WELCOME.  I was first introduced to the idea of a house concert by one of the most intriguing storytellers and songwriters I will ever know; Brian Cutean (QTN).   Brian is a treasure of the Pacific NorthWest, and the grooviest backbone of the long running  Kerrville Folk Festival,  Kerrville,  TX.  I went to see him play a house concert in Austin one evening years ago, and I learned so very much.

House Concerts, by definition, are concerts performed in or around a home.  The first one I went to was held in a pretty little South side neighborhood.  We walked up to a backyard gathering of about 30 people.  Once it was show time, we were invited inside a modestly sized house.  We entered through a screen door into a kitchen with a table full of QTN's music and merchandise for sale, as well as a jar with a sign asking for a $15 suggested donation.  All were welcome, money or not.  Those who had more, gave more.  Some artists even brought a good trade.  There was an assortment of simple drinks and wholesome snacks, and two large rooms filled with people sitting in chairs, on the floor, in each others laps...  In the front of the room, Cindy, who's home we were in, was tuning her guitar. 

Once we were all seated and attentive, Cindy introduced herself, thanked us for coming, talked about QTN, then sang us a few songs.  She then introduced Brian, and we all listened closely as he shared his musical insight and wisdom.  It was an honor to be there, in such a comfortable, respectful space for music.

From then on, I was hooked!  I love the opportunity to sit quietly and really hear what an artist has to offer.  Growing up in South Dakota, the only place to hear live music was in church or in bars.  I quickly outgrew both of those choices, and searched for more creative venues.  I played street corners, coffee shops, garages, galleries, storefronts, and rooftops.  I tried open mic's, jam nights, parties... always the musicians ended up competing with something much less interesting to me.

It's a little unnerving to think about it.  People will clamor for the best seats in a venue, then spend the whole performance time talking to the same dumbass they came with, about the same dumbass things dumbasses talk about all the dumbass time.  As a songwriter fan, it's hard to find a place where you can really share the whole story with the storyteller, uninterrupted.  That's what's so important about the 'Concert' part of house concerts; you are expected to give the stage over to the performer, and not to dumbass it up for everyone else.  

So, if you are really ready to leave the bar scene behind for a night.  If you are eager to expose your soul to new and exciting art and creation, happening just for you.  If you are able to respect the creators sharing their lifework with you, right in the comfort of your own neighborhood... Then it is time to check out THE SANDBOX INN HOUSE CONCERT SERIES.

Friends and I have been bringing and promoting good music to South Padre Island for the past few years.  So far we have set the bar pretty high.  Shake Russell & Dana Cooper, Jonathan Byrd & Karen Mal, Danny Schmidt, Hans York, Green Mountain Grass, Raina Rose, John Elliot to name a few.  This year we are topping the scales with performances by Anais Mitchell, Jennings and Keller, Greg Klyma, and more to be announced.  Please help us support live music in a good listening environment by attending often and giving generously to those who travel so far for so little.  It takes big love to make it happen.

We need your support, and also want to support you.  Please check out sandboxinn.com for information on performing as well as attending.  We want to hear your story, and share our island experience with you.  KEEP HOUSE CONCERTS ALIVE!!  -i'm raybo

The SandBox audience getting blown away by Anais Mitchell 11/16/09

How "Dad Feets" and Raybo collaborated on the SandBox Art/Music Venue project outside the space/time continuum

Don "Dad Feets" Wierenga loved the SandBox before it was the SandBox. He and Mom Feets were helpful and encouraging when I bought the downstairs, and even more so when I bought the upstairs. Dad loved live music, sat in for many a uke night and will always be remembered as the Saturn Street Strummers' biggest fan.

The annex that he built the winter of 2008-09 helped pave the way towards making the SandBox a serious music venue, providing a cozy dwelling/green room for visiting family members, artists and performers of all kinds as well as an SPI home for Raybo - someone who fits the description of wandering minstral as well as anyone I know.

Raybo performs ceremonies, plays music, sits house and dog and generally makes himself useful. He has thrown great energy and time into helping me transform the SandBox into a functional and welcoming venue for traveling musicians -- and we have big plans for making it even better.

Don Wierenga passed away in April of 2009, but his spirit lingers in the yard he loved so well and where we spent so much quality time. I am certain he would have approved of how we are using the wonderful gift he left behind.

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