Downtown music series finds success in presenting early shows to a listening audience.
For many music lovers, having to keep quiet and actually listen to a musician’s performance would simply complicate an otherwise fun night out. But for others, it’s the preferred way to fully embrace the live music experience. As music promoter Emma Chevarie has proven, there’s room for both audiences to exist within the city’s downtown core, and her growing list of successful performances speaks for itself.
Over the past six months, Corked Wine Bar has become one of the city’s most popular and unassuming music venues, hosting these unique and intimate monthly performances geared specifically towards a listening audience.
Though her partnership with bar owner Charlotte Burhoe, Chevarie’s Music Runs Through It concert series has been animating the quaint 50-seat establishment with some of the best regional and touring folk musicians including Juanita Bourque, Christine Campbell and The Sultans of String. Since October 2015, the two have organized eight performances, five of which were completely sold out.
“It’s really taken on a life of its own,” said Chevarie, “and it just warms my heart to think about how well this series has been supported so far. It just feels like we really hit on something special, like a missing link for a lot of people.”
Good news travels fast. It wasn’t that long ago that Chevarie had to search for musicians to take part in her series but now, just like the audience that’s developed, artists are now contacting her directly hoping to be part of what’s happening.
“My goal right now is to keep attracting these quality artists who want to do something a little bit special, but I feel bad that I have to turn away as many as I do,” she said. “I’m also trying to present local musicians as much as I present traveling musicians. We’re trying to do one, sometimes two performances a month. I don’t want to change too much because it seems we’ve found a rhythm that’s working.”
Chevarie believes a big part of the attraction for musicians has to do with the space being what she calls a listening room with an established clientele who enjoy each other’s company as much as they do a night out with the chance to hear some great music in the early part of the evening.
“Before and in between sets there’s lot of talk,” she said, “with people getting to know each other and I love the community that’s been building. But when the artists are on, we’re listening. We’re giving them our attention and it’s just really cool.
“The musicians we’ve had in really love the room and the vibe as much as we do,” she said. “They just show up, set up and there’s a crowd ready to receive them.”
According to Chevarie, a recent show by Halifax musicians Christine Campbell and Blake Johnston included a few songs the duo doesn’t often perform live. During their March 10 performance, both musicians were so inspired by the audience’s attentiveness, they willingly stepped into lesser known material from their repertoire.
“I find we’re able to offer artists a place to bring out material that they wouldn’t always have a chance to play, so the audience is getting an exceptional experience because of the room we’re in.”
Chevarie credits the community for helping bring this series to life. The Music Runs Through It concert series receives support from locals businesses who have been quick to lend a hand when needed. Tickets are sold through Tony’s Music Box and when capacity is tight, extra stools once provided by The Blue Door, will now come from the new restaurant MOCO Kitchen, whose owners have already pledged their commitment to continue the support. Sound is provided by Gary Morehouse.
The first full year of performances at Corked Wine Bar are already booked with shows scheduled up until September 2016, including performances by Canadian Folk Music Award winners The Young Novelists (June 1), BBC Folk Music Award nominee Dan Walsh (June 9) and the series’ first two night performance featuring folk/blues veteran Rick Fines (August 10 and 11).
“I’m curious to see what will evolve organically as the series progresses,” said Chevarie. “I want to keep doing great things and I can’t express enough gratitude to the people who are coming to the shows.”
Keep an eye on Music Runs Through It for upcoming show info or join the mailing list and be among the first to learn who’s coming to play next.