Logan’s Appalachian Listening Room Fosters Community, Songwriting

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Something particularly special happened when West Virginia-born musician Craig Heath performed for the first time in the songwriter showcase at Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Café in 2011.

“The feel of (the Bluebird Café) is incredible, it is what they call a true listening venue,” said Heath in an interview with WOUB. “It’s a venue that is just there for songwriters to go and play their songs and have a captive audience. After I performed there, I knew I wanted to bring something like it to southeast Ohio, because we have a lot of great songwriters in the region.”

Performers at the Appalachian Listening Room. (Submitted)

So was born the Appalachian Listening Room (48 West Main Street, rear,) in Logan. The venue is tucked away, almost difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. That’s all a part of the ambiance that Heath intended for the performance space.

The Appalachian Listening Room before Craig Heath and his wife renovated the space. (Submitted)

“The Appalachian Listening Room is not a bar, it’s not a restaurant, we don’t serve any food or drinks. We give away coffee and water and cookies and brownies or whatever, but we don’t sell food or drinks,” said Heath. “When you go to a bar to hear someone play, there might some very talented people up on the stage, but the truth is, people are there to socialize and have a good time, and often the music on stage just becomes background noise. The Appalachian Listening Room is a listening venue, it’s a place where poets and songwriters sit on stage with their instruments and the audience is not conversing at all, they are listening.”

The venue is only open once to twice a month, but typically only on the second Saturday night of the month for about two hours.

The Appalachian Listening Room after it’s renovation. (Submitted)

“What we usually do is open everything up by catching everyone up on what is coming up for the room in the next two to three months, and then we bring in someone to open for the featured artist, and then the featured artist performs until about 9:30 p.m. or so,” said Heath, who selects all of the performers for the venue. “If you’re good, you’ll get to play here, it’s as simple as that. We have been lucky enough to have some touring songwriters perform here with us, but it doesn’t have to do with whether you are touring or anything, it has to do with how good you are.”

Those interested in performing at the venue can contact Heath at or by contacting him through the venue’s Facebook page.

A performer at the Appalachian Listening Room in Logan. (Submitted)

“The (Appalachian Listening Room) is as important as one feels the arts are important. If someone doesn’t see the value in the arts, they aren’t going to see the value in this type of venue,” said Heath. “We have all types of people performing here, from all types of socioeconomic backgrounds, from the whole spectrum of various beliefs, and the point is that this venue provides a safe, friendly environment for each performer to share their ideas through song, and that builds a real sense of community not only among songwriters but among the people who frequent the place, too. These people come together and talk and to each other and experience the music together and learn to respect other people’s point of view, and if we continued like this I can’t imagine we will go anywhere but up.”