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Bios and Achievements

Biographies

Larry Doran

Larry is an experienced singer/songwriter/guitarist who grew up in Wichita, Kansas in the fifties, which explains his musical taste.  He has a distinct and unusual guitar style utilizing alternate tunings, based on his love of full six-string chords.   He also manages the musical arrangements, album production, promotion, live performance scheduling and booking events for the duet. 

As a songwriter, Larry understands the importance of lyrics.  It’s critical to him that the audience understand the words to the songs, and can sing along if they’re so inclined.  His talent has generated a recent recording contract with Hilltop Records in Hollywood, California.  His original song “John 3:16” will be included on their soon-to-be released “Glory” Gospel album.  (You can listen to that song on the Music page.)  They’ve asked him to submit more of his original compositions for possible publication and production!


KAREN DORAN
Born in York, Nebraska, Karen graduated from York high school and for her graduation present, she go travel to Wichita Falls, Texas to spend the summer with her sister.  There she met Larry, who worked with her sister's husband and had been asked to show her around.  Larry's feeling was that he, a military man, was being asked to baby-sit the kid sister of the lady who had been kind enough to invite him to her home for some home cooked meals now and then.  How could he refuse?  Fifty-three years later, he's STILL baby-sitting!  But it's truly because he loves his baby.

Although Karen avoided the spotlight for many years, preferring to work behind the scenes as a director of live theater, Larry was able to discover and encourage her hidden talents as a singer.  She has now blossomed into an accomplished harmony vocalist with a delivery that has been described as “seamless” and “delightful”.  

Karen is also a talented graphic artist, and manages all of the imagery and layout for promotional materials, album covers, posters and advertising.


ACHIEVEMENTS and ADVENTURES:

****Like a lot of folks, we have a bucket list.  At one time, Hawaii was a high-priority item on it, but we became convinced that would never happen so we crossed it off.  Well... never say never!  We received an invitation from a friend to share their condo on Kauai, and we've already made airline reservations.  We'll be going in November, and right now that seems soooo far away!  We are so excited.  Karen wants to see the lagoon where Elvis rode a fancy raft to his wedding in the movie "Blue Hawaii".  We're also hoping for a helicopter tour, a luau, and a sunset cruise offshore.  Oh, my gosh, I can't even believe I'm SAYING that!  Giving our lives to God just keeps us SO excited to see what God comes up with next!

****On April 10th, all of the original members of "The Casuals", our rock and roll band from 1963, will perform together on stage in McCool Junction, Nebraska!  Lou Smith from Mineola, Texas on drums, Jerry Havemann from Muscatine Iowa, on lead guitar, and Phil Eddings all the way from Okeechobee, Florida on bass guitar, and of course me on rhythm guitar, and Karen will be providing her lovely harmony for our vocals.  We will be performing our first live concert together in more than fifty years!  What an exciting event that will be for us, a real trip back in time.  We'll also be joined by some more current members of The Casuals; Mark Jensen, Clark Kinnison, and Bruce Zimmerman will also be participating.  Come and rock out with us!

****We just returned from a tour that took us all the way to San Antonio, Texas with stops in Gainesville, Dallas and Wichita Falls.  We were able to re-connect with Lou Smith, the drummer from our Rock and Roll band "The Casuals" from 1963.  We also got to perform a concert with our good friend Jerry Havemann, who played lead guitar for that band.  On our way back, we stopped in Wichita Falls where our band was based, and visited the old Pioneer Restaurant #3, (We just called it P3).  If the band wasn't playing or we weren't working, you'd always find us there.  We were welcomed by the owner, Brady Crumpler, who was once a rodeo cowboy who toured with Chris Ledeaux before he became a country music star!  A photo of The Casuals from 1963 is not hanging proudly on the wall in P3!  What a great time we had.  Our trips always seem to include some great times with great folks.

****Larry has also become a published author!  His new book "Abercrombie and the Dragon" a short story for youngsters (and the young-at-heart) is now available for only $5.99 on Amazon.com internationally! The reviews have been terrific, adults have even compared his work to "Lord of the Rings"! There have already been confirmed sales as far away as Germany!

**** Larry's recent contract with Hilltop Records in Hollywood, California to publish and record his original song, "John 3:16", generated a wonderful front page article in the August issue of the Midwest Country News!  It was a lengthy tribute to his songwriting talents as well as to the accomplishments of both Larry and Karen as The Mellow D's.  Many thanks to Barbara Ackley of the Midwest Country News for a terrific article!

