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Living Room Tours

From ROLLING STONE July 9-23, 1998 Issue 790/791:


Mi casa es su casa

Just don't wake the neighbors. There's a growing movement on the Internet to bring artists to people's homes. The idea can be traced to a group of 2,500  Jewel fans known as Everyday Angels (EDAs), who maintain a mailing list on the Net. In April, 1997, the singer Cindy Lee Berryhill--a San Diego contemporary of Jewel's--was stuck in Boston with a yearning to perform. Aware of EDA's legions, she contacted a friend, who got word out that Berryhill was looking for a gig.

The next day, the singer was performing in a fan's living room for thirty people. Since then, she has played in about sixteen homes, sometimes drawing more than 100 fans, each of whom donates ten dollars. "I won't ever give up clubs," she says, "but it's a great way to connect with people." The "Living Room Tour" trend has spread, and subsequent shows have been held in cities across the country. While many of these artists are local folk singers, higher-profile acts such as Freedy Johnston, Patty Griffin and Steve Poltz have expressed interest.

"We're looking at it as a supplement to regular touring," says Michael Pontecorvo, director of artistic development for Poltz's label, Mercury Records. "It's increasingly difficult to get exposure for new artists, but this is a proven method."

Poltz, who played one living room with his former band the Rugburns, hopes to do at least six more when his tour begins in July. "I like playing small venues, anyway," he says. "This is about as intimate as it gets..." Funny, he's never had a problem with the top shelf before.

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