The beautiful new Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge and its in-house booking agent, Clint Simpson, have parted ways.
“Basically, it just wasn’t a good fit, and I think that [Simpson’s] forte is really managing bands on the road,” Live Oak owner Bill Smith said, referencing Simpson’s extensive Nashville experience. “Everything entailed at the music hall was different or more than he realized.
“That,” Smith continued, “and we just didn’t work well together.”
Musical taste, Smith said, may have been a point of contention between the two Fort Worth natives. Based on the national artists who have come through the Near Southside gem, Simpson prefers folky, middle-aged singer-songwriters who may or may not be outwardly Christian, an admittedly hard sell in edgy, progressive, local-music-crazed Fort Worth. In response, Smith began asserting his own tastes, personally or commercially inspired. Live Oak has begun hosting a free jazz night on Tuesdays, and Smith promises a blues jam on Sunday nights.
Local artists will play a more prominent role in Live Oak’s future, Smith said. The owner is cutting back the number of national acts to “maybe one or two a week instead of the three or four we were doing,” which, he continued, “will open the door to a lot of local artists.”
Easily two of the biggest bands in Fort Worth –– Telegraph Canyon Calhoun –– have already played the music hall, and more Fort Worth acts, including Quaker City Night Hawks and Green River Ordinance, are scheduled to perform over the next couple of months.
Smith said he’s excited about “this season,” adding that Live Oak will soon take on an in-house booking agent and its door will remain open to all booking agencies –– including some majors. “I’m not at liberty now to say their names,” Smith said.
Simpson could not be reached for comment.