Welcome to Inside Lands!
Where do you like to hear music? If you’d rather be in a room full of friends than a loud crowd of strangers, join us for our next music party.
Every month, we present local and touring singer/songwriters and acoustic bands performing in listening rooms, living rooms, yoga studios, backyards, and beaches throughout northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.
All donations go the musicians or to the charities at our benefit shows. Everyone is welcome and anyone can attend. If you’d like to come to our next show, click here to send me a note and I’ll reply with details.
Sometimes I wonder why I crave the solitude of road trips. I think wandering in the car alone for days down desolate roads just put me in a meditative state. I like the feeling of not knowing where I am, and finding the kind of disconnection that makes me welcome reconnection. This is a new song about that. Let me know what you think, yeah?
Thank you to Allie Moss for her guidance on the songwriting, Leah Jones for her lovely harmony vocals, and Gawain Mathews for his stellar work on guitar, bass, keyboards and production. You can stream this song at Reverbnation.com/drewpearce or download this song for free at drewpearce.basecamp.com.
Every month, my friends and I present acoustic music parties in homes and private listening rooms around northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. 100% of the audience donations go to the musicians.
A few months ago, I was surprised to learn that some of the major players in the house show scene don’t compensate the musicians who play their shows. To me, this goes against the tradition of house concerts.
The fact that they don’t promote the names of the performers before the show underscores the belief that the platform is more important than the musicians.
It reminds of that stat showing how many millions of plays an artist would have to get on Spotify to earn the average salary of a Spotify employee. Same with the iPhone. Why do we value the machine that holds the music more than the human who created it?
Almost all of the hosts I’ve met volunteer their time and open their homes to support the musicians who’ve been struggling to make any money from their recordings for the past 20 years. If we let corporations commodify the whole concept of community by taking over the house show scene, the musicians will suffer.
Let’s not let that happen, yeah? Let’s create a community that values the musicians first and foremost. Will you help me do that by coming to our shows and bringing your friends? To sign up for our list and receive invites to our upcoming shows, visit insidelands.org
Play an acoustic instrument? Sing or write songs? Join us for one of our Sunday afternoon music hangouts sometime. They’re a very casual hang. Songwriters trading songs. Like an open mic without a mic. They usually happen around lunchtime and last for a couple hours. Different locations and hosts each time. If you’d like to come play some songs with us, send me a note, I’ll reply with the address and details.
Here’s something fun that happened. A few weeks before the 2016 election, after a series of sleepless nights, I woke up before dawn with this song in my head.
Up until then, I’d been in a creative drought for years. But the tension of the campaign ended up inspiring me in unexpected ways. For the first time in 8 years, I’d finished a song I felt good about.
So I asked my friend Jeff Campbell—leader of Pine & Battery, Static & Surrender and one of my musical heroes—if he’d produce the track. He went a step further and ended up playing guitar, arranging vocals, and writing the intro and bridge for the song.
Hard to put into words how lucky I feel to have such a supportive friend. Big thanks also to the fantastically talented Gawain Mathews for capturing the Kings of Leon meets Pete Yorn sound I had in my head, and to Rick Munoz who rocked like a thunder god on the drums.
When you download my song “Fight or Flight” at drewpearce.bandcamp.com, 100% of my proceeds will be donated to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency who are helping refugee children and families receive life-saving relief and support.
Thanks for listening and supporting the cause!
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: Just for fun. I’m a former performing songwriter who still loves hearing bands play in listening rooms and small venues where the audience is there more for the music than the social scene. A lot of those local venues have closed over the past few years, so my friends and I are doing what we can to create alternative venues in living rooms, yoga studios and wine tasting rooms.
Q: Is this a business? Are you a professional music promoter?
A: No. I do this for the love of music, not money.
Q: Who gets the audience donations?
