Whether we’re playing festivals, music halls, house concerts, or other public or private events, we pride ourselves in making the experience memorable for everyone.
We’re excited to share our music, stories, and hearts with you! Please click the topics below to help answer common questions.
Whether at a venue or a house concert, our performances usually consist of two 35-45 minute sets, though opening sets and longer single sets are also possible. We enjoy an evening that includes a 15-20 minute intermission for CD sales and refreshments, and then some time afterwards for CD signing and visiting with guests.
A typical evening concert starts around 7 or 8pm, though the start time is entirely up to the nature of the concert or event and your discretion. Sundays are often a great day for an afternoon concert for example. We showcase the best of our original songwriting and compositions in our concerts, the stories that go with these songs, and often a couple of songs that lend themselves for sing-alongs. Many of the songs in our sets include lyrics and harmony vocals, and we also include a few instrumentals. Please expect a range of emotions, tempos, and genres, including Folk, Gypsy Jazz, Bluegrass, Blues, Celtic, and Folk-Rock. We craft our songs to appeal to all ages and write sets to keep our audiences engaged - often tapping, clapping, and laughing along with us. Please visit our Video page to see how some of our audiences respond!
We focus our sets around songs we have released on the albums we currently have for sale. Each of us may also have a solo CD or two on hand which we may feature a song or two from.
We may, from time to time, play special requests, including cover or fiddle tunes, but we prefer to focus on the music we’re promoting on CD and our intended set lists.
For private events, such as weddings, birthday parties, corporate events, etc. we will arrange a set list with the clients and can feature Classical music, Folk/fiddle music, or whatever popular covers might be requested. Depending on the mood of the crowd and special requests, Dan may also include his famous “Bald Dylan” impressions and/or other favorites (Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Mick Jagger, etc.) at our concerts, usually as an encore and much to audience delight.
For longer events, festivals, etc. we have over four hours of original and diverse material ready. If needed we can easily play different days/stages without repeating any material or playing any cover tunes.
For smaller concerts we have two acoustic amps we may either use individually for smaller rooms, together as a small PA, or as our personal monitors/DIs for bigger stages, sending the signal from our instruments and voices to the main PA. For smaller house concerts we also may decide to go completely acoustic, though we usually find that we sell significantly more CDs if we have a bit of sound reinforcement so people can hear the lyrics!
For listening rooms we generally use a single large diaphram condenser mic (Ear Trumpet Labs “Myrtle”, see here) to capture everything simply, yet elegantly. Louder environments may require separate vocal mics, and “plugging in” the instruments. We are well equipped for these situations as well. Each room and audience is different and we will work with you and your space to ensure the best possible sound.
When we do use our system, rest assured, people often remark on the quality of our sound - just like we sound acoustically, only with clearer vocals and a fuller, ensemble resonance. We can supply our own mic stands, mic cables, XLR and quarter inch cables, and microphones as needed. However, if a venue, festival, or house concert can supply these, please let us know ahead of time as this may be easier. Depending on the event location, sometimes we do need a longer three prong extension cable then the one we travel with. Aside from that, we're set!
The concert is booked, the stage is set, our route is planned, our plane tickets and car rentals are secured, and now, how to get a nice audience into those seats?
For concerts in public venues and at festivals, we will promote through radio, print attention, social media, and our mailing list. We can send out posters, and blank ones can always be downloaded through the link to the right. Our most current promotional materials, such as photos, bios, and quotes, can also be downloaded through this link. Please let us know if you’re not finding something you need from us.
For house concerts, we are happy to promote through our mailing list and social media (sharing an RSVP email for the host if the host is comfortable with that). This all depends on the comfort of the host. Some prefer to keep an event private, which is absolutely fine as well. In this case, we’d leave promotion entirely up to the hosts and their network. Generally for house concerts we rely largely on the hosts to fill the audience.
For consistency in our branding, please use the photos found through the the link to the right rather than casual photos found on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Wikipedia, etc. or even on our own photos page, unless you have specifically asked for our permission. We prefer to use photos from professional photo shoots for our promotional materials as we feel that these best represent our music and image.
We also have a variety of brief and longer descriptions and bio information available to the right. There’s no need to start from scratch in finding ways to describe us in your marketing. We present diverse material and it has taken us years to find ways to describe ourselves (a constant work in progress!). It’s fine to put a personal spin on descriptions, especially if you’ve attended one of our concerts before, but please send us a copy of what you plan to say before sharing it with the media or your mailing list. On occasion in the past, our music or story was described inaccurately. Through using our materials we hope to avoid the confusion of being accidentally misrepresented in the future.
We find that sharing a video or two really helps fill seats. We've heard frequently from audience members who say they decided to come because the host sent a video. No need to keep us a surprise! There will be many surprises and stories during the show which are not featured in our videos. The videos on our Video page are a good place to start.
It also seems that emails, phone calls, and inviting people when you see them in person are better ways to share details about an upcoming concert than Facebook event pages, Evites, and Meetup Groups. While these latter options might be a good secondary method for sharing event details with your friends, they are more often lost in the shuffle of social media and spam folders than a more personal approach.
