HouseConcertDiaries.com promotes the glorious,
up-and-coming institution of house concerts, performances hosted
usually in private homes for small audiences of friends and fans --
20, 30, whatever. It is by far the greatest way to enjoy live music, in
The set-up is generally that there's an admission fee of $15 or so, which
goes directly to the artist, and the artist of course also has CDs for
sale. Refreshments are provided by the host and/or guests. A fine time
This website will feature information on house concerts (including "diary"-type
reflections on the gigs shown), a few particular artists to start, and
others who may contact
us about being included, and see below for links to other websites
and articles on the subject.
Home concerts are just that...gatherings of folks who enjoy
intimate get-togethers in a private home with musicians, singer-songwriters,
performers of all sorts. Eats vary from light refreshments to
full, sit-down dinners, depending on space and the inclination
of the hosts. The price for all this may be a donation or a
set fee of more or less $15 per person. Most home concerts are
evening events, but they may be held during daytime on Saturday
really love home concerts, where they can get eye-to-eye contact
with the audience, and the audience can get to know the entertainers
in a personal way. Very special, indeed. CDs, DVDs, and all
sorts of other items are typically available for purchase, so
memories will always be fresh. --Joan
of Raton (NM)
house concert venue in Albuquerque, NM:
to do a house concert" - article and links to other
LIVE PERFORMANCE CLIPS
love the intimacy, spontenaity and informality of house concerts;
this one was particularly enjoyable. They
attract avid listeners, interesting people I enjoy getting to know
and the food is excellent! Ha!" SEE
KATHY IN PERFORMANCE
CHIAVOLA is a premier voice in bluegrass and acoustic music. She
has toured internationally for 25 years, has released three critically
acclaimed CDs and is preparing to release her fourth SOMEHOW,
a collection of all original songs.
Her last recording, FROM WHERE I STAND, A Personal
Tribute, is dedicated to the memory of her partner, world champion
fiddler Randy Howard. The Chicago Tribune named it one of the top
ten bluegrass CDs of 2002 while BLUEGRASS UNLIMITED
proclaimed it, “stunning, emotional... beautifully
compelling...Kathy’s vocal style and range fill a huge gap in today’s
world of female bluegrass singers....An inspiring and courageous album
to be treasured.”
Kathy has been interviewed on NPR’s Weekend
All Things Considered and has appeared on Prairie Home
Companion. She is one of the leading session singers in
Nashville and has recorded with hundreds of artists including Vince Gill,
Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, Chet Atkins, Mark O'Connor, Garth
Brooks, Tony Rice and Bill Monroe. She is a voice instructor at Belmont
University, a regular soloist with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and
serves on the board of directors for the American Federation of Television
and Radio Artists.
Kathy's website is
She is a featured vocalist on two Jim Terr CDs as well, "Demos
and Diamonds" and "Please
Cut My Song, Mr. Travis".
Every concert is a "house concert" to me, no matter
the size of the venue, in the sense that I always enjoy the audience
personally, the fact that they come out to listen, and so it's
always a "living room" type experience for me.
But there's no doubt that actual house
concerts are absolutely the best, just due to the up-close and
personal nature of the thing. And certainly as a listener I enjoy
house concerts so much more than anything else, it's rare that
I attend any other sort of concert any more.
clip has special meaning for me because it was
an evening put together by my friend Charlie Skowronek, to
showcase several of his friends -- artists and performers.
Now that Charlie has passed away, the memory of this evening stands
for me as a reminder of his generous nature. This song, "Did
It Hurt When You Fell Down from Heaven," is available on
a 23-song CD
(The newest Jim Terr CD is at www.BlueCanyonMusic.com)
"We ain't sure anybody would want to have us in there
house, but weve' played many banqeuts and other events where we
roasted the guest ect. and it always goes over pretty good. You
can see a good sample of us playin here: SAMPLE.
Hodding Carter has give us this genrous quotation: "A musical
tribute [from BuDDy] is like a passionate kiss from a large St.
Bernard: Unforgettable!" (Come to think about it, what does
he mean by that exactly?) Check out are WebSight: www.YourFriendBuddy.com
and are new Pod Cast at www.BuDDysOldFashionedPodcast.com.
