What started as a labor of love for a Dallas yoga instructor has turned into one of the most intimate and successful music showcases in North Texas.
At the suggestion of a friend, Bend Studio owner Ally David-Swank opened her yoga studio to bands and hosted her first Intimate Evening concert series in May of 2005.
"It happened very organically and naturally and wasn't anything I had planned. A musician friend of mine from Austin, named Guy Forsyth, made the suggestion about 6 years ago," said Swank. "I finally decided to give it a try and it worked."
Since then, Swank has hosted a number of well known, as well as up and coming singer/songwriters, in her studio.
Swank's intimate showcase allows for between 80 and 90 people to sit within a few feet of the musician for a truly one of a kind auditory and visual experience that artists have described as an intimate and very unique atmosphere.
After having so much success as a venue, Swank unfortunately drew the attention of the Dallas Fire Marshal who was not so keen on the use of the yoga studio as a venue and forced the shows to relocate.
Now, Swank is hosting her artists at the Rock House Film Studio on Cole Avenue -- and has bumped her capacity up to 130 at the same time while having no trouble continuing to book incredible names.
Over the past three years Swank has been proud to showcase acoustic favorites such as Forsyth, Alejandro Escovedo, David Garza, Abra Moore, Charlie Sexton, Grayson Capps, and Austin's own Bob Schneider. Still on Swank's wishlist however is crooner Rufus Wainwright.
With things a little in flux, Swank is mum on the long-term future of the Intimate Evening series, but said she still has plenty of ideas on how to keep the showcase alive and well.
"The music scene in Dallas is hard to pin down now ... and it's hard to make ends meet when you aren't a bar," said Swank. "It's not the easiest business to be in, and it's most definitely been a labor of love. I would like to keep the intimate vibe, and have some ideas, but they aren't fully formed yet. I think you should just stay tuned."
Swank said she hosts two to three shows per month and tickets range from $20 to $50. Guests are invited to bring their own beverages and beer and wine are allowed.
This Friday, Bend Studio hosts former Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman Glen Phillips in an acoustic show with Sara and Sean Watkins at the Rock House location. For more show information, visit Bend Studio on the Internet at www.bendstudio.com.