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Bands Stay at Bridgehouse & Play at Vintage Wine Bar

04/22/2015 12:28PM ● Published by Jon Lewis

Musical Guests

May 2015
Story and photos by Jon Lewis

Touring musicians don't ask for a lot and they’ll often put up with less, just for a chance to play.
Bad food and bumpy beds are oft en par for the course for artists whose first and last names are not Taylor and Swift . In Redding, though, two music-loving business owners are turning the tables on that scenario. Janis Logan, co-owner of Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant, and Janelle Pierson, proprietor of Bridgehouse Bed & Breakfast, have been pooling their hospitality forces to transform downtown Redding into a star attraction on the traveling musicians’ circuit.

It’s a stay-and-play package that’s a win for the businesses, North State music fans and the musicians who are discovering that Redding is more than an Interstate 5 way station. In most cases, artists can turn a weeknight travel day into a chance to perform for an attentive room, pick up a couple hundred bucks, enjoy a good meal and finish off the day with a good night’s sleep.

“They’re very kind,” says John Craigie of the hosting duo. A popular folk singer who has been traveling the country for the past 10 years, Craigie says he first heard about Redding from a friend in San Francisco. “I originally thought, ‘No, I don’t think so,’ but I came and played.” He describes the accommodations as being “on the generous side” and has made Vintage a tour stop four or five times. He’s also telling fellow artists about Redding, which he admits he used to consider “kind of a dead zone” when it came to scheduling shows in far Northern California.

Such word-of-mouth advertising is invaluable. “In that musician community, when they’re talking about where they play, they pay attention,” says Pierson, who started her business in 2007 and began collaborating with Logan the following year.

The same thing goes for booking agents, Pierson says, noting how the representative for the California Honeydrops, a popular dance band that has played the Vintage three times, frequently calls to inquire about scheduling other artists.

“Because we’re a small venue, I don’t think I would get the people I get without being able to offer Janelle’s part,” says Logan. By making a night at the Bridgehouse B&B a
part of the package, Logan believes she is able to book big names like Holly Williams, the Stone Foxes and Nora Jane Struthers and still keep ticket prices relatively low (usually $10 to $20).

“I get super good musicians coming through who will play a smaller
venue for a little bit less money because of Janelle,” Logan says. “It’s
awesome.”
Based on her conversations with band members, Logan says her
arrangement is fairly unique. “Half the musicians sleep on couches, in
record stores, basements, their cars, hotels … but here, Janelle makes
them breakfast in the morning; they sleep on high-quality beds. Plus
they get to play a smaller venue.”
Redding’s location also works in its favor. “Some of these groups are
looking for something to do between San Francisco and Portland since
they can’t really do that drive in one day,” Pierson says.
Housing her musical guests is a labor of love for Pierson, who has
incorporated concert posters and instruments into the décor of her
B&B. “It makes me love my job. You can’t put words to it and you
certainly can’t put dollars to it. Th ere’s nothing that’s equal. Th ese are
people who really appreciate being treated well. Even Willie Watson,
who has toured around and played everywhere, said by far it’s the best
accommodations he’s ever had,” she says, referring to the founder of
Old Crow Medicine Show, who performed at Vintage in January and
returned in March.
“This is something I’ve been able to do, and I want to be able to do it,
and I appreciate that there’s so much wonderful music out there. I’m so
happy I can do something to make their day special,” Pierson says.

Those days become extra special when those guests share their talents
when the evening’s concert is done. “It’s incredible. Both houses have
pianos, and if a musician is interested in the piano at all, you know it
within five minutes. They’re playing and singing and filling the house
with joy. It’s really fun when other guests are there, too. When they find
out there’s a musician among them, the CDs come out, a guitar comes
out…”

Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant
1790 Market St., Redding
(530) 229-9449
Bridgehouse Bed & Breakfast
1455 Riverside Drive, Redding
(530) 247-7177
On the web:
www.vintageredding.com
www.bridgehousebb.com

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