****
Performed live on the Grand Ol' Opry stage at the world-famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee!  They actually got to sing Larry’s original song, "I Wish George Jones Would Listen To My Songs" on the stage that George Jones has performed on many times!  This was a huge checkmark on Larry’s “bucket list”.

*** In Branson, Missouri, Larry was able to present Barbara Fairchild with an original album of Gospel music during her performance.  Larry also made her husband Roy and the audience laugh out loud.  Barbara and Roy are just plain delightful!!

*** Hosted and performed a Fifties Rock 'n Roll dance at the high school gym in McCool Junction, Nebraska.  What a hoot, doing it the way it was done in 1959!  Jerry Havemann, the lead player in Larry’s 1963 North Texas band "The Casuals", drove in from Chicago to perform, making this one of those events to remember and cherish forever!

*** At a Sept 11th Remembrance event, The Mellow D’s sang Patriotic songs.  Across the street from the event, which was performed outside, someone had erected a flagpole and Old Glory was waving brightly in the sun, shining brilliantly.  It was an inspiring and emotional event.

*** Shared headliner responsibilities again with some terrific musicians and entertainers at the big Country Music Jamboree in Avoca, Iowa.  It's an annual event each year, great fun!  They took top honors in harmony!  Larry credits Karen for that award.  He was also recognized for two original songs written during the event; a Country song called "I Can't Help But Feel That Way", and a Gospel song called "Jesus, Lead Me Through".  Larry received a special request to perform both songs from the main stage, and the response from the audience was extremely gratifying!

***The Mellow D’s performed live at the Midwest Country Music Theater in Sandstone Minnesota, a nationwide television broadcast on the RFD-TV channel!  Joe Savage on sweeeeeeet steel guitar; Larry Rose on rock-solid bass; Dan Lund on country lead guitar the way it should be played, and Bobby Vandell who controlled his rock influence and played great country drums!  How cool is THAT!! 

***  Performed a live Gospel Show, at the Double-D Ranch in Ashland, NE.  It was an honor to be selected as performers at this Chuckwagon Dinner venue, which regularly features such renowned performers as Rex Allen Junior, Roy Rogers Junior, and Michael Martin Murphy. 

*** Performed a half-hour live radio show, broadcast on the Golden-Oldies station, KAWL in York, Nebraska!  Great fun, nice folks.  

***
The Mellow D's were honored to be selected as judges for the annual "Middle of Nowhere" Country Music festival in Ainsworth, Nebraska.

*** The Mellow D’s joined Jerry Havemann and his wife Maria for a trip to see Luckenbach, Texas.  And now they can say they actually performed live on stage in Luckenbach, Texas!  What a neat little place, out in the middle of Texas hill country!  They also performed live at the LBJ Ranch National Park, at the insistence of one of the park rangers.  Larry loves impromptu and spontaneous moments!  Karen… not so much.

*** The Mellow D’s were invited to perform at the Midwest Country Music Theater in Redding, Iowa, and in spite of tornado warnings, they got a terrific response! 

*** Performed at the Cotner Center in Lincoln, Nebraska for the Lincoln Area Agency on Aging’s “Extravaganza of Country Music” concert.  It was one of the most responsive audiences they ever encountered. “It was one of those satisfying performances that I dream about”, says Larry. “After being rewarded with a spontaneous and lengthy standing ovation, I was flying high for hours!” 

*** At the annual Nebraska Country Music Foundation’s awards ceremony, The Mellow D’s achieved Top Gospel Group of the Year. 

*** Perhaps the biggest achievement for The Mellow D’s was their induction into America’s Old-Time Country Music Hall of Fame before an encouraging crowd of standing, applauding country music fans! Again, Jerry Havemann drove across country from Chicago to attend the induction and take pictures of the ceremony, making it an even more personal and exciting day! Wow. 

*** The Nebraska Country Music Foundation Recognized and awarded The Mellow D’s 2nd Place Gospel Group. 

*** The Mellow D’s won 3rd place in the International competition at the annual week-long National Traditional Country Music Association’s event in Missouri Valley, Iowa. 

*** The Nebraska Country Music Foundation recognized Larry as Top Songwriter of the Year, and The Mellow D’s as Top Country Duet. Karen’s first trophy ever!! That was truly gratifying, because it validated my claims that she was a highly talented harmony singer with a style all her own. She finally had to accept the fact that there were others who shared my opinion. 

*** At the Cornhusker Country Music Club competition, Larry won 3rd Place in the Top Male Vocalist category. 

*** The Nebraska Country Music Foundation selected Larry as the Semi-Pro Male Vocalist of the Year, and runner-up Songwriter of the Year.

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