Carson City's music scene hitting the high notes

Somethin's goin' on! Wow! Carson City is developing a "music scene." This is exciting to those of us who love to listen to good, live music. It is also exciting for Carson City businesses.

Music brings in people from out of town, people who eat at our restaurants, people who fill our rooms and people who gamble in our casinos. Chamber of Commerce studies show that for every dollar a community spends on music performances, it receives back four dollars.

For years, the Brewery Arts Center has delivered good quality music in its black box theater, but the venue was lacking in size. It only holds about 100-plus, which severely limits the acts that can be booked due to sheer economics. Periodically, the BAC would rent the Community Center for a more popular performer like Greg Brown but even with great sound engineering, the Community Center is acoustically challenged.

Last year, the BAC had to opportunity to purchase St. Teresa's church. Executive Director, Joe McCarthy saw the potential and with the help of many community volunteers and Downtown Redevelopment funding, put the deal together. With the acquisition of the church, Joe wisely began booking music acts into the St. Teresa's venue.

We saw Laurie Lewis with Tom Rozum and Nina Gerber when they played at St. Teresa's and the acoustics were exquisite. Laurie Lewis has great range both in terms of her singing voice and her musical virtuosity and the hall elevated her performance to an experience.

KUNR is broadcasting these performances live, which provides great exposure for the artist and the music. The artists were provided rooms at a discounted rate at the Bliss Mansion. But best of all, she was playing to a full house. We had to sit in the balcony because the downstairs was full. The sound is still great in the balcony.

There is more. On Saturday night a week ago, we saw Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings at the Upstage Center, a private concert hall on Mallory Way, right here in Carson City.

Roy Rogers -- not the deceased cowboy singer/actor, but rather the king of the slide guitar -- was playing clean, crystal clear rhythm and blues, right here in Carson City. Rogers began opening for blues legend John Lee Hooker in 1982 and produced his last four albums.

The best part: the place was sold out, all 220 seats. The only down side to Upstage is not enough dance floor. I like to dance and I am not very good, so I need lots of room.

There is more. Doug at Mom and Pops restaurant at Carson and Third streets has organized concerts every Friday night during the summer months. These concerts are free and he is featuring some great local bands, like the Mile High Jazz band, The Hyde Street Band, and The Will Rose Band, to name just a few. This should be really fun, so put it on you calendar.

So what does the future hold for Carson City's emerging music scene? t is lookin' good.

In addition to his Jazz and Roots series, Joe is bringing in World Music, a group from Zimbabwe called JAKA, and classical music in the form of Chavatal and Kritzer, a duo that played Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and now they are going to play at St. Teresa's. Greg Brown will be playing at St. Teresa's in April, but he sold out all 350 seats. I didn't get my tickets either, so don't feel too bad.

The Upstage Center spring line up include Shauna Morrison, Van Morrison's daughter, as well as Michelle Shocked and Leo Kottke. Big names playing right here in Carson City!

Don't miss out! Call the BAC at 883-1976 and join for only $40 for a family so you can get on their mailing list and enjoy discounted tickets. For dates and details on upcoming shows go to

Doug, the manager at Upstage, can be reached at 882-8900 or at their Web site at These shows are selling out with people coming from as far as Cheyenne and San Diego to see them, so if you want to get in on the fun, get your tickets early.

See you there.

Linda E. Johnson is a wife, mother, attorney and a 26-year resident of Carson City. She is also music lover and a long-time supporter of the arts in Carson City.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment