Friday, June 28, 2013

Rose of Sharon Soup Kitchen and Thrift Store Has Immediate Need!

Sharon Walker is the Founder and General Overseer of the Rose of Sharon Soup Kitchen and Thrift Store located at 2412 Memorial Parkway, NW, Huntsville, AL 35810. The Rose of Sharon Soup Kitchen and Thrift Store is a non-profit, 501c3, non-denominational ministry to the homeless and needy in Huntsville, Alabama. They serve two meals daily, Monday through Friday and on Saturday one big meal is served. They also offer a monthly clothing assistance to those in need and in the colder months supply blankets, coats, hats scarves and gloves to help them stay warm.

Sharon was first called in the homeless ministry in 2001 and the soup kitchen ministry first opened it's doors in November of 2003. Sharon is an evangelist and preacher and has a heart's desire to see people turn their lives around for the glory of God. It is the vision of her ministry to see people walk in victory instead of defeat. She teaches weekly Bible studies every Wednesday at 11:00 AM. Everyone is welcome to enjoy a hot meal while hearing the word of the Lord.


Saturday Night Alive is the once a month church service with a live band, guest speaker and free food. All are welcome. The Rose of Sharon Bus will pick up people without transportation at the Salvation Army and Johnson Towers and give the a ride back when the service is over. Pictures are on the website. I encourage you to check out the website!

I visited the soup kitchen and thrift store the other day in late afternoon. I stepped into a cool, clean, well organized store.  In the middle section are tables where people had come in from the heat and were playing card games. Everyone was very friendly. The soup kitchen depends on donations and volunteers. Right now they are in desperate need of financial support. Sharon said she had plenty of food and volunteers come in to help cook and serve, but on that day she had a bank balance of $20.00. If they do not get some assistance soon she will have to close the soup kitchen and lay off three people.

Please go to visit the webpage at, get acquainted with Sharon, look at photos ... click on where you can make a donation through PayPal. Every dollar will help. I am asking everyone who sees this blog to support in any way you can. It will be a blessing to you as well as to the soup kitchen. 

I hope to find a venue and rally together all the Homegrown Songwriters in the area to do a benefit concert to raise some working money for the soup kitchen. We have so much talent in our area and these songwriters have a heart for helping by donating their time and talent for worthy causes.Your prayers and help are much needed and appreciated.

If you live in the area stop in and bless the soup kitchen with a donation, buy something from the thrift store. Some awesome items, clean and in excellent condition! They also have a box truck and can pick up large donations of refrigerators, sofas, etc. Come one, folks and lend a helping hand in any way you can.

2012 Ministry Totals
155 Food Boxes were distrubuted
4,250 clothes were given to the homeless and needy
546 winter coats were given to the homeless and needy
510 blankets were given to the homeless and needy
15354 Hot Meals were served/given away to the hungry
41 Souls were saved for Jesus Christ
$22,348.00 was taken from the thrift store inventory and given to the homeless and needy.


The Rose of Sharon Soup Kitchen and Thrift Store
2412 Memorial Pkwy NW, Huntsville, AL 35810
Phone:(256) 536-2970

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Meet Gary Whitehawk, Homegrown in Texas

Hailing from Lubbock, Texas, Gary Whitehawk is a singer/songwriter/musician. Gary writes lyrics that come mostly from his life experiences. Sometime’s sad, sometime’s happy, and a lot of memories. When composing instrumentals, the melody comes from deep within, depending on his mood and feelings at the time ... straight from the heart and soul.
Gary was raised in West Texas, and was fortunate to be around a lot of great musicians. Like all musicians, Gary listened to many different genres of music, and of course tried to emulate a lot of them. From old Rock 'N' Roll, Country, and Blues, he played it all. Through the years, he played in several bands, and over time developed his own style of playing guitar. In later years, he married a wonderful woman, and started raising a family. Times were hard, and music could not produce enough income to properly raise a family, so Gary had to get away from his music for many years. The love of music always lingered in his heart. 
Now that Gary's family is grown and married, and blessing him with grand children, he is back doing what he always loved ... playing his music once again. Gary says he  has no desire to tour, or be in any bands. He just  wants to create his own music and share it with those who enjoy it. Gary is currently working on an Album, and plans to release it soon on his own label.
Visit Gary's website at and browse around. I think you will enjoy our visit. Check Gary Whitehawk Music on facebook and give him a big thumbs up LIKE!

