Filmed entirely at The Fire, a classic Girard Avenue venue for ambitious singers and songwriters, the episode captures the intense energy and raw talent that make the open mic format a petrie dish for future stars — not just at The Fire but at many clubs across the US. Artists who found an early home for their music at The Fire include Amos Lee, John Legend (then John Stevens), and many others who have worked far and wide in the musical world.

According to Danny McShane, owner of The Fire, “we’re not what you’d call a major music venue. I guess you'd say more homespun. A number of artists have found it possible to start some rather impressive careers here.”

But it's not all about the search for fame and glory. Mike McShane, the Fire's open mic host, tells why he thinks people perform: “It's a song that bothers you, but in a good way. It's a manic obsession. It gets to the point where you have to share it with someone.”

The sneak preview party will begin at 9 pm, and will include live performances by a number of the artists featured in the TV show.

Our show is debuting in HD on WHYY Sunday, October 21 at midnight, right after Austin City Limits. Be the first kid on your block to see Open Mic at The Fire. Come to the sneak preview on October 15.

featuring the music of

music: Cowmuddy
voiceover: Tom Richards


watch the episode!

Open Mic at the Fire trailer