Tiny Town Concert Series

Inspired by the NPR Tiny Desk series, Hoboken Coffee, The Visual Brain, and the City of Guthrie collaborate together to produce the monthly music showcase, Tiny Town Concert Series. In this Tuesday Treat Q&A session, I hear from Justin Fortney, City of Guthrie Tourism Director; and Trey Woods, Owner of Hoboken Coffee Roasters.

What is the Tiny Town Concert Series?

JUSTIN: We invite musicians to come to Hoboken Coffee Roasters in Guthrie, and we shoot a video of them playing one of their songs. About once a month we release a new video.

TREY: It’s a spin on the NPR Tiny Desk series. How cool is it that there’s an opportunity to create content in this small town using local artists, businesses, city officials, and videographers that rivals that of a major media outlet. I love it!

Why start this series?

JUSTIN: There’s such a lovely aesthetic at Hoboken with the lighting, high ceilings, colors, sounds. We thought that recording songs here could be kinda dreamy. I hope it gives musicians a chance to play and record a tune in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. We want it to feel like a coffee house conversation that involves a song. Also, anytime Trey says, “Hey, I got an idea …” I just say yes. It always turns out fun. I work in the city’s Tourism office, so getting to show off a gem like Hoboken, plus great Oklahoma musicians … good grief I love it. 

TREY: We’d love to do more live music in the coffee house. However, there are all sorts of challenges involved in putting together a live music event. The Tiny Town series eliminates some of those hurdles and allows us to create a cool moment and share it through video. 

What are some challenges you face in this production?

JUSTIN: We record the videos during normal coffee shop hours, sometimes super early in the morning, so we have to work to keep 3 cameras and a microphone out of the way of customers having their usual experience at the coffee shop. We didn’t want to be like, “Ok, everybody stop what you’re doing and watch out for us moving around with cameras, and WHATEVER YOU DO DON’T SNEEZE.” We just want it to feel like a normal morning at the coffee shop, except there happens to be a music video being shot over by the roasting machine. We also didn’t want it to feel like some elaborate process for the musicians – not one of those hurry up and wait type ordeals where it takes all day to get just the right whatever. They walk in, grab a cup of coffee, and it’s as natural as can be. Clark is an easy going super genius with the camera work, so that sure helps.

TREY: We’re working in a pretty tight space. However, the idea obviously spawned from the NPR Tiny Desk series and they make it work in a tight space too. That’s part of the magic right?

Any behind-the-scenes stories you wish to share?

JUSTIN: Not yet. I’m hoping we look back in 15 years and have some doozies though. “Hey, remember when old so-and-so ended up being allergic to green coffee beans and we had to stab her with an epi-pen in the middle of a song?!”

Why should one watch the Tiny Town Concert Series?

JUSTIN: We have some really incredible songwriters in Oklahoma, and this is a lovely setting to watch them perform a tune. I also enjoy getting their thoughts on something as personal as a song. Even if a tune isn’t some autobiographical experience, it’s still a precious thing, so getting to hear a little bit of the artists’ thoughts on their work is something I don’t take for granted.

What is your favorite drink at Hoboken Coffee Roasters?

JUSTIN: I’m a black coffee person. Really been enjoying the current roast of beans from El Salvador. It’s been really fun watching Trey roast over the years, and I’ve loved watching how much care he puts into that entire wild process.

TREY: I enjoy a coffee every single morning, it’s the first things I do. Some days I’ll have a second coffee and that will either be an espresso or a cappuccino. 

What other places should people visit in Guthrie?

JUSTIN: The Dominion House is an event center that just opened their own hotel and restaurant. It’s an old orphanage that they restored into this completely mindblowing estate. The hotel is top shelf, and the food and cocktails at the restaurant are on another level. They even have outdoor, heated igloos you can eat in during the winter. I really dig what they’re doing.

TREY: I’m fascinated by the Masonic Temple. It looks like someone heli-dropped it out of 1890 Paris. Yet here it is in the Plains of Oklahoma. It’s like being in a Bond movie every time I take a tour, I’m always looking to slip behind a door without being noticed in hopes a finding some underground labyrinth of tunnels.


To watch all and future Tiny Town Concert Series videos, visit the Hoboken Coffee Roasters YouTube Channel.

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Dennis Spielman

I'm Dennis Spielman, the Producer of Uncovering Oklahoma, which I started in 2009 as a way to show that Oklahoma isn't boring. As for about myself, I’m a creative person that writes imaginative stories. I also run The Show Starts Now Studios, which is my umbrella organization for all of my shows I create. Come join me on Patreon as I create content that adds adventure and wonder to peoples' lives. More about my stories and projects are at DennisSpielman.com

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