Bigger isn't always better, especially when small local venues allow music fans to hear well-established national acts in a comfortable, intimate setting.
With soft-spoken ambition, Dale Miller and Rick Greene, the co-owners of locally based North Star Studios, have transformed their full-service recording and teaching studio at 3617 Betty Drive into Colorado Springs' newest live music venue, off of North Academy, just south of Austin Bluffs. On Saturday, Aug. 7, their Front Row Concerts series will present acclaimed singer-songwriter Chuck Pyle, up close and personal.
"We're trying to get back to the tradition of parlor concerts," said Miller, who is also a guitar instructor at Colorado College. "By offering a more personal approach to live music, we're filling a unique niche in the performing arts community."
Making the most of their limited 1,200-square-foot concert space has allowed the venue's event planners to utilize the full extent of their studio's high-tech capabilities to entice audiences and perspective performers.
"We offer artists an opportunity to make a recording of themselves playing live, and obviously, the possibility of seeing a great musician live in the studio is more than most music fans can pass up," said Doug Zinn, the studio's business manager.
Despite the full-service studio at their disposal, most artists enjoy the intimacy of the small room so much that they don't even amplify their instruments, said Zinn. "I think playing in a real recording studio with such a small audience allows the artists to open up, tell stories and reveal a different side."
Pyle, whose low-key voice and unique lyrical insights have made him a contemporary folk music legend, seems a perfect fit for North Star's unique format.
"We wanted to get Chuck because he's the perfect sort of performer for our venue. He's a great guitar player with a lot of humor in his songs," said Zinn.
Labeled "the Zen Cowboy," Pyle is currently embarked on a nationwide tour in support of his seventh album, Affected by the Moon, which serves up lyrical references to Eastern philosophy and sidesplitting reptilian metaphors, often in the same verse. Reluctant to embrace the singer-songwriter label, Pyle, like a troubadour from a bygone era, is an artist whose songs and stories often blend together, creating a synergy between the audience and the performer.
"Everybody dreams of having a famous musician playing in their living room," said Miller, "This is as close as it gets."
In addition to Pyle, the venue hopes to host more touring artists in the future, while offering guitar workshops by visiting performers and a whole series of winter concerts. With over 150 music students, Miller says that North Star Studios is committed to "supporting the touring performing artist and the beginning guitar player equally."
Like the Business of Art Center in Manitou, North Star Studios seems eager to address the musical needs of its community in a unique, holistic way by offering great entertainment and music education under one roof.
"What we're trying to do here, is something we can be proud of," said Miller.
-- Joe Kuzma
Front Row Concerts presents Chuck Pyle
Saturday, Aug. 7
North Star Studios, 3617 Betty Drive Suites D/E
$30 includes food at intermission
Seating is limited to 50 people
573-0575 for more info or www.northstarstudios.us