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Author Archives: D Grant Smith

Mojitos = Mo Happy

Mojitos = Mo Happy.

This is from my wife’s blog.  It pertains to food, drink and enjoying people. You should enjoy the post and the recipe.


Concerts and Music

We’ve been able to bring some great indie acts to Texas. Our AppetizerRadio blog has details on a sweet concert coming to the Big Country this Thursday. Read the blog for the details, and please subscribe to our new blog.


Emotional Music and Alternatives

I appreciate the opportunity to say things here and have you read them. Yes, you, the individual. We may know each other or may not. Either way, I appreciate you. Thanks for taking the time to come to this blog and invest in what I write. That means a lot to me.

I honestly don’t have a lot to say right now about music. I’ve blogged before about how music is therapy for people, and how different types of music can be therapeutic in different ways. This morning was a little rough for me with some difficult conversations. Part of it is just the job of being a manager. Another part of it is just facing some realities of life, and for me seeing some of my worst faults play out in other people. That’s a very deep thing to dive into and I won’t do that here. But I mention the topic because I can’t find music to provide a therapy for this stuff. Maybe it exists. For now, silence and contemplation are the best medicine, because I learned a lot from the difficult and trying talk earlier today. I learned a lot about myself, other people, how groups of people work best, and how life is. Maybe I’ve going to clarify all this stuff later but not now.

Used to, I’d go through tough stuff that involved people, be it a friendship, working situation, or something with a team mate and the stress from the conversation(s) would leave me wanting something to take my mind off the issues or fuel the anger I felt towards the situation. It’s easy to find music that fits with your anger. It’s everywhere. My choices for angry music usually involved thrashing guitars, screaming vocals, and (admittedly) some profanity in the lyrics. That music just fueled the emotion, but it didn’t bring any clarity to the situation or how to fix it or even help me deal with my responsibilities in the problem. It helped me stay mad. Maybe there’s a place for that kind of angry music. Counselors would probably argue that angry music is unhealthy in most forms. Maybe so. But just bottling it up doesn’t do much good either, so perhaps an avenue that lets you really vocalize the deep dark stuff isn’t so bad in some ways. It’s certainly not healthy if that’s the only avenue you take to deal with tough stuff.

Nirvana was my prefered angry music choice

I don’t listen to much angry music anymore, mostly because I don’t like being angry. But I do still gravitate towards more progressive rock if I’m agitated or upset. Yet, I still move towards deep music about pain and hurting people when I feel upset, and there’s no genre or category that has the monopoly on those emotions. Johnny Cash, Tracy Chapman, Brandi Carlile, Nirvana, Lyle Lovette, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac, Strung Out (a great metal punk band if you haven’t heard them), Green Day, (and the list goes on) are all artists who have powerful songs involving hurt people, being misunderstood, being angry, being taken advantage of and all wanting some outlet to express themselves and be known. And they’re all producing very different forms of music.

This is why, for now, silence is the best medicine for me. That’s a strange thought if you really think about it because it’s my job to invest in music most of the waking hours of my day. I should be exploring some form of music either to play on The Appetizer, to fill some piece of programming or to fill some void in the uncertainties of my emotions. But I’m not, and I don’t think I can right now. The opposite of filling that with music is letting my mind and heart talk a bit over the beautiful overtures, chorus, and verses of silence. To quote a parody song writer, whose name escapes me at the moment: “Silence, music’s original alternative. Roots grunge.”

Once again, this blog is moving. Soon I won’t be updating anymore. Please read The Appetizer blog here.

How Music Is Painted

Over the past 2 weeks of The Appetizer, we’ve been exploring this notion that we can experience music in similar ways that we experience color.  In doing so, I’ve challenged and encouraged listeners to view music in new ways, using the imagination.  All too often in appreciating music, I find myself not taking in the beauty of the song, be it the story in the lyrics, the use of harmonies and melodies, the instrumentation, etc.  But if we allow our imaginations to engage in the listening process, we can have a completely different experience.

There’s more to this post. Read more at our new blog site.
Our blog has moved to Please read our posts there. Thank you.

New Appetizer Blog Site

Our facebook status says this, but I wanted to post it here too.  Our blog is moving to our main website, which gives us a lot more flexibility and options to provide more video, audio, and other fun stuff. We’ll keep updating this blog for a little while, but please go to from here on out to keep up with our blog.  Thanks.


-D Smith

Discover New Flavors Of Music


If you haven’t surfed over to our friend Matt Dyson’s blog today, check it out. It introduced me to a cool new artist (who sold his album in a comic shop no doubt) named Kurt Vile. You can hear a track from Kurt towards the bottom of the page called Jesus Forever. Though the track sounds like it was recorded and mixed by Kurt, it has a nice production quality to it.

