In early 2014, a spark was lit in the mountains of North Carolina. A group of bluegrass musicians steeped in the traditions of American folk music began a journey that would cross musical boundaries and international borders. In the 5 years since their inception, Fireside Collective has evolved from intimate performances in coffeehouses and breweries to performing with the likes of Jerry Douglas, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Billy Strings. The band has also been featured on some amazing festivals including Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Floydfest, Merlefest, Roosterwalk, Albino Skunk Fest, John Hartford Memorial Festival, Mountain Song Festival, Smoked Country Jam, and more!
All of this leads us to right now...
After years of honing our chops, developing our sound, and meeting amazing people throughout the country, we would like to release a brand new full length album! In the past, financial restrictions have forced us to cut our studio time short. We are hoping to raise enough funds to allow us to put a great deal of time into recording this album. We've chosen a great producer, a world-class recording studio, and we plan to publicize it on a national level.
For those of you who are familiar with the band, thank you so much for all of your support throughout the years! We would like to invite you to continue on this journey with us, and we can't wait to share this exciting new music and these great rewards with you! (scroll down if you already know the whole backstory... or read along, you might learn something new about us!)
Who is Fireside?
The band came together in February of 2014 to perform for an album release concert featuring original music written by Jesse Iaquinto (mandolin/vocals). Jesse had recently crowdfunded an album with hopes of attracting band members for a new project he was calling "Fireside Collective." Part of this original lineup included Dobro phenom and blues enthusiast Tommy Maher and upright bassist/tenor vocalist Carson White. Carson and Jesse played together in college in a jam band called Beside the Fire. Tommy was a frequent guest of the band and forged a friendship with Jesse built on their mutual love for folk music.
Eventually, they all moved to Asheville and began touring regionally, even making a bold trip to Telluride, CO where they found themselves in the finals of the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition in 2015.
Building the Fire
Fireside would frequently feature guests in the early days and it wasn't until fall of 2015 that the band came upon a musician who would transform the project and light some fire under what was already a growing flame. In the pursuit for the perfect guitarist, Jesse called an old buddy who was enrolled in the bluegrass department at East Tennessee State University.
Sidenote: For those who don't know, ETSU is known for having an elite bluegrass and country music program which produces high-caliber musicians.
Anyway, Jesse asked his old pal Calder Baker if he knew of any solid pickers (bluegrass musicians) who loved and respected bluegrass, but also had a desire to play outside of the lines. After little deliberation, Calder recommended a fellow ETSU student hailing from the great bluegrass state of Pennsylvania... Mr. Joe Cicero!
Needless to say, Joe fit in like a well placed G-run. He was integral in pushing the band to win the 2016 Merlefest band competition. With the momentum building, the band decided it was time to record a new album. We chose to record at Joe's alma mater of ETSU. We weren't quite ready to throw all of our eggs in one basket, so we recorded a budget album, saved some money, and learned a lot about recording in a studio.
The only challenge was, we felt a lot of pressure to get in and out of the studio quickly and for as little money as possible. We didn't feel like we gave ourselves the time and energy to allow the songs to reach their full potential. Don't get us wrong, we are proud of all of our recordings, we just want to give you all the best of ourselves, and it takes a great deal of time, a massive amount of planning, and quite a bit of money to see a project like this through to the end.
Anyway, more on this in a bit, the story isn't over!
The Missing Piece
By the summer of 2017, we had a new album and the band was touring up and down the East Coast and as far west as Colorado, but something was still missing... what could it be?
Ah yes, the steady sound of the 5-string banjo! But where do you find a banjo player who can play driving bluegrass, understands the art of improvisation, and who's never afraid to get funky? Look no further than Alex Genova! Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Alex had been performing in bluegrass bands for years and even shared a bill with Fireside Collective in 2015 when he was performing with the Blackberry Bushes Stringband. By 2016, Alex had relocated to Johnson City, TN to attend ETSU where he struck up a friendship with Joe.
Alex was invited to play with the band and we quickly locked into a nice groove. The banjo really tied together the instruments and helped tighten up the overall sound. Since Alex joined the band, both him and Joe have graduated from ETSU with flying colors!
