Hi wonderful backers. This is Beth. I wanted to answer some questions and also offer you some information about why this Kickstarter project, although mostly completed, is still not finished, years after we had hoped and expected it would be.
We haven't been as communicative as we normally are, because we have been extremely overwhelmed dealing with our child's serious health issues that he faced for the first two and a half years of his life. Not only were we too busy trying to figure out how to help him, and spending the other waking hours trying to make progress on new music, but we were scared about his prognosis and concerned for his privacy. So we didn't feel comfortable talking publicly about his struggles.
We still don't want to go into detail about that, but we feel that at this point, now that our project is dragging so far behind schedule, that you deserve to know what has been going on. And we hope that you will understand that our child's health took first priority among our concerns, even as we still take our commitments to you very seriously.
So, to give a brief update, my life was completely consumed by healing our son these last couple of years. Before he was born, Phil and I were working in tandem delivering you hundreds of prizes. I made dozens of handmade prizes and sent them out. We sent out all the previously made art, music and other prizes. We hosted several vagabond visitors and a band from Vancouver, who recorded their album with us over three weeks. We mixed and mastered two albums of previously unreleased tracks and live songs and sent those out. And we wrote almost a whole album's worth of Bowerbirds songs. Phil also built the studio almost on his own, because I got pregnant and was unable to do a lot of dangerous construction tasks. And he started in on finishing the first album of his side project, Tuskha (originally called Island Dweller, and always a central part of this Kickstarter project).
And then our baby came. We were, it turns out, unrealistically hopeful about how much we'd be able to complete, even with a perfectly normally developing baby. But we got totally blindsided and realized we had no backup plan to finish this project on time if anything went majorly awry. Which it did.
We are sorry we embarked on such an overly ambitious project. In hindsight, we over-committed, although if we hadn't had the child, or even maybe if we'd had a child with fewer challenges, we would probably have finished everything on time or almost on time. We worked 80-100-hour weeks for the last few years leading up to the initiation of this Kickstarter project, and we had been prepared to continue in this crazy way, if that's what it took.
Instead, we found ourselves still working that many hours, but splitting our time between our child and our art. At a certain point we decided I would helm the healing journey, and Phil, unable to finish the Bowerbirds album without my collaboration, would put his effort into finishing the side project album we promised you. He changed the name from Island Dweller to Tuskha somewhere along the way. Phil spent thousands of hours, up into the wee hours night after night, week after week, month after month, writing this music to share with you, while I was in bed with Autry. He worked so hard, and it shows. He mixed the album with some amazing engineers and shot two incredible music videos for his debut album, which he released this May. You should all have received your download codes for that. The album is a gorgeous, insanely creative and genre-bending, and at times challenging collection of songs. It was recorded in the studio you helped us build, which means the world to us. Thank you so much for making it possible for us to make music on our own terms.
The Bowerbirds album is, as initially promised, following close on its heels. It's just that both albums are arriving behind schedule.
(Watch another Tuskha video at bottom of this update.)
Meanwhile, the healing journey has been going really well on my end. Our son Autry is doing well enough now that we will be able to send him off to preschool part time this fall, our first time having any regular help with childcare since he was born almost three years ago. We are very excited about this, both for what it means for him, and for the newfound freedom this will afford us. Freedom to collaborate again, instead of having to always take turns with childcare vs. work, and freedom to make faster progress on our creative Kickstarter goals.
We got our first taste of this freedom last weekend, when we left Autry with grandparents for his first weekend away from us, so that I could fly out to Wisconsin to see Phil and Will perform on the festival stage at the beautiful Eaux Claire's Festival. Phil has been touring Tuskha all summer with Wye Oak, and we finally got to reconnect and get excited together about our exciting future and ideas for the sound of our new Bowerbirds album. Life is starting to look really magical again, after a pretty dark time in our lives. Thank you for hanging with us while we got through that, even though you had no idea any of this was going on.
We promise you will have new Bowerbirds music as soon as we can get it finished, with all the care it deserves. And I will be getting back in my art studio this fall and knocking out the handmade art some of you are still waiting on. We want you to know that we aren't the types of people to blow off commitments. We take our promises to you very seriously, and we have worked hard all along to complete what we've set out to do. And also, this is what we wanted to do all along -- make music and art in our handmade studio. Y'all are amazing, generous people who made this possible for us, and for that we are eternally grateful.
We really hope you understand why we are running behind, and we thank you for being so patient with us. We will keep you posted on all progress from here on out.
With much love and gratitude,