How I Became a House Show Junkie

Our first introduction to the House Show Concept was made by a lovely lady named Emma Hill. Here’s how this all came to be:

About three years ago, my husband was preparing to go for a run. Before he goes, he generally downloads the most recent TBTL podcast to listen to while he’s out. Typically during the run as he’s listening, they’ll play an indie artist or sometimes, not-so-indie and he’ll think to himself, “When I get home, I’m going to download that song…that was AWESOME!” and most of the time, he forgets because of that runners high or forgetfulness…you know how it goes.

But…three years ago…he actually remembered. From that moment on, Emma’s song Meet Me At The Moon was a part of our regular playlist rotation and we all really loved her sound – all of us being; my older daughter Katie, my younger daughter Alissa and my husband and myself. It wasn’t long before we knew every word and were singing our faces off to this song on road trips in the car and trips to the grocery store.

Right about the time my oldest daughter Katie was about to turn 16, she decided she wanted to take up the Ukelele. She has a lovely signing voice already and she just decided one day that she wanted to be able to pluck along with her singing on a Uke, so we bought her one. She taught herself a few songs and one of the first songs she learned was Emma’s Meet Me At The Moon. The first day she sang it for me, I was pleasantly surprised enough that I grabbed my cell phone and took a shaky video of her playing and singing the song.

Something was gnawing at me in the back of my mind and I decided to just see where it led me. I wanted to somehow get this video to Emma. So, I went online, Google searched “Emma Hill” and found a few things – one of which was a publicist. And BAM – there was an email for this dude. So, I went ahead and sent him an email, introduced ourselves and how we came to find Emma’s music and asked him to view the YouTube video and if he could somehow get it to Emma, we’d be grateful.

Well, he did. And here’s the video. And she commented on it. And we all freaked out a little bit.

It wasn’t long after the YouTube video was posted that I found her on Facebook. I liked her band page and I started scrolling. She shared the video of my Katie singing her song and was truly touched by it enough so that she found us on Facebook and we started talking about how she comes out to the West Coast during the Fall and Spring for house shows and told us she hoped she’d see us at one sometime. One thing led to another and we started talking about hosting our OWN house show with her and found out what her minimum was – and she shared with us that if we invite enough people to just charge $10 at the door and that should cover it when she adds in the sales of her CD’s and T-Shirts, etc that she sells.

We’ve hosted Emma Hill and Bryan Daste several times over the last couple years. We’ve driven down to Portland to surprise them when they launched their new album and have grown to be very good friends. We try to support them whenever we can by helping promote and create a sense of urgency for people to go see them whenever and wherever they are playing.

Here’s the title track to one of Emma’s Albums called, “The Black and Wretched Blue”


That fella singing in the coffee shop…

You’re walking down the street in your little metropolitan semi-large city and happen upon one of those little quirky coffee shops. You think to yourself, “Hey…it’s been 12 minutes since my last cup of overpriced coffee, I better stop in and get a cup to go!”  

Only…when you walk in, you see a fella standing on a tiny stage in the corner, playing his acoustic guitar, melodies flowing out of his mouth like a gentle whisper. I bet he’s even wearing a plaid shirt and has a roll or two on the cuffs of his jeans, am I right? Yeah…that’s what I thought. 

You see that fella up there? The one pouring his heart out to whoever will listen? Do you have any idea how much time has been spent writing the lyrics and music to those original songs you are lucky to be listening to? Do you have any idea how much it costs for studio time, let alone the pressing of an album or CD? That fella wants – nay – neeeeeds to make music…not because he wants to be a millionaire…but because he has this music inside that just has to get out and has to be heard by others and if he’s fortunate enough to make a connection with someone and have his music mean something to someone, he knows he will have accomplished something. 

Do you know what this fella is getting paid by the coffee shop? He’s probably getting a free coffee and a stale scone. That’s why when he points to the tip jar and let’s you know he’s got CD’s for sale for $5, you should give him $20 for that CD. Do you know why you should give him $20 for that CD? Because he deserves it. 

Then you think to yourself, “Hey, I bet Joe and Chrissy and Molly and Christopher and Uncle Tim and Cousin Dan would totally dig this dude.” So you ask him if he has ever done a House Concert. He says yes…

And that, my friends, is how you book a house show. You ask someone you dig, that you think other people will dig, too. 

Stay tuned for my own First House Show story…it’s a good one.

Music is life. Live it. Love it. Share it with the world. 

What is a House Show?

In a word? Magical. But we will get to that in a minute…

A House Show is basically an event that you will hold at your house. You’ll find the artist you’d like to perform, contact them, agree to dates you’d like to have them perform and then you’ll invite friends, family, fans to come hear them perform their craft.

Typically the artist will bring Merchandise to sell at the House Show and you’ll collect money at the “door” or…if you’re like us…you’ll beg people to dig deep and buy lots of loot so that the musicians can continue their tour and paying rent on time, etc.

The evening is usually filled with amazing musicianship, snacks, food, libations and lots and lots of laughter. There is something magical and special about a House Show. Each one has it’s own personality. You become more personally invested in the artists because you get to know them on a more intimate level. It’s cozy. Sometimes, when the mood is just right and the guests are really into it – you can feel an electricity in the air. You’ll hear stories about how certain songs came to be. You’ll be moved by the music – more times than I’d like to admit, I’ve been moved to tears and you know what? It’s perfectly fine, because when you start hearing everyone sniffle or do that shoulder shrug that doubles as a cheek dryer, you’ll know you’re not alone. Like I said before…it’s magical. Music has a way of penetrating your soul.

Emma Hill and Bryan Daste performing at a House Show.
Emma Hill and Bryan Daste performing at a House Show.

The intent of this blog is to share creative ideas on how to have a successful House Show and how to take the nervousness out of throwing an event like this. Yes, there are some musicians that will ask for thousands of dollars to do a house show – while others – you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out, just want to share their gift with the world, and won’t set a minimum, We have been pleasantly surprised at the generosity of our friends and we have supported many artists this way and will continue to for many years. I hope that in some way, this blog will inspire others to ask questions, and take a leap. If you have questions, I’d love to start discussions in the comments. As this blog continues, your participation and involvement will be important to me as you’ll be helping to create content with your questions and interest.

Let’s change the world with music.

Introducing: House Show Junkies

I want to start a movement about education on what a House Concert is, what you should/can do when you have one, the ins, the outs…my experiences with them and how we approach artists we think would like an opportunity to share their talent with new faces.

We just had a House Concert at our home and it inspired me to talk about this little known – but growing – format for exposure to local and traveling independent artists and help get a network going where we can share our love of music. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like. This is happening in all genres of music. All music is to be respected and this topic will be conversational. Pose your questions in the comments and I’ll try to make this a weekly post and answer questions as the come – your participation will be required to get this going.

I’m excited to get started on this and hope you are too. Let’s take this journey together and learn how we can get some of these artists who work so hard some gigs across the world – starting with one WordPress post at a time.

Music is life. Live it. Love it. Share it with the world!

Follow us on Twitter: @HouseShowFans