Making music with my friends

I was watching a 60 minute interview with Paul McCartney last night. The interviewer showed Paul a clip of the famous concert on the roof of Apple studios. She asked why they looked so happy if they were breaking up ?

In my mind there are very few things in life that are as much fun as performing music with friends. In our case it is 6 of us, in time, on pitch performing a song that in many cases we wrote. The audience is smiling or tapping their feet. That tells us that we sound good. What really feels good is how connected we are on stage. People tell us we look like we are having fun. We are. It does not matter that we are not well known. We could be playing in front of a hundred people or just for ourselves. For me, the reward for working on my musicianship is the connection with my friends making music.

I would guess that is why the Beatles were smiling that day.

– JD

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Why do we want a live audience ?

There is nothing like a live show. We have performed in front of large and small audiences. The one thing that remains constant is the connection that occurs when you perform live. To look into the faces and see that they are enjoying your performance is amazing. To see someone tapping their feet or clapping is to know that they too feel the music. It creates an energy between you that is palpable. It does not need to be thousands or even hundreds in the audience. It just needs to be an audience that is receptive. Whether you are dancing in the aisle or quietly listening in your seat we know you are with us.

See you soon!

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Every generation has it’s music…

It seems that every generation has its music.

From the fifties right up to today you can chart the passage of time by the changes in popular music.

It feels as if the new music always pushes out the old. The children of the eighties still listen to their favorite artists and their songs.

However there is no new music. Greats like Billy Joel and the Eagles still fill arenas and stadiums to play their hits. Should they attempt anything new they are met with a much less enthusiastic response.

Don Henley recently put out an album entitled Cass County. Joe Walsh released Analog Man. Both records are great (in my opinion) .
Not many people have heard them. Why are all those Eagles fans so unreceptive to new music even from their favorite artist.

I have no answers.

I do know this. Life is long and getting longer all the time. It is not over at 60 years old. Soon that may be the midpoint for our children or children’s children.

We are all living longer. That means to me that there is more that I can do.

No rocking chair on the porch for this dude !!!

I am going to listen and make new music.
Join me.

– JD

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JD loves to tell stories.

JD loves to tell stories.

That is evident whether you are casually having dinner with him, watching him and his band write together or watching them on stage in an intimate theater setting.

Make no bones about it, JD and his band The Straight Shot tell the truth; it’s interwoven in the eclectic lyrics that they write. His moving portrayal of current events in songs like “Under That Hood” and “I Should’ve Known” are evidence of a group deeply rooted in the social and economic divide of our time.

In a world where technology and information are so disposable, their ability to bring the listener into the here and now of today’s most important topics with their words is incendiary.

JD and his band are masterful both musically and lyrically. They love to write and find any opportunity to do so. During a recent tour JD was going through a particularly rough time and was expressing his feelings in a car ride. Erin and Carolyn jumped right in. Before we got to our destination they had come up with a chorus and a melody for a possible song.

 So…sit back, relax and let JD & The Straight Shot time warp you with songs like “Glide” and “Ballyhoo” and be immersed in their latest dramatic interpretation of reality.

– from Alacia Parker, Tour Manager

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It’s the end of the summer and we have hit our goal in the studio.

It’s the end of the summer and we have hit our goal in the studio. In May we said we wanted to have 10 songs ready to track and record. Last Friday we finished #10. A song written by Marc entitled “Must be Night”. This record will be our best so far. Of course I always say that at this point in the recording process. Our goal as a band is to continually improve our music. So it is natural that we think our next album will be better than the last. This time we have taken the whole summer to prepare , compose and arrange the music.  I believe the result will be noticeable. The title of the new record is “The Great Divide”. The title track asks the question “How can everyone be so sure, when no one’s got the cure”.  I like it because the lyrics do not take sides but instead focus on the schism in our country. It does seem that there is more anger and hate than there has been in recent times.  Some of us remember the Vietnam war era. The country was similarly divided at that time. There was plenty of anger and hate between the long hair pot smoking hippies and the truck driving pro war rednecks. See, people called each other names back then too. A band called Buffalo Springfield wrote a song called “For What It’s Worth”.  The lyric in the song that always sticks with me: 

       What a field day for the heat
       A thousand people in the street
       Singing songs and carrying signs
       Mostly say Hooray for our side.

That was 1967. Seems like we have not learned how to disagree any more productively since then. Instead of signs and sit ins, we have Twitter and Instagram. Better technology, same message. Hooray for our side.

Musicians are still an important voice in our culture. I hope this new song will inspire folks to try a little harder to be tolerant of a different opinion than their own.

– JD

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WELCOME TO MY BLOG, MY NAME IS JIM DOLAN …

My name is Jim Dolan. I am a Father, singer songwriter, Business executive, professional sports team owner. There are many misconceptions about me. I am not going to attempt to clear those up. Instead I am going to write about the music that my band and I make. Each of my bandmates is a professional musician. They have dedicated their lives to making music. I on the other hand have had many other endeavors that I have pursued. My first real effort as teenager was playing guitar. I have always loved music and it has always been a part of my life. The first version of “ JD and the Straight Shot” was formed in 2001. We were pretty bad. The band was made up almost entirely of people I worked with. We played mostly cover songs. Still, the fun of making music with others was there. I got bitten again by the music bug. Since that time I have tried to become a better musician every day. I have been studying with a great voice coach for 13 years and am constantly working to improve as a lyricist.  

As I said, my bandmates are all professional musicians. So making music with them can be daunting sometimes. They are very skilled in their craft. Together we are a band. We travel together, share our personal thoughts and are all striving to create and perform the best music we can. We are friends. I hope we always will be.

We are currently in the studio working on a new album. The first track (I should’ve known) has already been released. Writing a song can be an agonizing task. Struggling to make the words convey the meaning you want while fitting them into meter and melody is not always easy. Then there are the rhymes . All of our songs convey meaning and often tell a story. It is not just the words but the feel and tone of the music. Hopefully they all come together to evoke emotion in the listeners heart. That is when music is filling its purpose. To be the language of the soul.

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