**Howdy, Folks! We achieved our funding goal as of March 17 at around 10pm EST. Thank you to all of our over 300 backers. Ya'll are the best! But, the campaign goes on until Friday March 20 at 6pm EST. Now it's time to hit some of our stretch goals. Every penny we take in beyond this point will go toward promoting the record properly, once it is released. Anyone who has ever done this knows that it is an expensive proposition. But, it is an all important part of the formula for success. So, please keep spreading the word. Almost all premiums are currently still available! Thank you!!!
As a kid growing up in Denver, CO, I was lucky enough to have older sisters who exposed me to all kinds of music. Listening to records was my main source of entertainment. As I got older, my sisters began taking me to concerts. It was the late 60s and early 70s, and thrilling music was in the air. One night that really stands out in my mind was when my sister Randi took me to see BB King and his orchestra playing at a very small club called the Rainbow Music Hall. I could sense even at the time that I was witnessing something important, and that this monumental man and his band were part of a grand tradition that had been running long before I became aware of it, and would continue on its way, with or without me. The power of the experience overwhelmed me. I had to know more, hear more.
For the past 25 years I have been exploring that tradition with every band I have had, or been a part of, with every song I have written and sung. Thousands of performances, millions of road miles later, I am ready to make my next record (which is really my eighth record, if you count cassette-only releases). And it deals with the place in the musical landscape where the great American tradition of Jazz intersects with the gritty, loamy, seminally American tradition of the Blues. Call it Soul; call it Rhythm and Blues. All these elements are present in the tradition to which I am referring. Try to classify BB King as only a Blues artist, and you miss a great deal. Try to pigeonhole Ray Charles a Soul artist, and you might miss his stellar piano playing and arranging skills, which are both firmly rooted in the Jazz tradition. Who could have predicted when Louis Jordan was sitting in the sax section of Chick Webb's band in the 1930s that he would go on to play such a formative role in the music that would become known as Rock & Roll. All these traditions are closely interrelated.
I'm not comparing myself to these idols of mine. I'm just explaining where I come from musically, what I enjoy. I am a singing harmonica player who writes bluesy songs, but is lucky enough to work with some of the top jazz musicians in NYC, and also with some of the greatest arrangers working today. What makes this version of my band unique, I think, is the presence of both my amplified blues harmonica, and a killer, seasoned horn section playing arrangements filled with some pretty sophisticated voicings that all blend together to make the sound I have been hearing in my head for years, but never in real life until now. I had to call it something for the purposes of this Kickstarter campaign, so I chose Blues. But you can see that categorization of music can be tricky!
A little while ago, I took my whole band into the studio to record songs for my sixth full length recording. The lineup includes five horns, piano, upright bass, drums, and myself on vocals and harmonica. This particular incarnation of my band has been together, almost unchanged, since 2006. And those five horn players have been playing together for a lot longer. I wanted to find a studio that was set up for recording everyone at once, in one room, like the old days. And that is exactly what we found in Oktaven Audio in Yonkers, NY. They have a beautiful live room, incredible Steinway piano, killer mic collection, and all the great gear we needed.
So, the band jumped on the train from Manhattan up to Yonkers, and the results were incredible. In one day, we succeeded in getting the basic tracks recorded for the whole record. Recording this way is a challenge, to say the least. But my guys were more than up to the challenge. You can hear the results playing in the background during the video. I love the way the music breathes. Listening to it is like being there in the room with the band. Just what I was going for!
Then, I spent one day in my friend Craig Dreyer's studio in Brooklyn recording Hammond B3 organ overdubs with Downbeat Poll winner, my good buddy Brian Charette on organ. One track was sent off to Sweden where my buddy and World Guitar Ace Michael Sjöholm put some smoking guitar work on one of the songs. Now, I need to fund the rest of the process, so I can get this baby done, and pay back all the money I borrowed to get this far!
As I like to say, this record is 90% done, with 50% left to go.
What's left in the recording process is:
- Guitar overdubs on a few tunes
- Percussion overdubs on a few tunes
- Background vocals on a couple tunes
- Fixing some of my lead vocals (have to be a bit of a perfectionist here)
Then we are on to the post-production phase, which includes:
- Separate Mastering for vinyl
- Graphic design for CD package, vinyl sleeve and promo materials
- Manufacturing the CD and vinyl records
- Producing and mailing all the rewards
- Promotion and advertising
***PREVIEW ADDED March 4, 2015***
Check this out sneak preview of our new record, just uploaded:
I'm not just blowing smoke when I say these are some world class musicians I've assembled. Check out some of their credits!
I know, I created a lot of different rewards. I wanted there to be something for everyone. I hope that if you scroll through them, you will find a level with which you are comfortable, and a reward that really tickles your fancy. Also, you should know that if you just want to buy a CD, for example, but you feel like contributing say $200 to this endeavor, it is easy to do. When you click on your reward, you can change the amount of the pledge to whatever you like (as long as it is above the minimum for that level).
I will update this section with photos and descriptions as we go along.
If we pass our initial goal, here is what I would do with the additional funds:
Thank you for reading this far! I know, I was supposed to keep it simple. But, I have a lot to say. One more video:
Risks and challenges
Having tackled this set of challenges many times in the past, I feel very confident about my ability to conquer them now. Most of the challenges are scheduling-related. Musicians, studios and engineers are busy. Sometimes getting everyone somewhere on a given day is tough. But, it can be done! Persistence is key. Creating vinyl records is much more time consuming than the CD manufacturing process. For this reason, the delivery dates for the vinyl-related rewards are a bit later than the rest of the delivery dates. Inevitably, delays happen. I believe I have already accounted for them in the given timetable. If not, there should only be a brief additional delay, and then all rewards will be delivered as quickly as possible. You have my word.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)