Bluegrass artists are having an increasingly difficult time finding retail outlets for their recorded works. Wal-mart is all but inaccessable, and the brick and morter record shops are closing faster than a lick from Johnny Butten’s banjo.
Could Cracker Barrel become a viable retail outlet? One group of artists thinks so. Bob Everhart, president of the National Traditional Country Music Association, recently announced an opportunity for upper midewest country and bluegrass artists to place their music for sale in area Cracker Barrel Restaurants.
July 12, 2008 will see the kickoff to Cracker Barrel’s Rural Roots Music Fest. From 10am to 7pm area artists will perform on the front porch of the Crackerbarrel store at the Lake Manawa Shopping Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The 9-hour show is a means of ‘supporting’ the Cracker Barrel’s decision to place local recorded product in-house. The ‘impetus’ of this first-time approach to independent recording artists, from Cracker Barrel’s point of view, is ‘great down-home country food in the dining room,’ and ‘great down-home country music on the front porch.’ This same theme will be hopefully carried through with ‘great down-home music CD’s in the store.’
If successful, this may lead to an expansion of the program to other stores. Cracker Barrel has had an interest in country and bluegrass music for some time, even starting their own label. This program will provide Cracker Barrel with music to sell and no overhead to produce it, and provide a much needed retail outlet for smaller independent groups. It sounds like a win-win situation.
More information is available on the NTCMA website.