Here We Are
With no members in school, we are free to dedicate the proper energy to taking this project to the next level! We have begun tracking our album at the prestigious Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville, NC under the guidance of sound engineer Julian Dreyer. We've chosen Travis Book, of the Grammy-winning Infamous Stringdusters, to produce the album. Travis has been working very closely with us to help bring our vision to fulfillment.
Who is this Travis Book you speak of?
Travis is a singer, songwriter, and upright bass player. He performs with one of our biggest musical influences, The Infamous Stringdusters. The Dusters (as many fans know them) are one of the premier progressive acoustic bands in the country right now. The band won the Grammy for "Best Bluegrass Album" in 2018 for "Laws of Gravity," an album which featured a number of songs written by Travis. His calm demeanor, knowledge of bluegrass music, and positive attitude have helped take this project to a whole new level. For more on Travis and his amazing band head to http://www.thestringdusters.com/.
Tell me more about Echo Mountain Recording Studio...
Gladly! Echo Mountain is actually the home to 2 separate world-class facilities. The one we chose is the API room. API refers to the vintage console in the control room used for recording. According to Echo Mountain's website, "the API studio holds the perfect balance of old and new." Being a progressive bluegrass band, we really liked the sound of that. The room is also very well set-up for a 5 piece bluegrass band. The incredible sightlines between musicians and the control room allow us to track music live with great results. To learn more about Echo Mountain head to https://www.echomountain.net/.
Here's what you're contributing to:
The music industry has changed a great deal in recent years. The advent of online streaming and instant access to music has allowed artists to take their own visions further without depending on record labels. The resources available to musicians in the music industry today are vast and sometimes hard to navigate. With the right team, the right effort, and the right resources, it is possible to independently reach fans all over the world!
Recording/Mixing - $8,000
Mastering/Production - $6,000
Publicity - $9,000
CD Reproduction - $2,000
Design/Artwork/Media - $2,000
One of our favorite aspects of Kickstarter is the fact that it offers fans a platform to directly help their favorite bands reach new levels, new listeners, and continue on their journey. Throughout the years, many of you have asked what you can do to help. This campaign is your chance to be involved in the process of recording our new album. In turn, we‘re excited to offer rewards and band memorabilia to those who donate!
A few quick words on rewards:
We have a number of great rewards included in this campaign. Everyone who donates $10 or more will receive a free download of the album prior to the official release date. We are shooting for late July/early August to make the digital download available to you.
Another great perk to this campaign is that we will be printing a limited number of "First Edition" albums. Everyone who donates $25 or more will receive this "First Edition" artwork. It will feature slightly different packaging for the new album and will be a special way to thank everyone for donating to this project.
One more thing to note: If your reward includes a Fireside T-Shirt, you will have your choice of one of our signature T-Shirt designs (classic gray, mountain T, or one of our new spring designs).
We are so excited to share these items with you and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail us at FiresideCollectiveBand@gmail.com.
We would like to thank you so much for taking the time to check out our campaign. We couldn't do what we do without our fans and we love you all so very much. Please share this with anyone you think may be interested and thank you in advance. It's a winding road that we travel upon and you all make this journey sweeter and more fulfilling than we could have ever imagined!
Risks and challenges
Bringing an album to completion always requires a number of challenging tasks; from affording a quality recording studio to working with people who know the industry and can help navigate the band through difficult decisions. We have paid a deposit on our studio time at Echo Mountain and they are allowing us time to raise the funds to help complete the project.
We have been working with Mountain Song Productions as our management team and they are helping us reach deadlines and make informed decisions. Our producer Travis has released a number of fantastic albums with The Infamous Stringdusters. His guidance and insight makes us confident that we can successfully organize and execute all aspects of this project.
You may notice that we are initially asking for less than we need to fully accomplish our goal. With Kickstarter, you have to reach your goal or you get nothing. For this reason, we set our goal at a reasonable amount to help offset our costs. If we happen to meet our goal, Kickstarter allows us to set stretch goals which will help get us closer to covering our full cost.
We are giving ourselves a healthy amount of time while still being ambitious about getting this music and these rewards into your hands. We can't wait to share it with you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)