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A new record from Peter Mulvey on Righteous Babe Records, produced by Ani DiFranco.
A new record from Peter Mulvey on Righteous Babe Records, produced by Ani DiFranco.
1,182 backers pledged $71,857 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$71,857

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I'm thrilled to let you know that my new record, "Are You Listening?" produced by Ani DiFranco, will be out on Righteous Babe Records on March 24. You can pre-order it through this campaign to help us give it some momentum in the world.

The Story

This record came to life in Big Blue, Ani's home studio in New Orleans. With Ani at the helm and Mike Napolitano at the console, we felt the songs out as they happened, trying to capture their elusive heart. For four days we dove as deep as we could, we listened as hard as we could, we played as true as we could. And Ani was there with us, the whole time, cross-legged on a chair, giant headphones on, creating the space where the music happened, by listening with her full attention.

Our captain, at the helm
Our captain, at the helm

The Songs

The Other Morning Over Coffee:

 

I sent Ani perhaps twenty songs, a couple poems, and then left it in her hands. The songs come from a period of a couple years, and their core is, in a word, tenderness. I guess that's what has most been on my mind. Some of them are rockers, some of them are uptempo folksy numbers, some are meditative ballads, but all of them speak from some kind of stillness in the hurry, some kind of center.

It Can Get You By:

The Band

Ani's longtime rhythm section laid it down with me live: Todd Sickafoose on upright bass (plus keys) and Terence Higgins on drums. My friend Anna Tivel played violin and sang. And during the overdubs and mixing Ani played piano, glockenspiel, toy piano, and supplied a flurry of harmonies and vocal textures.

The Budget

In the spirit of indie artists, Righteous Babe is releasing "Are You Listening?" through a licensing deal. In other words, the budget is all up to me. I will own the record, and I hire the publicists, radio PR people, artists. I'm responsible for manufacturing, posters. And that's what this Kickstarter is for. Righteous Babe and Ani bring, first, their name and reputation, to champion my work to her audience, and then even more fundamentally, Ani herself. This art would never have been made without her. She welcomed it, stood up for it, cajoled and coaxed it, and most of all she believed in it, encouraged it.

Little-known fact: when Ani takes the crew's order for lunch, her heart lights up like E.T.
Little-known fact: when Ani takes the crew's order for lunch, her heart lights up like E.T.

The Back Story

This all began when I opened a series of shows for Ani in 2015. I'd opened for her before, but on this tour we had some wide-ranging conversations and got to know each other a bit better. And then, on June 17 2015, after a gig in Beacon, NY, we saw the news of the mass shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC. Two days later, as Ani and her band and I were reeling from this news and talking it out, I went into the dressing room of the Calvin Theater and wrote "Take Down Your Flag". I sang it minutes later onstage, and when I came off, Ani said "I want to sing that song." 

She and the band performed it two nights later, and then she and many others re-wrote their own middle verses. 200 people wound up making their own versions of the song, from Peter Yarrow to Keb' Mo to Paula Cole, and the viral videos led to an online concert that raised a few thousand dollars to send to the community down in Charleston. Ani recorded a single version of the song with nine verses. She stood up for me so solidly that it was a no-brainer to ask her to produce my latest record. 

Big Gratitude

Ani and her crew of co-conspirators have made this record what it is. She made room for us in her home and made space for us when we were tracking by being in the room with us, listening intently. She's a soldier and a scholar, and I'm grateful to her.

I'm also grateful to you. This is my third Kickstarter, and I've discovered that I have a keenly interested and supportive audience base of hundreds of people. I truly appreciate you all: your support is what keeps me going in this turbulent world.

2016 was tough, people. And 2017 is turning out to be tougher. I have been launching little paper boats of whatever art, wit, beauty and tenderness I can muster onto the waters of this life for a long time, and I work to keep the faith that they make a difference. I'm doing my best and I thank you deeply for supporting my efforts.