Homegrown Songwriters

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Meet Alvia Dale Sandberg

Alvia Dale Sandberg

Alvia or Alvie as we affectionately call him, joined the Huntsville, Alabama songwriter scene about three years ago. He is a familiar face at our local venues as well in places all around Nashville. He always has a smile and is supportive of his fellow songwriters. We are happy to have Alvie as  a Homegrown Songwriter! Look for him on YouTube  and ReverbNation.

Alvia Dale Sandberg is a songwriter and song performer who got his start on the farm in the small town of Burns, WY.  His first guitar was his father’s and was found in a closet on the farm house he grew up in. Alvia began playing music in junior high school and guitar in high school, in Burns, WY.  Alvia started out learning to play in various church bands in Burns, WY and later in Ridgecrest, CA.   He learned that hard work and small town values are some of the best American past times that we have.

He started out playing guitar in church bands and in Fellowship of Christian Athletes groups in college.  He also traded labor and farm commodities for guitar lessons while studying electrical engineering.  Most lessons were spent learning how to mimic Roger Clyne and Joe Satriani songs as well as scales and other music theory.  He will tell you, if you ask, that he has been playing far too long to be this bad at it.

Later on, while earning a career as a civilian electronics engineer with the Department of Defense, he continued playing rhythm and lead guitar in church bands and in local open mic nights in California.

After moving to Alabama, he started to delve into the art of songwriting and has been writing and playing out as often as possible in and around northern Alabama and Nashville, TN. In the last couple of years, Alvia has been studying the craft of songwriting by attending workshops, writing, co-writing, and taking every opportunity to view professional songwriters at events such as the Jim Parker Songwriter Series.  He is a member of NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) - Northern Alabama Chapter.  He has written dozens of songs and has developed a deep respect for the art, skill and luck involved with the craft.  You can find him performing all over northern Alabama and in Nashville songwriter rounds at places such as the Commodore Grille. 

In his first collection of original music, “Farm Boy”, you’ll hear pieces of multiple musical genres.  From his parent’s 40th wedding anniversary to the many lessons we all live in life, “Farm Boy” is a collection of small town American character.  He along with his three co-writers, Kenneth Cooper (She Prays For Me), Butch Hendrix (What Love Looks Like) and Charles Burgess (Old Family Album) all hope this collection will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

Alvia has an appreciation for all genres of music.  However, at the top of his list of artistic influence are Roger Clyne of The Refreshments, and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.  Also, growing up in a small farm town near Cheyenne, WY, he was inspired by the artists who frequented Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.  George Strait, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Chris LeDoux, just to name a few.  At some point, Alvia started to gain a love and respect for the singer/songwriter styles of Derek Webb, Bebo Norman, Todd Thibaud and Steven Ashbury.  As a songwriter, he is inspired by Jim Parker, Marc Beeson, Lisa Carver, Gary Burr and countless others.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Meet George Wells!!

George Wells, 82 years young, "and heading toward 83 as fast as I can,"  is still going strong. George has battled and won many serious health issues and has not missed a beat.  Just goes to show, there is a lot to be said for, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Proverbs 17:22 KJV

Drop into the Coffee Tree Books and Brew, in Huntsville, Alabama, any Wednesday night and you'll see George Wells sitting in his favorite spot for the Songwriters Open Mic. George is always there with a welcoming smile and willing to help and advise aspiring songwriters. George is also frequently present at Saturday night Open Mic and most Friday night Showcases. In addition to supporting songwriters he is always on the lookout for worthy causes that he brings to the attention of the Coffee Tree and helps organize benefits. George Wells is a friend to many and a friend to have in your corner. Read what he has to say about himself. We love you, George!

In his own words!

