DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Darden Smith Working On New Album

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on February 29, 2012

Darden Smith is touring Texas, Oklahoma and New York before heading to the U.K. for a session with songwriting legend Boo Hewerdine.

Remember when I posted about Darden Smith and his songwriting camp for veterans that took place earlier this year in Colorado Springs? Well, his people sent me another press release and I thought I’d share it with you. Right now, he’s in Nashville working on a new album.

The new release is being produced by Jon Randall and Gary Paczosa and will feature some of his more recent music (written in the last five years). It includes “Love Calling,” which some of you may have heard on the Sirius Coffee House channel.

Also on the recording will be “Angel Flight,” which is a collaboration with Radney Foster. It was inspired by volunteer missions of military pilots who return the bodies of those wounded in combat. The song has been performed at memorial services, repatriation ceremonies.

Other co-writers include Gary Nicholson (Vince Gill,“One More Last Chance”), Patty Loveless (“The Trouble with the Truth”), and Montgomery Gentry (“She Couldn’t Change Me”); the late Harley Allen (Blake Shelton’s “The Baby,” Joe Nichols’ “I’ll Wait For You,” and Darryl Worley’s “Awful, Beautiful Life”), Jack Ingram (“Barbie Doll”; and Jay Clementi (“Sweet and Wild” by Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker’s “Might Get Lucky”).

According to the press materials, “Smith has released a dozen critically acclaimed albums that have achieved broad appeal in both the American and British music scenes, including the most recent Marathon (2010). Praised by All Music Guide and Rolling Stone, his songs have climbed the charts in pip, country and rock genres. Hit singles include “Little Maggie” (Darden Smith, 1988), “Midnight Train” (Trouble No More, 1990), “Loving Arms” (Little Victories, 1993), and “After All This Time” (Sunflower, 2002).”

Darden will continue to record under his own Label, Darden Music. In addition, he has collaborated with photographer Kate Breakey in a 32-page book that pairs the lyrics from “Marathon” with her photography.

For more information, visit www.dardensmith.com and www.thebeanartistprogram.com

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Music Camp Helps Veterans Tell Their Stories In Song

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on December 31, 2011

I came across a press release that I thought was kind of interesting and cool, so I thought I’d share the info with you.  There’s a songwriting camp for veterans, sort of a transitional program that’s specially designed for members of the military and their families. It’s taking place Jan. 19-23, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

It’s being hosted by a nonprofit group called LifeQuest Military Transitions. According to this press release all costs for veterans are covered – travel, accommodations and the music camp. The LifeQuest mission is to empower military service members with life skills that enable personal growth, promote leadership development and facilitate positive change during transition into, through and beyond military life.

Austin, Texas-based musician Darden Smith will direct the songwriting program. A longtime singer/songwriter, Smith recorded

The multi-faceted musician also created Songs From the Big Sky, a documentary for BBC Radio in 2006 about the relationship between Texas songwriters and the state’s landscape. (photo courtesy dardensmith.com)

his first album in 1986 (Native Soil/ Redi-Mix Records; re-released on Watermelon Records in 1992), which, had some big-name backup players – Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith. Since then, he’s recorded 12 others, including Sunflower (2002/Dualtone Music Group), which included the hit single “After All This Time,” a tune that reached No. 3 on the BBC Radio 2 chart. His most recent is Marathon (2010/Darden Music). Quoting his website,Combining a sophisticated austerity with philosophical heft, Marathon undoubtedly reflects a veteran songwriter in transition, a truth-seeker willing to lay bare the hardships of scrutinizing his place in the modern world. Smith admits: ‘I couldn’t have written these songs 20 years ago.’”

Part of Darden Smith’s place in the modern world is clearly helping his fellow humans find their own place, and he most definitely has an affinity for those in the service of their country. This songwriting retreat is a follow-up to an earlier camp held in July 2011 in Edwards, Colo. Smith gathered a team of pros who worked with a group of participating service men and women.  Their songs were performed at a September 11 concert at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, and are now available on iTunes. After the January 2012 music camp, the songs from both camps will be compiled on a new album. Proceeds from the recordings will benefit the veterans and help fun LifeQuest programs.

If you know anyone who would benefit from this (or maybe someone in a position to volunteer or help our financially), please pass this along.

Music Camp Website (Go to EVENTS tab)

About LifeQuest Military Transitions

LifeQuest Military Transitions (LQMT) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization based in Colorado Springs, Colo. that provides a unique variety of transition programs for military members and their families. Participants come from all over the United States.  LifeQuest’s programs center on physical rehabilitation & training, adventure activities, and life skills development for wounded, ill and injured veterans. The program emphasis is always to empower participants through choice, challenge and change.

