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After a series of well-received self-productions, Fiery Crash presents his first full-length, studio-recorded, hardcopy album.
After a series of well-received self-productions, Fiery Crash presents his first full-length, studio-recorded, hardcopy album.
After a series of well-received self-productions, Fiery Crash presents his first full-length, studio-recorded, hardcopy album.
84 backers pledged $6,165 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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In Clover, by Fiery Crash

$6,165

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First of all, we'd like for you to listen in on how a couple of the songs are sounding! Here are some unmastered (rough-cut) song samples from the new album so you can get an idea of how things are shaping up already:

"Loving Wish"

 "Put Down"

 Now, a note from Josh:

This is exciting. Really, really exciting. The album is finally ready to be finished. And what a ride this has been...

I started recording these songs in 2013 from my bedroom, but it didn't take long to realize they needed a full-band recording. The problem was that I couldn't get that sound in my bedroom. Something needed to improve. That's why it was a huge blessing when the Nehemiah Foundation for Cultural Renewal said they would record my next album, and at no cost to me.

My previous obstacles when recording from my bedroom:

1. I have only one microphone to record with.

2. I don't own a drum set, nor a bass guitar.

3. My knowledge on audio mixing is limited.

4. My old computer can only handle so much; the poor guy has been worked to death.

By recording at the Nehemiah Foundation, not only were ALL of those needs met, but I learned a lot of useful things, and I made some great friends.

Michael and Justus manning the controls in the studio.
Michael and Justus manning the controls in the studio.

I received a lot of extra help along the way. At certain points during recording, I would try to play a drum part, or a vocal take, and realize, "I can't do this!" And then someone would step in and play the part that I could not. Phil Hodges, a musician at the NFfCR, even arranged a string section for one of the songs! In that regard, In Clover is the most collaborative album I have ever made, and I'm incredibly happy about it. This is the album I have dreamed about making, because there were no limitations this time. I mean, we got to use a lap steel guitar. Seriously.

My hope is that this album will not only be more accessible, but be something encouraging and emotionally helpful for the listener. In fact, that's my main goal for this entire project. I'm looking forward to hearing the final product, and I certainly hope that the music finds you well.

Michael in his element.
Michael in his element.

And a note from Michael, producer and president of the NFfCR:

I met Josh about a year ago. Justus (our VP of Operations) kept telling me I had to hear this album, Practice Shots, by Fiery Crash. So after a bit of prodding from Justus (who couldn't stop listening to it), I finally checked it out.

I told Justus that I liked it, and I felt like the band had made some really good recording and writing choices, and I was curious what they would be able to do with more recording options. Except Fiery Crash isn't really a band. It's basically just Josh Jackson.

Upon further reflection, I realized why I was impressed. The record did have the intimate and personal "bedroom ballad" feel you would expect from a single singer-songwriter effort, but it had avoided the self-indulgence and emotional narrowness that plagues so many artistic products of a single mind. 

Recording on the Korg synthesizer.
Recording on the Korg synthesizer.

Let me reiterate how rare this is in a lone artist. When you are working by yourself, you have no one to give you any feedback—good or bad. There is no one shaking his head in the corner. Or nodding it. So it's very easy for singer-songwriters to succumb completely to either paralyzing insecurities (e.g., Elliott Smith) or an obnoxious lack of self-editing (e.g., Sufjan Stevens).

Josh Jackson somehow avoided both extremes. How a single person was able to achieve such a feat, I didn't know. But I wanted to meet him. And work with him, if he would let us. So Justus and I agreed we should invite him to the studio for an initial meeting in preparation for a future project. "Great," said Justus. "So... you need to call his father."

Oh, yeah. When I first met him, Josh was in high school. Having heard his music, I had completely forgotten he was of the age where his parents needed to approve of the kinds of people he associated with. So I called Jim, and immediately liked the Jacksons. Meeting his mother and sisters later just confirmed that even more. Good, solid southern people.

I say all of this because so much of what we do here at the Foundation relies on communities. Art doesn't come from a vacuum. When Josh came to record at the Foundation, he lived with us, and ate with us, and played with my kids. We were already part of the same family. I knew that pretty much as soon as I talked to Jim. And that was an early indication that this could work. Anyway, let's get to the music.

Recording on the log cabin's baby grand.
Recording on the log cabin's baby grand.

Josh played nearly everything on this album, most of which was recorded in about a week, with finishing touches (and songs) added in a few additional trips. And unlike most of the artists (especially solo artists) I have ever worked with, Josh already had pretty much every lick and tone already planned—he told me exactly what he wanted a part to sound like, then he played it. Most of the time, he got what he wanted in a take or two. It was amazing to see.

The mixing process was similar. I have never gotten such specific notes on mixing. Like he already had the whole song (sound and all) in his head, and he just needed me to click everything in place.

The song book.
The song book.

