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Bloodshot Briefing: The Coach House Sessions

By Matt Harness

Coach House Sounds came to life last year as Matt Baron ate lunch at Amitabul, which bills its food as "Healing Buddhist Spiritual Vegan Cuisine."

Over his meal, Baron, a musician who is studying to become a teacher, read a story about Daytrotter, the music studio in Rock Island that records live sessions with touring bands, The Chicago native believed he could do something similar.

Not long after that seed was planted, he ran into Richard Edwards, singer and guitarist for Margot & the Nuclear So and So's. Edwards was someone Baron thought he should record. And when Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's Elia Einhorn also encouraged Baron's entry into the Web-based taste-making market, that was enough motivation to get Coach House operation up and running.

Although Coach House Sounds opened its doors to bands last fall, Baron debuted the online community to the public this week at The Whistler in Logan Square.

I spent some time with Baron, who already has recorded sessions with two Bloodshot bands, this week.


Beachwood Music: So talk about the origins of Coach House Sounds. How are you different than Daytrotter or HearYa, another Chicago-based music site with live sessions?

Matt Baron: I was reading this article in the business section about Daytrotter. They were talking about the Grand Ole Party, and they had this quote from them about having to walk 20 minutes to buy cigarettes. Then I read Grand Ole Party was playing at Schubas that night. I live right around the block, and I have this space to do what Daytrotter can do.

The difference is I wanted to make it more personal, more experimental and get more genres. We are creating an outlet for these bands to promote themselves and benefit their careers.

Beachwood Music: Listening to the launch party this week, it was clear you wanted to expand your horizons farther than indie rock.

Matt Baron: Yeah. That night we had a classical act, a storyteller, experimental jazz and a rock band. I mean Brian Costello, who read a short story, is a heavyweight on the Chicago indie cultural scene. He was a last-minute addition. I'd like to do more of that in the future. That night we were dipping our toes in different waters.

I'm submitting something to Lincoln Hall, and I've been in touch with the Hideout.

Beachwood Music: Who was your first band? How do you go about finding artists?

Matt Baron: Animal City was the first. I saw them at Ronny's and thought they were cool. I shared the idea with them.

I usually send out an e-mail; it's like cold calls. There was only one band not interested in the idea. They already had their own studio, and they just weren't into it.

I'm not overly choosy, but I can cherrypick some. But to diversify is my goal. Miles Raymer wrote about this group the Hollows. I haven't had a girl group in yet.

I check the Reader show listings, see what the Hungry Brain and Hideout are up to. The Hideout is my biggest inspiration because they do so many different things. I want us to be like a community center.

Beachwood Music: Part of the The Whistler event was a silent auction to raise money for Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. What's your connection to the band?

Matt Baron: I've known Elia for a little over a year. I had coffee with him one day and shared the idea. He also said Scotland Yard Gospel Choir was interested in doing a session.

Beachwood Music: You also had Mark Pickerel in for a session. You building a relationship with Bloodshot?

Matt Baron: Rob Miller even came over for that session.

I've known about them being in Chicago and being around for a while. When people think of Bloodshot, they probably think of country. But you look deeper and they have other acts. Like great female vocalists. They live and breathe the bands they represent. My engineer's favorite session was with Mark Pickerel. He likes those dark country folk tunes that Mark likes to write.

We are fans of Bloodshot.

Beachwood Music: When's the next session going to be released?

Matt Baron: Probably after Thanksgiving. The Lesser Birds of Paradise.


Bloodshot Briefing appears in this space every Friday. Matt welcomes your comments.


Posted on November 13, 2009

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