The House of Songs, an artist-in-residence program based in Austin, Texas, recently purchased a historic Bentonville home in which to host international artists and musicians to collaborate with area artists.
Founder Troy Campbell said he bought a four-bedroom home built in 1881 at 508 S.E. C St., and plans a soft opening for the second location of The House of Songs in August during the Fayetteville Roots Festival.
The plan for the home is similar to the existing one in Austin. He plans to fly in international singer-songwriters to live in the home for several days and to co-write music with Northwest Arkansas artists.
Campbell is working with the Walton Family Foundation to establish The House of Songs. The foundation recently collaborated with Campbell on another project, The House of Songs Ozarks, which hosted international artists who created songs with area artists. In February, 18 musicians from countries including Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Canada came together for a week of creating music and visiting the area.
The Ozarks has a “long history of music but being a bit mysterious,” Campbell said.
The foundation reached out to Campbell weeks before he came to Northwest Arkansas for a project he’s working on about gospel musician Albert E. Brumley, who wrote “I’ll Fly Away.” Brumley attended Hartford Music Co. in Sebastian County and studied under its founder Eugene Monroe Bartlett, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Brumley’s “I’ll Fly Away” has been recorded more than 500 times by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Alan Jackson and Kanye West along with an appearance on the platinum soundtrack for the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” This fall, Campbell plans to release the film about Brumley’s unfinished songs.
Campbell, who established The House Songs in Austin eight years ago, hopes the Bentonville location will attract not only musicians but also other creatives such as photographers and chefs. He’s reached out to Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, the culinary school operated by NorthWest Arkansas Community College, about hosting visiting chefs.