And the songs. When we recorded the vocals for "Steeples," I had never heard the lyrics before.  When he sang, "I'm trying to answer you, dear brother of mine," I couldn't hold back the tears. I lowered my head below the monitoring window so Josh couldn't see me crying from the tracking room. I had never before heard a song like this. It effectively rebuked agnosticism, but it did so with a vulnerable tenderness—the kind of tenderness that rebukes more fiercely than any mere apologetic. It convicts the listener of both kinds of hard-heartedness—the unbeliever's hard-heartedness toward God, and the believer's hard-heartedness toward the unbeliever.

Recording vocals.
Recording vocals.

Not all of these songs are explicitly about religion or God or restrictively "Christian" things, though. And I really appreciate that. It is another sign of Josh's maturity. He writes about whatever is going on in his life as a Christian would write about it. It's real, in other words.

Some of these songs are about teenage isolation and longing, as you would expect. Some are about girls, as you might further expect. But what you don't expect is the palpable absence of angst.

These are the kinds of songs a teenager would write if he knew already what I found out much later in my life. I thought when I was a teen that I would feel more confident and be more sure as an adult. I found out later I was wrong—that the longing doesn't go away. Neither does the more than occasional feeling of isolation, embarrassment, and self-loathing. The only thing that goes away is that futile bitterness and vanity we like to call angst.

The Seagull taking a break after a long day of recording.
The Seagull taking a break after a long day of recording.

In those songs, like "Loving Wish," where he expresses his doubts and feelings of unworthiness, the lack of resolution is not despair. It is patience.

I don't mean to say the songs are resigned, or even sedate. You listen to "The Divorce" and you feel that the zeal and fire of youth is still burning in Josh. But he isn't using up his fire to complain about his own circumstances. He's pleading with others. Pleading for the sake of others.

Tracking drums.
Tracking drums.

But he's also talking to himself—telling himself the right things (like in "Put Down," where he tells himself, "Put down the phone. It's okay to be alone."). It's this self-awareness without self-consciousness that really sets him apart.

Honestly, I don't understand how Josh exists. Being with him is an easy pleasure. He is respectful, charming, kind-spirited, and patient. He has a dry sense of humor. He goes to bed early, rises early, and drinks milk every day. You would almost forget that he was a special kind of genius.

All that said, I am very excited to share In Clover with the rest of the world. It is the product of a genuinely godly and disciplined young man with an extraordinary gift for music. It has been the utmost joy to work with and for him.

A final note from Justus (watch out, he's really boring):

Being the logistics guy, I'd like to break down a few of the nitty gritty details! 

First of all, be checking in with us, because we are currently designing the artwork for stickers, posters, and t-shirts, and we will be posting them here for you to check out! Trust me, they're looking super fly. (That's a thing, right?)

Next, were you wondering what exactly we need $6,000 for? Good! I'd be happy to tell you. The proceeds of this kickstarter will fund the following:

Mastering—the final polishing of an album! A really fantastic group of audio engineers called Chicago Mastering will make sure this album sounds great in every listening environment, make sure the tracks match in volume, and give the tones of each song a final polish.

Duplication—It's not easy or cheap to create several hundred CDs from scratch, but our friends over at Disc Makers will press several hundred CDs (depending on how many y'all want!), print a design on the CDs, print the CD cases, and print the insert booklet (lyrics, liner notes, etc.).

Distribution—Next we'll turn to our cohorts at CD Baby. They'll make sure this album gets the pro treatment, publishing it in its entirety to all those places you like to find music at, like iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.com. 

Merchandise—We'll be ordering up a batch of stickers, posters, and t-shirts from some folks we have worked with before, and so far they have not let us down. The t-shirts will be extremely comfortable, 100% cotton American Apparel tees. 

Marketing—We want as many people to hear this amazing album as possible, and with your help, we can give this album the kind of push into the world it deserves.

Shipping—We didn't want to bog you down with shipping details, so we just included all the shipping costs of this project in the goal amount. Enjoy a hassle-free checkout, and we'll make sure you get your stuff delivered to your door. 

Studio Costs—At the Nehemiah Foundation for Cultural Renewal, we are determined to never take a dime from the artists that work with us. We know the amount of time, sweat, and money they have already invested in their craft, and we wholeheartedly serve at no cost to them. That's why we recorded this album with Josh absolutely for free! However, if this project raises more than is needed to cover all of the above (and miscellaneous) costs, Josh has volunteered all the additional proceeds to be invested back into the Nehemiah Foundation. It's his way of maintaining our spirit and practice of paying forward.

Risks and challenges

Mastering and replication are highly dependent on the availability of the mastering engineer and the completion of album art. The album is already mixed and ready to send to the mastering engineer, so there is almost no risk at all that the album won't be completed. It's really just a matter of when, not whether.

