Tucked away just outside the Waxahachie city limits is a musicians paradise built inside a home forged on love, both for each other and their craft.
Most locals have never entered the home of Randy and Helen Tredway, but it is renowned for studio concerts and radio shows.
The musical destination is better known as In The Music Room.
Upon entering, a first-timer will quickly find the venue to be more than the residence of the Tredways, as the two have opened their abode for the last 14 years to musicians and strangers.
Together, Randy and Helen host a live radio show on Tuesdays, featuring singer-songwriters and in addition to roughly 20 studio concerts annually.
The first 14 shows hosted by the couple took place at the Historic Texas Theatre in downtown Waxahachie, but Randy was not recording the quality he desired. However, the first 90 radio shows were recorded upstairs in the Tredway home — where they are still recorded today.
Whether it is radio interviews or concerts, a variety of talent, genders and genres are showcased, and they all have one thing in common.
“They are singer-songwriters. They are troubadours,” Randy advocated.
In the beginning, live shows were not even in the picture. With the advances in social media, Randy kicked up the technical aspect of In The Music Room and created a YouTube channel and utilizes Facebook live for the radio shows and the studio concerts. Now, thousands of people can tune-in online.
For the artists, the In The Music Room experience is also a marketing opportunity. Besides the in-house and social media publicity, Randy mixes an audiotape and creates a tab for each artist on the main website.
Randy admitted that In The Music Room has never depended on locals to fill the seats because it is not a Waxahachie thing; “It was a music thing,” Randy explained.
The 450-square-foot garage is constructed with a stage and enough room to seat 50 people.
“We feel really good about it because one, we are bringing music to people who have a passion for original music,” Helen explained. “We are helping the artist get out there and their music and network. And, we are making some great friends. It’s like they become part of our family.”
NOT YOUR TYPICAL ARTIST
Performers are five stars, said Randy. “They can play on any stage in the world. They just chose ours."
Artists who write their own lyrics are essential to the Tredways because it’s the foundation of everything.
“There’s not a song you’ve ever heard that wasn’t written first. It has to be conceived, and there’s a story around every song," Randy elaborated.
Randy then took a few seconds to compose his thoughts on just how unimpressed he is with Nashville and Austin music scene. He is only impressed if an artist can deliver a beat and an impactful lyric and move people through it. Randy said the vibe of the audience will always reflect the singer-songwriter's believability.
Randy began by explaining how Texas music has already left a footprint that is deeper and wider than Nashville. He then pointed at a Daily Light article hung on the wall that told the story of how Tredways got their humble start. Randy compared it to where they are at now and how they have stayed under the radar.
“We’ve brought thousands of people to this town for music, and very few people know about it,” Randy emphasized.
Helen added, “Our website gets 100,000 hits a month."
POPULAR ARTISTS FEATURED AT IN THE MUSIC ROOM
· Alex Harvey sold more records than Prince. His popular written work includes “Delta Dawn,” Ruben James,” and “Hell and High Water.”
· Bugs Henderson, greatest guitar players on the planet. Internationally known as a guitarist.
· John McEuen a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Multiple Grammy winner
· Pauline Reese who won entertainer of the year at the Country Music Awards in 2010. Nominated in 2017.
· Sophia Talvik who is sponsored by the queen of Sweden
· Group from New Zealand was formerly known as Bristol Dollar
· Texas: include George Ensle, Butch Morgan, Ken Gaines, Danny Everett, Jack Saunders
· Dallas: Bill Nash, Crystal Yates, Aubrey Lynn, Ian Dixon award-winning songwriter, Craig Sinclair, Lynn McCracken
· Ft. Worth: Guthrie Kennard used to play with Ray Riley Hubbard, Jim Nitschke been writing and playing professionally for 60 years, Rick Babb and his wife Paula McClendon, Bryan Burns a well known Texas songwriter, Peter Pope
It is a rare occasion for an entire band to perform, but Randy once squeezed seven musicians on the burgundy-carpeted stage. Usually, a single artist or a couple of artists and their guitars will play acoustically. Randy enjoys the song swaps the most.
“One of my things is to bring artists in that are great that don’t know each other and them to meet on our stage because that’s when the magic happens,” Randy explained.
About the time Randy finished his thought, Matt Harland, “Houston’s best,” came over the radio playing in the background. Randy explained how he was on the In The Music Room stage with Greg Whitfield, "Austin’s best." By the second song together, they were harmonious.
Each performance offers a unique flavor of musical talent from country, rock, folk, rockabilly, bluegrass, and blues. The only singer-songwriter genre they haven’t featured is Tejano — which Randy plans to highlight this fall.
