The Austin Chronicle

Day Trips

By Gerald E. McLeod, February 15, 2013, Columns

Sycamore Creek House Con­certs are a great deal for musicians and music fans. In a hardscrabble valley between Dripping Springs and Pedernales Falls State Park, Thomas and Gail Chapmond have filled the hills with the sound of music.

Unlike most house concerts that are actually in someone's living room, the Chapmonds have built a beautiful stone "music barn" off a winding country road. The small stage is acoustically designed to project the sound over the small crowd and into the glowing sunset outside the open doors.

The audience is limited to about 70. For the 7pm show, folks arrive early carrying lawn chairs, a covered dish to share, and maybe an adult beverage. It's a relaxed and friendly house where regulars welcome newcomers.

For Austin-based musicians, it's an opportunity to work close to home. All of the gate, usually a $20 suggested donation, goes to the artist, as well as any CD sales. Singer-songwriter Carrie Elkin summed it up: "We spend about 300 nights a year on the road. I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight. Thank you, Thomas and Gail."

I can't tell you exactly where the Sycamore Creek music barn is at; you have to go to and join their email list to get an invitation and a map. Another house concert series in the area worth checking out is at

1,124th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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