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An album based on the life and writings of Margaret Rucker, an Everett pioneer whose scrapbook was found in a dumpster in SanFrancisco.
An album based on the life and writings of Margaret Rucker, an Everett pioneer whose scrapbook was found in a dumpster in San Francisco.
An album based on the life and writings of Margaret Rucker, an Everett pioneer whose scrapbook was found in a dumpster in San Francisco.
1,862 backers pledged $67,653 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

"Margaret" by Jason Webley and friends project video thumbnail
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"Margaret" by Jason Webley and friends

$67,653

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LAST UPDATE:
This is amazing!  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for trusting us and making this crazy project such a success!  

Since we've gone so far beyond our goals - here are a few last additions:
1. We will be live streaming the CD Release concert at The Moore Theater in Seattle to anyone who has backed this project at any level. The concert is on December 12th, Margaret Rucker's birthday.

2. We will be sending copies of the finished book/album to 111 libraries all over the country, especially focusing on place near where Margaret and her family lived at different times in their lives. 

3. We are renting the Castro Theater for the San Francisco CD release on December 20th.  It is a HUGE, beautiful, and expensive place... hopefully we aren't crazy to be doing this.  But what better place to put some of this Kickstarter money?  

UPDATE - MARGARET CD RELEASE AND TOUR:
The "Margaret" CD Release Concert will be on Dec 12th at The Moore Theater - in my opinion, the nicest theater in Seattle.  We will also be doing a short US tour to follow.  We are still finalizing some of the venues, but these are the dates:
Dec 12 - Seattle, WA - The Moore Theater
Dec 18 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
Dec 19 - Eugene, OR - Wow Hall
Dec 20 - San Francisco, CA - The Castro Theater
Hopefully there will also be a show in LA on Dec 21.  

Anyone who backs at the $111 level or above will get a VIP ticket to your choice of these shows. If you've pledged at that level and can't make it to one of the shows, we'll send you an extra copy of the album to give as a gift.  

ABOUT "MARGARET":
On April 11th a bunch of my favorite songwriter friends and I put together an evening of music inspired by the unlikely resurfacing of a scrapbook documenting the life of Margaret Rucker - the daughter of one of the founders of my little hometown of Everett, WA.  Each songwriter wrote original material based on her life and poetry - which were both beautiful and tragic.

With your help, I'd like to record an album of the music written for that night to be released this year on Margaret Rucker's birthday - December 12th. 

UPDATE - SECOND CD, CHEAPER DOWNLOADS:  
Every album and download will now come with a second CD of outtakes, demos and live versions from the April 11 concert - plus contributions from some friends connected to the story who couldn't be there that night: Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman. And since things are going so well, I want to make the music from the album available to more people - so now anyone who donates $3 or more will be sent a link to the MP3s from the album. 

 ABOUT THE ARTISTS INVOLVED:

  • CHICKEN JOHN RINALDI is a showman, author and activist living in San Francisco. He is the executive director of the San Francisco Institute of Possibility.

  • ELIZA RICKMAN of Los Angeles earned a degree in orchestration from Azusa Pacific University, but now favors sparse arrangements of pizzicato strings and percussive toy piano to underscore her haunting melodic voice. She is currently recording her second full-length album. 

  • SHENANDOAH DAVIS composes American-gothic inspired songs that weave together strains of classical, ragtime and klezmer. Trained in classical piano and opera, Davis' music now lands somewhere between Debussy, Irving Berlin and Kate Bush.
  • JHEREK BISCHOFF has been called a "pop polymath" by the New York Times and a "Seattle phenom" by the New Yorker. After years as a sideman to various projects, he achieved acclaim with the 2012 release "Composed" featuring lush orchestral arrangements under the voices of artists such as David Byrne and Caetano Veloso

  • LED TO SEA is the solo project of Seattle violist/violinist L. Alex Guy, who approaches pop music with the mind of a classical composer. She has performed across the U.S. and Europe alone and with performers such as Laura Veirs, Mirah and the Degenerate Art Ensemble

  • MARIA SCHERER WILSON joined us on cello and will be recording on the album as well.  

  • JASON WEBLEY  - That's me! I guess I'm sort of a wandering songwriter with a small following around the planet. I've released six albums and numerous collaborations on my own little label and have performed everywhere from Siberia to Tasmania.

