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A sweet, sultry, simply-produced album of great vintage songs. Play it while you throw a classy dinner party or make sweet, sweet love. Read more

New Orleans, LA Jazz
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 31, 2013.

A sweet, sultry, simply-produced album of great vintage songs. Play it while you throw a classy dinner party or make sweet, sweet love.

New Orleans, LA Jazz
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About this project

HOME STRETCH! Current goal: 58k for a full-band, nationwide album release tour.

Rewards available:

$50 level Midwest release show tickets (1 left)! Signed vinyl (4 left!)

$75 level Good juju pack - 1 left! 

$100 level Limited edition Secret Songs EP 

$150 level Hand-written lyrics - 2 left! The full Carsie discography! 

$200 level A personalized Care Package from Carsie - 2 left! 

$250 level Dinner with Carsie before a release show, plus 2 tickets! 

$500 level A small, original song - 4 left! 

$1,000 level A cover song of your choice, home recording 

$1000-$2000 (depending on travel) Solo Carsie house concert 

$2,500 level A cover song of your choice, pro-quality 

$5,000 level New Orleans Vacation with Carsie - 1 left!

The Plan

To make a jazz record for people who aren't jazz geeks. There will be no vocal acrobatics, no virtuosic solos, no cheese, and no chimes. Just kickass old songs, simply arranged, simply performed, and simply produced. 

If you are a jazz geek, though, I won't hold it against you. I'm as geeky as they come. I'm looking to make a record that we geeks can take home and listen to with our mothers, our grandmothers, and even our indie-band loving hipster siblings. 

The Songs

Here are samples of a couple songs that will be featured on this album. These demos feature only vocals and piano, but the real album will feature a quartet or quintet. To hear (and even download) the complete demos, become a backer!

Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? By Eddie DeLange and Louis Alter:

 Two Sleepy People by Hoagy Carmichael:

And here's a complete version of Sweet Lorraine, by Cliff Burwell and Mitchell Parish (accompanied by me myself and I):

The Money

I'm starting out asking for $29,000. What I need to complete the project is $34,000. To realize my ultimate vision for the project (which includes hiring some big-name jazz legends, and a publicity team for the album release), I need $40,000-$50,000. To take the whole show on the road, I need $50,000-$60,000. For more deets on the budget, scroll to the bottom of the page ("The Boring Part").

The Inspiration

I got this crazy idea into my head when someone hooked me up with the record Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson. This is a classic, simple, sweet record. It also happens to be utterly, mindbogglingly gorgeous, from the first track to the last. After a few listens, I couldn't help but think, "Why doesn't anybody make records like this anymore?"

For about a million years, I've been obsessed with the recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio, Billie Holiday with Teddy Wilson, and early Chet Baker. What all of these recordings have in common is that they are heavily song-focused. The emphasis is on the lyrics and melodies, and the players are subtle, sensitive and restrained. The tracks are short and to-the-point. The vocalists (who are among my all-time favorites) sing simply and straightforwardly, sticking close to the melody. They sing with plenty of emotion, but they are restrained, so they come across as honest, rather than theatrical.

My aim is to make a record that can hold its own with these heavy-hitters, proudly stacked between Chet Baker and Nat Cole.

The Nerve

You might be thinking to yourself, okay, sure, but there are probably lots of people out there who are qualified to make this record. What makes you so special? 

To that I have two answers.

1) I'm not a jazz singer.

Jazz has changed since the 1940s. Somewhere in the progression from swing to bebop to modern and fusion and whathaveyou, the song started to get lost. The favor in jazz has moved away from the song and towards the player - there's a lot of emphasis on smart, impressive, and virtuosic playing, and not as much emphasis on recognizable melodies and memorable lyrics. 

Thus, a lot of modern jazz singers will blow your mind with amazing vocal acrobatics and clever note choices. I can't do that, and that's not the sort of record I'm making. 

What I can and will do is sing the sh*t out of each song, like I mean it. Like I have something important to tell you, and I want you to understand it. I'll do my very best to get out of the way of these beautiful songs, and let them smack you around themselves.

2) I'm a songwriter.

Instead of keeping up with the Joneses in the jazz vocal realm, I've spent my life up to this point thinking about and writing songs. Songs take up at least 75% of my brain power (I think this is why I'm always losing things, and have bruises all over my shins).

And I'm a darn good songwriter. Sometimes I get to open for big-shot songwriting legends, like Paul Simon. Sometimes these guys even say incredibly nice things about me, like "Carsie Blanton is up at the top of my list... great songs, singing and presentation." (Loudon Wainwright III), or "Carsie Blanton is a rare talent as a modern songwriter... reminds me of a female Cole Porter." (John Oates). Or, my personal favorite, "Carsie's lyrics are an iron fist in the velvet glove of her voice." (Peter Mulvey).

