Visit the Backyard of Wyldwood House Shows
My previous post was about venerable Fox Run House Concerts in Massachusetts, which has been running since 1997. Today I want to tell you about my absolute favorite gig in Austin, TX: Wyldwood Shows.
Wyldwood is another house concert and, like many house concerts all over the country, it’s run by generous and excited independent music fans. I’m certain there’s a house concert in your community if you are interested in having your heart broken and consequently mended in the most intimate musical setting.
Amy and Andrew Murphy live in South Austin, in a neighborhood that feels miles out into the Hill Country. You can completely ignore the fact that a bustling downtown is 15 minutes north of their huge, lush backyard. They have a large, rounded deck with cutouts for existing live oak trees that stretch their limbs out over a lovely green lawn. Twinkling Christmas lights add shine to their outdoor stage. About once a month, during Texas’s warm season – May through October – the Murphys host local and traveling songwriters. The entire neighborhood parks in their front yard and along the sidewalk-less street, walks, or rides bikes over, sets up blankets and camping chairs, and tucks in for the evening. For a suggested $10 donation, the Murphys provide a crock pot full of hot dogs and a gorgeous venue for some of the best musicians around. Even with a 250-person capacity, most of their shows sell out.
As is common with most house shows, all money that comes in the gate goes straight to the artist. Amy, quite the cook, also provides a delicious homemade meal for the performers.
The first time I had the honor of playing here, I was part of a show called Girls Gone Wyldwood, a confluence of local female talent. I was surprised to see that Amy and Andrew have a working outhouse in their backyard just for these shows.
That night was warm but there was a soft breeze blowing through. We set up our gear and slowly the audience trickled in until the quiet yard had the air of a festival. Kids played with hula hoops and Frisbees, a rooster crowed, people laughed. When we started playing music, the other noises fell away.
I have played at Wyldwood a few other times and it is always a magical evening, when I get to sing for an attentive crowd of strangers as the hot glow of day melts into a sparkling summer night.