- the most comprehensive and up-to-date house concert site on the web.
- terrible music unfit for human ears.
Video coming soon to this website:
||STEVE YOUNG (see www.SteveYoung.net)
||DON and VICTORIA ARMSTRONG (see www.DonandVictoria.com )
||THE BELIEVERS (see www.TheBelieversUSA.com
"The hosts of the house concert (Peter & Octavia) were so personable.
Their connection to our music and the audience they brought into their
home wereright on the money. We couldn't have dreamed up a better
STEVE GILLETTE & CINDY MANGSEN
"Peter and Octavia have a very beautiful home with just the
right ambiance for a house concert. Very nice acoustics, (I almost
wrote agnostics) and we felt very comfortable... Don Armstrong did
a very good job on the sound, and we experienced that perfect sense
of being there with people without any awareness that the sound
was being amplified. People were very nice as well. We jokingly
congratulate the audience at the end of the night on their intelligence
and perceptiveness, but in this case it was such a good connection
that we felt that the best we could do would be appreciated, and
that's a good feeling to have. It made up for the gasping and wheezing
we were experience at seven-thousand feet."
"Debuting my newest CD, 'RADIO",
at the Soule House, was a natural...and very satisfying for me.
I have been producing house concerts there with our 'team', Octavia
and Peter Soule, Judy Wimber, Don and Victoria Armstrong, Sue Blaisdell,
Marilyn Ferrell, and other helpers for about four years, so the
setting is completely comfortable to me, and the audience is composed
of friends. The home is lovely, and perfectly suited for house concerts,
and is a great acoustic room, so playing in this context is pure
pleasureI have been performing my own songs for more than 40 years,
and in the past three years have added my original spoken word pieces
to my stage work.
feel that the spoken word work has added measurably to the presentation
of my writing, not only by varying the show to the audience, but
in my own growth as a singer of songs, storyteller, and rustic humorist.
Perhaps also a way to interject my personal point of view without
being 'preachy'. And, my forty years of lyric writing make the composing
of these pieces great fun to do...and seem to be fun, or poignant,
to the listener, as well.
the guitar is one of the vast pleasures of my life. I didn't take
up the guitar until I was twenty-two years old...ancient for 'real'
guitarists...and feel that I have in the past four years begun to
get the hang of it. I love and collect old guitars, and they are
a great comfort to me, and an endless source of growth of expression.
the truth is, I love to play music...to entertain...to match wits
with a group of people... bounce my thoughts and melody sense around
a room of folks who want to be there with me, completing the circle
of energy that makes the situation vital, interesting, valid...and,
most of all, fun. The house concert setting is, to me, the perfect
venue for accomplishing this. The intimacy, the physical nearness,
the natural verbal interplay of performer and audience...this is
what folk music was, and is, and should be. I caint help it...I
do love it."
Article: (THE HERALD, UK) http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/51317-print.shtml
there a star in the house?
November 24 2005
When Charlie McCusker agreed to turn
his front room in Bridge of Weir into an auditorium for
the evening, little did he think that he would be providing
a broadcasting facility, too. But the results of that experiment,
where American singer-songwriter Darden Smith entertained
a couple of dozen of McCusker's pals, are about to be relayed
to the nation on BBC Radio Scotland's Brand New Country
House concerts like this one have been popular in the US
since the mid-1990s and the idea is beginning to catch on
both here and in Europe, although there's obviously a similar
tradition going back to bardic times in Scotland and Radio
nan Gaidheal has a long history of broadcasting house concerts.
The trend began for a variety of reasons. There's the novelty
appeal of seeing a favourite performer up close and personal
– researching this article turned up examples of audience
members travelling from as far as Japan to share this "collectors'
item" experience – and some towns miss out on
tours because of the distances involved or lack of venues,
leading to fans resorting to DIY gigs.
For musicians, too, the intimacy can certainly be an attraction.
There are, though, pragmatic considerations. Thirty people
paying the equivalent of, say, £10 is not a bad night's
work for some. Leading American singer-songwriters Eliza
Gilkyson and Eric Taylor, both regular visitors to these
shores, have found house concerts a big help in their careers.
