Talk about up close and personal. By hosting public concerts in their home, The Rhubarbary, musicians Dale and Maureen Scott give music fans a uniquely intimate way to appreciate summertime music.
The Rhubarbary seats 60 and features big windows and vista views of the Scott’s gardens, as well as resident chickens and a small flock of sheep.
After putting a timber frame addition onto their house several years ago, the Scotts wondered what they were going to do with the extra space. Already known around the area as musicians in their own right – they’re the Peacemeal String Band – the answer arrived quickly.
“We realized it would be a perfect place for people to gather and listen to music, and for traveling musicians to show their talents and make a little money,” Dale Scott said.
The open room, built entirely of wood, generates a warm sound. The Scotts encourage concert goers to bring beverages and things along to eat. During intermission, people can walk through the gardens, where Iris, the Australian shepherd dog, serves as the unofficial mascot.
IN THE HOUSE
One of the most unique parts of The Rhubarbary, Scott said, is “the up-close aspect.”
Rhubarbary shows, while professionally run, are like being invited over to a friend’s house, and that friend just happens to know some acclaimed musicians, who just happen to be over playing a little music.
Concerts as intimate as these create special moments, Dale Scott said.
“The social halftime is always special and difficult to close down. People bring an hors d’oeuvre to pass at the intermission, which is very nice,” he said. “There is no other Rhubarbary.”
The Rhubarbary’s season kicked off last month with 40-year folk-jazz veteran Claudia Schmidt. The second show, Drive South, featured songwriter/guitarist Roger Brown and singer Mary Sue Wilkinson; the duo’s harmonies are the most impressive part of their performance.
Emmylou Harris soundalike Rita Hosking will be taking The Rhubarbary stage in June; she plays eclectic country-Americana music and will be joined by Sean Feder on dobro and banjo.
“I can promise she will be great,” Dale Scott said. “She’s not quite old-time, not quite bluegrass, but a ‘soulful howl from the mountains.’” Scott says a big highlight is the duo of Carmen Maret and Andrew Bergeron, a tango-jazz-world music hybrid on flute and guitar, who have four critically acclaimed albums under their belts.
“I can’t wait to have them here,” he said.
HUG A MUSICIAN
The artists seem to enjoy The Rhubarbary as much as the audiences do. Instead of being put up in a sterile hotel, they’re often housed on site, and are treated to a homecooked dinner by Maureen Scott before their performance.
It continues to be a rewarding venture for both Scotts, who find their efforts more than worthwhile.
“Often, the artists are friends of ours, and this is a chance to catch up on their lives, and vice-versa,” he said.
It’s an arrangement that works equally well for music fans.
“There is no curtain or backstage for the artists to slip in and out of,” he said, “so if you want to ask a question or hug a musician, you just do.”
For more information on The Rhubarbary Concerts series, visit peacemealstringband. com or telephone the venue at (231) 357- 7339. All shows take place at the Scott’s Rhubarbary Farm in Harbor Springs.