Get You Some Nasty!

Posted in CD Picks, Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on November 6, 2010

Nashville musician Rickey Godfrey releases new blues CD, plays local dates

Rickey Godfrey's blues CD, Nasty Man (Serenity Hill label-Oct. 9, 2010).

The much-awaited new blues recording from American artist Rickey Godfrey is finally here and it’s nasty, so get down with it and have some fun! Nasty Man is a powerhouse of a record – solidly blues-driven with jazz and funk influences that give it an edge and a sound that’s unique to the uber-talented musician.

Godfrey will be in the Coastal Carolinas promoting the new CD from Thursday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 14. Thursday evening from 5 to 9 p.m., he’s set to hold a CD release party at Boom Boom’s Raw Bar on 13th Avenue N. in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Friday he will be featured on Mid-Day Café radio program on WHQR public radio 91.3 FM in Wilmington, N.C. Friday night Godfrey will appear with bass guitarist Lan Nichols and drummer Rich Laverdure at the Rusty Nail blues club, also in Wilmington. Saturday evening, Nov. 13, Godfrey will play at Papa’s Pizza Wings & Things in Little River, S.C. from 7 to 10 p.m. The following morning, Sunday, Nov. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon, Godfrey will be at a band fair being held at O.D. Beach & Golf Resort. The fair is part of CBMA awards weekend, celebrating the best in Carolina R&B music. His Nasty Man CDs will be available for purchase.

The 12-track recording showcases Godfrey’s mind-boggling skills on both Telecaster and keys. According to Godfrey, who also produced the album, he intentionally kept the instrumentation sparse. “I didn’t want an over-produced, over-polished result,” he said. “This is a blues album, and I wanted a raw sound. I love the spontaneous stuff that happened in the studio, like Don Wise’s sax riff on [track 10] “’Let’s Get Busy.’”

Nasty Man!

It’s obvious that the CD’s lyrics were as important as the musicianship to this singer/songwriter. Godfrey wrote or co-wrote ten of the album tracks. “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” the opening tune, is an unabashed appeal to women everywhere to embrace their inner nasty selves. With its cleverly written lyrics, guitar work and vocals that come from the gut, “Nasty Woman” sets the tone for “Nasty Man.”  Co-written with Richard Fleming, it’s already proving to be one of the album’s most popular during live performances.

Other notable tunes include “Don’t Argue In the Kitchen,” a humorous tale that proves jealousy and kitchen utensils are a recipe for disaster and  “Don’t Get Your Money Where You Get Your Honey,” sharply crafted advice sure to be ignored, despite the drone keyboard warning us to beware – and behave.   Slowing down the pace and the mood is “Johnny Jones,” Godfrey’s tribute to his friend and Jimi Hendrix’ mentor who died in 2009.

The only songs not written or co-written by Godfrey are “Allergic To Mink”  by Gary Erwin aka Shrimp City Slim and “When You’re Cool (the Sun Shines All the Time),”  penned by Gary Nicholson,  Hank DeVito and Kevin Welch.

Boom Boom’s Raw Bar is located on 13th Avenue N. in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Telephone: 843-427-7304

The Rusty Nail is at 1310 S. 5th Ave. In Wilmington, N.C. Telephone: 910-251-1888

Papa’s Pizza Wings & Things is located at 111 Pavilion Dr. #24 (Lowes Food Shipping Complex), Hwy. 179 on the road to Calabash. Telephone: 843-249-3663

O.D. Beach & Golf Resort is at 98 N. Ocean Blvd., North Myrtle Beach, S.C.  Telephone: 800-438-9590.

For more information about Rickey Godfrey and Nasty Man, visit www.RickeyGodfrey.com.

Jim Quick To Speak On Songwriting At Calabash Gallery August 11

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on July 17, 2010

Musician Jim Quick (photo Misty Hudson Photography)

Sunset River Marketplace art gallery in Calabash, N.C. has announced that Wilmington musician, Jim Quick, will present Inside the Song: the Making of Music at its monthly Creative Exchange event on Wednesday, August 11.

Owner Ginny Lassiter said, “We are so excited Jim is coming to the gallery. Jim Quick is legendary in this area for his witty banter and comical onstage antics. But not everyone outside the music business realizes what a serious and skilled songwriter he is.”

