DLC’s New Country Instrumental Set “Keys And Reeds” Is Coming Along Just Fine

A new 14-song collection of classic country instrumentals, featuring DLC on piano and the spectacular harmonica wizardry of Joe Wilson, “Keys And Reeds” is quickly coming together for a mid-July release on the Piney Hill label. Tracks include such immortal melodies as “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Always On My Mind,” “Lily Dale,” “Sugarfoot Rag,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Panhandle Rag” and “For The Good Times.” This is a sample of the music on “Keys And Reeds” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZqtaRgxpG4

Keeping Up With Old Friends

UPDATE: Tommy Allsup passed on January 11, 2017, at the age of 85. He once told me that every day he lived after the (Feb. 2, 1959) plane crashDLC with Tommy Allsup MAIN was a precious gift that he was eternally grateful for, and he hoped he earned every one of them. I think he did. Rest in peace, Tommy. And give my best to Buddy and Waylon!

Tommy Allsup has become a legendary figure in American popular music since he lost a coin toss one freezing-cold February night, and teen crooner Ritchie Valens – who won the toss that entitled him to Tommy’s seat on a fateful airplane flight – died in the tragic crash that also killed singer J.P. Richardson (the Big Bopper) and Tommy’s boss and longtime friend, Buddy Holly. Tommy also worked with Bob Wills, the “King of Western Swing,” and he now co-leads Wills’ old band, the Texas Playboys, with another esteemed Playboys alumnus, the smooth-voiced Leon Rausch.

DLC has known Tommy Allsup for more than fifteen years, with some of that time as a neighbor, and always enjoys getting together with the aging rock and roll icon. DLC, recently met up with Tommy and Leon (another musical icon DLC first met more than three decades ago) at the 28th Annual Legends of Western Swing Music Festival, in Wichita Falls, TX.

Even though so many years have come and gone since February 3, 1959 – “The Day The Music Died” – Tommy still speaks in sad, almost haunted tones when he talks about his time with Buddy Holly, and DLC is privileged to have heard many of those stories directly from the man himself. And Leon’s personal recollections of the years he toured and recorded with Bob Wills, beginning in the 1950s, are much more interesting than better-known stories that show up in various books about Wills and his enduring legacy. Huge influences on his own life as a musician, DLC is proud to know both gentlemen as friends.

In their 80s, both historically prominent musical figures still deliver powerful performances, and never fail to please an audience.

Health concerns force DLC to cut back for awhile

Around the first of March, 2015, DLC noticed that he was getting exhausted easily, and often fighting for breath after the least exertion. Chest tightness and breathing distress while sleeping soon followed, and he realized something was wrong; something serious enough that he might need to do the unthinkable, and go see a doctor.  So he did.

A few tests and x-rays later, and DLC was diagnosed with an enlarged heart (from a “silent heart attack” he didn’t even know had happened) and Congestive Heart Failure.  Treatment, he was told, would include medicationsDon Chance Sept 2014  BW and cutting out all strenuous activities – such as playing live shows.

Although he continues to play piano at church, DLC has cancelled all bookings until the end of 2015, and hopes to resume personal appearances in January.

In the meantime, in addition to finishing up a few writing projects, he plans to record enough new original material for at least two albums, as well as a couple piano-based CDs of classic old-time Gospel instrumentals.

“I’ll follow the doctor’s orders and take care of myself, and be back healthier than ever,” DLC says. “I’m nowhere near done!”


Meeting Lifelong Heroes Never Gets Old

Back in the mid-1970s, the teen-aged DLC was a big fan of John Denver – not so much for Denver’s (sometimes) overly sweet lyrics or his meticulously managed image on a popular series of TV specials with other major musical artists, but for the rich, earthy acoustic instrumentation that sparked Denver’s seemingly endless string of hit songs to life. Two of the driving forces behind Denver’s performances both in the studio and onstage were the late Steve Weisberg, playing guitar, dobro and pedal steel, and John Martin Sommers on guitar, banjo, mandolin and the fiery fiddle that made “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” (a pure bluegrass song that was also written by Sommers) a huge and enduring hit on pop and rock radio charts. As multi-instrumentalists, both pickers were massive influences on DLC’s own determination to play as many instruments as he possibly could as well as he possibly could.

John Martin Sommers and me and Jim Curry  Wichita Falls Memorial Auditorium

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band multi-instrumental wizard John McEuen introduced DLC to Weisberg a few years ago, and the two immediately hit it off; even discussing doing some recording together before Wiesberg became too debilitated by the cancer that eventually took his life. But, while recently covering an upcoming local appearance by Jim Curry, who beautifully celebrates Denver’s life and music through a popular tribute stage show, DLC also had the opportunity to meet and interview Sommers; and, again, the two immediately hit it off. Sommers is an incredibly nice and graciously modest gentleman who seemed genuinely flattered that someone was so profoundly effected by his own contributions to Denver’s trademark sound.

Jim Curry with John Sommers

In his life as a working musician and prolific music journalist, DLC has been pleased to meet and get to know many, many of the legendary musicians and entertainers whose work he has respected and been so deeply influenced by for so long. But, being among DLC’s top five all-time favorite musical heroes for so many years, meeting and getting to know John Martin Sommers was an extra special experience.  (Top Photo: John Martin Sommers, DLC and Jim Curry; photo by Anne Curry. Bottom Photo: Jim Curry Presents The Music Of John Denver, L-R Diane Ireland, John Sommers, Jim Curry, Tom Williams and Anne Curry)


They Don’t Call It Sci-Fi Anymore, But DLC Sure Does In A New Collection!

A fan of old-school science fiction since childhood, DLC has always enjoyed the work of such greats as Heinlein, Pohl, Foster, Silverberg, Asimov, Card, del Rey, Farmer, Resnick, anyone who could spin engaging tales of common people, no matter their species or planetary origins, in extraordinary and exotic situations. For his own first science fiction release, STRANGER IN THE BARN prototype Cover OnlyDLC chose a dozen of his most popular previously published short stories for The Stranger In The Barn. With a variety of settings from the far past to the far future, the tales in Stranger feature plenty of action, intrigue and, in some cases, humor, as well as the keen insight on the human condition that often comes from a lifetime of devouring the kind of imaginative ideas that are only available in science fiction.