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Songs From the Circle 4

Danny Gotham hosts the Songs From the Circle concert every year, and this year I got to be a part of it. I knew it would be good. I knew it would be fun. I didn’t expect to have to hang on to my jaw for two sets of solid country joy, spontaneity and chops.

Mike Babyak (dobro)

Tom Collins-Meltzer (guitar, vocal)

LaNelle Davis (guitar, vocal)

Julie Elkins (guitar, vocal)

Danny Gotham (guitar, mandolin, vocal)

Jeferson Hart (guitar, vocal)

Bobb Head (stand-up bass)

Jan Johansson (fiddle)

Stan Lewis (guitar, vocal)

Rebecca Newton (guitar, vocal)

Jim Roberts (drums and percussion)

Hank Smith (banjo)

Lindsey Tims (fiddle)

F.J Ventre (stand-up bass)

Jim Watson (of the Red Clay Ramblers – guitar and vocal)


This stuff is popping up on YouTube, and I recommend strongly you seek it out. Here's a start: 

Mr. Love

If I Needed You 

Your Cheatina’ Heart

Thank you Danny Gotham for putting this show together, and for letting me be a part of it. 


Kerrville 2013
Phots and details coming soon. In the meantime, suffice it to say it was the peak musical experience of my life, and I hope to find a way back every year until I'm too brittle to travel. I want me some more of THAT.
Doodad Farm
Well, THAT went well.

Danny and I stopped at three different stores on the way to Doodad Farm, looking for handwarmers. No soap. We were just going to have to hope the day warmed up. Danny had more at stake there than I did – he’s a busy man on the fretboard. We pulled up at the farm and sighed relief: Dean Driver and the Doodads had kitted up the stage with heaters. Barry Gray was running soundcheck for Lowland Hum, and the sound was dead on.

The farm is right off Interstate 40 but you kind of forgot that once you got there. It felt like a place you’d have to fight to get to. A big green field surrounded by trees, with canopies, picnic tables, and all the sky you can handle.

Every once in a while I’d get a friendly nudge from one of the five or six dogs roaming the farm, including a Marmaduke-sized Weimaraner.

Off near the woods to one side, there was a little cabin set on a gentle slope. An old-school chalkboard (probably from an old school) mounted on the side of the cabin announced the night’s lineup.

The cabin’s porch was the Doodad stage. The Doodads had removed the rails from the porch and hung stage lights. Nice and deep too - lots of room for guitars and for space heaters.

Lowland Hum, aka Daniel Levi Goans and Lauren Plank Goans, took the stage around 4:00p. You could tell one song in that these guys are good in their own skin. I’ve listened to their record a bunch (a bunch) of times, but they bring a different thing to the stage. Lauren locked in with Daniel’s guitar with tambourine and stomped her feet to sound like way more than two people on the stage. I’m watching their calendar so I can catch a whole show sooner than later.

About halfway through Lowland Hum’s set, the sun pushed through the scud of cloud, so the coats piled up and Danny and I quit worrying about our fingers.

When our time came, Danny and I climbed up on the Porch/Stage and checked the view from the Porch/Stage. The Doodads had oil barrels set up with firewood right up front, and folks were cooking anything that fit on a toasting fork so we saw the crowd through ripples of smoke, sparks, and heat.

As for the music, I don’t know if it was the place, the people, or the weather, but I felt like I couldn’t put a foot wrong - even the mistakes felt right. It’s also the first time I’ve seen anyone dance to one of my songs.

Danny had to take off as soon as we wrapped, but I stuck around to hear the Doodad talent. Barry Gray (the aforementioned sound meister) strapped on his Martin OM15 – those 15 models come out of the box with a matte finish but get shiny on top if you play them a lot, and Barry’s has a nice sheen on his. He led the crowd through the Doodad Farm theme song, and Brad Gray joined him with his Alvarez. From the covers they played (and they played them very, very well) you could tell they have a deep bag to pull from. Fast on their feet with the harmonies too. Real musos, these guys.

Finally, right before I had to leave, Dean Driver climbed up and treated us to a couple of strong original songs and a next-level bonkers take on the Everly Brothers’ "All I Have to Do Is Dream". Note to self: watch Dean’s gig calendar.

This was Danny’s and my first full-length show together, and it’s going to be one to beat. I can’t thank the Doodads enough.