  • ZAC PENNINGTON is the lead singer and driving force behind Portland's Parenthetical Girls. Starting as a bedroom recording project in Everett, WA, the prolific group is known for Pennington's dramatic delivery and tunes combining baroque pop and experimental elements. 

  • MTS. & TUNNELS is led by Chris Poage and Sarah Schmidt, a songwriting duo from Everett whose voices compliment each other with a soulful, natural quality.

  • LONESOME LEASH is the solo moniker of New Orleans-based multi-instrumentalist Walt McClements. Known for previous involvement in groups such as Dark Dark Dark and Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship, his new project takes the form of a one man band, with McClements navigating drums, accordion, trumpet and vocals.

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT:

WHO WAS MARGARET RUCKER?:
Margaret was born on Dec 12, 1906.  She was the only daughter of Bethel Rucker, a mill man who purchased the bulk of the Port Gardner Peninsula (now Everett) with his brother Wyatt in the late 1800's. Her family name is now plastered all over the town of Everett, but not a whole lot is known about them. And until this scrapbook emerged, all that was really known about her was the dates of her birth and death.  I don't want to give everything away here - but I will say that when she was a student she had number of poems published and that those poems reflect a dark painful beauty that was later echoed in her life.  

WHY KICKSTARTER?:
I've produced a lot of albums in the past and normally I have just put up the money for my them myself and trusted that there will be an audience. So why am I going a different route with this project?

First - with so many people involved, I want to make sure I can pay them all decently. Secondly - I want to make sure there really is an audience for this strange album. It has been a long time since I've made a new record and since then a lot fewer CDs are getting sold in the world. Do we need another CD? Does anyone care about a compilation of music, photos and stories about a forgotten woman from Everett?

So I leave the question to you. Since the idea to make this album grew largely from requests to make these songs available - I'm asking you, the potential audience, if you'd like to see this little project come into existence.

WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?:
If we meet our goal, the bulk of the money will go to the other artists involved. There are seven musical acts (not including myself) and I'm giving each of them a budget $1000 to record their songs. The rest will go towards manufacturing the CDs ($2000+), shipping ($1500+) Kickstarter fees ($900) and paying session musicians ($500.)  

Whoops... that's already more than $11,111 right there.  Well, I'm really hopeful that we will go beyond that goal so I can package these in hardcover books like the sample in the video. I think it will be a lovely thing.  

FINAL THOUGHTS:
These songs and the crazy way this project came into my life mean a lot to me.  They combine so many things - the music of my talented friends, the history of the place where I live, and this strange serendipity that makes me feel that life is being presented to me like a very good book written by a clever and compassionate author.

The slivers of Margaret's life that Chicken John rescued from the landfill are also a meditation on mortality.

They force me to think about the sort of legacy I'd like to leave.  
It is pretty amazing - there have been so many chances for her story to end. 
It is a beautiful story.
And I'm excited to see it continue to unfold.  

CREDITS:
Video assembled by Jason Webley.  Most photos and footage were shot by the wonderful Lou Daprille, with additional material by Steven Graham, Michael Zelner and Judy Webley.  

Tugboat tour provided courtesy of Campbell Maritime

There are too many people to thank for bringing this project to where it is now - but thank you to the Everett Music Initiative, The City of Everett, The Greater Everett Cultural Art Commission, KSER radio, Cafe Zippy, Amanda Palmer, David Dilgard, Bill Rucker, Nicole Moon, everyone who came to the show, and of course all of the artists who contributed.  

And thank you for watching! 

-jason

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk is that with so many artists involved who are busy with their own projects, delays can come up. But I've worked with everyone involved and know them to be responsible artists with good track records. I'll be working with them to get their tracks done on time and I'm committed to shipping this record by Margaret's birthday, December 12th, so we can have them in time for the holidays.

Since 1998 I've released six solo records and seven collaborations. I've sold tens of thousands of these records, and my little label Eleven Records has handled all of the fulfillment (with the exception of the 2010 Evelyn Evelyn record.)

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THANK YOU!:
    You'll have a slice of my gratitude and receive updates about the progress of the project you've helped make possible.

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    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    JUST THE MP3s: A link to download the MP3s from the album. This reward is different from the $11 download in that you won't get the PDF of the book, your choice of audio formats, or other extras.

