A new album from Quaker songwriter Jon Watts exploring nakedness as a spiritual practice. Based on a historical research paper for ESR
While Quakers today might not seem like such a radical group, the Early Friends were a controversial bunch whose shenanigans often landed them in prison or worse.
When researching the Early Quakers for my 2006 album about the 17th century British origins of the movement, I uncovered (so to speak) some stories of Quakers taking off their clothes and running through the streets naked. (!)
Last year my memory was jogged when my friend Maggie wrote a research paper for the Earlham School of Religion, specifically on "going naked as a sign". Upon reading Maggie's research, I found that the theology behind going naked as as sign is not only worth exploring, but also brings into question some of the ways we are living our lives today. Her paper became the launching point for my newest collection of songs, Clothe Yourself in Righteousness .
Clothe Yourself in Righteousness
As it turns out, the Early Friends' reasoning for "going naked as a sign" challenges some of the fundamentals of our culture:
o What are some of the ways that we hide behind titles, professions, material possessions, etc?
o Why do we create barriers between ourselves and the world?
o What are the risks and rewards of making yourself plain and exposed?
These questions easily inspired an entire album of really strong songwriting, and I'm READY to record the songs! This is so exciting!
But first I need some help from you!!
Why am I Asking for Money?
"Clothe Yourself in Righteousness" has come to me as an ambitious multimedia project. I am psyched to record the songs in the clearest, most powerful way that I can without compromising the power and focus of the subject matter. After tallying the total budget, exhausting my grant opportunities and my (none-too-impressive) bank account, I realized that I'm going to need some help if it's going to be done right.
I would like you to consider whether you're in a position to help fund the project. In the sidebar you'll see that, if you support it, I'll get you back with goodies... from advanced downloads to a free show, mixes and songs written just for you, any donation over $10 wins you a sweet prize!
Kickstarter.com is helping to facilitate the funding of my album, but it's a double edged sword... if I don't manage to raise $4,000 by November 30th, no credit cards get charged and we're back to square one! (And nobody gets any goodies!!)
Why am I only asking for $4,000 if the total cost is $10,000?
Kickstarter doesn't charge your credit card unless we raise the goal by November 30th, so I'm trying to be realistic. I have exhausted the list of Quaker granting organizations, and still 9/10's of the project is left unfunded (though I'm still waiting on one application). However... kickstarter has no restrictions on how far we go beyond the goal! So let's focus on making 4,000 by November 30th and, for the sake of optimism, tell everyone you know and maybe we can fully fund the project right here!!
When Will the Album be Released?
If we pull this off, Kickstarter pays out on November 30th. I am prepared to begin production the following day. And there is a lot to be done! Release date should be mid-Spring, 2011.
Can't Contribute? You Can Still Help!
If you can't chip in, there's still plenty you can do to help! The biggest thing is to spread the word! Tell your friends and family about this project. Encourage them to contribute. I only need 800 people to contribute $5 to meet the goal, or 400 folks to contribute $10, or 100 to chip in $40, etc. The more people know about it, the better!
It's Up to You
When I was finishing my senior year at Guilford College, I had the vision that I might create a vocation out of the music that I was writing. At the time, it seemed like a silly and unattainable dream.
I wake up every day astonished and grateful to have traveled this far into a music career founded upon such a non-traditional subject matter. While I wouldn't quite say that I am comfortable, I love what I do. It is because of the generosity, interest and excitement of folks like you that I have been able to do it. Thank you, deeply and sincerely.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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for donations over $10, you get a pre-release digital download of the album! You will get the tracks before the record is released.
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For donations over $25, you'll get a physical copy of the album pre-release AND Maggie's paper, which we are printing as a pamphlet and releasing jointly.
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For donations over $50, I'll send you (1) Pre-release SIGNED copies of the album & pamphlet and (2) The official "Clothe Yourself in Righteousness" T-Shirt AND (3) I'll make you a mix! (an offer that I, as a self described 'mix master', take very seriously!)
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For donations over $100, I'll send you (1) Signed Copies of my ENTIRE active discography!! That includes my 2004 Sophomore album, "Self," my 2006 Senior Research Project for Guilford College, "A Few Songs Occasioned" and 2007's modern "The Art of Fully Being," recorded at the Pendle Hill Retreat Center, (2) Pre-release SIGNED copies of the album & pamphlet, not to mention (3) The official "Clothe Yourself in Righteousness" T-Shirt!
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For donations over $250, you'll get (1) Everything Above and (2) an instrumental recording for your ears only on a theme of your choice AND (3) My embarrassingly lo-fi and sometimes intensely personal first 3 CDs, which I don't sell or tell anyone about because they were experiments and I released them informally but are a really interesting window into my early songwriting process. I might have to burn them for you, because I buried them so deeply in a closet at my parents' house that I don't even know where to start looking! (maybe I should clean out that closet...)
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If you give 500 dollars or more to the project, you will get signed copies of the album, pamphlet, my entire discography (including the older stuff) ...AND I'll deliver them to your hands personally when I come to your house to give you and your friends a FREE PERFORMANCE!!! (must on the East Coast or we'll have to figure out something creative... skype?)
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If you fully fund this project, or give a very significant amount, I will do the nearly unthinkable and give you a personal shout out in a song on the album. As well your choice of any of the above goodies. Your name, eternally captured in my art... and a basket of stuff! And the satisfaction of knowing that you made something amazing possible. (Honestly, I won't know how to thank you enough.)
- (30 days)