Hey yall, thanks SO MUCH for supporting me and my music! This is my second time appealing for your economic support for an album, aiming to support the production of my most ambitious musical project ever, Today And Tomorrow.
In the Spring of 2011 I launched a Kickstarter to produce and release my album Ordinary Heroes, a collaborative work with violinist/journalist Mike Fox. With the help of fellow Riot-Folk member Mark Gunnery, we recorded and produced the album, which has since sold over 800 copies, by far my most successful release to date.
As soon as the album finished, I took it on tour, twice to Europe, once to North Africa, and several times throughout the US and Canada. Since its July 2011 release, I have performed over 150 shows in 109 cities, spanning 20 countries.
I could not possibly have done all of this without the help of my supporters and friends who funded the production of Ordinary Heroes, nor the countless people who organized my shows, found me housing, cooked me food, or spread the word about my shows. The community funding approach also helped me understand my role as one part of a collective process, and of a large push to influence culture; I just happen to be on the singing and songwriting end of that process.
So much has happened since 2010 and early 2011, when the songs of Ordinary Heroes were written, and I have been writing songs to keep up with the changing times, and exploring my relationship with those times. These songs will soon become Today And Tomorrow, an album of intense, reflective, political, and personal songs, tied together by a unifying theme exploring both the "long-haul" and the "short-hauls" towards radical solutions to injustice.
After experimenting with a full-studio album this Fall, including tracking the guitar and vocals of the entire project, I have decided to abandon them in favor of a full-band, live-feeling album, to attempt to capture the intensity of my live performances and to experience and play with the talents and insight of a really great group of musicians and friends joined me on banjo, peddle steel guitar, bass, violin, turntables, drums, piano, and an assortment of other instruments.
These recording sessions will happen this January in Baltimore, where Mark Gunnery will again join me and Mike Fox, as well a cast of friends playing a range of instruments. Other guest artists will also be appearing on the album, including Strike Anywhere's singer Thomas Barnett and the infamous Nightwatchman Tom Morello.
I will then mix the album at home, and friends in Baltimore and I will produce the covers and inserts ourselves with some newly acquired silk screening equipment. Joining the physical production of the CD will be a digital-release, details of which are not all figured out yet, but rest assured it will be something really special.
TODAY AND TOMORROW
For the last two years I have been struggling to maintain close relationships with both my political activism and organizing and with friends and loved ones, as the world and our lives change around us in unpredictable ways. On a political front, just as I was starting to lost faith in many of the things that have given me hope, an upsurge of streets protests in Tunisia brought the government down, and the spirit echoed in the streets of Tahrir Square. Then, as I planned a European tour, a movement erupted in Spain and across southern Europe, echoing Tahrir. I returned from Europe on October 10, coming directly to Zuccotti Park and the emerging Occupy Movement.
I watched as these movement waves grew, crested, and then eventually crashed. I had seen waves like this before in 1999-2001, and though it was hard, I saw the 2011 wave from a perspective of perpetual change, with an understanding that these moments change our lives; We can't always predict the next "big thing", and we can't usually make sense of it when it comes. We just ride it and let it run through us, and if we are involved in organizations and movements, we find ways to harness that energy, let it change our perspectives and broaden our horizons, and after the settling of the wave, we galvanize the new energy and allow it to push us forward through the quieter, less public times of movement building.
The theme that keeps coming back to me in this time period, in my personal struggles with my own emotional life, my relationship with my job(s), the constant pressure I place on myself as a political organizer, and my attempts to continue being a cultural worker while balancing all of that, becomes the theme of my next album and all the songs that will appear on it.
That general them is "what we do today matters both today and tomorrow," meaning that we must judge our actions not only but what we see from them in the short-term, but also with an understanding that some, if not the majority, of our impact will be felt in the future. Perhaps we may never see it in our lifetimes.
Faced with this reality, we struggle to make sense of our time on Earth, and with our involvement in attempts to make our lives and the lives of those around us more pleasant, more meaningful, more fulfilling.
Today And Tomorrow explores this in depth and from multiple perspectives. Your support means the world to me!
Risks and challenges
The challenge I ran into in my pervious Kickstarter was the reward mailing, I had not accounted for high price of shipping and packaging! I included that in this new campaign. The rest of the project is already much underway, the money is more on the post-production end (I am recording the album myself, so that's not a worry). The biggest challenge is making a kickass album, touring with it, and hoping all of you who have supported it feel that I have honored your support :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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