For house concert hosts, promoting to family and friends, church and other social groups, and to music schools, jam groups, and arts communities are a good place to start. Think of anyone you know who loves music and making new friends and invite them! Because many people on your list may not have attended a house concert before and might feel uncertain about hearing music in such an intimate atmosphere, it’s very important for a successful concert that you describe a house concert as an intimate though friendly listening event. It is also important to mention upfront that there will be a suggested donation and that CDs and other merchandise will be available for sale so everyone can come prepared to enjoy everything we have to offer.
Some hosts serve refreshments, while others might make it a potluck or serve light snacks, beverages, or dessert. Some hosts serve wine and beer and some suggest a BYOB event, but please note that the atmosphere we enjoy at most of our house concerts does not fit well with heavier drinking. Here’s a wonderful guide to hosting house concerts that will answer many of your questions: https://concertsinyourhome.org/free-guides/
If you wish to host us for a violin/fiddle, songwriting, musicianship, and/or guitar workshop the afternoon before the concert, or the day before or after, we are more than happy to discuss the possibility! Depending on space and subject, we are comfortable with up to 20 participants per workshop. Please see our Workshops page for more detail.
We’ve seen countless compensation deals over the years. Venues, concert series’, and festivals generally have a standard deal which we will negotiate, so for the sake of this page, we’ll be focusing on house concerts.
For house concerts, it’s important that hosts make it clear in their invitations that guests are coming to listen to and enjoy a concert featuring professional touring musicians, and that a “suggested donation” which will go to the artists is expected from each guest. For various legal reasons we encourage hosts to use the words “suggested donation” rather than “tip,” “ticket,” or “cover change” at house concerts. On that note, we also prefer hosts use the word “concert,” rather than “party” or “house show,” which often conjures a more casual, party, and alcohol laden event to some.
Typically, artists receive all the donations. Hosts who take a cut of the artists’ donations and/or merchandise sales walk a dangerous line with local authorities who may get word of a potential for-profit business in operation. If hosts hope to get some compensation for food and drink they are providing, a separate and clearly labeled donation jar on the food or drink table is recommended, or better yet, make it a potluck and allow everyone to contribute their favorite dishes (perhaps even with printed recipes to hand around!).
Invitations should indicate what the suggested amount is (generally in the range of $15-25 USD) and that CDs and other merchandise will also be available for purchase. We’ve had a few experiences where guests came back as we were packing the car the next morning with their donation or to buy a CD because they didn’t know about these details ahead of time! It’s best to be upfront and avoid embarrassed guests. If you’re uncomfortable with your guests offering donations, or aren’t sure if the turnout will be enough to help cover our touring expenses, we can also arrange an overall guaranteed amount privately with you beforehand.
Most donations are made in cash and collected at the door, though some hosts choose to set up a way for guests to pay ahead of time with options like PayPal, Eventbrite, Brown Paper Tickets, Venmo, etc. being the most common. The occasional guest may prefer to donate to us directly using cash, check, Venmo, PayPal, or a credit card. We are set up to provide these options as needed.
Whether playing a house concert or a more traditional venue, we like everyone to feel that they can afford to come. The range for suggested donations or tickets can be anywhere from $15 to $25 USD for adults depending on the venue, event, and economy of the region. Some hosts choose to set a specific amount, while others suggest a sliding scale. It generally all turns out about the same. Children under 12 and house concert hosts are never expected to pay.
A $10 donation may be more reasonable in certain areas and we’re ok with that as long as good turnouts are expected. When traveling outside the US, we will agree to a suggested donation that works for the local economy and currency.
It is very helpful for us if house concert hosts and venue contacts create a system for taking money at the event as we are often occupied with setting up, warming up, performing, visiting, or selling CDs. At many house concerts, a host will place a big jar or bucket and sign in an obvious place at the door saying something to the effect of "Good Karma $20", then direct the audience to it again as she introduces us at the start of the show, and again at the beginning of the second set. At other concerts and at most venues, the host or doorman will acted as an official "ticket" person, taking money as people arrive. This works very well.
Some guests may have never heard of a house concert and may be a bit wary of coming. Here's a brief description you can share with them to put them at ease: https://concertsinyourhome.org/house-concerts/
Thanks for giving the gift of music to your community, friends, and family! We’re excited to help make your event the talk of the town and find that a few key elements can help make all the difference. While venues and festivals may already have a dedicated stage or performance space, house concert hosts usually need to create one. Therefore, this section is geared primarily towards house concert hosts.
To create the “listening environment” signature of our best shows, we find it important to have all seating directed toward the “stage.” First step is to gather your chairs (maybe even pillows, back jacks, or benches), and arrange the seating towards the stage area of your room. If you need more seating, contact a rental service or ask guests to bring some folding or lawn chairs. If you expect guests to dine directly before or after the show, arrange your tables and chairs pointing towards the “stage.” This will create a center point and minimize distractions for everyone.
