If there is one person with fervor for live music that is in a position to help orchestrate a music scene in Marion County, it’s Lindsey Marshall, owner of Coneburg Grill and Pub.
Since she took the helm at what she often calls “The Burg” in 2011, Marshall has taken pains to make her restaurant not only a roadside eatery and tavern, but has gradually ratcheted up its reputation as a county venue and destination location for live music.
“It’s funny, Loaded Goat, an up and coming bluegrass-punk band, just texted me,” Marshall said Thursday. “They’re looking to play a show here at ‘The Burg’.”
Showcasing bands in the folk, bluegrass, rock, metal, funk, and Americana genres, Marshall is devoted not just to music, but to the musicians.
Above all, she admires independent artists who write and perform original material, the ones touring and “putting food on the table with the art they make.”
“I really respect independent musicians,” she said. “I constantly spend my spare time at shows. I love to listen. Not everyone knows how much hard work and grit there is behind a live show.”
While Marshall listens, she also scouts talent.
Alex Thomas, owner of Kirby’s Beer Store, Lucky’s Everyday, and Haverhill Studios in Wichita, has known Marshall since they went to college together. Thomas said Marshall regularly attends shows at his establishments to keep her finger on the pulse of the music circuit.
“She’s always here watching bands,” Thomas said. “She makes a lot of contacts and does all the research on the bands.”
Marshall also attends different Kansas music festivals like String Break near Elbing, and the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield.
“A lot of people that come through here are Kansas musicians,” Marshall said. “I like giving them and my community exposure.”
Generally, she books two or three shows a month, but as a way to help foster a symbiotic relationship within the community, she tries not to book bands when Peabody’s American Legion does.
Many audience members travel from Newton, Wichita, Chase County, Emporia, and as far away as Kansas City, she said. Some bands add energy to the restaurant’s atmosphere. Others acts are mellow enough for patrons to listen to while dinning.
Marshall discovered a personal truth during a conversation at a music festival with her friend and blues-folk singer Piper Leigh.
“Piper and I really got down to the bottom of things,” she said. “We talked about a musical thread, this common interest and passion of ours, as being like a backbone that runs through all of us. It’s important for kids and people around here to be exposed to that.”
Members from bands like Carrey Nation and the Speakeasy, 80 Proof Engine, Haymakers, Soleb Theory, Shane Marler, and the Tom Page Trio, that play at the Coneburg are also in her network of friends.
That kinship Marshall has with musicians makes her wish there was more of a music scene throughout the county.
“I’d like to see more small music festivals like Bluegrass at the Lake,” she said. “Festivals bring great business to the area, and there are lots of us around here that want the writers’ circles and the open mics.”
Marshall has given some thought to starting a regular open mic night at The Coneburg, but has not started one yet. She encourages any area musicians to contact her if interested in the idea.