August 10, 2018

New Bike Rack Records to showcase Arkansas musicians

Sitting in his brewery, listening to the local musicians that performed for the bar patrons night after night, one thing became pretty apparent to Bike Rack Brewing owner Jeff Charlson recently.

There’s a lot of really talented musicians in Northwest Arkansas.

So much so, that Charlson and collaborator Neil Greenhaw of the Bentonville-based recording studio, Haxton Road Studios, have decided to partner to try and showcase some of that talent to the world.

The two recently announced the creation of Bike Rack Records, a small record label with a mission to provide exposure to some of the Arkansas artists that perform at the brewery and other places around the region.

Charlson said the idea came about over discussions on how to help support the local artists we have, to make sure that they stay in the region and continue to perform here.

Bike Rack Brewing owner Jeff Charlson

“We have been programming tons of local artists in our brewery and he’s been creating great music in his studio. We brainstormed about how we can help support local artists,” Charlson said. “We hope to be a part of making NWA a destination for artists. They shouldn’t feel like they need to move to Nashville, or Austin to have a music career.”

The new label plans to release at least one album each year, showcasing as many local artists as they can. Charlson said he isn’t ruling out expanding to do other types of releases in the future.

“We hope to produce at least one album per year, but be on the lookout for EP’s and other crazy stuff,” he said.

Charlson enlisted Greenhaw, well known in Bentonville for his work with Haxton Road Studios, to handle the recording for the project. Greenhaw has been recording artists for more than a decade, and his studio specializes in all types of professional grade commercial recording, from making music, to producing audio for television and radio advertising, and more.

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The first album for the new label is due out this fall and will feature 10 songs by artists from Fayetteville and the surrounding region.

Charlson said he chose artists that he and Greenhaw loved, and that had been frequent performers at the brewery. Artists that will have songs on the first compilation include Brother Moses, Emily Nance, Jamie Lou and The Hullabaloo, Josh Noren Music, Kevin Kiehn Music, Melody Pond, The Silver Lining, Smokey & The Mirror, Will Gunselman and Ashtyn Barbaree.

Bike Rack Brewing in Bentonville

It may seem like an odd move for a brewery to get into the music business, but Charlson doesn’t see it that way.

“We’re in the experience business,” he said. “Music and beer go together. They both elicit deep emotions and build deep connections with people.”

Charlson said that the label won’t operate in the traditional sense, with artists tied down to exclusive contracts.

“We give each of the artists the rights to their song and we don’t ask them to sign any exclusive agreements,” he said.

Greenhaw said that all of the recording for the first album has been completed, and the record is in production at the moment.

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Fayetteville Flyer - Dustin Bartholomew

Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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