Hello and Welcome!
Thank you so much for supporting my Kickstarter! I'm very excited about this project - my first studio record - and about keeping up with all of you who are so generous in lending your ears, your time, and your gifts to my work. I've launched this campaign to ask for your financial backing so that I can make the album I've always wanted to make. Please watch the video, explore the page, and make a contribution. Below, you'll learn more details and find out about the rewards you'll receive for various levels of support. You can be sure, no matter what, that you'll get my sincere gratitude and, in the end, a work of love and art that you helped produce. Thank you once again for joining me this far. Take a look around and enjoy!
A bit more about me.
I've been doing this troubadour work for several years now and it has been a very rewarding life. I've been able to play for people all over this country and abroad, in times of great joy and deep need. And I've made friends - folks who have offered me their hospitality, fellowship, and good counsel. And all of it for a song.
Without that beautiful human contact, the work that I've already put into this project would have been impossible. I'm talking about the years of study, writing, practice and performance that have brought me to this point.
I have a lot of music and verses to share.
I've done a few recordings, here and there, on my own. There's a demo out there that I made with help of some friends years ago. But there's no record of the bulk of material I've composed. Anyway I haven't done it quite right yet. But that's gonna change now. And I'll tell you how.
Here's the plan.
I'm gonna gather all the music I've composed over the years - the ballads and ditties and hymns and talkin' blues - and work over the old oeuvre this summer. I'll cut the lot down to, say, three dozen pieces that I'm really confident and passionate about (bless the rest). Then I'll focus on them one at a time - going over the arrangements, the lyrics, making whatever changes I'm moved to, and applying the techniques and tricks I've picked up since their composition. After that it's rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, until it's recording time in August.
So when I go into the studio, well-versed and fully prepared, I'll be able to devote all of my creative energy toward capturing the right sound, the feel and message that folks who've heard me play have grown accustomed to. By the time I walk out of there, I'll have plenty of great tracks to choose from for a full length LP.
Then comes the technical stuff: post-production, mixing, and mastering.
Meanwhile I'll be working with my superb collaborating artists to develop the right aesthetic for the project, something unique and striking, to be used for album art and promotional materials.
With the music and design ready, it's off to the plants and the presses and the podcasts to be manufactured and marketed. I plan to have a finished product available by the holiday season, at which point I'll take a deep breath before taking it on tour.
My Collaborators (so far).
- Studio 42 Brooklyn, founded and run by Alessio Romano, an engineer and percussionist with a great ear, a fine musical and professional pedigree, and a beautiful new studio in Green Point studio42brooklyn.com
- Dave Litman, a visual artist, graphic designer, and world-class wit, Dave designs book covers over at Simon & Schuster, and is a dear friend. He'll be helping with album art and overall aesthetic. davidlitmanart.com davidlitmandesign.com
- David Lee Black, photographer and sculptor, responsible for the photos on this page. My bandmate here in Providence. davidleeblack.com
Resources will be split up to meet the three stages of the project:
- Production, including recording, mixing, mastering, etc.
- Design & Manufacture, e.g. artist compensation, pressing the vinyl, etc.
- Promotion & Distribution, e.g. advertising, marketing fees, etc.
- I've also accounted for Logistical costs
If you're considering making a large contribution and you'd like a more detailed budget breakdown, please contact me.
Most of these, I think, are self explanatory. But a couple need some clarification.
A small book of verse. This will be my workhorse merchandise. It will include lyrics & written music, art & photos, all the usual liner notes, and other great content, as well as a digital download or - if there's interest - a stylized usb memory stick containing the tracks.
You may have noticed the near absence of the phrase "CD" on this page. That's because, if at all possible, I don't want to deal with them. They're obsolete and let's just say they've never been among my favorite physical objects anyway. (I once saw a mountain of broken jewel cases on the loading dock of a Salvation Army store and I swore at that moment, never again...)
I'm making chapbooks instead.
Climate Justice and Movement Music Workshop with Tim DeChristopher and me
Tim is a prominent leader in the Climate Justice movement and a founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, which supports those who've chosen to take direct action against the threat of climate change.
Tim and I met years ago when I performed at a conference on mountaintop removal called Appalachia Rising. We've since become close friends and collaborators. Most recently, I've worked as Tim's music director, accompanying him on his engagements - at schools, rallies, churches and community centers - to teach and lead songs.
If you want your event to focus on an issue so critical to all of us, then this is for you. We want to know what people are doing in their own communities to fight for a livable future. That's perhaps the most fulfilling part of my work.
Learn more about Tim and the work we do together at timdechristopher.org
About the organization at climatedisobedience.org
And go to bidder70film.com for the documentary about Tim's civil disobedience and trial
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!
I'm just ecstatic for what's next.
Risks and challenges
Two things come to mind.
I've decided on a pretty tight timeline for this project, which depends on a smooth recording process (and lets face it, some serious volumes of midnight oil, likely). I'm counting on the fact that the writing is done and i know these songs really well. I'll know them even better by the time I get into the studio. That said, delays and the unexpected do of course happen sometimes.
I plan to keep engaged with all of my backers, providing regular updates of the project as it develops. Everyone who supports the project will be notified of schedule changes as soon as they occur.
Second: The Promotion Phase.
I'm gonna be honest with you - I dread this part a little. Self promotion has proven challenging for me, its requisite skills and disposition elusive. But I'm getting better at it and at seeking help in the form of advice and counsel. Don't be surprised if I follow up with some of you, looking for just that.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)