Last June I stepped away from a high school teaching job so that I could pursue touring my music full time. I couldn't justify hollering at my students to chase their dreams at all cost if I wasn't willing to do the same.
Since then I've written a new album, toured across the US twice, and toured a month abroad hopping through Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, and Ireland. Music is going better than I ever imagined it could, and I'm really excited about this new batch of songs.
I put out my last album back at the end of 2014. Despite feeling the pressure to put something out sooner, I've taken my time to write and craft this collection of songs, and to find a recording process that suits them. I like that there is some real time, some real life (while I was teaching) contained in all of these songs (not to mention some political angst...) Sometimes when I make an album there are a few songs that I'm less than thrilled about, but they make it on the album anyway to fill it out. Not this one. 12 songs, all of them I feel deeply connected to and proud of.
I think it's worth putting every last bit of sweat and time and money into releasing this album to the world as best I can.
Recording This Album My Way: For this album I wanted to record differently than I had in the past. I wanted the freedom and time to sit with these songs for a while, to try new things. The guts of each song, my guitar and vocals, are recorded by me, on just two microphones in my kitchen at home and in a friend's cabin out in Willamina, Oregon (thank you Karen!)
Then Tyler takes these basic versions and works at his studio in Eugene to add bass, drums, piano, etc to each track. I love recording this way because the guts of each song that I send to Tyler are live and recorded all in one take. There is no splicing or cutting in various notes and vocal lines. Each song, from start to finish, is one live performance. And because I used some great mics, and because Tyler Fortier is such a genius in the studio, the songs sound full and rich and real and beautiful. You would NEVER know I recorded in my kitchen.
Tyler Fortier is a hell of a producer, and working with him quiets all my concerns and fears and uncomfortableness about making recordings. Somehow he has wrangled my vague and rambling energy and ideas, and has focused it all into something beyond what I would ever be able to accomplish on my own. That, to me, is the definition of a good producer. I wrote these songs, but Tyler gave them feet.
Featured on the album will be all these incredible folks:
Anna Tivel is playing perfect violin parts and harmonies
Merlin Showalter is playing percussion and it gives me goosebumps
Milo Fultz makes the upright bass do things I didn't know it could
Bryan Daste is using his pedal steel like a cheese slicer on my heart
Tyler Fortier is tackling piano, organ, electric guitar, and all other beautifully weird noises he finds.
Please keep an eye on Tyler and all his future genius work at: http://www.tylerfortier.com/
$15,000 seems like a lot for an album ( I know ), but in reality it's at the very low end of the charts for album costs. Here is a quick breakdown of the costs so that I can be as upfront as possible about where the money will go:
Producer/Studio fees: $3700
Studio Musician Fees (drums, bass, pedal steel, etc.): $75/song, x 12 songs x 3 musicians = $2700
Physical Printing of the Albums: 1000 units minimum, and will do 3000 if I have the $$$) at $1.80 per unit = Roughy $2000 - $6000
Physical Printing of Vinyl (If I can afford it, I'll do it because vinyl is to CD's as slow churned custard is to calorie-free frozen yogurt.) = $2500- $3000 for a small run.
Publicity Campaign for the Release and the Release Tour: $6000 (For months and months these guys send my music to magazines (fingers crossed Rolling Stone), blogs, radio (fingers crossed NPR), promoters, music writers and critics and curators, etc, in the States and Internationally. They also help do publicity along the way as I do a massive tour when the album releases. 'Tain't cheap, but it's necessary so that I can keep growing this music, reaching more folks, playing more and better shows, so that I can make more albums.
At this point, I've already spent the $15,000 goal... and I haven't even put gas in the van for the tour yet. See what I mean?
So if you feel inclined to support the music and my ability to keep making it, check out your reward options:
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenges with putting out this album:
- Paying for a publicist to help promote the release
- Paying the initial recording/printing fees
- If someone cowrites a song with me and then we win a grammy for that song, I won't know what to wear. Or what to do with my hair.
- (30 days)