As we’ve noted before, there’s an undeniable energy percolating in and around the North Texas music scene at the moment.
So it’s a bit of fortunate timing that the Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, one of Fort Worth’s most active venues, and one that has put a premium on showcasing local artists since opening its doors four years ago, plans to launch a compilation series next month.
The first volume of Live at the Live Oak will be available to pre-order on iTunes Friday, with a release party set for March 3. (A $12 ticket gets you admission to the party and a physical copy of the compilation.)
Among the artists included on this 13-track compilation are local singer-songwriters like Jacob Furr, Nicholas Altobelli, Matthew Gray, Courtney Patton and Jason Eady, along with regional and national artists like Max Stalling and Susan Gibson.
The idea took root last spring, according to the Live Oak’s sound engineer Joshua Jones, who initially toyed with the idea of recording a live album for Rachel Gollay, a Fort Worth artist with whom he collaborates.
Once Jones realized the Live Oak had the capability for multi-track recording, he hit upon the notion of recording the multitude of performers who pass across the venue’s stage.
“I was quite surprised with the quality of the tracks and it quickly became apparent that it would be easy to capture performances for others,” Jones says via email. “After a couple of months of tweaking and testing the setup, I realized we were building a large and diverse library of singer-songwriters. I mentioned to [the Live Oak’s entertainment and marketing manager] Brooks [Kendall Jr.] that we could have enough for a compilation, and that was that.”
Rising country star Jason Eady was the first artist who gave Jones the go-ahead to record his performance, in May 2015.
Since then, Jones says, almost every performance that doesn’t require more than eight tracks to capture has been recorded.
In assembling the track list for this first volume, Jones says requests went out to about 20 artists for permission to include them on the release (and he notes the collection of recordings is on-going, as is the curation of future volumes in the series).
“It is a bit obvious to say I tried to find the best performance from each of these characters,” Jones says via email. “I was listening for a song that was representative of the artist. Some songs are fun, some are serious. All in all, it’s a sampler.”
Jacob Furr, who is among the 13 artists on the initial volume of Live at the Live Oak, sees the endeavor as vital to maintaining momentum, but also, an introduction for those unfamiliar with the wealth of musical talent in town.
“It shows some real support by a venue to help build crowds for the performers that play there on a regular basis,” Furr says via email. “Getting more people out to shows is everybody’s job and I would love to see more of this, so that folks in DFW can have easy access to examples of the great quality performances being put on nightly in our cities.”
The Live Oak’s Jones concurs — “[The compilation] certainly demonstrates the breadth of style and talents playing out these days,” he writes — and says future plans include the ability to expand beyond eight tracks and a more diverse sampling of genres.
Those artists interested in participating in future volumes of Live at the Live Oak need to simply hop on a bill at the venue; Jones says “all ticketed performances at the Live Oak are eligible to be recorded.”