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Singer/songwriter, producer & multi-instrumentalist sideman returns with his first solo album of original material in six years.
Singer/songwriter, producer & multi-instrumentalist sideman returns with his first solo album of original material in six years.
469 backers pledged $36,301 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$36,301

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Six years ago, I found myself at a proverbial crossroads. I had 8 albums, upwards of a thousand concerts and multiple songwriting awards to my name. I was having a blast playing in a rowdy bluegrass group, Barnstar!, and my phone was ringing off the hook with offers to record and tour as a sideman for other artists. I was also a father with two young boys at home, and I knew that if I kept firing on all cylinders I would miss seeing them grow up. So I decided to focus on my family, and let the winds of fate blow my musical career where they would.

As luck would have it, they led me to some pretty amazing musical opportunities. I toured the UK and performed at London's Royal Albert Hall with Josh Ritter, and traveled all across the States playing guitar for Grammy-winner Paula Cole. I released two well-received records with Barnstar! and produced another pair for CMA-winning singer/songwriter Lori McKenna. I got so comfortable with my supportive role outside the spotlight that when I finally did release another record of my own, I chose to pay tribute to the legacy of one of my musical heroes, Bill Morrissey.

With Paula Cole (L), Lori McKenna (C) & Josh Ritter (R)
With Paula Cole (L), Lori McKenna (C) & Josh Ritter (R)

Through it all, inspired by the wealth of music and family in my life, I kept on writing songs. Last spring, I headed back into the studio and recorded 13 of them in just two days. The result is my 10th album: FOR A SONG. I was going for the classic sounds and timeless feel of a Paul Simon or James Taylor, but in a voice that is entirely my own. From the haunting downbeat of "Oklahoma" to the long fade of "French King" (co-written with Jeffrey Foucault), I feel that I've made my best album yet.

I've already funded the recording of FOR A SONG. A successful campaign will allow me to pay for fun stuff (e.g. t-shirts, videos,  musicians to join me on smaller gigs, etc), as well as the more pedestrian things the modern music industry demands to cut through the noise (e.g. publicists, radio promotion, website overhauls, etc). The last time I did a Kickstarter, I asked for help in telling Bill Morrissey's story. This time around, I'm hoping you'll help me tell mine.

If I don't raise what I'm asking for, I don't get any of the funds at all. Your contribution will help me reach that goal, and in return you can expect to hear FOR A SONG before anyone else, as well as exclusive updates, music, videos and access to advance info about the record.  So please spread the word, share this campaign via social media, and if we end up surpassing the goal, I have plenty of ideas about how to put the surplus to good use.

You've supported me for 17 years, and everything I do is in the spirit of honoring that support. I probably can't thank you enough for all you've done, but I'll never stop trying.

Questions? - email me at mark@markerelli.com

Risks and challenges

I ran a very successful Kickstarter for 2014's MILLTOWNS, and judging by my backers' feedback there were no regrets. Whenever art, public opinion and commerce mix, there are of course no real guarantees. It's possible that people won't feel as enthusiastic about this record as I do. But honestly, the biggest risk is that no one will even get to hear this record if I don't meet my Kickstarter goal. I have over 5,000 people on my mailing list, and if everyone just bought a cd or digital download, I'd have a bigger promotional budget than any of my other previous releases and we wouldn't have to bother with any of this. But the times they are a-changin' and this is the best model available to an independent artist like me.

You'll hear FOR A SONG before anyone else, and I'll do everything in my power to get you your rewards in a timely manner. You have my word.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    I LOVE YOU: "I love you, Mark, here's 5 bucks." I love you too.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    DIGITAL: Get a digital download of FOR A SONG, in mp3 or your choice of hi-resolution formats, before it's available to the general public.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    CD: Get an autographed copy of FOR A SONG on CD, shipped to you well before it's available to the general public. This & all higher reward levels INCLUDES DIGITAL DOWNLOAD for immediate gratification.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    CD + BONUS TRACKS: Get an autographed copy of FOR A SONG on cd, digital download of 2 exclusive bonus tracks that didn't make the cd ("Dear Sister" & "Georgia Saturday Night"). I LOVE how these songs turned out, but they just didn't fit on the album. They won't be available anywhere else but here.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    CD + 1: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus a digital download of any previous ME title (excluding Barnstar!).

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    CD + POSTER: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus a poster of my choosing from my archives. I've got posters left over from nearly every previous album plus a few special occasions, suitable for framing.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    VINYL: My very first record to be released on a 150-gram vinyl as a RECORD. Records take a while to get pressed, and probably won't be ready before summer, so you'll also get a digital download of FOR A SONG, in mp3 or your choice of hi-resolution formats, for immediate gratification.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    CD + 3: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus digital downloads of any three (3) previous ME titles (excluding Barnstar! titles).

