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.)


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.

Austin Shopkeeper Premiere in Austin Chronlicle

A great article about John Doe and a good reference to the Austin Premiere of The Shopkeeper!


For three and a half decades, songwriters have been telling their stories through Congress House Studio, Austin's oldest continually operating recording facility. In new documentary The Shopkeeper, singer Rain Perry utilizes the recording facility and its workmanlike audio mystic Mark Hallman to dialogue about studios struggling to survive in the streaming age.

"Grandma's house meets world-class recording studio," is how musician Donna Lynn Caskey characterizes the SoCo compound.

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How Did I Get Here interview


Listen to Johnny Goudie's interview with Rain about the upcoming Austin Premiere of The Shopkeeper on the always-entertaining podcast "How Did I Get Here?"

Click this link!

Rain at the Movies

Chris Jay - VC Reporter - June 9. 2016


The multitalented Rain Perry has been a fixture in the art, culture and music community for years. The Ojai singer and songwriter has released multiple records, sung the theme song for a national TV show, made an appearance on that same show, written and performed a play based on her own childhood, and played host to countless songwriting workshops, classes and house concerts.

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Rain Perry on "The Shopkeeper"

by Pam Baumgardner -



Ojai musician singer/songwriter Rain Perry’s foray into filmmaking has resulted in a thought provoking, fascinating look at the music industry and how it has evolved the past fifty years. The film highlights the career of musician/producer Mark Hallman of Congress House Studio out of Austin, Texas. To make the film, Perry teamed up with Micah Van Hove, Director of Photography, who taught her invaluable lessons on filmmaking. Perry was able to produce the film as a result of a successful Indiegogo campaign.

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Art of the Song/Standing O Project

Art of the Song - Katie Anne Mitchell

Our guest this week on the Art of the Song Mid-Week Coffee Break is Rain Perry.

Rain Perry is an award-winning songwriter. Her song “Beautiful Tree” was the theme for the CW Network’s Life Unexpected, a criminally cancelled series on which she also had the surreal pleasure of playing herself alongside Ben Lee and Sarah McLachlan.

In addition to releasing four albums on her own Precipitous Records, Rain is the author of the autobiographical play Cinderblock Bookshelves: A Guide for Children of Fame-Obsessed Bohemian Nomads.

She is the Grand Prize winner of both the John Lennon Song Contest (Folk Division) and the ROCKRGRL Discoveries competition, as well as a Telluride Troubadour finalist. She divides her time between motherhood and the lucrative world of independent folk-rock music.

Rain has received many nice reviews (and one really snarky one), but her favorites are those Google-translated from Dutch: “The album Cinderblock Bookshelves is not the melancholic childbirth that you would expect…Rainy Perry is a veritable asset to the music world!” – Kindamusik 


Rain also recently directed The Shopkeeper (discussed in this interview) on Mark Hallman of Congress House Studio. View the preview here: and check out full details, including premier dates here: 

You can get the whole download by clicking here!

Ojai singer’s documentary looks at who makes money off today’s music


By Karen Lindell, Special to The VC Star

The brew at a mom-and-pop coffee shop is subtle, classy, beloved, one-of-a-kind.

Kind of like Mark Hallman and his music.


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Rain on Film


Chris Jay - Ventura County Reporter - 4/2/15

For any regular reader of the VCReporter, singer-songwriter, Rain Perry should be a familiar name. We have long followed the Ojai resident’s musical journey in our music section, and for good reason; the married mother of two is always up to something interesting.

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No Film School: Filmmaking ‘Noob’ & Singer/Songwriter Rain Perry Shares What She’s Learned About the Craft

Micah Van Hove - No Film School  - October 26, 2014

Folk-rock artist Rain Perry has some important questions about the music industry, so she’s chosen celebrated music producer Mark Hallman to be the subject of a new documentary. The Shopkeeper takes us to Austin TX, where, after 35+ years in the business, Mark Hallman is still making music in his studio, The Congress House. How can Mark’s life path (a songwriter turned producer) help answer questions about the state of things now? How can artists make a living in the age of Spotify? How has technology influenced artists and audiences alike? Rain sits down with No Film School to discuss being a “noob” to filmmaking, how it compares to creating music, and important lessons she’s learned so far.

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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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