2008 Rewind: D for Dan Penn | Rock Candy

2008 Rewind: D for Dan Penn

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Dan Penn. The legendary songwriter (“Dark End of the Street,” “Do Right Woman,” “It Tears Me Up”) served as a fitting coda to Danny Grace’s tenure steering Hendrix College’s Special Events program. For more than a decade, Grace, who heads the college’s theater arts department, brought huge names to Conway for free shows, artists to make any music geek big-eyed: Lucinda Williams, John Cale, Bill Frisell, Howard Tate, Van Dyke Parks, Gillian Welch and James “Blood” Ulmer. In most cases, it was the musician’s first time in Arkansas. Penn’s performance, with keyboard accompaniment from esteemed session man Bobby Emmons, was transcendent. With just an acoustic guitar and country soul baritone that would make Charlie Rich envious, Penn reclaimed all his old hits for his own. Pick up Penn and Spooner Oldham’s 1999 album “Moments from This Theater,” and you’ll get the idea. And local arts organizations (Wildwood, I’m looking at you), don’t forget about Grace. He’s a booking dynamo.

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