It’s called the “Listening Room” because they want you to do just that: shut up and listen. But how can you make that happen with essentially a sports bar and beer pub 10 feet away? Dean Biersch and K. C Turner thought long and hard and came up with the idea for the Sonoma HopMonk Tavern to surround the room with thick, theater curtains and install a state-of-the-art sound system so there is no doubt that once the curtains close, they mean business. In addition, rows of chairs were laid out — 60 to be exact — to make the experience even more intimate.
“We really wanted to give the room a lift so people can see that value of the ticket price,” says Turner.
The series is scheduled for twice a month at this time, with more shows being added over time. Currently Turner is pulling acts from his Rolodex, but that may change with bands that normally fill larger rooms stopping by the intimate venue on the Sunday nights.
This Sunday, April 26, the Listening Room presents Ramblin’Jack Elliott. Elliott is a folk legend, growing up inspired by rodeo and the music of Woody Guthrie, so much that it’s said that after Woody’s death at a 55 in 1967, Guthrie’s son Arlo actually learned his fathers style of playing from Ramblin’ Jack.
Elliott even had an influence on a young Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra and even Mick Jagger, who saw him busking on a train platform in London. The list of musicians Elliott has played with or had an effect on is too long to list.
Elliott has appeared in movies portraying country singers and took home a Grammy in 1995 for his album “South Coast.”
The show kicks off at 8 p.m. and at time of this writing, tickets are still available, and will be at the door if not sold out.
Turner has big plans for the Listening Room, already presenting the likes of Chuck Prophet and Tim Flannery, with Megan Slankard, Box Set Duo and Mother Hips all with upcoming shows.