International songwriters and artists on their way to one of the world’s biggest folk music events will be among those taking part in two House of Songs Ozarks shows in Northwest Arkansas this month.
A Feb. 11 performance will be from 3 to 6 p.m. at Record, an events venue at 104 Southwest A Street in downtown Bentonville. Fayetteville’s Dickson Street Pub will be the location of a show from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 12. The bar is located at 303 W. Dickson St.
Both performances are free and open to the public.
Many of the artists are joining The House of Songs Ozarks as part of larger trips on their way to Kansas City’s Folk Alliance International Conference, which has been described as the world’s largest gathering of the folk music industry and community. House of Songs Ozarks artists who will then travel to Kansas City include Tim Easton (Nashville), Ida Wenoe (Germany), Danni Nicholls (United Kingdom), Jaimee Harris (Austin), Dylan Menzie (Canada), and Eric Witthans and Meredith Kimbrough (Fayetteville).
“These local, regional, and international artists are defining the international music scene, and we look forward to celebrating their accomplishments with the local Northwest Arkansas community prior to attending such a prestigious event within the world’s music scene,” said singer-songwriter Troy Campbell, who founded the first House of Songs in Austin in 2009.
Campbell was inspired by the collaboration that had occurred between himself and Danish star Poul Krebs. That led to a one-year project to bring Danish artists to Austin, and House of Songs continues operation in Austin today. It’s constantly bringing international artists to the city that’s recognized as the Live Music Capital of the World.
Through a partnership with the Walton Family Foundation, a second permanent home for House of Songs was established in Bentonville in 2017. Using the Austin model, that partnership has allowed House of Songs Ozarks to bring the international creative sector to Northwest Arkansas.
Artists each month arrive in Northwest Arkansas for 10-day residences. While living together in a Bentonville home, international artists write music and collaborate with local and regional talent. The songwriters and musicians retain their publishing rights to the work that is created in-house.
Campbell said House of Songs in Austin “in its own way became a platform to enable better understanding of other cultures and an appreciation of what we actually have as a community to share.” He said that same platform now exists in Northwest Arkansas.
“Our recent months have allowed our artists and audiences to explore and discuss larger issues and unite the community just a bit more through music and its ability to get us together,” Campbell said. “Northwest Arkansas has a lot of incredible towns and neighborhoods, and the people who love them make it the reason we want to be a house right in the middle.”
The House of Songs participants have had internationally charted songs, have earned Grammy Award nominations and have headlined festivals. The artists are able to built lifelong bonds with musicians and fans.
“Northwest Arkansas has a vibrant music scene and The House of Songs Ozarks adds value to all of the happenings here,” said Kalene Griffin, president of Visit Bentonville, an organization promoting tourism.
“Our hope in the future is that the international artists become a draw for other artists to visit our city as a music destination. The opportunity for local artists to interact with the international artists creates a collaboration that we have not had in the past. The value of learning from another with the same passion and love of music in the beauty of the Ozarks is a story within itself.”
There are some fantastic resources that provider more information about House of Songs Ozarks. The Walton Family Foundation posted a House of Songs Ozarks video and wrote about the importance of songwriters and musicians being able to work with other creatives.
KNWA in December interviewed Campbell about how he first became interested in expanding House of Songs to Northwest Arkansas.
Additionally, House of Songs posted a video early last year about its Songwriter Summit, which was held in Northwest Arkansas.