A: 100% of the donations at the shows and on inside-lands.ticketleap.com go to the performers (who sometimes give a few bucks to reimburse the homeowner hosts for snacks). One of my main motivations for creating the Inside Lands series was to support the indie musicians I love and try to help them earn a living from their art.
Recently, I was surprised to learn that some of the new, major players in the house show scene don’t compensate the musicians who play their shows. To me, this goes totally against the tradition of house concerts. The fact that they don’t promote who will be at any given show just underscores their belief that their gimmick, their system, their platform is more important than the musicians. It reminds of that stat showing how many millions of plays an artist would have to get on Spotify to earn the average salary of a Spotify employee. Same with the iPhone. We value the machine that holds the music more than the human who created it.
Almost all of the hosts I’ve met volunteer their time and open their homes to support the musicians, the same people who’ve been struggling making to make any money from their recordings for the past 20 years. If we let corporations commodify the whole concept of community by taking over the house show scene, the musicians will suffer. Let’s not let that happen, yeah? I want to create a community that values the musicians first and foremost. Will you help me do that by coming to our shows and bringing your friends?
Q: Are these music parties open to the public?
A: These are invitation-only parties that take place in private homes, backyards, yoga studios, wine tasting rooms and sometimes on the beach. But anyone can request an invitation to attend by emailing me at drew[at]insidelands.org.
Q: Could you help me organize a music party at my place?
A: Yes, I love collaborating with other supporters of local music. Drop me a line at email@example.com and let’s talk details, ok?
Q: How can I get invitations to these gatherings?
A: Just sign up on my mailing list with the form in the upper right hand corner of this page or email me at drew[at]insidelands.org and I’ll sign you up.
In September 2001, I was living in a cottage in Sonoma county, fairly far and isolated from my friends in the city. My birthday was just two weeks after the 9/11 attacks. I didn’t feel much like celebrating, but I didn’t feel like hiding out at home alone either.
So I invited my musician friends up to my place for an impromptu music party. They brought their guitars, ukeleles, cellos, and djembes. We sat out on my porch and played under the stars until almost midnight. It was exactly what I need to clear away the pent-up dread in those strange, anxious days.
Now, 15 years later, I still remember how cathartic the feeling of community was at that first Porchapalooza. It inspired me to keep trying to recreate that vibe on a regular basis. So, for over 10 years, hosting house concerts was what I lived to do. It was a hobby that meant more to me than any job ever could.
It gave me a chance to meet a few of my musical heroes—Peter Case, Glen Phillips, Noe Venable, Gregory Alan Isakov, and many more.
I couldn’t believe my luck. Songwriters I’d heard on the radio for years were somehow suddenly playing in living rooms for small gatherings of my friends. Having tried to be a performing songwriter myself, stumbling into the role of house concert host felt like I’d finally figured out how to stay connected to music in a way that was meaningful and useful.
It felt like I’d found my proper place in the scene that I loved. Not on stage. But close enough to it that it felt like part of the action.
For me, the best moment at any house concert happens about halfway through the night when the banter begins.
I don’t know whether it’s the wine kicking in or nervous energy wearing off, but you can sense when the artists and the audience realize there’s no stage separating them. They’re just people in a room together. It helps you hear the songs in a different way.
I think that was especially true whenever we presented songwriters “in the round.” Like those epic shows hosted by Heather Combs at Hotel Utah Saloon, you’d sometimes get to watch musicians who’d never met before sing harmonies on each other’s songs. Improvised collaboration. That’s something you don’t get to witness too much in a formal venue.
I’ve missed the loose, chatty, party vibe of those first songwriters-in-the-round shows. I’ve missed the camaraderie and community they created. And I’ve missed feeling like I could do something to help shine a spotlight on the people I admired.
So, in the coming year, I want to continue lending a hand to my friends who still host shows. I want to keep trying to gather people into those listening rooms. I want to collaborate on house concerts and music parties as often as possible.
If that’s your jam and you’d like to attend (or host a show at your place), follow our Facebook page and I’ll let you know when we’re gathering.