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    T-SHIRT: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus my very first T-SHIRT (not counting a disastrous attempt back in '99). Expertly designed & lovingly screen printed on the good, comfy & super soft kind of shirts right here in Melrose MA.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ACOUSTIC DEMOS: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus a digital download of over 15 acoustic demos from which I chose songs for the record. This features 5 brand new songs, plus the songs on the new record with alternate arrangements & lyrics. This reward gives you an idea of how my vision for this project came together.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    'NEW SONG' CONCERT: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus a digital download of a special concert that happened right before I went into the studio. It features 17 songs, backed by Zachariah Hickman (Josh Ritter, Ray Lamontagne) on bass & Marco Giovino (Robert Plant, Patty Griffin) on drums. We'd never played together before & worked out the new material for the first time in public, live, without a net. It was real good.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    SPREAD THE LOVE: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus 4 extra copies of the new CD to pass out to friends & family that you think might enjoy my music.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    T-SHIRT + POSTER: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus a T-SHIRT & POSTER (with same design as the shirt). Lovingly screen printed on comfy & super soft kind of shirts & quality card stock here in Melrose MA. You can frame the t-shirt & wear the poster, but I'd suggest doing it the other way around.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    T-SHIRT + DEMOS or 'NEW SONG' CONCERT: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus a T-SHIRT & your choice of either the solo, acoustic album demos OR concert recording of the new songs with the rhythm section.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    GUEST LIST: Get TWO (2) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus GUEST LIST spots for two (2) to any future ME headlining performance of your choice. Come enjoy the show, say hi afterwards & let me THANK YOU in person. This may not apply to some shows outside of my control (some sideman gigs, festivals, etc.). Please note that tickets to shows ARE NOT included in other/higher rewards packages. If you'd like EXTRA GUESTS just add $25/person to your pledge (e.g. guest list spots for 4 = $125)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MHR DVD: Get a signed CD of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus a a DVD of the long-promised-but-never-officially-released documentary on the making of ME's "The Memorial Hall Recordings." This hour-long program, which aired on select PBS stations in 2002-2003, features behind the scenes footage from the sessions, interviews & more. This reward also includes the digital FOR A SONG BONUS TRACKS & ACOUSTIC DEMOS.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    SUPER DELUXE: Get TWO (2) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus a T-SHIRT, POSTER & digital download codes for the ACOUSTIC DEMOS & 'NEW SONG' CONCERT. Everything related to the new album, in one reward!

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    Pledge $135 or more About $135

    DIGITAL CATALOG: Get TWO (2) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, PLUS digital downloads of my ENTIRE solo recording catalog, that's 9 studio records (!), plus the Darwin Song Project compilation, Seven Curses (recorded with Jeffrey Foucault) & the official bootleg 4.2.10.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    HANDWRITTEN LYRICS: Get TWO (2) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus I'll write out the lyrics to one of my songs for you, suitable for framing. If there's a certain song of mine that means a lot to someone, this is the perfect gift. For what it's worth, everyone tells me I have beautiful penmanship.

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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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  20. Select this reward

    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    YOUR VERY OWN VIDEO: Get TWO (2) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus you choose a song of mine & I'll record a solo acoustic version, posted to YouTube with a personal dedication to you. No lovey-dovey stuff, just a sincere thank you. On the other hand, if you add 3 zeroes to your pledge...(just seeing if anyone's still paying attention)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    PEN & INK DRAWING: Get TWO (2) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus...did you know I'm pretty good at pen & ink illustration? It's true. Send me a photo of your house & I'll send you back an original pen and ink rendering of your beloved home, signed by me (no larger than 8"x10" frame). I obsess over capturing every little detail (shocker!), so if you live in a brick house I may end up hating you just a little bit. I'll also throw in a little something from a recently-discovered trove of 30+ yr-old masterpieces I drew in my youth (e.g. Michael Jackson, Transformers, my first dog Fluffy, etc).

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    CONCERT WINDOW: Get TWO (2) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus I'll play an hour-long show for you on Concertwindow.com. We'll find a time that works for both of us, then you can weigh in on the set list & invite your friends to tune in too!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    NATURE WALK: Get TWO (2) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus digital downloads for the bonus tracks & the acoustic demos, plus we can take a walk in the woods. In my former life, I was an evolutionary biologist. I'm not even kidding. If you're in the BOSTON AREA, I can show you around one of my favorite patches of forest, impressing you with latin names & a little bit about the life history of many of the plants and animals. Fair warning: I specialize in the creepy crawly stuff. If you're OUTSIDE the Boston area, we can still make this work in conjunction with one of my many weekend gigs. For logistical reasons, this reward is limited to NEW ENGLAND only. This reward also includes the BONUS TRACKS & ACOUSTIC DEMOS.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    OVERDUBS: Get TWO (2) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, plus...are you a singer/songwriter working on a recording of your own material? You send me a track you've been working on, we'll discuss what approach you're looking for & I'll add appropriate instrumentation in my home studio. Could be anything from harmony vocals, acoustic/electric/baritone/tenor guitar, mandolin, lap steel, harmonica or simple percussion. Might take a bit to get 'er done, but I'll do everything I can to work with any deadline you may be under. I'll also throw in a T-SHIRT & the BONUS TRACKS.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    HOUSE CONCERT: Get THREE (3) signed CDs of FOR A SONG shipped to you, the digital BONUS TRACKS, ACOUSTIC DEMOS & TWO (2) T-SHIRTS, plus I will show up on your doorstep (in the continental USA) at a mutually arranged time to play a show for you & your friends.* You're free to charge them admission to offset costs. If you're in New England, we can make this work with any of my local tour dates. Outside New England, travel costs are not included & additional funds may be needed to cover airfare, rental car, etc. I'll get you the CDs & shirts by March, but it may take awhile longer to find a suitable date for a house concert.

    *Please invite friends: a show in your home for just you would be kinda creepy, no?

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Funding period

- (30 days)