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Coming to DVD & Video-on-Demand on August 28

He’s worked with Carole King, Ani DiFranco, and a host of great Texas artists — but can music producer Mark Hallman keep his studio open in the age of streaming?

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  • Upcoming events

    Friday, August 11, 2017 at 08:00 PM

    Burlington City Arts

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    Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 12:00 PM · $15.00 USD

    Open Ears House Concert - Rain Perry & Mark Hallman in attendance

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  • Latest from the blog

    That's Austin

    I made a little thing! Everyone in The Shopkeeper had something to say about Austin, TX. I put it all together here. Does Austin suck or does it ROCK? You decide.
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    Gag Reel

    Getting ready for the DVD release by assembling the gag reel for The Shopkeeper! It is so much fun to have made a movie full of performers. What a bunch of hams!
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  • Latest from the blog

    Morton Report - The Shopkeeper

    by Jeff Burger July 25, 2017 The Shopkeeper (film). Austin, Texas-based singer/songwriter Rain Perry turns to filmmaking to document the challenges musicians face in the era of streaming, downloads, and file trading. Her jumping-off point is the story of Mark Hallman and his struggling Congress House, Austin’s oldest continually operating recording studio, whose clients have included David Byrne, Janis Ian, and Nanci Griffith, to name a few. The film features lots of artists who love the Congress House and Hallman’s approach to music-making, including Ani DiFranco, Charlie Faye, Eliza Gilkyson, Jon Dee Graham, Andrew Hardin, Iain Matthews, and the great Tom Russell. Portions of this feel rather like a home movie that might be of more interest to the participants than to the general public. Still, the film has a lot of heart and asks thought-provoking, important questions that should matter to anyone who cares about the future of music and musicians. (For info about the film, which will be released on DVD on August 21, visit The Shopkeeper.)  
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    No Depression on The Shopkeeper

    by Frank Gutch Jr. July 22, 2017 [This was originally written for and posted on Bob Segarini's site, Don't Believe a Word I Say. The plan was to write a piece for DBAWIS and a later one for No Depression, but as I read the original I struggled to find a better way to say what had already been written. Still, I think this documentary (The Shopkeeper) needs to be written about and reviewed on any number of sites relating to music and/or documentaries. So here it is, pretty much as it appeared in my column a few weeks ago.] Let us start: You can file this one under “and I thought I knew something.” I just watched a documentary which starts “When I was a kid, music was everything,” a statement as acute to me as author Scott Turow‘s line “It suddenly hit me how much I missed music for which I once felt a yearning as keen as hunger.” It struck a note so deep in me that I watched all one-hour-and-thirty-one minutes feeling a kinship with the narrator (and, as it turns out, producer of the film), almost relieved that I was not alone. For years, those of us who have been labeled eccentric if not practically insane for our love of music have suffered somewhat alone, though some of us found others to share our illness— years of alone time hiding behind headphones and stereo systems and speaking musicspeak consisting of lines from songs, facts, and opinions other people neither understood nor wanted to while isolating ourselves in a world every bit as fantastic as Dungeons and Dragons or Hobbitville. I lost three loves to that world, one lady complaining that I loved records more than I loved her, all stemming from my inability to walk past a record store without paying a visit. The first line of my biography should also be “when I was a kid, music was everything” for beyond the love I felt for my family and friends, it was. But this wasn’t me. This was someone who felt like me, loved music like me, but took it one step further. This was Rain Perry, who felt the urge to put her music on record, music which had developed to the point that it burst from her, three albums worth, and who, realizing finally that music had become a black hole when it came to money, deferred to film. Backed up against the wall, she wanted to tell a story and, looking around for a defined topic, decided that that story was not hers but that of the musicians she had recorded with and met at Congress House Studio in Austin, Texas. Mainly one musician:Mark Hallman. Hallman, you see, a seasoned musician and veteran of a plethora of bands by the time he came to Congress House, had taken in a mob of like-minded misfits over the years to record or to help record or just mix music for our ears. Well, not misfits, but people who fit there better than anywhere else maybe. Rain Perry was one. Read the rest here.
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The Shopkeeper

Everybody can make a record.
Nobody can make a living.
Now what?
A film by Rain Perry
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