AVON — Some of Jeff Hudson’s and Chris Kiser’s favorite artists perform live in their living room.
About three times a year, the couple hold house concerts in their Avon home.
The invitation-only musical performances are attended by a few dozen friends and other music lovers. They feature independent artists or those on smaller labels who use house concerts as an alternative to larger venues or a way to fill up a tour in between gigs.
Think of it like a bed-and-breakfast for musicians. Hosts like Hudson and Kiser (who call this a hobby) create a space for the artist and band to perform (push back the living room furniture); hire a sound guy, if possible (Hudson and Kiser know people); put out some food and beverages (most attendees bring their own); collect a door donation for the artist (cheaper than a concert ticket); provide overnight accommodations for the act and send them on their way with breakfast.
Kiser and Hudson have hosted some of the country’s best singer-songwriters (they’re into the Americana/folk genre), and the music-loving hosts have become pretty well known on the house-concert circuit.
Hudson got into the house concert scene about 10 years ago, and together they’ve hosted more than 20 events in their Detroit Road home since 2012.
The house concerts usually open the doors at 6:30 p.m., with music starting about 7:30 p.m. and the artist plays a 45- to 60-minute set, takes a break, sells some merchandise and then plays another half hour or so. Hudson said it’s all wrapped by about 10 p.m., but some house concert goers stick around afterward to chat with the artist.
“There are really talented artists who are largely undiscovered and write amazing songs, and I want to support them and expose people to their talent,” Hudson said.
The duo follows artists on social media or meets them at other shows. If the act is looking for a host in a certain region, Hudson and Kiser will offer up their home.
They count only one “not-so-great” experience in all the artists they’ve hosted and that was only because the singer was a bit of a diva.
“It’s normally so cool,” Kiser said. “At the end of the night there are six to 10 of us and we’re in a circle interacting with the artist.”
The acts Hudson and Kiser have hosted include Aslyn — who’s recorded with the Zac Brown Band and is back-up singer and keyboardist for Kesha — and Christian Lopez, who’s opened for Miranda Lambert, Sister Hazel and the Zac Brown Band and is returning to do another house concert in Avon this Saturday.
Lopez, 23, who’s from West Virginia but makes all his music in Nashville (he has two full-length albums, one EP and is working on music for a 2019 release), spends most of his time touring, and has played about 100 house concerts in the last two years.
The singer-songwriter, who’s influenced by everyone from Waylon Jennings to The Avett Brothers, enjoys playing house concerts. Lopez said it’s a lot less pressure not to have to fill a venue and the environment is great.
“The music is the focus of the evening, 100 percent,” Lopez said. “Every host is such a music lover. The hosts don’t take a dime and they just want to help the artist.”
How do the hosts promote their house concerts?
Many times it’s word of mouth or the hosts invite their own music-loving friends. Kiser works as a bartender at The Rush Inn in Lakewood and met Avonites Jodie and Jim Beveridge, who have attended a few of Hudson and Kiser’s house concerts. They helped co-host Lopez the last time he played in Avon, and are flying solo this weekend, hosting Lopez for their first house concert.
Lopez is flying solo for this gig, too, performing an acoustic set without a band.
“Chris invited us to Christian’s concert last year in March and several others at their house,” Jim said. “Christian was our favorite.”
Jodie said they are glad to bring Lopez to other people.
“It’s kind of a pay it forward thing,” she said.
For Hudson and Kiser, their hobby continues with a house concert with Amy Speace — an Americana/folk singer-songwriter discovered by Judy Collins and compared to Lucinda Williams — on Saturday, March 30.
Do the Beveridges plan on hosting more house concerts?
“We would love to,” Jodie said. “We’ll see how things play out.” (Pun intended?)
Hudson offered this advice for first-time hosts: “Invite the neighbors.”
For more information about hosting your own house concert or to attend this Saturday’s Christian Lopez event, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about singer-songwriter Christian Lopez, visit christianlopezmusic.com.
Contact this reporter at email@example.com or 440-871-5797.