The Julie Jilek watercolor/charcoal:

 

Risks and challenges

As ever, the challenge is to get this record heard. It's a big sprawling culture out there, and there are many voices, many of them beautiful and useful, some angry and hurtful, being raised. I've put heart and soul into the voice of this record, and Ani and the other musicians have too. What happens next is up to you: the more support this Kickstarter receives, the more I'll be able to hire the publicists and radio promoters that are necessary to get a voice out there. If it goes really well, I'll have a budget to make some videos to help promote the songs further.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    DIGITAL COPY OF THE RECORD

    mp3s of the 13 tracks that make up "Are You Listening?" plus pdfs of the artwork

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    EARLY BIRD SIGNED CD

    The first 100 people to pledge for a signed copy of the CD get it for $20

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    DIGITAL COPY PLUS EARLIER DIGITAL

    A digital download of "Are You Listening?" plus a digital download of an earlier record.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SIGNED COPY OF CD

    A copy of "Are You Listening?" signed by me, with a moment of sincere thanks pressed into the cover by my fingertips.

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    EARLY BIRD SIGNED VINYL

    The first 50 people to buy the vinyl get it for $30. Comes with a download card.

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    SIGNED VINYL

    Just like it sounds. Put it on your turntable, and it goes around and makes sound. A small miracle.

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    SIGNED CD + BACK CATALOGUE CD

    There are so many to choose from, going back to the Late Twentieth Century!

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    VINYL + CD

    The vinyl will take longer, but the CD will ship right away!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THREE COPIES OF CD

    For those of you who want to gift a couple friends with the record. I do this, but usually with books of poems.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    SIGNED CD PLUS WATERCOLOR

    A signed copy of "Are You Listening?" plus a charcoal and watercolor by Wisconsin artist Julie Jilek. You can see this at the bottom of the column to the left. It will be 7x10 and printed on nice paper stock. Another way to receive it is through the Supporter Package or the Super Supporter Package: when the project closes and we send you a survey, you just let us know you want this.

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    GUEST LIST FOR TWO

    Vinyl or 2 CDs, plus tickets for you and a friend to attend a show. Come up and say hi, so I can thank you.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    SUPPORTER PACKAGE

    Vinyl or 2 CDs, plus two items from my web store: hoodies, steel mugs, back catalogue CDs, posters, the Vlad book. When the Kickstarter ends, you'll receive a survey, where you can fill out the items you'd like. We'll send them to you, with my deep thanks for your ongoing support

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    SUPER SUPPORTER PACKAGE

    Vinyl or 2 CDs, plus any 4 items from my web store: back catalogue CDs, t-shirts, steel mugs, hoodies, the Vlad book, posters. When the Kickstarter ends, you'll receive a survey, where you can fill out the items you'd like. We'll send them to you, with my deep thanks for your ongoing support.

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    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    HAND WRITTEN LYRICS

    I'll write out the lyrics to one of my songs, from "Are You Listening?" or an earlier song if you have a favorite, on nice stationery, just for you. Includes the Supporter Package.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    ONE-ON-ONE WORKSHOP

    We'll sit down for an hour (and let's face it, we'll go over) and talk over songwriting, or guitar, or anything having to do with music you'd care to discuss. Includes the Supporter package, which will arrive immediately. Scheduling the workshop depends on my tour schedule, so this works best if I regularly tour near you. Also includes the Supporter Package.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    COVER SONG OF YOUR CHOICE

    You name a tune, and I'll do my best to cook up a version, go into my pal John's studio, and lay it down for you. Probably wise to come up with a couple or three choices, as songs are like Salvation Army suits- they don't always fit... Comes with the Supporter Package, which delivers in March. Song should arrive by summer.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    HAND MADE SONG

    You give me three words, and I'll start there. They may not even end up in the song, but they'll be the jumping-off point. I'll record it with embellishments and send it to you. Includes the Supporter package, which you'll receive immediately- the song will take time.

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    Pledge $1,750 or more About $1,750

    CONCERT AT YOUR HOUSE

    I will travel to your house (subject to my tour schedule) and play a show there. Note that it is completely legit for you to treat this as a formal house concert, and charge a cover. Also includes the Super Supporter Package, which will ship immediately.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    BECAUSE YOU CAN

    This reward gets you the House Concert, the Handmade Song, a workshop for you or a friend of your choice, the Super Supporter package, and the knowledge that you are sustaining my work, allowing me to continue to sing for people.

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Funding period

- (30 days)