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Local artists lure a crowd at Wine Kitchen’s ‘Basket House’

Roughly 40 people, near the restaurant’s capacity, turned out to the Wine Kitchen in Leesburg Monday night for the first-ever “Basket House” performance showcasing local artists. Times-Mirror Photo/Ed Felker
Dylan couldn't make it, but it was still a hell of a show.

Twenty people, then 30, then 40 arrived at a dimly-lit Wine Kitchen Monday night to hear five local artists perform original music at the Leesburg hot spot's first-ever Basket House listening room.

Featuring Nathaniel Davis, Nicole Belanus, Julia Kasdor and husband-wife duo Receiver, the show was an homage to the Greenwich Village exhibitions in New York a half-century ago, said Payson Tremayne, one-half of Receiver and the organizer of the gig.

Tremayne described it like this, “A local singer-songwriter showcase that will hearken back to the folk clubs of yesteryear. A listening room to experience the original music coming out of the Northern Virginia area.”

A listening room it was. For the most part, the eyes of the crowd were glued on the artists – indeed, listening, being taken by the tunes rather than Candy Crush-ing, texting or Tweeting. (Admittedly, the decibel level and chatter rose as the wine continued to flow for the three-and-a-half-hour show.)

Not typically open on Mondays, Wine Kitchen, a well-established eatery in historic downtown, shifted from its standard, simple and southern décor to a black tablecloth, candlelit, almost night club-style haunt. A red light shone on the artists, demanding the attention of the patrons.

Attendees pushed dollar bills into a straw basket throughout the night and after each set, with the musicians splitting the cash at the end of the night.

Nicole Belanus was one of four acts to perform Monday night at the Wine Kitchen in Leesburg, which was hosting a "Basket House" music show. Times-Mirror Photo/Ed Felker

Emily Guagliardi, a local musician who attended the show strictly as an observer, said she appreciated such a focus on original songwriting.

“The Basket House gave us in the audience some insight as the performers shared a bit of background on the context of their original songs -- something that we typically don't get to know about,” Guagliardi, who's solo-performing at Wine Kitchen Wednesday, said.

The cozy setting, Guagliardi noted, was “exciting for a musician because the purpose of this show was for the audience to listen to the words and the meanings behind the songs.”

A full-capacity audience suited Tremayne and Wine Kitchen co-owner Jason Miller fine, but, more importantly for Tremayne, the crowd stayed for the whole show and remained engaged.

“We support art, Jason supports art, Leesburg supports art,” Tremayne said. “It's really about cultivating community.”

A new crop of artists will perform at the next Basket House show Sept. 15.

Times-Mirror Photo/Ed Felker


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