What’s a “listening room”?

Back in February I got to play my second show at the Downtowne Listening Room in Cincinnati. A community space located inside an old department-store-turned-apartment-complex, the DTLR is an ideal venue where local + nationally-touring artists come to play and the audience comes prepared to listen. “Prepared to listen” means that there is no talking permitted inside the venue once the show starts. It’s a rule well-followed by now: if you talk [or even whisper] during the performance, you’ll kindly be asked to step outside. It’s a true listening room.

Scott & Diana SkeabeckThe hosts are an extremely kind and generous husband-and-wife duo prone, as lovebirds often are, to finishing each others sentences. Scott and Diana have created a truly unique listening room environment in the heart of downtown Cincy. After my over-sold-out show back in February, I sat down to ask them a few questions about their mission. Here’s part of our conversation:

ME: What inspired this?

SCOTT: The Downtowne Listening Room was created because we lived in the northeast corridor, the Philadelphia area, and these kind of places were all over the place. And when we moved to Cincinnati — and no disrespect to Cincinnati — there really wasn’t a place you could go to listen to music and hear a pin drop. And it drives us crazy when we are listening to music we love and people are talking and not listening, not paying attention. You wouldn’t go to the movies and ignore the screen. You don’t go to the art museum and ignore the paintings on the wall. But people go out to bars and restaurants and places and they ignore the music, and it drives us crazy. And we’re not even the performers! So that’s why we created it.

ME: When did you start it? And how has it grown?

DIANA: We started it in June of 2015. We’ll be celebrating our 3rd-year anniversary this June. When we first started, it was hard to get people in the door. But Scott did a lot of promotion — sending out newsletters and flyers, contacting radio stations and what not — and over time we’ve gotten a following from people that have come here, told their friends about it, you know, brought new people in with them…

SCOTT: …so bugging the heck out of people works. That’s what we find. (laughs) And I think the hardest thing is they don’t understand what a listening room is. They say, “Well, why would I pay $10-$15 to see Matt or Kevin or whoever play music when I can go to the bar and get music for free?” It’s like, well, you’re getting music but you’re not listening to music. This is where you listen and you get the stories and you get the background. We had a CD from pretty much all of you guys, and we listen to the CD, but then when we hear you tell the stories behind it, we listen to the CD again and we get almost a different experience out of it. It’s like, “Oh, that’s why that line’s in there!” You don’t get that by just passively listening. It’s active listening which is so important. We’re pretty passionate about it. (laughs)

ME: And you don’t a make a dime?


SCOTT: No. All the money goes to the artists.

DIANA: This is our hobby. We don’t golf. We don’t collect art. We don’t collect wine.

SCOTT: And it’s cheaper than a what?

DIANA: Corvette.

SCOTT: It’s cheaper than a Corvette. But only by a little bit. (laughs)

DIANA: Plus, we get to listen to great shows.

SCOTT: Right, and we listen to them in the environment we want to listen to them in. And we listen to the people we like. So…we like you. We really, really like you, as Sally Field would say. (laughs)

ME: Well, I like you guys. So, thank you very much. Anything else you want to say?

SCOTT: Everybody come out to Cincinnati! Downtown! Come to the DownTowne Listening Room! Boom! (laughs)

ME: The lady doth concur?

DIANA: I concur, yes. Come see us!

Louisiana Tour | March 2017

We’ve played some fun shows so far in 2017 + more are being scheduled every week. We’ll be hitting up Louisiana this weekend for a quick tour with our good friend Chris Cole, and we’ve got a full weekend scheduled — four shows in three days! Here’s the breakdown:

A concert in the Library @ John Paul the Great Academy. It’s open to the public + will be family friendly. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Private House Concert

3/26 — ST. FRANCISVILLE (2 shows)
An evening concert @ the historic Temple Sinai Synagogue. It starts at 7:00 p.m. + tickets are available here.

Appaloosa Festival (Sept. 5-6)

This 2-day roots music festival in Front Royal, Virginia [in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail] is gonna be huge! Hosted by the popular celtic/folk band Scythian, the Appaloosa Festival will feature 20+ of the most critically acclaimed up-and-coming artists from all over the country (view the full weekend line-up here).

Kevin Heider & the Guys will be be performing Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 5-6) on the festival’s Ranch Stage at the outdoor venue – the Skyline Ranch Resort – with a full-band set*. They’ll also be performing during [at least one of] the weekend’s late-night jam sessions, private performances open only to those who purchase select ticket packages.

Ticket + festival information is available at AppaloosaFestival.com.

NOTE:  When purchasing your tickets online, be sure to use the promo code “Kevin Heider” to get 10% off your festival order!

Appaloosa Festival | Sept. 5-6, 2015 | Front Royal, VA

*If all goes according to plan, both of Kevin & the Guys’ sets will melt the faces off all in attendance. So bring an extra face. You have been warned.

