We’re putting out our new CD on Pinecastle Records, an historic bluegrass label out of South Carolina and we need some help.
By Quillan Roe
I’ve been playing in bands for nearly three decades, with my first professional band launching in 1992. But I first took the stage when I was 16 years old. My knees were shaking as I stepped to the mic, but halfway through the first song a feeling of calm swept over me. I knew then that I had found what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: make music.
Like me, Kim grew up with music all around her. Her dad would play his guitar and she would sit at his feet singing along. As she grew, so did her love for music: first as a girl singing along with the radio into a hairbrush in front of her bedroom mirror, then as a teenager in choir, then as a young woman singing karaoke.
We got married and soon Kim was asking me if we could start a band together; I said No! Kim persisted, kept asking me if we could start a band together, and I kept saying, “No.” But that same year both June Carter and Johnny Cash died, and a local bar organized a tribute to them and their music. I wanted to perform for the tribute but my band was not playing shows at the time. So with the tribute’s promoter on the phone I asked Kim if she still wanted to start a band together. Not knowing that I meant right then, she answered enthusiastically, “Yes!” I told the promoter, “Put us down as the… uh…” I hadn’t thought it through that far. “Put us down as the… Roe Family Singers,” I finally blurted. Our first show was booked and Kim didn’t even know it!
Though we both had full-time jobs, we threw ourselves into making music as often as we could. By 2010 we were maintaining a full-time band’s workload, while still working full-time day jobs, and we had one baby daughter and a second on the way.
We prayed for a sign from God: should we take a chance and quit our day jobs? Should we try to make our living as musicians? Will we be able to take care of our kids?
Our prayers were answered the next year in grand form: in 2011 we won the prestigious McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, which comes with a substantial monetary award. We talked it over and decided that we would try life as full-time musicians, and Kim and I have been making music our full-time work ever since.
Almost from the very beginning, I've wanted a recording contract. Back when I first started it was because I wanted all of the things that I thought went along with the contract: the million-dollar advance, the fame, the fortune, the mansions, the cars... I thought it was the ticket to being the next Elvis Presley or Hank Williams.
These days, unless you’re Prince or Taylor Swift, those things don’t exist anymore. The advent of peer-to-peer sharing, streaming internet music services, and the fact that any lap-top computer can be a recording studio and distribution hub have drastically changed the music industry.
So why did we sign a recording contract with Pinecastle Records? Why work with anyone when we could do it all ourselves? For us, partnering with Pinecastle means, most importantly, someone to share both the workload and expenses of promotion and distribution. Running a band is hard, never-ending, expensive work, and we’re also parents to our wonderful daughters, and spouses to each other. Having someone to help us with the workload is wonderful, and frees up more time for family.
It also means new opportunities to play for audiences that we otherwise might not be able to access; it means the respect that comes from "being on a label;" it means that someone professional, someone in the business, someone with a long history of putting out music akin to ours, believes in us and what we do; and it helps us to further our career, to take it up to the next level, to sustain it longer than we might be able to do on our own. We are so very thankful to be working with Pinecastle Records to make this happen.
So why do we need your financial help if we’re on a record label? As mentioned earlier, the industry has changed drastically even in the relatively short time we’ve been a part of it. No longer do the record labels pay for everything. These days all of the expenses are split between the artist and the label, everything from recording the music, mixing it, mastering it, and producing it; to the creation of the artwork that surrounds it, the web-sites that promote it, and the distribution of it, whether physically or digitally. Having Pinecastle Records to split those costs with is a dream come true and we're almost there.
Finally, why work specifically with Pinecastle Records? As mentioned before, Pinecastle is an historic label in the bluegrass industry, and they represent some of our favorite contemporary artists, like Blue Mafia, Dale Ann Bradley, Eddie & Martha Adcock, and Special Consensus; and classic artists like Chubby Wise and the Osborne Brothers. More importantly, in all of our interactions with Ethan & Matt of Pinecastle, we've found them to be stand-up guys that we genuinely like working with.
We’re working on making our long-held dream come true. We need your help to do it. Thanks!
Risks and challenges
A string--or multiple strings--could break on the the upright bass during recording. Not only could the extreme tension on the long, steel-wrapped bass strings cause the broken string to whip around terribly like an over-sized weed-whipper, at the very least cutting off Eric's fingers, if not chopping his body completely in two, it could also ruin an otherwise good take of a song.
Ol' Spitty could eat something really garlicy just before recording his jug parts, thus releasing toxic clouds of garlic stench into the recording studio's ventilation system, which would then circulate throughout the building, killing us all slowly, like carbon dioxide or radon. OR he could forget to rinse his jug out after a take and deadly spores could grow in the dank, warm, dark, moist innards of his jug; then when he next plays the jug, the deadly spores would be stirred up and expelled from the jug, again releasing a deadly cloud, only this time of spores, into the recording studio's ventilation system, but this time killing us all many months later as the spores are first unknowingly inhaled in the studio environs, and then slowly and secretly incubated and spread throughout our respiratory systems.
The banjo could go woefully out of tune during the recording of any number of songs, requiring tedious, painstaking hours of retuning and adjustment, during which time the other musicians could develop deep vein thrombosis due to this extended period of inactivity for them. (Deep vein thrombosis is known as a silent killer, and has taken the lives of many on-line gamers.)
The CD replication robot could malfunction, flinging the silvery, killing discs through the air like Oddjob trying to kill James Bond in Goldfinger. Luckily for us, we don't live or work at the CD replication facilities, so the risk to US, at least, would be minimal in this case.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)