Rich Barnard, Red Guitar Music August 8, 2017
Anyone who’s ever financed the recording of their own album will know that there are certain things that really ought to matter, and The Shopkeeper is a stark reminder of those things. People matter. Can you think of an app that can replicate the relationships between songwriter, musician, producer and engineer? Thought not. Places matter. Can you imagine The Beatles without Abbey Road? Nope, neither can I. Things matter. If you’re making an album, why wouldn’t you want to make it into a something you can hold in your hands? Musicians today find themselves in a world where people, places and things appear to all matter a little less than they once did and The Shopkeeper pushes us, ever so gently, to consider the consequences.
Singer songwriter Rain Perry's debut documentary is essentially the biography of veteran musician, engineer and producer Mark Hallman and the history of the Congress House studio, which he runs in Austin, Texas. Woven through it is the discussion at the film's core: how can independent musicians continue to make a living in a world where music has become something consumers no longer pay for?
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Rain Perry is making the leap from music to film with The Shopkeeper: A Documentary about Mark Hallman & the Congress House. While the documentary genre has more female directors in it than probably any other, it still isn’t easy to break through, especially since fundraising is often the hardest part of it. A lot of female directors have revealed that it’s usually all fun and games until money is involved, but trusting “women” with money is often a sticky area.
Full Disclosure: I’ve known Rain Perry for more than 30 years. We shroomed on Ventura beach back in the 1980s, slogged through the agony of high school together in Ojai, and stared up at the stars on one too many summer nights wondering what we would end up doing with our lives.