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.

The doc bulges with testimonials from Congress House devotees, including Ani DiFranco, Eliza Gilkyson, Tom Russell, Johnny Goudie, and Sara Hickman, all of whom make it clear what an inspiration owner/producer Mark Hallman has been on their lives and music. A multi-instrumentalist who produced/backed Carole King and led Capitol Records' Navarro humbly deflects praise to the magic of the building, calling it "one big, giant instrument."

The film, shot and edited by Micah Van Hove, furthers debate on how the streaming era impacts grassroots music makers, employing a clever recurring device wherein Jon Dee Graham lectures on industry earnings and trends.

"When I started making the movie, I was so frustrated with the music business, but Mark is so relentlessly optimistic and he loves making music so much that it kept me from going too dark," says Perry, who's recorded three albums with Hallman. "The spirit of needing to create is what prevails."

The Shopkeeper screens exclusively at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar on Sunday, 4pm, followed immediately by a musical afterparty at the One-2-One Bar.

The Shopkeeper

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