Real music in the house!

Around a northern Georgia home sporadically illuminated by fireflies and distant lightning, music rises as darkness falls. A couple dozen smiling guests, glasses of sweet tea or white wine in their hands, settle onto sofas or lean against doorposts.

It’s time for the magic to begin.

This is a house concert, a growing phenomenon in which musicians perform in private living rooms for a small but attentive paying audience.

The connection between performer and patron is almost palpable

Audience members “are here for the music,” Ladd said. “They’re not here to find a date or to cruise around the bar and talk.”

And artists appreciate not having to compete with billiard games or blaring televisions.

“There’s this intimacy to it where, as a storyteller and an acoustic musician, the subtleties of that kind of craft can come across,” Jonathan Byrd said. “When you’re in a really big place with a lot of people, it’s harder to get the subtlety of acoustic music, the dynamic range of it.”

That intimacy is just as valuable to a big-voiced R&B singer like Kira Small. She and husband-bassist Bryan Beller have been performing at house concerts for about a year, most recently in Bill and Teri Hooson’s tightly packed living room in Covington, Georgia.

“We just love being able to connect with everybody this closely,” said Small, standing barefoot behind her electronic keyboard not 10 feet from the first row of seats…

Concert hosts usually ask guests to make a $15 to $30 donation; they don’t call it an admission charge because that would make the venture a business and raise zoning issues, said Fran Snyder, who runs, one of several sites that help match performers with home venues.

RTFA. This has always been part of the history of performing arts – and especially music.

I did a lot of this decades ago when I was performing. Always a favorite way to connect my music with people.

Of course, in our uptight society, the people who believe in governing behavior above all else will try to find some way to make it illegal.

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