Hello, friend! Thank you for taking the time to check out what this is all about. I'm thrilled to take another shot at making an album: this will be my fourth, and it's entitled "Goodbye Stranger."
Normally, in an ideal world, I would fund this project on my own, incurring a cheerful pile of debt, and then I’d try to make that money back through touring and selling the album. But as life would have it, a few things have lead me to launch this here Kickstarter campaign - the second in my career (the first was back in 2014, for "Hints & Guesses").
First, as most of my fans know, I’m not signed or budgeted by any organization. There isn’t an infrastructure in place - no team of agents planning booking and management, no record deal that has gotten me to the point of owning a chimp named Bubbles or being able to go into the studio at whim. Whatever success I’ve experienced in music has come directly from fans and supporters like you - people who funded Hints & Guesses, people who have traveled to my shows, people who have invited me to come play shows for them, people who’ve allowed themselves to be moved by what they’ve heard. The music belongs to you.
Secondly, I’ve received so much overwhelmingly positive feedback about Champion (released in 2016), and have been in a such a productive, creative spot throughout this year following its release, that I’ve worked up the moxie to ask for your help once again through this phenomenal platform. I love Kickstarter because it allows fans to be directly involved - the success of this mission relies on you, and whether or not this is something you desire, something you think will make a positive impact in your life.
That’s nerve-wracking, and it’s inherently risky: but this is my way of saying that I trust you. It’s my way of saying thank you for trusting me thus far, for letting me sing into your life. Please let me keep doing so.
And finally, the timing of this album is too serendipitous not to mention. Back in September 2016, I played at Appaloosa, a music festival that took place over the course of a few days in the Shenandoah mountains. While there I met Daniel and Lauren Goans of Lowland Hum, an art-based, husband-and-wife folk duo based in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was mesmerized by their performance, their presence, and their musicality. We met and clicked, conversations lead to dreaming and scheming, and somehow our schedules lined up perfectly for recording this summer 2017. I was beyond thrilled when Daniel agreed to step into the role of producer for this next album. Daniel has produced all of Lowland Hum’s work, as well as that of a host of other commercially successful musicians. Their latest album, “Thin,” received a glowing review from NPR, and this Spring they've been on tour with one of my favorite duos, Penny and Sparrow. While I will still give heavy input to everything that happens with this album, I am hugely confident knowing that Daniel will be in a directive role, and that he’ll be doing everything he can do to ensure that we end up with a quality project we can both be proud of.
To that point, this Kickstarter is necessary in order to achieve that quality project. The financial goal is twice what it was for the 2014 Kickstarter, because the scope is twice as vibrant. We have twice as much studio time and double the amount of available musicians. I have twice the amount of songs to choose from and fashion - like I said earlier, this year has been full of inspiration and writing. We have two people sitting in the producer seat and probably twice the amount of people who count themselves as fans, now.
All of this stuff costs a pretty penny. We have to be able to pay our musicians a living wage, cover studio time, pay for mixing and mastering, and cover the costs of printing and shipping.
I’m also teaming up with some incredible artists to create custom rewards for you- everything from t-shirts, tote bags, jewelry I’ve designed, commissioned paintings I’ve envisioned, to an acoustic sessions album - and I need to be able to compensate the generous souls I’m relying on to make all these things happen, as well.
Literally every cent of this Kickstarter is being funneled into the album. If I end up making a profit on it in a year or two, that would be splendid; but if not, I honestly don’t care as long as it ends up in your hands and gets out there.
In the words of Martin Buber, "All real life is meeting." What is music but a desire to connect, a desire to know and be known? I want to share the stories of people I've met and loved, and I want to know your story, too. Music has been one of the most powerful forces of connection in my life, and I hope and pray I continue to get the chance to keep waking up to life through this medium and through the people who vivify and inspire it.
Risks and challenges
There is an inherent risk in launching a Kickstarter: you're given a finite amount of time to raise your financial goal, and unless you hit that goal (it can be exceeded), no money is raised, no project comes to life, and everyone goes home sad.
But within its very riskiness lies the beauty of this platform: when the stakes are higher and the pulse of time is pounding, it's made evident whether or not folks love something enough to take action. And when the goal is reached at the end of the thirty day campaign, there's a collective experience of triumph and zeal.
So, my urgent hope is that anyone and everyone who happens to see this video and read this page will feel compelled to share it on their social media pages, via email, by word-of-mouth, through text, smoke signals, et al: even if that's not usually their "thing." I hope that folks who have followed my music for a long time will share their personal experience with it as they share the campaign, explaining why they think its worthwhile, why it's worth valuing.
Just think: if 250 people gave 100 dollars each toward this campaign, we'll hit the goal. If 500 people gave 50 dollars each, we'll hit the goal. If 1000 people (the more, the merrier!) gave 25 bucks each, we'll hit the goal.
Be one of those people, please. Creativity truly does start with a spark of generosity, a sense of willingness: an "I will it to be": an "it is good."
- (30 days)