Because I am a bona fide songologist, I believe I have a bit of an edge in the song choice department. I can promise you, I've chosen well. (Curious? Become a backer. Song choice will be revealed via Backer Updates over the course of this campaign.)

The Team

*Campaign Video By Robin Walker: theladyrobin@gmail, with sound engineering by Russell Welch. Campaign photo by Bobby Bonsey.*

John Porter will be producing this record. John was born in England, and came to New Orleans after a long stint in Los Angeles. He is a Big Fancypants producer of blues, rock and Americana. He hasn't worked on many jazz records, and I consider that an asset (see I'm not a jazz singer). Instead, he's worked on the records of Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo, B.B. King, Los Lonely Boys, Steven Stills, The Smiths, and Elvis Costello (swoon). Ten of those records won Grammys. 

David Torkanowsky ("Tork") will be arranging and playing on this record. Tork is a pianist, composer and producer who was born and raised in New Orleans. He's worked with tons of great artists (Al Jarreau, Irma Thomas, Solomon Burke, Maria Muldaur, Dianne Reeves, etc etc etc), and is a brilliant and tasteful player. 

A Bunch Of Other Famous Guys who we Have To Keep Secret For Now. Suffice it to say that the majority of the tracks will feature a tasteful small combo including bass, drums, piano, and the occasional guitar and/or trumpet.

The Boring Part

The problem with Big Fancypants people is that they want to be PAID for their TIME. It's crazy! This record is going to cost a bit more than my previous ones because this kind of project requires some expensive talent. I am committed to hiring the Fancypantses, because I know they can make something worthy of that aforementioned spot in the record-stack. 

Here is a graph that tells you two things about the budget. 1) Personnel and studio costs are more than half the budget. 2) I am not asking for enough money to cover fun extras, like promoting this record so that people (other than you and I) actually get to hear it. 

"Recording Costs" include:

- Paying the Producer, arranger, engineers, and the musicians who play on the record. 

- Paying for studio time. 

- Paying for mixing and mastering the album.

"Manufacturing Costs" include:

- Printing 2,000 copies of the CD and 500 copies of the vinyl record. 

- Paying Lauren J. Andrews (my artistic director for Idiot Heart, and the director of 'Backbone', 'Backseat' and soon-to-be-released 'Smoke Alarm' music videos) to create cover art and merchandise for the album release & backer rewards.

"Kickstarter Fees & Reward Fulfillment" include:

- Kickstarter takes a 5% fee from the funds collected.

- Amazon payments takes another 3-5% for credit card processing.

- My estimated printing and mailing expenses for Kickstarter rewards (excluding shipments outside the US, to which a shipping fee is added).

- A small budget for the airfare required for some rewards ("small" because I have loads of air miles which I plan to deploy.)

If all goes according to plan, this album will be funded by the end of August, and we'll be in the studio in September. If not, we go to plan B: beg a label to fund the record, even if they require a sliver of my soul and the heart of my firstborn. (This would be bad. Don't make me do it.)

Meeting the project goal will guarantee that the album gets recorded, printed, and sent to you. But, I already have "stretch goals" planned, in case you completely blow my mind and we meet our goal before our 30 days are up. Meeting the goal early will allow me to unveil my super-top-secret stretch rewards, and raise the money to fund additional goals like hiring a publicist for the album release, making a couple of music videos, and hiring one or two more of the amazing jazz legends who hang around New Orleans. 

The Rewards

Dig this amazing paper doll (this is just the mockup), illustrated by Lauren J. Andrews! You'll get your very own with every pledge of $75 or more.

Risks and challenges

Licensing fees! I've never released a recording of a cover song before, so this is new territory for me. There are online services that allow an artist to pay a one-time fee for each cover they release. If I were to pay this licensing fee for all the songs up-front (covering each copy of the album that gets printed, before it gets sold), it would cost around $2,500. My current plan is to pay as I go, meaning, for each album sold, some percentage will go towards licensing fees. If we reach our project goal early, I may add licensing fees as a stretch goal so that I can pay for everything up front.

My main challenge, as an artist, is keeping my head on straight. It's hard for me to remember to bring my keys when I leave the house, let alone meet deadlines that are months in the future. It will be a challenge for me to stay organized enough to print, package and deliver everything on time. That's why I'm planning to hire an intern (probably through Craigslist, which I've had success with before) for a limited period surrounding the album release. The ad will read: "Seeking incredibly organized intern who ACTUALLY LIKES going to the post office, for short-term employment in the GLAMOUROUS MUSIC BIZ."

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • I can! I just have to make sure my travel expenses are covered. If you'd like to pledge for a house concert somewhere outside the US and Canada (BC/QC), I'd be happy to discuss it. We'll just need to calculate travel expenses (including the cost of extra travel days) and factor them into the equation.

    Feel free to send me a message if you'd like more information!

    Last updated:
  • Sure! If you want to buy one of the $50+ packages, but you don't want vinyl, you can substitute prizes of similar value.

    For example, if you want the Secret Songs EP, pledge your $100 and then let me know (later, when the project is funded and you get en email asking for shipping details) what you'd like instead of vinyl. For example, you could get an extra copy of the CD, another love note, or a paper doll to give as a gift.

    Or, you can get the vinyl just to frame and hang on your wall! I promise it will be super pretty.

    Last updated:
  • I am still committed to the pay-what-you-please model, for this album and the rest. Actually, if Kickstarter had a PWYP option, I would have offered it for the digital and physical CD orders. Instead, I decided to offer rewards that are a little more special that what you can normally order online (for example, signed CDs) and ask a bit more than the PWYP average for them. I'm hoping that folks who choose to support this project are willing to give a little extra to get a little extra.

    Last updated:
  • Digital downloads will be available through Bandcamp. They offer everything in Mp3, WAV, and FLAC formats!

    Last updated:
  • In order to select more than one reward, you have to create additional Kickstarter accounts. I agree, it's pretty silly. You can use the same credit card information for multiple accounts.

    Last updated:

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    29 backers

    MY ETERNAL GRATITUDE. Plus, access to backer updates including song choice, unreleased demos, and hilarious videos of me and my famous friends.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    497 backers

    THE DIGITAL ALBUM. You'll be one of the first people to hear the new record, the very day it hits the proverbial shelves! Plus, access to backer updates including song choice, unreleased demos, and more.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    50 backers All gone!

    THE CD - EARLY BIRD PRICE. The first 50 backers will get the CD for $15. PLUS the digital album. PLUS access to backer updates.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    294 backers

    THE CD! Get a shiny new SIGNED copy of the CD in your mailbox, the veritable moment it's released! Plus, bragging rights to your friends that you supported the making of said CD. PLUS the digital album, and access to backer updates.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    104 backers

    THE VINYL LP! Hold in your hands the very first Carsie Blanton vinyl record in existence, the veritable moment it's released! Complete with full color original cover art by Lauren J. Andrews. PLUS the digital album, and access to backer updates.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    42 backers

    THE SUPPORTER PACKAGE (CD + VINYL). The new album on CD and VINYL, complete with full color original cover art by Lauren J. Andrews. PLUS the digital album and access to backer updates.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    27 backers Limited (3 left of 30)

    SIGNED VINYL! Hold in your hands the very first Carsie Blanton vinyl record in existence, signed by Carsie! Complete with full color original cover art by Lauren J. Andrews. PLUS the digital album, and access to backer updates.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    24 backers Limited (1 left of 25)

    Two tickets to an east coast release show in Montreal, Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, DC, or Richmond. Plus, the signed CD.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    20 backers All gone!

    WEST COAST TICKETS - Two tickets to a west coast release show (Vancouver BC, Seattle, Portland, Eugene, San Francisco, LA), plus a signed copy of the CD.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    19 backers Limited (1 left of 20)

    SOUTHEAST TICKETS - Two tickets to a southeastern release show (Asheville, Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans, Austin, Dallas), plus a signed copy of the CD.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    20 backers All gone!

    MIDWEST TICKETS - Two tickets to a midwestern release show (Cleveland, Chicago, Madison and/or Milwaukee (TBD), Minneapolis, Kansas City), plus a signed copy of the CD.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    7 backers

    THE SUPER SUPPORTER PACKAGE (CD + VINYL + PAPER GOODIES). You get the album on vinyl and CD, a limited edition Carsie Blanton PAPER DOLL (see the illustration to the lower left! Illustrated by Lauren J. Andrews and complete with three tiny Carsie outfits), and a LOVE NOTE FROM CARSIE featuring an original thank-you doodle. PLUS the digital album and access to backer updates.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    9 backers Limited (1 left of 10)

    GOOD JUJU PACK - Carsie will find and/or make you a personalized set of good luck charms to put around your house. This may include: hand-drawn (by Carsie) luck creatures, a New Orleans gris gris talisman, a framed set of lucky pennies (found the natural way), and more. May also include chocolate. Plus the album on vinyl and CD.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    57 backers Limited (13 left of 70)

    SECRET SONGS EP. You get a copy of the limited edition, Kickstarter-backers-only "Secret Songs EP", featuring unreleased tracks and alternate takes from the album! This will include at least 5 unreleased songs, and WE ARE ONLY PRESSING ENOUGH OF THESE FOR THIS CAMPAIGN! Plus, the Super Supporter Package.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    2 backers All gone!

    A COMPILATION CD JUST FOR YOU. Pick from: Carsie's favorite jazz, favorite blues, favorite R&B and Motown, favorite contemporary songwriters, or favorite dance music. Or, choose your own adventure (Road trip music? Make out music?) Plus the signed CD and digital album!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    10 backers Limited (2 left of 12)

    HAND-WRITTEN LYRICS. You pick your favorite lyrics from one of my songs, I'll write them out in my very own chicken-scratch, on pretty paper. Then I'll draw you some appropriate doodles in the margins, sign it, package it carefully and pop it in the mail 'specially for you. Plus the Super Supporter package AND Secret Songs EP.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    30 backers Limited (10 left of 40)

    THE FULL CARSIE DISCOGRAPHY on CD. You'll receive SIGNED copies of all 6 Carsie Blanton original CDs, PLUS Jazz Is for Everybody on CD and vinyl, AND the Secret Songs EP. This set includes burned copies of two CDs that are out of print. (The full discography includes Hush, Ain't So Green, Buoy, Beau, Idiot Heart, Rude Remarks & Dirty Jokes, the jazz is for everybody CD, and secret songs.) Plus the Carsie paper doll & a love note!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    SEVEN YEARS OF GOOD LUCK. I'll send you a one-of-a-kind REAL four-leaf-clover, which I personally found, laminated, signed, dated, and put in a tiny frame. Guaranteed to provide you with seven years of good luck. (This is a not a joke - I am an expert four-leaf-clover finder.) PLUS the Super Supporter Package AND Secret Songs EP.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    4 backers Limited (1 left of 5)

    A PERSONALIZED CARE PACKAGE designed with you in mind, curated by me, and delivered via old-fashioned mail. I'll ask you what sorts of stuff you like (Candy? Books? Music? Adorable tiny creatures?) and I'll use my cuteness-detection skills to find stuff that will totally make your week. Plus the signed CD and Secret Songs EP!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    WRITING CRITIQUE FROM CARSIE. Send me a song, poem, or short story you've written. I'll listen carefully and respond with thoughtful feedback, encouragement, and/or constructive criticism. PLUS the Super Supporter Package AND Secret Songs EP.

    Estimated delivery:
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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    5 backers Limited (5 left of 10)

    Dinner with Carsie before the CD release show of your choice, two tickets to that show, AND the Super Supporter Package and Secret Songs EP.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    6 backers Limited (4 left of 10)

    CARSIE WILL WRITE YOU A TINY SONG. You provide the topic, I provide the wit and panache. I will congratulate you, write you an anthem, give you advice on your love life, or reprimand you, in song, per your instructions, in 30-60 seconds. Can be used as a gift for someone you love (or hate). PLUS the Super Supporter package AND Secret Songs EP.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    SOLO CARSIE HOUSE SHOW (East coast, South, + Midwest USA). I'll play your living room! You and I will pick a date that works for both of us, within 12 months of the date of your pledge. Once I'm there, we'll write the set list together, have dinner before the show, and then I'll meet your family and friends and knock their socks off. INCLUDES TRAVEL EXPENSES! PLUS the Super Supporter package AND Secret Songs EP.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    A COVER SONG OF YOUR CHOICE - "HOME STUDIO" RECORDING. Tell me what you want me to sing, and I'll sing it. And play it, too! I'll make you a recording right here in the Watermelon with a non-fancy mic, and I'll send you a WAV and/or Mp3 of it. You'll also get the Super Supporter package AND Secret Songs EP.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    SOLO CARSIE HOUSE SHOW (West coast USA and Canada - QC or BC). I'll play your living room, within 12 months of the date of your pledge. You and I will pick a date that works for both of us. Once I'm there, we'll write the set list together, have dinner before the show, and then I'll meet your family and friends and knock their socks off. INCLUDES TRAVEL EXPENSES! PLUS the Super Supporter package AND Secret Songs EP.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    2 backers Limited (2 left of 4)

    A COVER SONG OF YOUR CHOICE - PROFESSIONAL QUALITY RECORDING. Tell me what you want to hear, and I'll record a studio-quality version of it, for your ears only. PLUS the Super Supporter package AND Secret Songs EP.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    NEW ORLEANS VACATION WITH CARSIE. You'll stay in Carsie's watermelon studio for up to five nights (if you don't mind sharing a bathroom), and she will show you around town. Expect a swamp tour, a second line parade, some great food, and trips with Carsie to the best live shows in town. INCLUDES AIRFARE from anywhere within the contiguous lower 48, home-cooked breakfasts during your stay, and dinner with Carsie at her favorite NOLA restaurant. Dates will be chosen at the convenience of both parties, to be delivered by December 2014. Want to bring a guest? Email Carsie for details (carsie @ carsieblanton.com). You'll also get the Super Supporter package AND Secret Songs EP.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (31 days)