Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 15, 2012.

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A fun, gritty, and sincere love song to small-town living sang through the soul of a central Louisiana native.

I'm Chris Watts and I'm here to recruit you.

It's about the next huge step in my music career, CENLA. CENLA is my debut solo album and love song to the place I grew up, and the people I grew up with. I've been writing it for a few months now and the songs and arrangements are ready for the studio . But I need your help to get the album cut and distrubuted and make my dream our reality.

The songs on CENLA are a cultivation of my upbringing, musical influences, mistakes I've made, and lessons learned. Most of you will call it country music, and essentially that's what it is. I see it as a voice for my appreciation of growing up in a small town in the south, and it's the best material I've written. That's why I've lined up the best production team, musicians, and facilities to bring CENLA to life.

Kickstarter uses an "all or nothing" approach to its fundraising, so let's join together and make this happen, because this is your album!

THE PROJECT

CENLA will be recorded at world-famous Fudge Recording Studio (Better Than Ezra, Blondie, Motley Crue) by Grammy nominated and Emmy winning producer Jack Miele (Zac Brown Band, Ani DiFranco, Rod Stewart).

I've also recruited some of the best country music musicians in New Orleans to back me up:

  • Tony Italiano (guitar, vocals)
  • Ron Hotstream (bass)
  • Tony D'Alessandro (drums)
  • Myron Scott (percussion)
  • Bruce Tyner (pedal steel)
  • Leah Rose (fiddle)

Recording begins January 7 with an album release date of March 18, and I want you to be included in every step of the way!

GET INVOLVED

As most of you can imagine, making a great record costs money. Some of you are friends. Some of you are teachers, mentors, and family members. Some of you don't know who I am, but most of you have supported me from playing in little bars around Natchitoches to where I am today.

This is my payback to you. Kickstarter has provided us with the opportunity to take the next big step in my musical career together! For your support, I've devised some nifty rewards that I think you will really enjoy. All rewards will be redeemed three months after successful Kickstarting unless otherwise noted. Just take a look!

Money from backers will go towards:

  • studio time
  • production fees
  • printing and packaging
  • distribution
  • promotional costs

Again, Kickstarter uses an "all or nothing" approach to its fundraising. I'm going "all-in" on this project because I truly believe in it. Let's join together. Every pledge helps, whatever the amount!

MY PLEDGE TO YOU

Again, accomplishing this goal will be a team effort. My pledge to you is to keep you involved as much as possible with video updates, photos, contests, surprises, and much, much more! And, it doesn't stop when we reach our goal. I will provide live videos and studio updates during and after the recording process so you can see your investment come to fruition. You will virtually be in the studio with us!

How do you know I can do this? Because this is my career and my credentials speak for themselves. If you're not familiar with my music career, please check out my bio section for more.

I'm a musician. It's my passion, and  it's one of the few things I've ever put 110% into (just ask my parents and teachers)! I'm asking you to help fund this project so I can repay you with a really great record that you helped make possible. You'll be ge glad you did. Providing you with the record and the satisfaction of knowing you helped me take a huge step in my career is the least I can do, because without you, I would never have made it this far. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

-Chris Watts, October 27, 2012

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We enter Fudge Recording Studio January 7, and track for three days. The first challenge will be learning the songs as a band and getting them tight musically. To prepare, I've recorded demos of all the tracks for the musicians to practice on their own time. I'm also renting rehearsal space for the month of December for live rehearsals. Trust me, it won't take long fo these musicians to learn, I've got some of the best.

The next challenge will be tracking in the studio. Tracking takes time. A ten to twelve song project could take some bands weeks or even months of tracking. That's why our tracks will be recorded live in the studio! Not only could it potentially save time, but it will sound more authentic, organic, and cohesive. Sorry Tim McGraw, no auto-tune here. We also have an incredible producer in Jack Miele, so there's no reason why this should be a big problem.

The last challenge will be getting your rewards out on time. That's why I've decided to have fun with them. I'll be taking pics and videos of me preparing your rewards, packaging them, and shipping them to you!

If anything gets pushed back throughout the process for whatever reason, I will keep you informed and post updates ASAP!