It is helpful to have an area near the entrance for donations, and enlisting a “door person” is often easier and more effective than remembering to remind everyone at some point during the concert. Another spot, away from the “stage” but centrally located where people will be mingling and enjoying food or drink is ideal for our “merch table” - CDs, mailing list, etc.
A small table or chair on stage for our amp and another for our water, Dan’s harmonicas, and other items we’ll need while performing is also helpful. We generally play standing, though we may occasionally choose to sit if the room feels more conducive to us being low and close. If we do sit, two armless chairs, or low stools are preferred.
Acoustics are always better indoors and pre-Covid we much preferred connecting with an audience in a comfortable, cozy room than fighting the elements (over 85 degrees F or under 65 F, rain/drizzle/mist/snow, wind, biting bugs, loud barking dogs, etc). However, for house concerts, private events such as weddings, and festivals, we are open to an outdoor show. If we do plan an outdoor event, it’s best to arrange a plan B that is indoors in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. Cool temperatures can dramatically decrease the quality of our performance due to stiff fingers, and cold, unresponsive instruments. Precipitation is also a big concern for our wooden instruments and we will not venture outdoors with them if there is any chance of them getting wet. Wind affects the sound in our mics and can make it hard for Laurel to literally keep her bow on the strings. Biting bugs also make it hard for us to stay focused and enjoy making music. Despite repellant, poor Laurel once sustained 42 mosquito bites after a short festival set in rural Manitoba. The audience and the bugs loved her, but she was very uncomfortable for many days afterwards.
If you have any questions not covered here, please drop us a note!
We appreciate it when a concert host or one of their friends in the area are able to provide us with a guest room the night of the show. We enjoy how this builds community, and appreciate that it reduces our touring costs, often quite significantly.
If you have the means to put us up for the night, rest assured, we are clean, respectful, and drug, smoke, and alcohol free guests. Both of us are dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle as we hope to continue performing and touring well into our old age.
If you have any questions please call Laurel at 831-224-0913 or email us at email@example.com.
We carry a leave-it-as-you-found-it mentality and do not require much more than a safe place to park our car and a clean, private room with a queen or king bed, window coverings for a dark sleeping area, and a place to shower. Laundry, when available, is appreciated, but not needed for every stay. We always travel with some of our own sleeping supplies, such as pillows, as we've found that we sleep much better when we have some consistency.
Laurel is allergic to long haired cats, rabbits and most rodents. Short haired cats, dogs, and other animals are fine. Neither of us does well in places with a lot of dust, mold, or mildew, poor ventilation, or where chemical scented air fresheners and laundry products are used, such as scented dryer sheets, etc.. Please let us know if any of these allergens might be a problem in the space we’d be sleeping and we’ll look alternative arrangements.
We don’t stay up late partying like those stereotypical “rock stars” you might hear about. We like to visit with the hosts a bit after the show and have usually worked up an appetite so we often hope to heat up leftovers we’ve brought, or whip up something in your kitchen if possible before getting a good night's sleep. Some hosts are musicians themselves and we enjoy playing a few tunes with them when time allows.
We often need to spend some time online, following up with hosts, venues, fans, and family, so wifi is always very helpful. We usually teach our students online on off days and we’ll let you know well ahead of time if we are hoping to include time to connect with our students during our visit. If so, we’ll need stable internet, a private room with decent lighting, a chair and a small table or desk. As some wifi can be temperamental, we bring a very long ethernet cables to connect to wifi routers if needed!
We are self sufficient when it comes to food needs. We often have a big lunch before arriving for sound-check, and generally might not eat again until after the show when we’ll heat up some leftovers or whip something up for ourselves. While we are perfectly happy to fend for ourselves while on the road, we also like to “break bread” with new communities, especially in house concert settings. Should you hope to feed us, please be aware that we do have some dietary restrictions, but we generally have the staples of our diet with us and can augment what you might be planning as needed.
We eat a plant based diet. Laurel grew up in a vegetarian family, while Dan has adopted this diet about a decade ago due to health concerns in his family history. We don’t eat any meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products, or any products which contain these ingredients, including certain soup stocks, sauces, and pastries.
Laurel is also allergic to mushrooms and chocolate. If you’re planning a soup or something savory, please double check that any broths or mixes do not include mushrooms and of course no chicken or beef stock etc. Dan is allergic to kiwi fruit. We also avoid salty, fried, and sugary foods, and processed white bread/pastry type foods.
We love all kinds of ethnic flavors and we’re not afraid of spice! Thai, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Sushi (veggie), Asian, Ethiopian, and pretty much any other ethnic type of food is welcome fare.
To give you some ideas...
Our audiences often comment on how much they enjoy the diversity of our original material. However, sometimes a house concert, venue, church service, private event, or festival favors a particular sound.
If your concert series or event is genre or theme specific, please contact us. We are happy to arrange a setlist of original, traditional, and/or cover material that will suit your event.
Themes for our performances may include: