I am a little over three quarters of the way into the recording of my ninth studio album. Still to go are some vocal and instrument overdubs, but more importantly the mixing, mastering, photography/artwork/design, manufacture, radio tracking and publicity campaigns. Given that the music industry is in serious upheaval these days, artists like me are feeling the need to rely on crowd funding campaigns to keep on the path we’ve been on for decades. Mine is called “Ray Bonneville’s Song Family”, and I am asking my friends and fans to help me to make this project successful. Here is some of my history and how I’ve come to think about this effort.
I grew up the second in a French speaking Quebecois family of nine kids with a very strict father and we moved around a lot. From a young age I was trying to get off on my own and ditch the heavy rules that were imposed on me. I was always off into the woods with a fishing pole or a sling-shot, and then later as a teenager in the Boston area with a guitar and a few chords. I really wanted to roam and find a place for myself in the music world.
For twenty years I wandered and played all kinds of bars and joints, developing my own musical style. From 1978 to 1990 I flew airplanes on the side. At the end of that time I worked two seasons as a bush pilot in Quebec. It wasn’t until my early forties that I began to write songs. The songs became my constant companion, and I lived to write better and better ones. It was a loner’s life, but it allowed me the potential for a recording career.
I never had kids but I’ve made eight studio albums since I started writing songs and traveling the world playing them for folks. You could say that the songs, the records and the road have been my family. To my mind the songs that go on an album belong to the family of that recording. Some are easy going and some are difficult, but they, and the characters that live in them, all belong in the family. I get to know and become close to these song characters as they reveal themselves over the hours, days and nights of writing. This new record I want to make is alive with them. There are several characters inhabiting one song in “The Next Card to Fall”, one who is emotionally rescued by a street parade in “Papachulalay”, there is the addict in “Codeine”, the lost and destitute road dog in “ It’ll Make a Hole in You” the prison inmate who calls his estranged brother as his release date nears in “The Day They Let Me Out”.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how my past, my family history and the way my songwriting and work as a touring musician have shaped my character and my path. I’ve come to realize how much a part of my chosen family the songs are, and also my fellow musicians, friends and fans.
The recording family for this project are: Richie Lawrence, keys and squeeze box, good vibes and friendship, with whom I played many years ago. We had lost sight of one another, then through fate, reconnected to play music again. Andre Bohren, drums, high caliber creativity, who I knew as a boy in New Orleans a long time ago. Gurf Morlix, an original player and gifted musical thinker as well as a good friend and fishing pal. Geoff Arsenault, soulful cat, long time good friend, wonderful drummer and artist. Justin Douglas, very creative and skilled studio engineer, friend, trusted recording advisor, with whom I’ve made the last two or three of my records. Evangeline Elston, manager, close friend, confidant, who knows me well, and can see the big picture a lot more objectively than I can.
Also in this family are all of you out there, friends, supporters and fans. You are the glue that holds this all together. You who come to the shows and gatherings, buy and listen to the recordings, relate to the songs. Without you none of this would be possible. These songs are for you. All together, we make up the SONG FAMILY.
Embarking on this Kickstarter project is risky, but it is a way for me to achieve some independence. Many years ago I threw away caution to make music my full time job. While I’m glad with my decision to devote myself entirely to this way of life, it takes resources to do it right. This campaign, if successful, is a way for me to bring these songs to a larger audience than ever before. So, my aim is to open up what I’m doing and invite you all, friends, fans and anyone who might be interested, into this project and let you be a bigger part of the process.
If we reach the campaign goal and the project is funded, you will help me pay for the recording, mixing, mastering (75% complete at the time of this writing), manufacture and a basic radio promotion campaign for the record. If we go beyond the goal (and I hope we do!), I will be able to implement national publicity and tour publicity campaigns. In other words, the more money we raise, the better and more far reaching the publicity and promotion and the more chance for critical and popular success for the album.
Project Budget - Kickstarter Goal $20,000
Recording, mixing, mastering $12,000
Cover art design $500
CD manufacture $2,200
New record radio campaign $5,500
THANK YOU FOR BEING PART OF MY SONG FAMILY!
Risks and challenges
I've taken the leap and am already 80% finished with album's production. This means I have invested my own money, time and resources into the project not knowing for certain if I will get funded through Kickstarter. I've done this because I feel strongly that the record needs to be made and I believe I will find the support through crowd funding from my dedicated fans and friends who know the value of independent art.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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