Another great music blog I’m into is Fuel Friends. Surf over there and discover new flavors of music like Walk The Moon, Akron/Family, Godspeed You!Black Emperor, and more. Mp3s of songs from these acts are there so you can experience more than just a description of the bands. And on a recent program of The Appetizer I featured music from The Head And The Heart. On fuelfriends you can get a special poster that looks fabulous. Check it out.

with William Fitzsimmons and his new Golden Fork at Flyboy Studios

Last Saturday we made a pretty big official announcement of one of the big winners for this past year’s Golden Fork award. Many of you voted and the votes have been tabulated. I’ll make the official announcement later on, but our first winner and owner of a new Golden Fork Trophy is William Fitzsimmons for 2010 Artist Of The Year. Congrats to him. More pics from our session will be available on our Facebook site soon.

Post Concert and Other Things

me with William, presenting his Golden Fork Award at Flyboy Studios

If you’ve read this blog at all in the past month, you know I’ve been talking A LOT about William Fitzsimmons. The big reason for that was we were privileged to host him last Saturday in Abilene at a great show at The Paramount Theater. I was really blessed to get to host him at Flyboy Studios the night before the show in an exclusive interview and performance with Jake Phillips. It was a really phenomenal experience. I’ll post the Youtube videos (link goes to our youtube page of a previous session with The Rocketboys at Flyboy Studios) of the songs performed and feature portions of the interview in some upcoming podcasts, as well as air some of the material in an upcoming episode of The Appetizer.

The session at Flyboy Studio was incredible, as you’ll soon see. The show at The Paramount was one of the most unique concert experiences I’ve had. William’s style is very soft folk, with his almost whispered voice and quiet acoustic guitar. It’s the subject matter that’s the really deep thing, diving into real life areas of loss, pain, tragedy, and separation. If all the show offered was a bald guy with a huge beard singing about the worst times of his life, the show would probably not be appealing to the average concert-goer. This is why the experience was so unique. Between the songs, William would poke at the audience, make several witty jokes and engage in a correspondence with the crowd that I haven’t seen before.

So you have this dynamic of really deep, personal songwriting that doesn’t just take a glimpse of some dark areas of the human soul, it goes into the heart and finds whatever darkness is there and faces it, instead of running away. It’s a bravery in songwriting that’s pretty one-of-a-kind. Audiences were pretty blown away. But what was the real game changer was how William interacted with concert-goers. Most of the crowd hung out for a while after the show for him to come out and talk to the fans, as well as sign stuff. It was a great experience for all.

I really enjoyed getting to host William and Jake and look forward to them coming back. Jake has a debut album set to come out in a few months. We’ll definitely play some of his music and talk with him in the future. He’s such an incredible guitarist and talent. Usually with side guitarists, there is a bit of pride and ego that comes in on stage when there’s space for a solo. Not the case with Jake. He had such reverence for William and respected his role as songcrafter. His harmonies vocally as well as what he added on guitar made it sound like William was playing 2 guitars at once. They were one instrument, and the dynamic of that sound was magnificent. You’ll definitely see and hear it in the videos and podcasts from the interview session.

Me with Liz and Cory (the Fitzeheads) after the show

After the show I got to talk with a lot of new people. It was a huge honor to get to connect with people on music and talk about what they liked about the show. I made some great new friends and look forward to playing some of their suggestions. Two of the new people I met are Liz and Cory. They drove from Houston to see that show, and are self-proclaimed “Fitzheads.” They travel to his Texas gigs regularly and when they come, they bring him gifts, which are a collection of random things bought at gas stations. Yesterdays gifts included a slap bracelet, jellybeans, and a fossil egg you bury. It was great. It’s fans like this that make shows really awesome.

One other cool thing was presenting William with the first Golden Fork trophy from our 2010 group. Hundreds of people voted all over the country and he is the 2010 Appetizer Artist Of The Year. I presented the Golden Fork trophy (sponsored by Bonterra Blu) to him on stage after introducing him. He held the trophy up and the crowd went wild. It was really cool. And throughout the course of the show, he kept making references and mentions to the trophy, which he placed on a stool next to him along with his drink. It was really great.

William will kick off a nation-wide tour next month. Check out his upcoming dates at his website.

One other thing to note, I’d like to mention that I am blessed to have a new addition to the show-Meagan Hernandez. Meagan will be serving as my sous chef, and will be heard on some upcoming podcasts. She’s also the videographer for our upcoming videos, photographer for our events. It’s such a huge blessing to have her working with the show. Look for more stuff coming soon.

Michael Hagerty

Also, someone very dear to my heart and a close friend Michael Hagerty has a huge opportunity. He has auditioned to be the next game announcer for the Chicago Cubs. Michael has been a lifelong Cubs fan, and has over a decade of experience in broadcasting as well as audio production with work at KWBU and KNPB. He got his start at KACU. He also is the man behind The Appetizer’s original website and logo. It would mean a lot to me and to him for you to go to his youtube audition, like it and leave a comment. Thanks.