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    Pledge $11 or more About $11

    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD: A digital copy of the "Margaret" album and a PDF of the photobook that accompanies it. Plus a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    PHYSICAL ALBUM/BOOK: A physical copy of the "Margaret" album and book. Plus a digital download and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    SIGNED ALBUM/BOOK: A physical copy of the "Margaret" album and book signed by Jason Webley (that's me!) with a small personalized card or note tucked inside. Plus a digital download and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    GARBAGE HUNTING WITH CHICKEN: You will meet with Chicken John at a bar in the Mission District of San Francisco on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014. He will give dumpster diving tips, tell some dumpster stories, and lead you on a dumpstering adventure. Plus a physical copy of the album/book.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    RUCKER'S TOMB PYRAMID PRINT: An 11 x 14 photographic print of Lou Daprile's photo of the Rucker mausoleum lit up beautifully on the night of the concert. Plus a copy of "Margaret" signed by me, a note, a digital download and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    JASON WEBLEY CATALOG: All five of my studio albums that are still in print - "The Cost of Living", "Only Just Beginning", "Against the Night", "Viaje" and "Evelyn Evelyn". Plus a copy of "Margaret" signed by me, a note, a digital download and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    THE BOOK OF THE IS: Chicken John's beautiful full color 223 page book about his life, adventures and philosophy. Hilarious, heartbreaking and thought provoking. Plus a signed album, a note, a digital download, and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    ARTIST GRAB BAG: Albums by all of the artists involved - "The Cost of Living" by Jason Webley, Jherek Bischoff's self titled album, Led to Sea's self titled debut, "The Company We Keep" by Shenandoah Davis, "O You Sinners" by Eliza Rickman, "((((GRRRLS))))" by Parenthetical Girls, "I am no captain" by Lonesome Leash, and Mts. & Tunnels' self titled album. That's 8 albums, plus a copy of "Margaret" signed by me, a note, a digital download and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $111 or more About $111

    ALBUM CREDITS AND SIGNED POSTER: Your name will be listed as a supporter on the album credits and you will receive an original 11 x 17 poster from the April 11 concert signed by all of the artists involved. Plus a pyramid print, a copy of "Margaret" signed by me, a note, a digital download and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    ALL DONE SHOPPING: 11 copies of the "Margaret" album to give away to friends, family, and strangers. One will be signed by me, plus a note, a digital download and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    TOUR OF EVERETT:
    I'll meet you and up to three friends in downtown Everett. It isn't the most exciting place - but we can wander around together for a couple hours and I'll show you some nice things. We can get coffee and donuts, talk about history and music and ride around in my crappy little car. Of course, we'll go visit Margaret at the Evergreen Cemetery and drive past the Rucker mansion. And if we are lucky and the timing is right, we'll finish up with a drink at my friend's nearby secret speakeasy. Transportation to Everett not included. Plus your name on the credits, signed poster, pyramid print, signed album, a note, a digital download, and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    POEM-CALL FROM NEIL GAIMAN: Renowned author and all around great fellow Neil Gaiman will call you on your phone and read you a poem by Margaret Rucker (Phone or Skype. At a time to be mutually agreed). Plus everything from the $111 package.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    KICKSTARTER PUPPET COLLAGE - All of the original paper cut-out puppets I used to make this Kickstarter video and all of the voice balloons arranged into a story-collage by me. Framed and sent to you! Plus everything from the $111 package.

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    Pledge $650 or more About $650

    SNOHOMISH RIVER TUGBOAT RIDE:
    You and up to three friends will join me and the Tugboat Captain for a two-hour trip through the Snohomish River delta. We'll explore the backwaters that gave birth to the city of Everett - passing old derelict vessels, pristine nature preserves and motley live-aboard communities. I'll provide snacks. You need to get yourself to Everett. Plus your name on the credits, signed poster, pyramid print, signed album, a note, a digital download, and a slice of gratitude.

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    Pledge $1,111 or more About $1,111

    ALL OF THE ABOVE: Tugboat river ride, tour of Everett, eleven copies of the album, CDs by all the artists, your name on the credits, signed poster, Jason's back catalog, pyramid print, signed album, a note, a digital download, and a slice of gratitude. Wheee!

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Funding period

- (30 days)