This weekend Saturday night marks the end of a two-year long community-based concert series, Tom Paynter’s The Caroline Sessions. To celebrate, a Last Waltz event of sorts is being held at Saint Arnold Brewing Company, complete with new musical collaborations, the recording of a live album and of course a long-form video of the affair. This will be the most special of all Caroline Sessions because the artists playing (Frank Freeman, Chase Hamblin, Matt Harlan, Andrew Karnavas, Clory Martin, Corey Power, and Melissa Savcic) have designed a unique show including once-in-a-lifetime collaborations with each other and other TBD special guests. Tickets are $15 for this event which include beverages from Saint Arnold’s taps. This is a must see event that will sell out, thanks in no small part to the popularity of Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Buy ‘em here.

The Caroline Sessions are something I’ve been extremely proud of since it began. In many ways, the ideals of Caroline Collective helped to shape the design of this event series as a whole: community, collaboration, and overcoming shared challenges. In the original conception, up-and-coming bands would play in a comfortable setting to friends and fans, working on new material or their live show. Audience members would be via invite only or open to the community at large and would eat, drink, and mingle during the show. Following the event, video and audio of select songs would be provided for the band for them to use online to promote themselves and book additional shows. None of these events were to have an associated cost: audience members would bring their own food/drink or contribute to a community tip jar, artists would be given audio and video for free.

The overall goal was to lower the barrier for artists to work on their craft, receive instant feedback on their performance and generate rich media (audio and video) that they can use to promote themselves and book additional shows in the future. There was the hope that the small audience in attendance would allow the bands intimate contact with those who could help support them as fans in the future. Also in the plans were for the bands who would play to forge new musical collaborations with artists they shared the bill with, something you’ll see in action on Saturday.

Tom Paynter and his small group of collaborators deserve a world of credit for producing this event, almost without fail every month for the last two years. Caroline Sessions has grown into much more than the original idea, opened up to the general public and inviting the community to join in the event by bringing food, drink, friends and family. This comfortable, backyard BBQ setting has let us all see some well known Houston artists as well as the new ones. The Caroline Sessions hosted the Japanese Nuclear Relief Concert, held remote sessions at Buffalo Bayou Brewery, Culture Map, Spring Street Studios, and now returns to Saint Arnold Brewing Company for its finale. Along the way Gorrealah Soul descended interrupting a holiday show, artists held a group sing-a-long, and Ben Wesley played on the roof.

See video of Ben Wesley playing on the roof of Caroline Collective here. Hope to see all of you at this exciting closer of one of Houston’s great ongoing concert series.


  1. Mandy

    “In many ways, the ideals of Caroline Collective helped to shape the design of this event series as a whole: community, collaboration, and overcoming shared challenges.” Well said, sir. Sessions is/was a testament to the community you built. The crazy, no-boundaries, roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-dirty dreams … while I’m sad ‘the fat lady is singing’ for Sessions, these things have a specific time and place and purpose. And those moments will live in infamy over beers in ‘This one time, at Caroline…’ stories.

    Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

  2. The event raises funds for Noah’s Kitchen. Last year’s One Pot raised $3,800, which provided the less fortunate with food, gently used clothing and the resources that will help them find medical help, shelter, employment and housing.

    Posted September 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

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