House concerts the new night out—at home

By Geoff Lee

November 22, 2016 12:00 AM

Roger that. Rhonda Burns and her husband Hal are hosting their second house concert with the Winnipeg folk root siblings, Roger Roger.
This will be the Burns’ third Home Routes concert this year with Roger Roger performing at their house at 5732-51 St. this Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
The Lloydminster music lovers will host three more concerts in 2017 as part of a total six concert package organized by Home Routes, a roots music house concert network in Manitoba.
“We are really looking forward to it,” said Rhonda.
Roger Roger has been compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Kathleen Edwards and Ron Sexsmith.
“We’re just trying to get our name out to the community so if they are looking for another venue to see these acts, here we are,” said Rhonda.
Tickets are selling for $20 each at the door with up to 25 people expected to take in the performance in the Burns’ living room or basement.
“Last year, we had a really good turnout for all six events and we’ve had two concerts this year and had really good turnouts as well,” said Rhonda.
She said the artists bring everything they need to set up.
Guests bring their own refreshments, the Burns’ provide a snack during an intermission. 
They also provide the performers with a meal and a room for the night.
The Burns’ are the only Lloydminster residents registered for Home Routes concerts on what’s called the Chautaugua Trail concert circuit of small towns in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
“Basically, we match make artists with people that like music and they like to have live music in their living room,” said Tim Olson, artistic director with Home Routes.
“We put together a curated season for them of different kinds of folk music, both contemporary and traditional.”
Olson said the series is for top quality, professional artists that are touring.
He said the circuits are set up so the artists are playing every night in a different community.
That way, he said they are not spending money on hotels and restaurants on their days off.
He also said Home Routes’ concerts are a really nice way for artists to see communities they may not have played before.
“We try to get them 12 shows in 14 days in a specific region with all of money except for a small commission for Home Routes going to the artists,” said Olson.
The Burns say Home Routes are great because there are so much good Canadian talent available that nobody ever gets to see because there’s just so many.
“We thought this is a good opportunity for us to meet new acts and get it out there to the people in Lloydminster,” said Rhonda.
She said tickets basically sell by word of mouth to anybody who likes music and likes an intimate setting.
“You’re one on one with the artist—it’s just a real comfortable setting,” said Rhonda.
As a couple, Rhonda said she and Hal like everything from bluegrass to folk.
“I like the old time rock and roll and some of the old country like Alison Krause,” she said.
The Home Routes season runs from September to April with a pause starting with the Christmas holiday.
After hosting Roger Roger, the Burns’s house concerts will resume in February with William Prince, Awna Teixeira in March and Steve Cormier in April.
“We are looking forward to this exciting line-up,” said Rhonda, noting 2017 is the 10th anniversary of Home Routes.
Home Routes is a non-profit funded mostly by Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Manitoba.
“The artists and the communities are getting the most out of this,” said Olson.

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