Singer/songwriter Jim Quick is the front man for one of the most successful bands in the Cape Fear region and along the Grand Strand: Jim Quick & Coastline. The group plays to packed rooms up and down the east coast. In December of last year, they opened for country duo Montgomery Gentry in Cancun, Mexico. This past April, Jim Quick & Coastline were the opening act for national recording artist Delbert McClinton at the Myrtle Beach House of Blues.

Quick also fronts King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers, which is something of an alter ego for Coastline, although the lines between them are often blurred. Coastline, though not a true beach band, performs more R&B and shag songs. King Tyrone puts out a funkier swamp sound and records some of the more irreverent tunes Jim has written, such as “Mama’s Drinkin’ Liquor Again” and “(I Didn’t Buy This Beer, But I’m) Payin’ the Price,” which the band co-wrote with Ed Carrigan.

Jim Quick has been named CBMA Entertainer of the Year seven times and Songwriter of the Year twice, as well as receiving five Song of the Year awards. The band has won Group of the Year five times, in addition to earning several other honors.

Live At HOTO’s is the band’s just-released CD, which was recorded at Harold’s On the Ocean in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach, S.C. earlier this year. Quick also has a solo CD being produced by Nashville songwriter/producer Gary Nicholson. A release date has not been scheduled.

About his songwriting, Quick says, “I can remember making up songs when I was a little kid, maybe three years old. But I was probably about nine when I started messing around with my dad’s guitar. I was much more prolific in high school, using the keyboard. I went through a stage of just making it rhyme.

“I think I was 19 when it changed. John Hiatt flipped the switch for me. I got it. I understood that you have this whole world that you create.”

According to Quick, he plans to explain his songwriting from the inside out, “where I get everything from, how deep I have to put myself in the type of music … how to convey the meaning  … taking it and putting it together.”

Since opening in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has become an active supporter of performing, literary and visual arts in the area. The gallery hosted Brunswick Arts Council’s Evening of Miniature Masterpieces fundraiser multiple times and is a 2010 Silver Sponsor for the Friday evening Summer Concert Series at Ocean Isle Beach.

Creative Exchange is an interactive community event held at Sunset River Marketplace. The gallery is located at 10283 Beach Drive SW (Hwy. 179) in Calabash, N.C. Jim Quick’s songwriting presentation takes place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There is a $5 fee and, due to limited seating, reservations are required. This event is expected to fill up quickly, so get your spot early.

For more information, call 910-575-5999. If you’d like to be notified about upcoming Creative Exchange, Coffee With the Authors or other gallery events, send an email tolassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace.com. Gallery news is also posted on the website:www.sunsetrivermarketplace.com.

Traveling Troubadour Verlon Thompson At SxSE Aug. 8

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on July 29, 2009
verlon03

Image courtesy of Keith Case & Associates

“In the end, it’s about what you feel more than what you hear.”

As we talk, writer-picker-singer Verlon Thompson is at home just west of Nashville, Tenn. and I’m parked in my car outside a waterfront joint on the Intracoastal in Little River, S. C. where two of my favorite blues guitarists are tearing it up inside. Only the chance to speak with a songwriter of this quality can pull me away.

The Oklahoma-born musician is bringing his intimate one-man show to Myrtle Beach for a much awaited South By Southeast performance at the city’s landmark Train Depot.

“I’m looking forward to the SxSE show,” Thompson says in his gently twangy, disarming voice. Laughing, he continues, “This is my first time with these folks, and I think it’ll be what they call a ‘cultivated crowd.’”

This is in response to our discussion of “listening rooms,” where the music is front and center while booze and a pub atmosphere play a distant secondary role.

“I have played Myrtle Beach … Surfside really … once before,” he tells me,” It was a house concert. I love the idea that a group of people get together and pool their resources for a private event.

VT_LiveCD

“In fact, my latest CD, Live At the Iveys [2008], was recorded during a house concert in Fort Mill, S.C. It was in this big old home and I was performing without a sound system. At the last minute, Randy Ivey ran out and bought a laptop and mic and recorded it. He gave me a copy and about a year later I popped it into the player and it just made me smile. You can hear the crowd breathing, sighing, laughing. With this CD, you hear exactly what the people there heard.”

Thompson is the quintessential troubadour, although he’s known as much for his association with country legend Guy Clark as for his own stellar songwriting talents.

