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By: Sheryl Bryant
Australia Day is the official National Independence Day of Australia and is celebrated on January 26th of each year. Patrick Jane’s Aussie Day Celebration was held on January 28, 2017 at their Gourmet Pizza Bar in Cary on Kildaire Farms Road.
To heighten the celebratory mood at the restaurant, Darrel Darnell and friends came to deliver a broad variety of fun filled entertainment and music. Australian traditional and folk songs like “Waltzing Matilda” and more started and finished each set. In between, the hits kept rolling out. Audience participation was encouraged and guest musicians were invited to join in the festivities.
To fully understand how passionate Darrel Darnell is about his music, you need to know the back story. A few years ago, Darrel was facing quadruple bypass surgery in a hospital in Virginia. Prior to surgery, he felt a strong urge for his guitar. He asked a family member to bring it to him, and he began to play it in the lounge and waiting area of the hospital. What started out solely as self gratification turned into something so much bigger. Soon, other patients, visitors, nurses and hospital staff were gathering around the lounge to listen. At that time, Darrel came to realize that the positive effects that his music had on him were therapeutic for others. The positive impact his singing and playing brought to others was surreal and had a profound effect on him as a person.
Extending his passion for music to serving others, Darrel decided to volunteer and provide musical "medication" to those who can benefit physically and psychologically from its restorative powers. Darnell currently participates in a volunteer program at UNC/Rex Hospital in Raleigh. The program is called "Soothing Sounds". He performs for patients in the ICU, Cancer Ward, and other vital units. Though he is not a music therapist, his work is certainly therapeutic. The healing power of music has been documented in medical digests across the globe. Blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs show improvement with the introduction of a voice or an instrument. Darrel's instrument of choice is the acoustic guitar. The satisfaction of uplifting people who are sometimes alone, afraid and infirmed has turned out to be hugely rewarding for Darnell. As he and I spoke together about this mission, his smile broadened, his eyes glistened, and I could sense true sincerity in his words and a genuineness in his purpose.
From songs like the Youngbloods 1967 hit “Get Together” to Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” and James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James”, Darrel was spot on with the vocals and on acoustic guitar. A smooth tone, nice range and a high level of control allowed each song, no matter the genre, to be solidly delivered. Complementing on vocal harmonies and bass guitar was long time musician Roy Sykes of Southport, NC. He also plays extremely well. Along with guest artist An Luu, who joined in on many songs with his kajon, a Peruvian type of drum, the rhythm section kept the beat. In honor of Aussie Day, An also occasionally played the didgeridoo (a lovely wind instrument created in Australia). On several of the songs, Doug Woods added some bluesy accompaniment through the wails of his harmonica. Doug is a Raleigh area musician and takes his harmonica playing to peak levels.
Over a four hour period, Darrel Darnell Experience gave us 36 diverse song selections from the sixties into the new millennium. Many songs covered were popular Top 40, well known and well done. Others were nice rare gems pulled from the vaults and B-sides that were just magical. Each song took the audience back to another place and time, from childhood to youth and adulthood. Here is just a sampling:
Face/ The Beatles
With A Little Help From My Friends/ The Beatles
Everything that Glitters/ Dan Seals, as performed by Balsam Range
Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye/ The Casinos
Stand By Me/ Ben E. King
Down Under/ Men At Work
Let It Be Me/ The Everly Brothers
Wagon Wheel/ Old Crow Medicine Show
My Back Pages/ Bob Dylan (The Byrds)
Time Won’t Let Me/ The Outsiders
Don’t Fear the Reaper/ Blue Oyster Cult
Riders on the Storm/ The Doors
Mrs. Robinson/ Simon and Garfunkel
Seminole Wind/ John Anderson
Ring of Fire/ Johnny Cash
Do The Twist/medley/ Chubby Checker
Sweet City Woman/ The Stampeders
Let It Ride/ Bachman-Turner Overdrive
The Lion Sleeps Tonight/ The Tokens
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry/ Hank Williams
During a break in action for Darrel and Roy, guest performers Roger Mauldin and Quentin “Q” Jones joined An Luu with An once again dynamic with the didgeridoo. Roger accompanied very capably on kajon. Quentin was captivating on the congas The mini jam session was a nice twist to the day’s entertainment.
Patrick Jane’s staff was all the while offering up a tremendous selection of Aussie dishes (try their sausage rolls, they are to die for), serving cold beverages and otherwise accommodating their customers. They also generously donated sought after raffle items such as gift baskets and meat trays. All the Aussies in the house were excited about this side attraction. (Darrel made it clear we were all Aussies that day, so that would be the entire establishment!) Throughout the event, Darnell made it authentically and officially Australian Day by playing the traditional songs of the country. One very memorable tune was “We Are One, But We Are Many”. A very energetic rendition of this song was sung with big heart by all the genuine Aussies who joined in the revelry.
The staff and management at Patrick Jane’s were super courteous and helpful. I really liked the laid back vibe and neighborhood feel of the Gourmet Pizza Bar. This was the Darrel Darnell Experience’s third time out at Patrick Jane’s Aussie Day Celebration. Make sure you are there for his fourth!
Go by and check out the native Australian food (and more) at Patrick Jane’s. And as always, be kind to your local artists who bring you the live music. Your support is needed and appreciated.