"Booking them on off nights, which are usually Sunday
through to Wednesday in the States, can make a difference
in whether a tour can stay out on the road or not,"
says Gilkyson. "If you're not working and you're away
from home, then you're sitting in a hotel room – or
two rooms, in my case – which costs money. House concerts
carried me for several years through the tough times when
I couldn't get enough shows to fill a week." Gilkyson's
experiences are generally good, although being the house
guest as well as the star turn can be exhausting.
"Performing is theatre and you need to step into character
or else you have to work a lot harder," she says. "To
go from standing in the kitchen eating snacks with everyone
to playing for them isn't natural. I prefer some separation
and my favourite house concerts are the ones that have sound
and lights and some staging as well as a dressing room,
which can be a bedroom or something, just somewhere where
I can be private before going on."
The sound and lights at Charlie McCusker's initiation into
house concert promotion were modest and the recording equipment
was the sort, says Rab Noakes of Neon Productions, which
produces Brand New Country, that can be carried in a rucksack.
Noakes, a singer-songwriter of long experience himself,
sounds wistful in describing the set-up for Darden Smith's
"There are health and safety issues to consider because
you're in someone's house rather than a professional studio,
but you get a great broadcasting experience," he says.
"It's warts and all and you get a real sense of that
whole thing of radio being a way of speaking to 100,000
people one at a time through the intimacy of the performance.
I'd love to do some of these concerts myself because that
closeness with the audience for a solo performer is just
so appealing. It would be great if we could build up a circuit
over here like they have in the States."
He may be about to get his wish. One of Eric Taylor's most
recent experiences of house concerts was in Holland where
the hosts had recently got married and had danced their
first dance at their wedding to Taylor's Dean Moriarty.
When Taylor sang the song this time, the couple grabbed
each other's hands and danced down the hallway. Another
couple, who had travelled from Northern Ireland, got so
into the idea that they invited Taylor to play a concert
in their house, and other guests were queuing up to try
to arrange their own concerts with Taylor.
Preston Reed, the American guitar wizard who now plies his
trade globally from Girvan in Ayrshire, can't top Taylor's
dancing story but he has had some notable successes, such
as selling $1000 (£580) worth of CDs after one performance.
"I played one concert in California where I had to
move outside and play in the garden because so many people
turned up, which kind of defeats the house-concert notion,
I suppose," he says. "But the way things are going
in the US, where musicians have to pay to play on some stages,
house concerts are a great way forward. They're still professional
– and professionaly run – gigs; the informality
doesn't descend into a free-for-all. And intimacy definitely
sells the music. Often the audience will be completely new
to your music. It's almost all done by word of mouth –
although some of the bigger ones advertise on the internet
now – and the people who come generally turn up because
they trust the host's taste in music."
Indeed, Charlie McCusker had never heard of Darden Smith
before he agreed to host the concert, although he –
like the Bridge of Weir audience – has a fair collection
of Smith CDs now. McCusker, a lawyer, is a regular at Brookfield
Village Hall in Renfrewshire where journalist and music
evangelist Loudon Temple promotes monthly concerts.
It was Temple who persuaded him to go ahead with the Darden
Smith gig and there are, says Temple, more artists lined
up to tour Scotland in 2006, including singer-songwriter
Mark Erelli, American traditionalists Beverly Smith &
Carl Jones and Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz, and guitar
maker to the stars, Wayne Henderson, all of whom play house
concerts regularly in the States.
There's no shortage of willing hosts here either. When Neon
Productions asked for potential venues for further house
concert broadcasts, they were inundated with "you provide
the musicians, we'll provide the audience and the beer"
The last word goes to Eliza Gilkyson, whose performing style
is well-known for shrinking the largest venue into an intimate
space but who sees house concerts as an important part of
the music industry.
"It's easier to get press and radio coverage when you
play a bona fide venue, of course," she says. "But
I'm profoundly grateful for the ways house concerts sustained
me when I was trying to create new markets and had little
support from standard venues. They may be the single most
helpful way that new music will come up through the streets
to the stages without big label promotion. They're a win-win