Drink specials, southern food and live music: good things really do come in threes. The Stardust Room has taken its duo of gourmet southern food and happy hour drink specials and added an extra shot of music with an eclectic list of musicians to their menu.
The Huntsville Troubadour Invitational, which was started by Ben Bell, owner of The Stardust Room, brings together a unique mix of musicians from in and around the Huntsville area. With the help and input of other musicians, Marcus Gold and G.O.A.T. Productions, the idea for the event developed into something really unique, Bell said. The name, in particular, was something which they all put a lot of thought into.
“We didn’t want to have a boring name for the night, and we wanted to let people know that it’s a showcase for people who are singer/song writers,” Bell said. “The name for an old fashioned singer/songwriter is a troubadour.” This venue now gives professional musicians in town a place to showcase their work, Bell said. This event isn’t just another “open mic night,” but an event for quality musicians to play on stage with other talented musicians. Unlike some open mic nights around town, where musicians play sets, The Stardust Room has the four featured musicians on-stage all at once. Each musician takes a turn playing one song, while the other musicians stay on stage, preparing for their turn. When you bring together that many people on one stage, it’s a fun event that really takes on a life of its own, Bell said.
By limiting people to one song at a time, it opens up the microphone for the musicians to converse with the emcee of the event, Marcus Gold. Gold is close friends with Sandra and Ben Bell and has been an essential part in trying to help them create and promote their live musical venue in downtown Huntsville.
“We’re trying to promote a scene here in Huntsville. We don’t have any type of scene in this town because everyone goes to the same place, to see the same people, in the same environment, creating places that are segmented in their interests,” Gold said. “The Stardust Room is a place where everyone can come, not just a certain type of people, to appreciate good music.”
Gold said that it’s easy to get caught up into a routine of going to the same places because people who are more like you tend to hang out there.
“So many times in Huntsville we allow the places that we go to define us instead of allowing us to define the places that we go,” Gold said.
Because of this, The Stardust Room is trying to break that mold, Gold said, and bring something new to the downtown area. The environment that the Bells have created is unique, Gold said, because it’s a place that breaks the barriers between college students and the community.
Looking around the room on the first Wednesday night performance, people of all ages could be seen enjoying the music from the musicians on stage. Having different musicians each week, Bell said, will not only bring different styles to the event, but it will allow people to hear the wide variety of talent that is here in Huntsville.
Adding to the atmosphere of the music, Sandra Bell’s kitchen serves food until 11 p.m. and the bar will have happy hour until 9 p.m. Sandra has also been involved in helping Ben with the event to try and make The Stardust Room a destination place, which has a big city feel in a small town like Huntsville. By bringing in bigger musicians, Sandra said, they hope to make the atmosphere something enjoyable, where people will want to come and spend a couple of hours eating great food, having good drinks and listening to some professional quality music.
“We plan to bring in professional musicians, not people with a huge amount of popularity, but people from the Austin music scene and all over Texas,” Sandra said. “You might not be familiar with some of these bands or their styles; it’s not going to be the normal country music, but a mix of Indie Americana meets other genres like Rockabilly in a lounge type atmosphere with a vintage vibe. Think, ‘Viva Huntsvegas.'”
This Wednesday, Bell will be up on stage with Colin De Los Santos, Dr. Gene Young, an English professor at Sam Houston State University and Dee King. These musicians all have a very different style to bring to the table, Bell said, so it will be an entertaining evening.
The Huntsville Troubadour Invitational will be every Wednesday night from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. at The Stardust Room. Happy hour is from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and includes everything from longnecks, drafts, premiums and wells. There is no cover charge for the event.
The Stardust Boys, Ben’s Rockabilly inspired band from Austin, will play the first Saturday of every month and the Bells are planning in the future to have different bands play on each of the following Saturday nights.
Within a year, the Bells also hope to change the face of The Stardust Room and open up the restaurant side to the bar side to create a huge circular bar and have other things such as dart boards, a shuffle board and a dance floor.