Not Your Father’s House Concert – SXSW Interview with Susan Tanner

Susan Tanner has worked for various labels and in distribution since the late 1980’s.  Most recently, she has worked at Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records full-time until 2010, and is now consulting for them. Susan also consults with a few other artists in marketing and publicity, is a freelance writer and promoter, and presents a summer house concert series.

Susan will be moderating the Not Your Father’s House Concert panel at South by Southwest on Saturday, March 17 from 12:30PM to 1:30PM in the Austin Convention Center, Room 17B. We asked her a few questions about the panel:

What was your interest in creating this panel and how does it relate to your background?

My husband and I started a house concert series after we had a few discussions with artists who bemoaned the lack of listening rooms in Buffalo (my husband was a buyer at a local record store as well as a booker at a club in Buffalo).  And we were surprised that it was often not the typical folk artist who was wanting a quieter, listening room environment (although we have hosted them, too).  Its been a great opportunity to introduce our friends to artists we respect as well as to give the artists an outlet to present their music to a audience interested in hearing their work in a more intimate setting.

Who else is on the panel and what do they bring to the subject?

Louis Meyers, who is the executive director of Folk Alliance, has a vast musical background and has been involved in some of the legal issues surrounding house concerts.

Freedy Johnston, who is an established singer/songwriter, has started performing house concerts after establishing his career.

Don Barlett, who runs the No Door Agency and works with Joe Pug, a young artist who has performed many a house concert early in his career and used them as a stepping stone to larger venues.

KC Turner has the unique perspective of being a performer AND a presenter  – he’ll round out the panel.

Why is this panel important to musicians?

House concerts may not immediately come to mind to musicians as a part of their touring plans, but they can been great opportunities to fill in a night between Chicago and Boston, to break in and develop a new market, or to test out new material. Not to mention the intimacy of playing in front of a small audience.

What do you hope people will walk away with after attending this panel?

That the DIY spirit exists, even in presenting!  And I want people to turn to their friend and say, “Hey, we can do this, too!”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

For me, I feel like the house concert is a way for me to say thank you to an artist for creating music.

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