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A project to record and share a collection of unique, 21st century short works for solo mandolin.
A project to record and share a collection of unique, 21st century short works for solo mandolin.
37 backers pledged $1,197 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Deer Tracks is my collective title for a number of short solo mandolin pieces that I've written over the last few years. Just across the Upper Iowa River from my neighborhood in Decorah are some beautiful bluffs laced with man-made hiking and bike trails. Running between these human trails is a complex network of animals-only pathways. At some point I began to think of these slightly odd mandolin pieces as being my own deer trails; music slightly off my own well-worn musical paths.

Back in 2005 I created a web page, part of my larger Mandotopia website, to collect mp3 demo-quality home recordings of these short pieces, accompanied by pdf copies of the sheet music. To date there are 17 of these Deer Tracks freely available at the site. I have a few more that I haven’t added yet.

I have long thought about making proper studio recordings of this music and this Kickstarter project is designed to literally kick me into gear to achieve that goal. I intend to book time at a great studio here in the upper Midwest (I have a couple in mind) sometime in mid to late summer 2013 and have completed CDs ready before the next convention of the Classical Mandolin Society of America at the end of September in Regina, Saskatchewan. 

Deer Track, January 22, 2011 (mp3)

I am setting the funding target purposely low (about half of what I think I will need) and I’m thinking of your support as a kind of matching grant. More important to me than the actual funding is discovering whether there are people out there who are willing to sign on to support a project like this. I expect the potential audience for short, quirky, solo mandolin pieces to be small. This is music with no commercial potential in the traditional sense but I believe these pieces are beautiful, interesting and fun to play.

Deer Track, August 18, 2002 (mp3)

I also see this project as something that will generate additional Deer Tracks pieces. I fully expect that the prospect of an upcoming recording session and the support of Kickstarter friends will inspire some new compositions. (In fact, "Deer Track, May 15, 2013" is sitting on my music stand, partially finished, right now.)

So, go to my Deer Tracks website and listen to some of the demo recordings. Take a look at the different pledge options, there’s something for everyone. Remember, your interest is more important than the money. It will be great if enough folks get together and kick me into gear to finish this project.

(Note: Here are links to more information about the two CDs mentioned in the pledge awards section: my solo CD Mandolin Tunes and the duo CD recorded with my Contratopia bandmate Erik Sessions, Notes from the Farm.)

Risks and challenges

If this project is funded that will immediately kickstart me into booking studio time at one of my favorite studios. There is always the possibility of some slippage in the the schedule but I think it's completely realistic that I can finish the actual recording by the end of August 2013. These are short pieces and the final CD will be closer to 30 minutes in length than 70 minutes. A collection of solo mandolin pieces will need only minimal mixing and mastering. I will be sure to keep all participants fully informed if things are delayed.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Many, many thanks! Enjoy the demos and free sheet music and I’ll let you know when the studio recordings are available.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Receive an mp3 digital download of the finished Deer Tracks CD.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Receive a physical copy of the finished Deer Tracks CD.

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    6 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Receive a physical copy of the finished CD plus a pdf copy of the sheet music for all of the pieces.

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    9 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Receive a physical copy of the finished CD and a pdf copy of the sheet music, plus a physical copy of either my Mandolin Tunes solo CD or a copy of Notes from the Farm, my duo CD with fiddler Erik Sessions.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Receive a physical copy of the finished CD and a pdf copy of the sheet music, plus a physical copy of both my Mandolin Tunes solo CD and Notes from the Farm, my duo CD with fiddler Erik Sessions.

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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Commission a new Deer Track composition, dedicated to the person of your choice, to be included on the Deer Tracks CD; along with all of the items listed in the $35 pledge category.

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Commission a Deer Tracks inspired piece for your mandolin orchestra or mandolin ensemble, based on themes from at least three solo Deer Tracks, at least 5 minutes in length, pdf score and parts; along with all of the items listed in the $35 pledge category. (Deadline for completion of ensemble commission to be determined, but no later than the October 2014)

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Funding period

- (30 days)