“Every show has its own personality and vibe. It’s always good. It’s never bad. But it’s always different,” Helen described. “And our regulars that come to these, they are constantly blown away. They say, ‘this was the best show,’ and then they come back and say, ‘this was the best show ever.’”
A STAGE LIKE NO OTHER
When asked if he could think of one word to describe In the Music Room, Randy replied, “magical.”
“A lot of times with 50 people in here you can hear a pin drop," Randy emphasized. "Because people are totally focused on what’s going on. We don’t let people talk during the show unless you’re engaged by the artist."
By the time the featured artist strums the first cord or vocalizes the first tune, they will be friends with each guest in the audience. The audience is suggested to arrive an hour before the show time so they can divulge in a potluck meal. Strangers, the Tredways, and musicians will gather around the kitchen table and hang out in the living room to get to know one another before the show starts.
Helen said each visitor should bring a covered dish. The Tredways do offer beverages, but if someone would like to sip on an adult drink, then they need to bring it themselves.
Not only is the home open to the public, but they Tredways joked about how their home is the “Tredway Hilton” because if the artist needs a place to stay, they have a place where they can lay their head.
A TOUR OF THE MUSIC ROOM
“You feel the ghosts a little bit, [between] the music and the vibe,” said Randy as he made his way around the room.
Not an inch of ceiling or sheetrock can be seen through the flags that cover the ceiling or posters and photos plastered on the walls. Everything in the Music Room has a story behind it, and every guest is sure to be able to relate to at least one item in the transformed garage.
For starters, the Beatles are the Tredways' favorite band. Randy said the majority of artists from his generation express how The Beatles influenced them — and almost everything behind the stage is The Beatles.
Each flag displayed as wall art comes with a dual purpose. They went up because it made a beautiful room to record in and the flags stop all the upward bounce.
Elvis Presley memorabilia is also scattered throughout the room. When Randy was seven, Elvis was in his, and it was the first concert Helen had ever seen. In fact, Randy's mother bought him a small guitar when he was five-years-old, and he believed he was Elvis, often strumming away late into the night. His first instrument. That same wooden instrument now lays atop the piano.
All the pictures of people behind the audience are artists who have played In The Music Room three or more times. They even have a memorial corner. Randy named them off and referenced the legacy each left behind.
“All of these people are significant in being part of our history,” Randy emphasized.
At the entrance of The Music Room, are two guitars that hang on the wall, which are signed by all of the singer-songwriters who visited The Music Room.
HOW IT STARTED
“After praying about it every morning for three days, people started pulling into my driveway, telling me that something woke them up in the middle of the night telling them to come over here,” Randy explained.
The first group who pulled in were songwriters. Then came more friends and family arrived, ready to work with tools in hand. Later, a local subcontractor arrived.
“This is why it’s so hard to tell this story,” Randy choked.
“This room used to be a trashy garage," Helen interjected. "We didn’t even park in here. The garage door, it sometimes went up and sometimes didn’t."
Randy wrote a song years ago, “You Should Have Seen Him Walking,” that’s about when Peter witnessed Jesus walking on water. The first folks that rode up to work on the garage got saved that night in a coffee house to that song.
For the next six weeks, they not only worked on the room but several other people like a stage builder and an electrician. Through all the same message the room was created.
Initially, it was supposed to operate as a recording studio solely. But then a stage guy showed up and hopped on the vision Randy's latest idea.
Randy stood up and banged his feet on the stage, “it’s solid as a rock.” The carpet on the stage was also a donation.
Randy claims God told him, “There will never be a ticket price here.” They have a tip bucket at the front of the Music Room, and “we give 100 percent of what comes in from a live show to the artist because they are the ones who earned it.
Randy and Helen take the stage once a year in November.
The two songbirds met in November 2004 on a dating site. Once Randy saw that Helen’s favorite band was The Beatles, it was love at first sight.
They have been together ever since. It took the two four and a half years to be engaged, and in year six they moved in together.
It was not until July 2017 they said, “I do.” The newlyweds were married in the Rocket Christian Church to a full house.
Helen said the wedding was like a “concert.” And, 4,000 people watched it on Facebook.
As of June 19, The Music Room recorded had recorded 300 radio shows and had featured artists who traveled from 39 states and 12 countries.
To make a reservation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 972-937-7770 or call 972-938-9990. In The Music Room can be followed on Facebook or on their website, www.inthemusicroom.com.
If interested in booking for a studio concert or radio show, contact Randy at email@example.com.
Staff includes: Reno, chief audio engineer and photographers Gene and Barbara Moore, and Bruce Davis.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450