“I’ve been playing with Guy Clark since 1988 or ‘89. I worked with him on his Old Friends album (1993/Sugar Hill Records), and when we were finished he said,

“Now you need to come out on the road and recreate it with me. So I did. And now I pretty much do every date with him.”
Thompson has been with Guy Clark on every recording since Old Friends. He’s also racked up producer credits on Cold Dog Soup (1992/Sugar Hill Records), The Dark (2002/Sugar Hill Records), Workbench Songs (2006/Dualtone Music Group) and the upcoming Some Days the Song Writes You (Sept. 22, 2009/Dualtone Music Group).

In addition to Live At the Iveys, Thompson has also cut a few albums on his own label, VNS Music – Out At the Barn and Everywhere … Yet; and Verlon Thompson (1990/Capitol). His compositions have been recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Alan Jackson, Sam Bush, Trisha Yearwood, Anne Murray, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the list goes on.

In fact, when we spoke, the main subject was songwriting. “There are many ways to write a song,” he tells me. “There are many formulas. But it seems like I get the best result when I relax and say what I truly feel, whether it’s a commentary on something or a story … not that I don’t resort to clever wordplay, but I hope not at the expense of the story.

“Sometimes a lick will inspire a word. then that word will inspire a thought … I’ll have a piece of a song that I don’t think is any good and six months later I’ll have the perfect resolution Sometimes you have to wait to be open to it.

“I teach occasionally at songwriting workshop and my advice is ‘Try to reach out; forget the formulas.’

“If you’re writing, here’s what you need to do:
1. Your song needs to bring a lump to the throat;
2. Your song needs to bring a smile to a face (that can’t be stopped);
3. You need to be tapping your foot and just can’t stop.”

Verlon Thompson isn’t a household name. He’s not played on Top 40 radio stations. But he’s building a massive street team of music lovers. This sampling from his website should give you an idea:

Verlon Thompson is best known as Guy Clark’s second guitarist, but he’s cut three albums on his own VNS Records. Out At the Barn is Thompson’s latest celebration of simple, down home music recorded, as the title suggests, at this refurbished barn in the countryside near Nashville … If you dig Thompson’s work with Clark, this disc should grace your collection as well.
– Thirsty Ear, a NonTuxedo Music and Culture Joint

It’s high time everyone heard more of that humble troubadour Verlon Thompson. He is a fantastic guitar picker and songwriter whose only career shortcoming is that he performs in Guy Clark’s enormous shadow.
– Lonely Goat Magazine

This little album [Everywhere … Yet], only 37 minutes long, is an example of real home-made music. All instruments and vocals by Verlon Thompson. I can hear bass, mandolin, and guitars. It’s marvelous in it’s simplicity. Recorded “out at the barn” in a studio he built for his last album, the sound is as cozy as an Indian blanket in front of a log fire….It’s almost as if Thompson was singing for you in your living room. And he is one fine guitar player!
– David Kidney, “Green Man Review” greenmanreview.com

Verlon Thompson’s musical career spans two decades of many facets of the industry as a songwriter, solo artist, sideman and collaborator (many of these roles with country hero Guy Clark). His latest solo project is a chronicle of his vast career, pooling his experiences and paying tribute to influences.

Calling this a solo album is an understatement. Thompson played every instrument, sang every harmony and recorded the album “out at the barn” in the studio that he built. All this creates the organic, engaging and tangible character of the album.
-Performing Songwriter

Verlon Thompson comes to the Myrtle Beach Train Depot at 851 Broadway on August 8. Opener George Marshall takes the stage at 7 p.m. and Thompson goes on at eight o’clock. For tickets, call jeff Roberts at Sounds Better Records (
Here’s some things to remember. South By Southeast is a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving, protection and promotion of the independent music we love that so often is overlooked or ignored by mainstream radio and retailers. The group also awards scholarships and donates instruments to local youths and schools. These are the good guys, folks.

For an incredible $25 a year, you can support their noble efforts and – while you’re at it – gain admittance to most of their shows at the special member’s price ($20).

Your ticket, by the way, includes not just the music, but a range of free pot luck dinners, free brews, wine, soft drinks and bottled water. And since sponsors always get listed at the bottom of press releases (and then deleted from the news stories), here are the music lovers who support SxSE: Pepsi, New South Brewery, Sea Note Recording, Sounds Better Records, Star Music, Ready Rock Recording, the Anderson Property Group and QROCK Radio. I hope you’ll support them in return.

To order tickets for any event, send an email to southxsoutheast@aol.com. For more information about memberships or tickets for any SxSE event,log visit the website or contact Jeff Roberts at 843-497-3643 or Seth Funderburk at 843-455-6499or send an email.

© 2009. Dariel Bendin. All rights reserved.