Looking over 3,200 square feet of performance and recording space, The Sound Garden Studio co-owner Kim Schouw says, "Our goal when we moved into this building was to use it to host monthly jazz and blues concerts, support local musicians by offering them a place to play, bring in national acts whenever possible to showcase them, plus offer people recording, rehearsal and video production space."
A few steps between The Brown Bag and Searing Electric and Plumbing on Second Street, The Sound Garden Studio space was once an infants' apparel and thrift shop. It also did a stint as a church. Then the space went secular. Now it's another step in what might be called the slow, but ongoing, Second Street Renaissance.
The Sound Garden currently can seat an audience of 150 in lawn chairs. Once a raised loge section is constructed, audience members will be able to enjoy a concert or show while seated on couches or in easy chairs.
"We want to give the place an Austin City Limits meets your living room feel," Schouw said.
For its first ever show, which took place in August, The Sound Garden presented Brazilian vocalist Louisa Maita. Following Maita, acoustic guitarist, singer/songwriter Eric Jennings took the stage on September 17. On Sept 21, indie/pop band Fierce Bad Rabbit band played the venue. On Sept. 23, metal bands Shovelbelt and Tentareign took the stage. Solo acoustic guitarist Josh Damigo (www.joshdamigo.com) plays Friday night
October events include ukulele master Aldrine Guerro on the 11th doing a show and conducting a workshop. More solo acoustic guitar follows when Ali Handal (www.alihandal.com) comes to town on October 20.
"During October," Schouw said, "we plan to do more of a house concert format as many musicians have indicated that they want to play the studio space as a way to get more public exposure. "
In 2012, at a date to be determined, Oregon music legends Marv and Rindy Ross (Quarterfalsh and The Oregon Trail Band) will perform as a duet. Polyester apparel sporting, all-over-the-musical-map ace Dave Lindley is set for January 8. Gibson signature guitar artist Johnny A will bring his trio to the studio later in the month (date tbd).
At every performance from house concerts to big name shows, Schouw's 18-year-old son Nathan is in charge of the mixing board. He also controls the studio's16-track recording system, comprising two separate digital recorders that can produce normal and sound-on-sound recording. The studio is also equipped with three Canon digital cameras to record shows for posterity and/or live streaming.
Also recording on the premises is local master keyboard artist and composer Andy Armer who moved his own studio into the building.
So what led to this going on down on Second Street? The long and winding road begins with Kim Schouw working as a chef.
" I worked at the Crab Catcher in Hawaii and left there to take a job at the old Le Bistro (now the Platypus Pub and Brew Shop) restaurant in Bend. I was there two-and-a-half years. Then the Crab Catcher opened at the Inn of the Seventh Mountain in the '80s and I went to work there."
The late '70s and early '80s was the era, as longtime locals might recall, when the Inn regularly presented top name national musical acts. In the late '70s, Count Basie's big band played the Inn, as did Ray Charles and the Raelettes. Country singing legend Hoyt Axton ("Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog") held forth one memorable summer evening concert in the early '80s.
Schouw was getting deeper into recording when he got his first break as a sound technician for jazz/fusion master Jeff Lorber's gig at the Inn in the mid-'80s. Eventually the chef exchanged creating food in favor of creating sound. "At one point, "he recalls, "I was touring 50 weeks a year." That time included working with recording artists like Rick Roberts of Firefall and Randy Meisner of The Eagles.
Life on the road is well into Schouw's rearview mirror these days. He enjoys being home and working with his son. That now includes this project that he hopes will bring, "great artistry and musicianship to local audiences."
The Sound Garden
Josh Damigo, Fri. Sept. 30
Details on concert times and prices can be obtained at 541-633-6804 or at www.facebook - The Sound Garden