Live music is proving a popular pairing at Marionette Winery.
Along with a passion for wine making, Jamie Smith, who operates Marionette with partner Amanda Eastwood, is perhaps equally enamoured with live music. A singer/songwriter himself, Smith over the years has developed a particular appreciation for small, intimate venues where musicians can connect with fellow music lovers.
“In the ‘60s, like Greenwich Village in New York where Bob Dylan started – I’ve been reading that Greenwich Village was really places like this, small, intimate cafes run by beatniks…,” said Smith. “I feel that’s where you can have something where you can gather a community of people who are amazed by songwriting and sort of embrace it.”
This is the feeling Smith wanted to capture with live music nights in Marionette’s lounge. The fairly new addition to the business’ tasting room can be described as an intimate, warm space, with a small number of wood tables that can accommodate groups of four or more. A corner to the left of the wine bar is the designated space where musicians, particularly singer/songwriters, are welcomed to perform.
“I am really surprised and encouraged by the reaction that we’ve had here, of people just being really excited to come and hear, not a specific person, not a person that’s a friend of theirs or somebody that works with them – they’ve started to come because it’s a place where they know there’ll be a songwriter even if they don’t know that person’s songs,” said Smith.
Musicians who share Smith’s love for that intimate connection with an audience are discovering Marionette, where increasingly that corner space is being occupied by performers on Saturday evenings, and even some weekdays.
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“I feel like the word of mouth got out to musicians long before the public started coming,” said Smith, noting musicians from out of town are also starting to plan stops at the winery. Last summer, Ojibway singer/songwriter Mitchell Makoons, from Manitoba, performed at Marionette and Smith said he plans to return this summer.
On Fridays, if a live performance isn’t lined up, Marionette will host a vinyl lounge night, where people may come in, put on a record, choose a board game, order a beverage, a charcuterie platter or other food item, and have fun.
Curated by Smith, the vinyl collection offers a variety of contemporary classics, indie faves and some rarities.
“I remember as a kid, you’d go to your friend’s house, you’d go through their record collection, and ‘What the heck’s that?’ You’d put it on and be like, ‘Wow, I hate that,’ or ‘That’s a really good album!’ That’s what’s great about vinyl in a way, is being able to look through somebody’s collection, and that’s sort of the charm of this.”
Over the summer, live performances move outdoors, where guests’ ears are treated to music and their eyes to the impressive view.
For more information about Marionette Winery, visit marionettewinery.com. For upcoming concerts, vinyl lounge nights and more, visit the winery’s page on Facebook.
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