If you enjoy live music but you’re not into the noisy lounge scene, you may want to check out the nearest listening room. It’s a comfortable, quiet, no-frills way to focus on the singers and their songs.
The music at the Red Dragon in Baton Rouge is all acoustic. You hear mostly original songs at the Red Dragon Listening Room performed by singer-songwriters.
“Tells the story of falling in love, although I think that falling in love shouldn’t be an event, it should be a process,” said performer Tommy Ike Hailey, from Ponchatoula.
Hailey is the opening act.
“Some of its from personal experience, it's about family members, what a lot of songs are about, life and love and loss,” Hailey said
When you first walk into the Red Dragon, it has the look of a used furniture store. But it’s all about having a comfortable place to sit and relax and focus on the songs and the lyrics of these singer-songwriters.
This music hall is an old bar, in an old part of town. The walls are decorated with old metal signs, and old guitars hang near the stage. There are no drinks sold, no concessions. No distractions from the songs.
“If you go into a bar or you go into a lot of the night clubs, there is background noise, people are talking, people are at bars telling jokes, it gets loud and the musicians are kind of playing over the background. It's background music,” said Red Dragon owner Chris Maxwell.
The Red Dragon has been around for 15 years. It’s now a non-profit operation. A tip bucket is passed for the opening act, and the main performer gets the donations patrons make for getting a reserved seat.
“But I think about this one little place I used to go to and kind of hide out and make up stories and songs in my head,” said Irene Kelley, a singer-songwriter and bluegrass recording artist from Nashville. “And I love playing here. These folks really appreciate acoustic music, roots music, and that's what I do. So for a performer, you can't get a better crowd than this.”
The music is intimate, sincere, thoughtful and honest. You hear every note, you feel every word.
“Once you come to a listening room, you are hooked for life,” Maxwell said.
An evening at the Red Dragon is a musical detour from busy lives that can be good for the soul. You can hear shows weekly, usually on Saturday nights.
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