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    7 backers

    FIRST LISTEN: Free digital download of "CENLA" two weeks before the release date, plus access to exclusive updates here on Kickstarter like demos, song ideas, and lyrics, and your name listed on my website as a backer.

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    11 backers

    FRONT ROW SEATS: Everything above, plus a signed CD copy of "CENLA" mailed to you one week before release date.

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    15 backers Limited (85 left of 100)

    BACKSTAGE PASS: Everything from above, plus exclusive CD copy of "The Bible Belt" album containing demos, B-sides, studio outtakes, lost recordings, and some cover songs mailed to you. A true collector's item as only 100 copies will be pressed!

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    4 backers

    ULTIMATE ACCESS: Everything above, plus a signed and personalized 11x17 limited poster.

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    2 backers

    ANTOON'S PARTY PACK: Now you can take the greatest bar on Earth with you anywhere! Everything from above, plus a signed and personalized set of beer pong cups and an "Antoon's Greatest Jukebox Hits" CD, personally selected by me.

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    7 backers

    YOU'RE FAMOUS: Everything above, plus your name listed in the "CENLA" liner notes, plus I will call you (or your friend) on your next birthday and sing Happy Birthday. I'll also post a video of me singing you Happy Birthday to your Facebook. You will also be able to vote for which song makes the final cut for "CENLA."

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    2 backers Limited (23 left of 25)

    PRESS PASS: Everything from above, plus a limited edition signed and numbered lyric book and photo album containing all the lyrics from "CENLA" and photos from the "CENLA" recording sessions. Only twenty-five will be printed!

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    1 backer

    ULTIMATE VIP EXPERIENCE: Everything above, plus when I play your city, you and a friend can come to the venue early for soundcheck (after load in - hauling gear is not fun). Hang out in the green room with me and the band/tour manager/or just me depending on the tour. I'll get us dinner and drinks and reserve a table/seats for you in the front (if there are seats) for the show.

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    0 backers

    MOVIE STAR: Everything above, plus be in my next music video! It will be probably be filmed in New Orleans, so if you're in the area it's easy. If you're not, I'll let you know when we're planning to film it and it'll be a perfect time for you to plan a vacation! We'll also have lunch together on set and after the full day of shooting we'll hit up the town!

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    0 backers

    YOUR OWN SONG: I'll write a song about you or any person/subject you like. You give me the details of what the song could include and I'll make it magical! I'll put in on YouTube and send you the mp3. It may even end up as a hidden track on the album!

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    1 backer

    LIVING ROOM CONCERT: Everything above, plus I will perform for you and your guests in your living, backyard, crawfish boil, Mardi Gras party, etc... Invite as many people as you'd like and I'll play all night long. Private show must be claimed in Louisiana or a touring city within 1 year of successful Kickstarting!

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    0 backers

    YOUR WEDDING SINGER: Everything from above, plus I'll fly out for your wedding and sing all the songs that you choose during your ceremony (I'll learn up to 8 songs) (you provide PA). I'll hang out all night (just seat me at a good table) and dance the night away with you and all the guests. It will be a wedding to remember! I don't play weddings so this is super special. This never expires so even if you're currently not dating someone and by the time you get married I'm more famous than Elvis I'll still honor it!

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    1 backer All gone!

    MY LYRIC BOOK: One of a kind! Everything above, plus the journal I used to write the lyrics and develop the concept for "CENLA." Includes alternate lyrics, doodles, studio composition notes, and more. And of course, signed and personalized!

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    0 backers

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Everything above, plus you come and hang out at Fudge Studio for the day and be a part of the magic. Eat lunch with the band and production team. I'll give you a personal tour of the studio. If you'd like, we'll ask you your opinion on different parts we're recording. AND you can record something simple (or complicated depending on your skill) on the album. Be it shaker, hand claps or backing vocals! You will of course be credited and receive Executive Producer title on the album!

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    MY FIRST GUITAR: Everything above, plus I will hand over my beloved American Standard Fender Telecaster I purchased in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina money. I used it in my first ever live performance, and throughout the Mudflap Junkies days. It is road-worn and beautiful, the ultimate collector's item. I will sign it, but only if you want me to.

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Funding period

- (30 days)