In order to make sure our Kickstarter rewards are fulfilled promptly, we are going to complete art while tracks are being mastered, and we will be sending off for T-shirts and stickers during that same time. We set a reasonably generous time of fulfillment in order to accommodate any potential delays in the production line, so we are confident we will meet our deadlines or improve on them.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    BE A PIRATE. Not really, you've already paid! But you can still put on a nifty eye patch as you download the digital copy of In Clover, including album art and notes.

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    THE WALKMAN SPECIAL. With this, you'll get a physical CD from a nice mailman, pressed, packaged, and shrink-wrapped. Not the mailman, the CD.
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    THE LETTERMAN. A special offer... you'll get a *signed* CD and a personal thank you note. The note will be concise and feature Josh's chicken scratch. Maybe even a stick figure comic...
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    MIXTAPE, OH YEAH. Get an exclusive mixtape (well, Mix Compact Disc) that Josh put together of songs that inspired the tones, textures, lyricism, and overall disposition of In Clover. Complete with song citations, just in case you want to look any of them up. And you probably will. Oh Yeah.
    (Includes digital download and CD)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THE ROUGH DRAFTS. For the collector who interests in the blueprints, the first sketches, the initial mock-ups. Before recording in the studio, Josh recorded some demos for reference and direction, and listening to them gives fascinating insight into the evolution of the songs. These nine demos are raw, and getting to listen-to-and-download-them means that you are part of a very exclusive fan club... the Feary Craysh Fan Club. Be proud.
    (Includes digital download, physical CD, and mixtape link)

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    THE FANBOY. I hear ya. You want merchandise. And I got just the thing! Get a Fiery Crash sticker AND poster with this package to flaunt your fanliness.
    Merch art to be posted soon! So keep in touch!
    (Includes digital download, physical CD, mixtape link, and access to demos)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    THE MODEL. Not enough merchandise for ya, was it? Ok, throw a t-shirt into the mix! Hot dog, now you can really prove your coolness and freshness and hipness and freshness to the world with this swath of cotton. Remember: "If you're tired of fashion, you're tired of life."
    Merch art to be posted soon!
    (Includes digital download, physical CD, mixtape link, access to demos, sticker, and poster)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE MUSIC EXECUTIVE. Want the inside scoop? Preview the mastered album with Josh, still smelling of Chicago, before copies are pressed! And make sure you like it before you give it the green light, because this is the last chance to change anything, Mr. Big Man Producer.
    (Includes digital download, physical CD, mixtape link, access to demos, sticker, poster, and t-shirt)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    OUT-OF-TOWNER. Can't make it to the listening party? That's fine, sign up for a skype concert with Fiery Crash. And, being the type who works behind the scenes, get credit by getting mentioned in the liner notes.
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    THE MIXING ENGINEER. Really want the inside scoop of how these songs sound the way they do? Well, we have saved all of the original mixing notes exchanged between Josh and the mixing/recording engineers. You can read for yourself the changes, tweaks, and impressions that each song went through before its completion. This is limited to one backer, because of the limited nature of these notes.
    (Includes digital download, physical CD, mixtape link, access to demos, sticker, poster, and t-shirt)

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    THE PERSONAL THEME SONG. Josh will compose and record a 30-45 second theme song, specifically for YOU. There's no better way to introduce yourself at a gathering of people than to burst on the scene backed by a series of hot licks that embody your quirky but grounded personality. Now they know who you are, and they're glad you came.
    (Includes digital download, physical CD, mixtape link, access to demos, sticker, poster, and t-shirt)

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    THE HOME BODIES. Host a friendly, snuggly acoustic set at your house, with Fiery Crash headlining! Guaranteed to please both young and old, rich and poor, your cat and dog. Let your family and friends get the most personal music experience Fiery Crash has to offer. Please limit distance to within 60 miles of Auburn/Opelika.
    (Includes digital download, physical CD, mixtape link, access to demos, sticker, poster, and t-shirt)

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    LET'S TALK ABOUT IT. Join Josh for coffee, tea, or soda, and enjoy discussing this project, his music, and how college classes are going. For the philanthropist who knows a few good jokes and doesn't mind sharing.
    (Includes as many of the aforementioned perks as you desire, aside from limited items)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE COOLEST KID IN TOWN. Josh recorded an album at his house in 2014, called "Summerooms." He gave a CD-R of Summerooms to a nice man, who transferred the album on to a cassette tape to get a specific sound. There is only 1 copy of that cassette tape... the only one in existence. If you choose this pledge amount, you will receive the tape. Take good care of her. :'(
    (Includes digital download, physical CD, mixtape link, access to demos, sticker, poster, t-shirt AND your own personal theme song)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE GIFT BASKET. What's more valuable than love? With this reward, that's exactly what you get! A care package assembled by Josh specifically for you, and will include any and all kinds of fantastic goodies: snacks, toys, notes, hand-written jokes, perhaps a poem. Only you can find out what all will be in this fantastic basket of gifts!
    (Includes digital download, physical CD, mixtape link, access to demos, sticker, poster, t-shirt, AND your own personal theme song)

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Funding period

- (28 days)