House Concerts, Listening Rooms, DIY

Though we’ve covered a lot of ground, we will be shifting 90% of our focus onto venues, artists, advocates, etc. who deal with alternative venues, and the artists who play them. These include house concerts, listening rooms, DIY venues, all-ages, etc. More info to come! Stay tuned!
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The Smothers Brothers: Funny Politics


In this post-Trump world of possible (ahem, likely) treason, rampant dishonesty, insane loyalty to a man who’s more insane than loyal, and the normalization of exclusion, we need political songwriters more than ever. But lest we all become too sour-faced, we also need songwriters & performers with a sense of humor. And though I think I saw one of them on a Carnival Cruise commercial recently, The Smothers Brother were as political as they were funny. So here are a few songs from this important duet. Brothers…we need you now more than ever.

1. The Draft Dodger Rag:

2.  The One on the Left is on the Right”
“Noel Harrison…comes to us fresh from his cancelled TV show.”
“The truth is not very commercial. But not getting along is, so here’s a song about not getting along.”

3. Big Time Crime
“Honesty isn’t in season…”

4. My Old Man
Just wait….

5. Steve Martin’s Socko Boppo Comedy Routine
Because Steve Martin rules

“Bragging” Folk Tune

There’s a lot of variety when it comes to old American folk tunes. One type that was popular was “bragging folk tunes.” Listen to the tune and lyrics. It’s not hard to figure out what this type of song is. Feel free to write your own bragging tune, though don’t blame me if someone calls you a self-centered prick:

Trivia Bit: McFarland and Gardner, better known as Mac and Bob, began playing together at the Kentucky School For The Blind where they were both students.

This is the school.

This is the duo

This is the bragging song.

5 Real Bands That Look Like Pretend Band “Stillwater”

Remember that great rock n’ roll flick Almost Famous? If you haven’t seen it then do so immediately or else this fine article will make zero sense. If you have, you’ll recall of course that it’s about a young journalist following a fictitious band named Stillwater. Take a look:


Here is Stillwater playing their sort-of-ok hit from the movie, titled “Fever Dog”:

And here they are playing a much better song:

The actors played their own instruments, taught by the legendary, dull, but of-course talented Peter Frampton. He is in the movie. He plays Humble Pie’s manager, oddly enough:


Alright so with all of that as background, here are five bands that look a lot like Stillwater. Though, yes, TECHNICALLY Stillwater looks like them.

1. Pure Prarie League

2. Badfinger (introduced by a Stillwatery-looking Kenny Rogers)

3. Flamin’ Groovies

4. Humble Pie (the idea of whom appear in the movie)

5. America (this is actually a great song and I just wanted an excuse to share it)

Go watch “Almost Famous” already!

Coffin Problem HOUSE CONCERT

Don’t wait another second: reserve your spot for COFFIN PROBLEM at the Blue Collar Songwriting House Concert Series event.  Just email: or click GOING at event’s Facebook event page. $15 suggested donation at show. You can also make a donation via the yellow button below. Please include your email address at checkout so we can send you a “donation ticket” voucher.


Red Tail Ring House Concert

The acclaimed duet Red Tail Ring will be performing April 21st at 7 PM at Blue Collar Songwriting House Concert Series.To reserve your spot, just send your name and number of folks going with you to:  and/or RSVP by pressing GOING at event’s Facebook page. You won’t want to miss this intimate house concert with the great Red Tail Ring.

You can make cash donation of the suggested $15 to $20 at the event. ALL OF IT goes to the musicians. You can also donate via the yellow button below. If possible, please include your email address when asked at checkout. We will then email you a “donation ticket” to bring with you to the show.

Small price to pay to support great musicians AND enjoy great music in an intimate setting.


8 Reasons Why Quiet Concerts Kick Ass


live-music.jpgLast week, several of my singer-songwriting colleagues and myself gathered in a bar and shared original music to a quiet, attentive audience. And this was a bar that specializes in rock, punk, country, and blues, so this was far from some already-quiet coffee shop or house concert. We announced and promoted the concert as a “listening event,” kindly posting that talking was to be kept to a minimum. On the night of the show, one of the performers introduced the show, stating that we wanted to keep talking limited to the breaks in between sets and, of course, for ordering drinks. Aside from a few points where one of us had to ask a few people to quiet down, the evening was an incredible success. We raised significant dough for an important charity, had more personal interaction with the audience, and aside from a couple folks that were annoyed with the “please be quiet” reminders, everyone was incredibly pleased by the show.

There’s a time for loud, drunken concerts, certain music is meant more as background music, and any seasoned performer will have developed a thick skin when it comes to audiences. People are gonna request “Freebird,” talk during the show, fart, and heckle. That’s life.

Still, just like we need rowdy shows and need to keep concerts social events, we absolutely and I’d argue URGENTLY need more events that are quiet, intimate, and song-centric. I worry that, in a world of selfies, chatter, the enormous worth we currently afford to constant socializing, many of us have lost the ability to quietly, comfortably sit still and give every second of our focus to the performer and their music.

So here’s a list of 8 reasons why quiet concerts are not only needed, but well-worth the focus that listeners invest in them.

1. Quiet concerts depend upon a close connection between audience and performer(s).
It’s almost a little weird when you first attend a smaller, quieter show. We’ve all been to concerts and have felt like the singer was speaking directly to us. At listening rooms, they actually are. 

2. The lyrical content of the music is better heard in these environments.
As a result, listeners get a more holistic experience of each song. Listening rooms, quiet concerts, house shows etc. are exercises in music appreciation that will change how you understand music. Seriously

3.  They truly are QUIET.
Life gets noisy, whether we want it to or not. In a listening room setting, we each have a direct opportunity to step into a quiet space, get comfortable, and get inspired.

4. Musicians actually enjoy playing these shows.
I’ve talked to so many musicians, both as a performer and the many I’ve talked to via this site. Without exception, almost all of them seem to be tired of only playing noisy shows where the socializing, rather than the songs, are given center stage. Some musicians are only doing house shows as a direct response to disillusionment with louder, chattier concert experiences. 

House-concert-1pxlr.jpg5. It’s easier to meet other music fans and musicians.
Seriously. I’ve both attended and played at a lot of house shows, listening rooms, etc. Since time is often specifically set aside to chat, enjoy food together, etc. you can have great conversations and connections with the people attending. Also, in most cases the featured musician sticks around to hang out with attendees.

6. You get to enter places and experience things you never would otherwise.
I‘ve seen so many unusual, beautiful homes and small venues, ate delicious food that I can’t even pronounce, and enjoyed evenings of music that were unlike any I’ve had before. 

7. When it comes to smaller venues and house shows, you are directly supporting musicians with your attention AND your money.
Unless the concert is poorly organized or has too many performers, musicians can make a nice chunk of change at these events and in turn sustain their music careers.

8. The music sounds INCREDIBLE.
Seriously. Something about the small, cozy living rooms, with their wooden walls, floors and intimacy makes the music sound incredible. Also, quiet nights at usually-loud bars can improve communication between performers and the person running sound. Since it’s assumed that more attention will be given by the audience. those involved often become especially detailed in order to get the best sound.

There are plenty of other reasons why we need more listening rooms, quiet concerts, house shows, song-centric evening. But I hope this has given you a spark of curiosity in this approach to performance.