I grew up without any musical skills what so ever.  I dropped out of drum lessons after less than a half dozens lessons.  I was so musically challenged I could not play on the linoleum. I thought a key was something that opened a door.

Then, as a traveling auditor for GMAC, I was spending a lot of time at the airport.  I was making about 85 flights a year.  As you know, that provides a lot of extra time at the airport.  That's when I decided to try my hand at songwriting.  What better way to use up the spare time?  I purchased song books containing lyrics to use as a guide.  Also used a poetry book to help.  And just kept writing, seeking help of other writers and researching to get started.  Some of those who helped me were Joe Royster (He wrote a lot of Gary Bonds songs.) and Buddy Starcher who had a TV show in Charleston, West Virginia. We wrote a few songs together.  In Arlington, Virginia,  I met up with a person who had written a lot of rock songs ... I don't recall his name, but he invited me to the studio.

Too much travel led me to Huntsville, Alabama where I met up with Billy Stone.  He did everything in gospel music.  He was a promoter, songwriter, sang in a quartet and was a DJ at WBHP, WSLV and WRAB.  We wrote more than 50 songs together.  Billy was off on Monday so we usually spent the day in Nashville, knocking on publishers doors.  We had some success with April Blackwood Music, Window Music and others.  All told, we got about 25 songs published.  That gave us an opportunity to be in the studio with many people who are now in the hall of fame.  This includes:  DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore, Billy Ray Reynolds, Charlie McCoy, Pig Robbins and Pete Drake.  And, probably about 25 others of the same class.

A lot of people ask how many songs have I written in my 51 years of song writing.  All I can do is guess:  3,000 lyrics.  Remember how many changes I have been through in the recording industry.  Eight tracks, reel-to-reel, cassette, 45 rpm, 33 rpm and CDs. I would need a separate room for all the equipment needed to play all the formats of all my songs!

Never had a big song.  "Greenie, The Christmas Tree," by Roberta Lee, got a lot of airplay. So did "That Jesus Loves Me Feeling" recorded by the Kingsmen.  Perhaps my biggest thrill happened in Portsmouth, VA in 1970, when all my family came together in a theater to see the movie "From Nashville With Music."  Billy and I had a song near the end of the movie.  John Bradford sang,  "Turn The Record Over."  The Jordanaires did the back up vocals.  Some other projects include:  Charlie Walker, The Regents, Neil Bonnett, Orval Profitt and Roberta Lee.  I am also very thankful to have worked on other projects as well.  Most of all, my real thrill was meeting the people that sang or played on my sessions.

Bright Future for George

My most exciting opportunity came when Patsy Trigg, (Gold and Platinum Record for "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer") agreed to co-write with me in early 2012.

We came up with a novelty Christmas song entitled,  "It's A MerryChristmas When Pigs Fly."

We have a song, an eBook, a YouTube Video and an audio book by that title.  We think 2013 will be a good year for the song as we have two license agreements out.  One with Dan Dee International for 17 toys and one with Leanin' Tree Card Company to make a Christmas Card using the front cover of our eBook.  Patsy has a lot of experience, works hard, and anyone who can sell more than 15 million copies of a Christmas song, has a lot of ability.  It is a pleasure to work with Patsy.

 George's Advice For Aspiring Songwriters
Despite missing the big hit, I have stayed with music for a long, long time.  Disappoints came, things went wrong but I keep waiting for the "big one".  To the young writers my advice is to stay in the  craft.  A failure is a good teacher.  A rejection is the motivator.  If you love songwriting stay with and keep trying.  If you lose interest, try golf.  Songwriting is like a good woman, treat her like you should and she'll stay.  One final suggestion.  Keep records of names, dates, where you played and all things related.  When you reach my age you will have an awful lot of info that would have leaked out of the mind long ago.  It is not always how long the journey is, but how much you enjoyed the journey.   Here is a small  prayer that I use,  "The pencil is mine.  The paper is too.  But words I need dear Jesus must come from you."
Thanks so much for the opportunity to take you for a walk down my memory lane.  Above all, don't mind asking me for advice.  God keeps old folks around to help others. 

George Wells
June 13, 2013