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Songwriter Zoe Mulford works with British and American musicians to bring to life a set of unforgettable new songs.
Songwriter Zoe Mulford works with British and American musicians to bring to life a set of unforgettable new songs.
Songwriter Zoe Mulford works with British and American musicians to bring to life a set of unforgettable new songs.
196 backers pledged $10,037 to help bring this project to life.

About

Songwriter Zoe Mulford works with British and American musicians to bring to life a set of unforgettable new songs.

$10,037

196

I'm Zoe Mulford. I'm a songwriter, a singer, a guitar-player, a banjo-player, and a dual citizen of the US and the United Kingdom. For the last 10 years, I've been dividing my time between the two countries and drawing inspiration from the folk traditions on both sides of the ocean.

I need your help to complete a new album, my fifth. Its working title is Small Brown Birds. (All my previous projects have renamed themselves at the last moment before going to press. We'll see what happens with this one.)

Recording on this project is already started - and thanks to the people who contributed to its original $7000 funding goal, I am moving forward towards finishing it. We are now working toward the stretch goal of promoting it to radio and online broadcasters. It's going to be wonderful music. Please help me get it out where people can hear it.

What is this album about?

Trouble, mostly. Sadness, loss, winter weather, hope, consolation, and generosity. And some noisy neighbors. Also birds. I don't know where the birds came from, but they've been showing up in my songs more and more in the last few years, even before I moved into a house overlooking a city park. Despite some serious themes, there's also humor and playfulness in these songs.

The vocals aren't ready to share yet, but here's the album's only instrumental track,  recorded live as a warm-up:

The album will comprise about a dozen tracks. I wrote most of them. Like my 2009 album Bonfires, this one will include a good deal of clawhammer banjo and have a stripped-down acoustic sound that highlights my voice and lyrics.

Who else is involved?

The splendid English fiddler and mandolinist Tom Kitching is my main collaborator on this project, and the early roughs are sounding fantastic. Tom's specialty is traditional English dance music, which he approaches with a wild Scandinavian verve. He's also won acclaim on the British folk scene for his work with songwriters including Gren Bartley and the band Pilgrims' Way. It’s been very exciting to choose and arrange songs to incorporate his particular style.

I've also been pleased to work again with percussionist Sam McEvoy, who enlivened my last album, Coyote Wings, with a variety of fascinating instruments, most of which I can't spell without looking them up.

This campaign has enabled me to bring in a few of my favorite American musicians, including the magnificent cellist Michael Gilbert Ronstadt and bassist Ken Pendergast, both of whom who also worked with me on Coyote Wings, and the equally magnificent harmonica-player Bob Beach.

Most of the recording is happening in West Yorkshire under the expert hand of Brian Bedford. The guest musicians will record in the US and the whole thing will come together through the magic of digital audio.

What will pledges cover?

Now that we've met the initial goal, further pledges will go toward radio promotion. In addition to the cost of mailing physical CD's, this is an area where it really pays to hire someone who is good at it.

  • $1500 will cover the very targeted promotion, mostly in the US, that I have had for my previous albums.
  • $3000 will allow me to add targeted promotion in the UK.
  • $4500 will allow me to more than double the number of stations that receive the CD and get better exposure in Europe.

All of my previous studio albums have been partially funded by supporters, mostly in the form of pre-sales. These have been small-scale efforts at a few live shows in former hometowns, involving stacks of photocopied order forms. This time I've gotten organized to expand the reach to my entire far-flung community.

What I've got so far is very exciting and I can't wait to share it with you. As the project develops, I'll be posting sound bites and updates. Wherever you are on the globe, I hope you’ll join the campaign and see Small Brown Birds through to completion!

Risks and challenges

This is my fifth time going through the process of making an album. I've gotten good advice over time and built a list of service providers I trust, and I've learned a lot about how to make things go smoothly. However, I'm sure there are some mistakes I haven't made yet, and mistakes generally mean delays so that we can get it right.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SPARROW
    Support the project at any level and receive a bonus track by digital download as soon as the campaign ends.

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    SWIFT
    Get the album by digital download before it's available anywhere else.

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    35 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SONGBIRD
    CD (signed) and download.

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    69 backers
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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    LOVEBIRD
    CD and download + an extra copy to give someone.

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    33 backers
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    CHRIS MULFORD MEMORIAL
    CD and download + Breastfeeding Songs recording

    Pledge in memory of my mother, Chris Mulford, and get a home recording of me singing the Breastfeeding Songs that she wrote, adapted, and collected - plus "Smoothing the Way", which I wrote based on interviews with her and some of her colleagues to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Lactation Consultant Association.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    PAINTED BUNTING
    CD and download +
    Color-your-own album art cards (set of 4).

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    10 backers
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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    CARRIER PIGEON
    CD and download +
    Album Art Greeting Cards (set of 4 w/envelopes) plus greetings by postcard from Zoe on the road.

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    Limited 3 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MOCKINGBIRD
    CD and download + thanks in the album credits
    + Bootleg Recording
    Are you still waiting for Zoe to put your favorite song on an album? Put in your request and Zoe will record it at home or pull the best live version she's got in the archives.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    CANADA GOOSE
    CD and download + thanks in the album credits + long distance guitar lesson.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    BLACKBIRD
    CD and download + thanks in the album credits
    + Virtual House Call
    Any 3 songs Zoe knows delivered via Skype or Facetime to you or someone else.

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    Limited 2 backers
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    NIGHTJAR
    CD and download + thanks in the album credits
    + Insomnia Care Package
    Home recording of Zoe reading aloud and singing lullabyes. Suitable for any age.

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    Limited 2 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PEACOCK
    CD and download + thanks in the album credits
    + The Museum Shop
    Get the album art of your choice as a giclée art print OR a super-cool dye-sublimation T-shirt, plus a set of 4 greeting cards.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    GREAT BLUE HERON
    CD and download + thanks in the album credits
    + Concert in your home for the audience of your choice.
    Offer good for locations within two hours' drive of any of Zoe's current or former home towns: Manchester, England/ Swarthmore, PA/ Washington, DC/ Durham, NC. Other locations may be possible; inquire by email. Concert to be set for a mutually convenient date within a year of project completion.

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Funding period

- (31 days)