Let There Be Songs to Fill the Air
Since the birth of our nation, music has helped to define—and bring color to—the cities and towns that make up our country. Fife and drum corps in Boston provided the soundtrack to the American Revolution while San Francisco hippie bands illuminated the 1960’s cultural revolution. Take a walk through Nashville’s Music Row and hear up-and-coming country artists or head to Austin’s Sixth Street to listen to Texas troubadours.
While Central Oregon may not match the size or population of a major city, we do share the same love for music. We fill venues from Bend’s Tower Theater to Sisters’ Belfry to Redmond’s Deschutes County Expo Center. We flock to the 4 Peaks Music Festival, Sisters Folk Festival and the Bend Roots Revival. But, more importantly, we expect music at all events, from fundraisers to art shows.
While the larger venues may bring the masses to hear touring artists pass through the high desert, it is the smaller—unique—spots that oftentimes create the more memorable experiences. Hearing the screaming guitars of a bar band may add to a fun Saturday night, but listening to singer/songwriter pour his heart out in a friend’s living room stays with you for years to come.
“I love music, particularly Folk and Americana.” JoAn Mann
The House Concert
In June, 2011, JoAn Mann decided to double down on her love for music and host friends at her Northwest Bend home for performances. She soon found out that her amphitheater-style backyard made for a beautiful venue for 100 or so interested people and House Concerts in the Glen was born.
“I love music, particularly Folk and Americana,” says Mann. “I like helping the singer/songwriters get started. The people have been great, both the attendees and the performers. It’s a great community.”
The guests support the musicians with a contribution—usually $15 to $20—at the door. All proceeds go to the artists or a chosen charity. Weather permitting, summer shows are in her garden, and winter shows are set up in her living room. The cozy atmosphere becomes a family setting as a pre-performance social hour sees a potluck feast as friends and neighbors exchange greetings and favorite memories of past shows. Whether it’s an emerging artist or well-known musicians, a good time is had by all.
”It’s more than just about the music, it’s about seeing old friends as well.” Tom Beans
A bookstore may not be the first place you would think of for music—thanks to shushing librarians whispering that reading and music don’t mix. But, Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe has been hosting music since 2008. Walk by the windows of their Minnesota Avenue location on a First Friday Art Walk evening and see up to 80 people gathered around a string band.
“We have a history and reputation that if we have music, our customers are going to enjoy it,” explains Tom Beans, Dudley’s owner. “But, it’s more than just about the music, it’s about seeing old friends as well.”
In addition to their First Friday performances, Dudley’s also hosts an old time jam on the first Sunday and a celtic jam on the third Friday of each month.
The Tasting Room
A couple of musicians sit on a river rock fireplace. There’s no need to electrify the acoustic instruments as the cozy room amplifies the sound. Interested patrons sit on a leather couch, while others stand and socialize in the corner. Some people—looking to fill their growlers with kombucha—stay for a song or two and then move on.
The tasting room at Humm Kombucha—located in Bend’s Maker District—hosts acoustic music and artwork on the third Thursday of each month. The surprisingly good acoustics and chill atmosphere make for a welcoming environment for both musicians and listeners.