Two Music Festivals: Bella Madre + Appaloosa

Kevin will be performing at two music festivals in the next three weeks. If you live anywhere near either Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin (Aug. 22) or Front Royal, Virginia (Sept. 5-6), see below for more details…

BELLA MADRE MUSIC FEST | August 22 in Pleasant Prairie, WI

Kevin will be sharing the stage on Saturday, August 22nd with fellow singer-songwriters Alanna-Marie Boudreau, Chris Cole, Rebecca Roubion, and more! Get all the info you need regarding ticket prices, musical line-up, directions, etc. here.

APPALOOSA FESTIVAL | September 5-6 in Front Royal, VA

This 2-day roots music festival in Front Royal, Virginia [in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail] is gonna be huge! Hosted by the popular, internationally touring celtic/folk band Scythian, the Appaloosa Festival will feature 20+ of the most critically acclaimed up-and-coming artists from all over the country (view the full weekend line-up on the flyer below).

Get ticket and festival information here. And remember: when purchasing tickets online, be sure to use the promo code “Kevin Heider” to get 10% off your festival order!

Appaloosa Festival | Sept. 5-6, 2015 | Front Royal, VA

for Sarah [and Chris]

This past weekend I traveled down to the small West Virginia town of Summersville to play music for a wedding. This was actually the first time I played for a wedding where I didn’t really know either the bride (Sarah) or the groom (Chris). I went to college with Sarah’s three older brothers, but I had never actually met Sarah. Her mother (a delightful young woman named Darleen) had purchased some of my CDs at a show in Charleston last summer. Shortly after that show she sent me an email asking if I’d be available to provide music for her daughter’s wedding ceremony. She also made a unique request:

“Additionally,  I would like to ask you to play a special song at the reception. Before Sarah dances with her Dad, she would like to dance one song with her three brothers…the song that you wrote for your little sister ‘A Little Bit of Faith’. Could you, would you be able to do that as well?”

I had written A Little Bit of Faith for my youngest sister (whose name is Faith), so I was quite touched, to say the least, that Sarah wanted to dance to the song with her three big brothers at her wedding. She wanted to dance to one verse + chorus with each brother, but she has three brothers and the song only has two verses. So the family simply asked that I repeat one of the verses a second time, which was my plan….until the day before the wedding.

I can’t exactly recall what was said at the rehearsal….some story that Darleen had shared with me, perhaps. In any case, I decided that simply repeating a verse wasn’t good enough. So I wrote a third verse, a verse just for Sarah [and Chris]. And it goes:

Don’t grow up too fast now
Don’t you hurry, take it slow
I need some time to teach you
everything I know

Someday when we’re older
and living far apart
I pray you find a good man
to hold on to your heart

When I originally wrote the song for my baby sister, she wasn’t even born yet. Now she’s 11 years old! She has original thoughts, creates things, tells jokes, participates in adult conversations, etc. She’s not a baby anymore. And that’s weird. Sometimes it makes me feel really old. And when I see 11-year-old Aunt Faith hold and play with my 3-month-old daughter (her niece!), sometimes it all feels even weirder. As I watched Sarah prepare for her wedding on Friday evening, I thought about my baby sister someday getting married. And it felt weird. And I felt old.

I moved back to my hometown about two years ago, but during college and for several years after, I lived far away….and Faith grew up fast. I still have some time to teach her everything/what little I know (i.e. that she’s actually incredibly blessed to be one of the few kids in her class without a cell phone) before she eventually goes off to college herself. She may someday move away from home and from her family for a time, like I did. And when that someday comes, when we’re older and living far apart, I pray she finds a good man to hold on to her heart. In the meantime…

Congratulations, Sarah + Chris!

*This song is available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon MP3, and in the Store here on KevinHeider.com

Kevin Heider & the Guys Live @ The Harmonium Project (Nov. 22nd)

Harmonium Project 4On Saturday, November 22nd, Kevin will take to the brand new stage at The Harmonium Project in downtown Steubenville, Ohio, a full band in tow, to rock the ville’s casbah. Founded in the Fall of 2013, The Harmonium Project’s mission is simple: …to provide economic and cultural revitalization to the city of Steubenville, OH through the promotion of the arts and the development of a “college town” culture.

They’ve been bringing in nationally touring artists and hosting shows at various venues all over their city for well over a year now. But Kevin’s show on November 22nd will be the inaugural performance on The Harmonium Project’s very own [and very new] home stage! To celebrate such an exciting return to his old college stomping grounds, Kevin has assembled a cadre of minstrels (a.k.a. “the Guys”) to join him on stage for the night, including Mike Ofca on lead guitar, Tim Hepburn [of Scythian] on drums, Dominick Tardogno on bass, and Mr. Chris Cole on trumpet and guitar.

So if you’re in or around the Ville on Saturday, November 22nd, be sure to come check out the show! And be sure to “Like” The Harmonium Project on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all future show announcements and details.