We had a great time listening to the blues this weekend at Baton Rouge’s Blues Festival! This is one of the oldest blues festivals in America and one of the greatest free music shows in all of Louisiana.
The headliner this year was blues veteran Johnny Winter and he was joined by Baton Rouge’s very own blues pianist Henry Gray, along with Oklahoma’s singer-guitarist Bill “Watermelon Slim”.
Admission was free and we spent a lot of time at the Abita beer tent. There was also a broad range of regional food for purchase, including red beans and rice, fried chicken, and some incredible jambalaya.
I thought the guy in front of me with the Confederate Flag wallet during the Johnny Winter performance was just asking for trouble. Overall though, it was a very family-friendly environment.
Next year the festival is scheduled for Saturday, April 13, 2013. Visit the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation website for the latest lineup and more details.
This weekend we saw Nashville icons Eric Brace and Peter Cooper perform along with local Baton Rouge favorites, Flatbed Honeymoon at the Red Dragon Listening Room. What a show! What a venue! It’s a very strange and very cool place to listen to live music. Grammy winners, country music hall-of-famers, national recording artists, and major-league songwriters — they’ve all played at The Red Dragon Listening Room. I think I may have just stumbled upon Baton Rouge’s best kept musical secret.
The Red Dragon Listening Room is a live music venue idea conceived by Chris Maxwell and his wife Liz about 8 years ago. The ambience is a cross between someone’s living room and an old-fashioned juke joint (Classic juke joints were often set up in private homes). He and his family run this little venture as a hobby, simply for the love of the music itself. Chris is passionate about the music and it shows — the guy just vibrates enthusiasm and positive energy. He and his family, including his daughter, Sara, personally underwrite any monthly expenses in order to host these house concerts for us.
Chris also has a special talent for getting great songwriters to perform there — Guy Clark has played there, Jerry Jeff Walker has played there, even the legendary Billy Joe Shaver has performed at the Red Dragon. Their past roster reads like a who’s who of the country folk blues. They host about two shows per month and the artists usually hang out with the crowd before and after the performance. Some amazing talents have passed through these doors!
They are a “not for profit” venue and their sole purpose for existence is for the love of music itself. Any money that may be collected is considered a donation that goes directly to the artist and they ‘pass the hat’ for the opening act. Chris keeps nothing. As a matter of fact, the building was purchased as a residence, not a business.
That’s worth repeating.
The Red Dragon Listening room is not a business. They don’t sell or serve anything. You can’t even buy a glass of water there (they don’t have glasses!). Even the sound crew works for free. It’s just a big house concert, where Chis personally invites his friends to come over and have a good time. Chris’s guest are welcome to bring a small ice cooler of their own (containing the adult beverages of their choice), snacks and food, well-behaved dogs, whatever!
Seat donations are usually about $20 or you can be a “VIP” for a few bucks more and pick your own seat. Oh, I forgot to mention the very cool seating arrangements! When you walk into Red Dragon, the first 4 or 5 rows of seating are actually comfy couches! So if you pony up another $10 to help pay for the artists hotel rooms and food, you get to pick your favorite place to sit. We enjoyed the show sitting in the very first row on a couple of old rescued office chairs!
This is the place to be if you’re a music lover. It truly is a “listening room”. Special thanks to Chris, Liz and Sara for bringing great music to Baton Rouge. If you’d like an invitation to Chris’s next house concert, email him at email@example.com and ask to be put on the invite list.
Location and Map
2401 Florida St.
Baton Rouge, LA, 70802
Update: Here is the complete Red Dragon Listening Room Show List for 2013 from their Facebook page. The schedule below is out of date.
Schedule of Events
|Sat. March 24||Phil Lee
Kristin Diable Opens
|Fri. March 30||Myshkin
Polly Pry Opens
|Sat. April 14|| Will Kimbrough
Martin Flanagan Opens
|Thur. April 26||Randall Bramblett
|Sat. May 12||Guy Clark (Sold Out)
Barry Hebert & Steve Judice Opens
|Sun. May 13||Guy Clark
Martin Flanagan Opens
|Fri. May 25||Chuck Brodsky
Carl Kleinpeter Opens
|Fri. June 1||Flatbed Honeymoon
|Fri. June 15||Gina Forsyth
Smithfield Fair Opens
|Sat. June 23||Greg Jacobs
Another Okie Opens
|Sat. July 7||Butch Hancock
Eric Schmitt Opens
|Sat. Aug 18||Clay Parker||$20||8pm|
|Thurs. Aug 30||Ramblin’ Jack Elliott||$100||8pm|
|Fri. Sept 14||Irene Kelley
Scott Neubert opens
|Thurs. Sept 20||Slaid Cleaves
Scrappy Jud Newcomb opens
|Fri. Oct 5||Terri Hendrix & Lloyd Maines
Martin Flanagan opens
|Fri. Oct 19||Truckstop Honeymoon
Adler & Hearne open
|Sat. Oct 27||David Olney
Bronwyn Brent opens
|Fri. Nov 2||John Inmon
Gary Ragan opens
|Fri. Nov 9||Buddy Mondlock
Kevin Higgins & Barbara Malteze open
|Sat. Dec 1||Gregg Wright Band
Chris Canterbury opens
|Wed. Jan 2||Fred Eaglesmith Band||$25||8pm|
|Sat. Jan 12||Spencer Bohren||$20||8pm|
|Fri. Jan 18||Mark Stuart & Stacey Earle||$20||8pm|
|Sat. Feb 1||John Craigie & Jodi James||$20||8pm|
|Sat. Feb 23||David Egan||$20||8pm|
|March 8||Phil Lee||$20||8pm|
|March 15||Claire Lynch Band||$30||8pm|
|March 30||Roy Bookbinder||$20||8pm|
|April 7||Mary Gauthier||$30||8pm|
|Sat. April 13||Albert & Gage||$20||8pm|
|Fri. April 26||Robbie Fulks||$20||8pm|
|Sat. April 27||Kevin Welch||$20||8pm|
|Fri. May 17||Chuck Brodsky||$20||8pm|
****All dates are subject to change****
To reserve for any of the above shows, please e-mail Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org for regular or VIP seats (an extra $10 per seat for each show).
From Chris: "We Are Still Hammering Down Several Dates Beyond This Point Including The Return Of Eric Brace & Peter Cooper, Slaid Cleaves, Buddy Mondlock, Terri Hendrix & Lloyd Maines, Ray Bonneville And David Olney. I Will Update Things As We Get ‘Em!"