House concerts are very different to a regular show in a bar or concert hall. By the time you start singing, you’ve already had the chance to meet most of the people in the room. So when you sing and share the stories, you are now sharing them not with strangers, but with friends. Your audience absorbs your songs, differently as well – you are not just a musician, a performer on the stage: you become a real person.
The first house concert I played was in New Haven, Connecticut. A Yale University professor asked me to come and play; he invited a few of his friends and colleagues without his family fully knowing what was happening. His son Max kept asking “Dad, what’s going on here?” and he tried to explain “You know the girl that was here a couple of days ago, Louise, is doing a house concert” … “OK dad, but what’s really going on here?”
It wasn’t until I mentioned the concept of house concerts during the show, that he finally realised that they’re really “a thing”. I guess that shows that house gigs are not common; they have become popular in some parts of the country, but to be honest, I wasn’t even sure what to expect from the first one.
It’s interesting to see what kind of people we will meet during these intimate performances. In New Haven the room was full of University and NGO people, fighting global poverty. It was an interesting crowd to be part of. But the second concert I was invited to play happened yesterday and was even more unique. In a joke, after the show, we were joking that they can take my music beyond ‘the cloud’, further than all the other music… because most of the guests were working for NASA.
As we arrived into Yorktown, VA, the first thing that we heard, and then saw, as we got out of the car were strange looking jet planes flying above us. All the signs that we had seen for Military Bases, and NASA, on the way started to make sense! Little did we know it, but our friend Whitney, who we knew from Australia, is married to a scientist who works at the NASA Research Centre.
And only a few hours later we found out that half of the audience in the room was working at the same facilities, from contract coordinators to fighter jet pilots. It’s so amazing to be able to meet people from different walks of life, hear their stories, where they come from and where they are going. It’s also and incredible privilege to be able to share our stories and piece of our lives with them.
To use the words of one of my favourite poets, Philip Larkin, “these frail travelling coincidences” are beautiful – yesterday, a lady told me that as soon as I started singing, she knew that the evening was a gift to her that she truly needed that evening. And likewise, we were blessed with good food, inspiration, deep rejuvenating conversation and plenty of laughter.
As we are about to head south to Charleston, South Carolina, where I’m booked to play two pub shows over the weekend, we are hoping to do more of these house concerts along the way. So if you’re somewhere out there and you enjoy music, good company and having a classic Defender parked on your driveway, here is our intended itinerary for the next couple of months. Let us know if you would like to host us for a house show, club show or a music festival, we might just be in the area. Just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
May 11th: Charleston – South Carolina
May 18th: Miami, Naples, Key West – Florida and Georgia
May 25th: New Orleans – Alabama, Missisippi, Louisiana
June 1st: Nashville, St Louis – Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri,
June 8th: Chicago – Kentucky, Illinois,
June 15th: Minneapolis – Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota
June 22nd: Kansas City, Tulsa – North & South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas
June 29th: Austin – Texas,
July 6th: LA – New Mexico, Arizona, California
Jul 13th: SFO – California
July 20th: Portland, Seattle – Nevada, Oregon, Washington