Hellbound Glory Helps Shooter Jennings Launch Gigstan App

Leroy Virgil of Hellbound Glory

The music portion of SXSW in Austin doesn’t officially start until later this week, but the marriage of music and technology that’s at the heart of the annual gathering was certainly alive Saturday night (3-11) as Shooter Jennings and underground country legends Hellbound Glory were in town at the inaugural event launching the new concert booking app Gigstan at Austin’s legendary Saxon Pub. The app was successfully used to sell out the event.

Gigstan is an app that connects fans, artists, and venues to crowdfund music events. Fans pre-purchase tickets to live events, helping to bring their favorite artists to their town. Then local venues bid on the shows that come with guaranteed ticket sales, ensuring success for both the venue and the artists. Once all of the show details are confirmed and finalized, tickets are sent out to fans. If the crowdfunding campaign for a show is unsuccessful, then fans receive full refunds.

One issue in the current model of touring for up-and-coming artists is it’s often based on nothing more than speculation. Venue owners may not know how popular an artist is locally, and the artist may not want to take the risk traveling to a certain location if they’re not sure there will be enough fans to justify the trip. With touring costs and others concerns, Gigstan is potentially a way for artists and venues to sync up and ensure successful shows for everyone.

Singer and songwriter Leroy Virgil and lap steel player Chuck Bradley of Hellbound Glory flew in from Reno, Nevada to play their first gig in Texas in multiple years. Hungry Hellbound Glory fans were more than happy to pony up $20 in advance to make the show happen, with multiple fans traveling from around the region to attend the show.

Leroy Virgil sang songs from the band’s recently released album The Immortal Hellbound Glory: Nobody Knows You in stripped down form. He also pulled out some old classics like “The Ballad of Scumbag Country,” which is the band’s de facto theme song, and had everyone singing along. Leroy also hushed the crowd at the Saxon Pub with an excellent rendition of “Bar Room Beauty.”

For long time fans, Leroy Virgil of Hellbound Glory embodies the criminally overlooked and under-appreciated songwriter that in a more equitable system would have been a big star. Over the years, Hellbound Glory has gone from a big sound honky-tonk band opening arena shows, to just Leroy Virgil sitting on a bass drum playing it backwards with his boot heel, singing his sad songs of heartbreak and bad decisions.

Leroy Virgil may be the epitome of the poetically overlooked country singer who never “made it” in the conventional sense, often playing excellent country songs to half-empty barrooms. But in this instance, the barroom was full of folks who were beyond appreciative he was there, and were buying vinyl records and limited-edition posters for him to sign after the show.

Gigstan appears to still be in its preliminary stages, but the idea behind it is big. If artists that enjoy strong support in certain markets can fly in or route tours more smartly using a crowdfunding tool, and instead of complaining that no cool bands ever come to their town, groups of fans can band together and compel their favorite artists to play their town with guaranteed money, it could change the touring landscape for gigging artists and the venues that serve them.

Chuck Bradley and Leroy Virgil
Shooter Jennings

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