How many of you out there fondly remember the mixtape? More than just a collection of songs by various artists, a mixtape had a sense of purpose--commemorating shared times, cheering someone up, or simply just telling someone "these are songs that I love." Mixtapes intimately confided in others, telegraphing emotions we weren't confident enough to put into words. With juuuuust the right group of songs, you could indelibly capture the memory of a certain summer or let someone know you wanted to be more than "just friends."
A certain level of craftsmanship and dedication was required to make a good mixtape. Before we dragged, dropped and streamed, songs were recorded off of other LPs or cassettes, or taped as they were broadcast on the radio. Labels were intricately lettered in your coolest possible handwriting, and adorned with scraps from magazines or hand-drawn images. In an age before instant gratification, making a mixtape was an investment in the power of music in our everyday lives.
For my 11th solo record, I have made you a MIXTAPE and I love you so much I took 13 years to make it.
For over a decade now, I have looked forward all year to my annual Under The Covers concerts each December at Club Passim in Cambridge MA. These perenially sold-out shows have featured the likes of Lori McKenna, Jake Armerding, Zachariah Hickman and Rose Cousins in-the-round, performing songs by other artists. They are fun and wide-ranging celebrations of the music we love, as likely to feature songs by Joni Mitchell or Bob Seger, as others by Sir Mix-A-Lot or Journey. For MIXTAPE, I drew upon some of my favorite songs that I've performed at these shows over the years. It's kind of like mixtape with just one artist singing all the songs. Or think of it as a greatest hits...of songs that aren't my hits.
I recorded MIXTAPE at Great North Sound Society up in Maine, spending three and a half days singing live in the studio with a small group of friends (and fellow members of Josh Ritter's band) backing me up. Whether it was a song that was a colossal hit in the 80's or a more obscure track from a cult favorite singer/songwriter, I threw everything I had into these performances. The idea was to unleash my voice, in a way that my own material might not allow. I'm proud to say that in 18 years of making records, you have never heard me sing quite like this.
If you've been a fan of what I've done over the last 18 years...you should KICK this record.
If you love interesting and surprising cover songs...you should KICK this record.
If you love to discover great new music...you should KICK this record.
If you want to support truly independent art made with love, care and integrity...you should KICK this record.
If you're one of those people who really like details (and a better idea of where all the money goes), check out this rough budget below...and then you should KICK this record!
- Musicians - $9,000
- Studio & Engineer - $2,900
- Mixing & Mastering - $3,200
- Songwriter/Publisher Royalties - $2,800
- CD/LP Manufacturing - $5,250
- Radio Promotion & Publicity - $12,000
- Album Release Tour Support - $2,000
(This comes to a little over $37K, and I still need to pay Kickstarter's fees)
I could go on and on, but I'd rather not. The bottom line is that there is currently no other viable model for me to get this project out to you, let alone give it a shot at getting it heard by new fans. But if I don't raise all the to meet my Kickstarter campaign goal, then I don't get any of the funds you pledged. It's all or nothing, so let's do this.
If you have as much faith and trust in me as I do in you, we're gonna be fine. Thanks, as ever, for the privilege of your continued support.
Risks and challenges
I've been doing this 18 years now. I'm not a household name, but I'm a reliable bet as far as putting out a quality product and working hard to get it heard. I'm not a flake and while there may be times I have a lot of balls up in the air, I am not going to drop any.
These days, with more music being released than ever, the hardest part about putting a new record out is getting folks to listen to it. I had originally envisioned this as a more low-key (and less expensive) project just for my fans. But as I got deeper into the record, I realized that this was something that deserved more. It's still for you, but it is also serves as a potentially powerful introduction to new groups of people who aren't yet familiar with my music. In order for the record to be heard, I have to hire radio promoters and publicists. They are the largest chunk of my expenses, but they are great folks that I've worked with before and I know they will do their damnedest to make sure the record takes flight.
Other than the risk of indifferent ears, the other potential issues are really fairly minor. It might take me awhile to draw a picture of your house, or to schedule a house concert if you live outside of New England. But this is my third Kickstarter, and I'm learning more each time about improving the experience for my backers.
YOU literally mean everything to me. If there are any problems that need solving, anything that needs to be made right, you only have to contact me and I will make it so.
You have my word.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)