll be an awesome concert! Both are acclaimed and accomplished singer/songwriters. Kyler is more rock/pop/alternative, Vienna is more girl/with/piano. People compare Vienna Teng to Michelle Branch and Norah Jones, not that she's identical by any means...

I really like Vienna Teng's music. She's been featured on David Letterman, NPR, and NBC's "Ed". I heard about her through a friend.

Whoa, turns out that Kyler England went to Enloe High School, right here in Raleigh!! And two of my friends emailed me and said, "Yeah, we know Kyler. We grew up together, sang in chorus together, went to college..." And one of my friends saw Kyler recently when she recording an album. Small, small world.

Friday, November 07, 2003

11/11/2003 - I'll be playing again November 11th, 2003, at the Six String Cafe's Open Mike Night.

12/6/2003 - I'm opening for a New York musician, Koo Chung, at a local Triangle Youth Fellowship concert. The evening will start at 6pm in a coffee-house style atmosphere, and BUBBLE TEA and snacks will be served!!! Woohoo!! Bubble tea finally comes to the Triangle! It's about time. Concert starts at 7pm, runs to 9:30pm.

Cover charge will be canned food, which will be donated to a good cause. Bubble tea will be sold, also as a fund-raiser.

The concert will be at the North Carolina Korean Presbyterian Church, located at 5408 Duraleigh Road, Raleigh, NC 27612, behind Glenwood Avenue, like a short distance south from the shopping center where Waraji Japanese restaurant is located. Coming from Glenwood Avenue, it will be on your left on Duraleigh. It's the only church on Duraleigh road, and there's construction going on out front.

Skimmed a TAXI article interviewing an A&R person, who said that bands should write one-song-a-week as a discipline to work up song-writing chops. If that's the case, then I don't feel bad about writing one song every two weeks. I used to think, "Man, I gotta crank out more songs, at a faster rate if I want to pursue this..." But I guess I'm not too far behind ;). No songs since the last one mentioned. Been verrrry busy with stuff lately. Sleep less. Work more....

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