If you’ve ever attended a concert at the Walmart Amp, the Walton Arts Center or George’s Majestic Lounge chances are, Brian Crowne is the reason why you came.
He has an ear for music, a feel of the crowd and a beat that’s making this area the region’s newest music attraction.
“It’s a grind,” Brian Crowne, owner of George’s Majestic & Walmart Amp VP says.
Music to Brian Crowne is like breathing, whether it’s playing or organizing.
“I’d like to be the guy to just do it. Keep my head down and I do,” Crowne says.
Crowne got the music itch, all due to a pair of brothers, who were on a mission from God.
“I saw the Blues Brothers in the early 80s and the music really intrigued me and I liked the horns in the band,” Crowne says.
He quickly took to the saxophone, learning to play, without any musical training.
“I had to go back and teach myself how to read music. What I would do is read it and remember it and I had it memorized and faked my way into being in a big band,” Crowne says.
After a few stints as a freelance musician, Crowne organized a band in 1990 called, “Oreo Blue”.
The ensemble performed at various venues throughout the region, but it was one location that made Crowne sing a different tune.
“There was special connectivity you had with George’s,” Crowne says.
Crowne played numerous sets at George’s Majestic Lounge, building a close relationship with the owners.
In 2003, those owners sold the music venue to Crowne, along with a business partner. Since then, George’s has transformed into a nationally-renowned, entertainment mecca.
“If we do our jobs as the owners, we’re kind of the curators of this place. And we try to do our best to keep the old joint rockin’,” Crowne says. “My approach is music is what I know and the only thing that I really know. And I think if we focus it on music, music has been a part of GM for many years, but we want to make that the nucleus of what GM is about. That musical experience.”
Crowne would use his talents as a promoter, on an even bigger stage.
In 2016, he was named as VP for the Walmart Amp. His sole responsibility was to bring the biggest acts to Northwest Arkansas.
“I like where we are geographically located, because it’s easier to get bands that are routed from Dallas to Kansas City. We’re a nice “gas money” stop,” Crowne says.
But before the Walmart Amp or George’s Majestic Lounge, Crowne put his musical fingerprint in helping start a small motorcycle rally, which became one of the biggest in the country, Bikes, Blues and BBQ, where he now serves as a board member.
“I help over the years. I’d help book and help save money and watch it blossom,” Crowne says.
For nearly 40 years, his love of music hasn’t skipped a beat.
And as long as there’s a song to sing, Brian Crowne will make sure patrons in this area hear every word.
“I think that’s one thing that keeps it interesting for me is wanting to learn what’s hip and what’s relevant but never forgetting about what got us here and legacy acts that still want to play here as well,” Crowne says.
Crowne says booking shows is a 24-7 job.
And while he didn’t tell us about future acts coming to Northwest Arkansas, he did mention musicians he’d like to see perform at the Amp like Eric Clapton, Sir Paul McCartney, James Taylor and Justin Timberlake.