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I'm writing a novella of 10 weaving tales & recording an album of 10 songs. 2 big birds. 1 small stone. I need your help to pay for it.
I've written a novella of 10 weaving tales & recorded an album of 10 songs. 2 big birds. 1 small stone. You've helped me pay for it. The release is slated for September 25th. Let's get the word out.
I've written a novella of 10 weaving tales & recorded an album of 10 songs. 2 big birds. 1 small stone. You've helped me pay for it. The release is slated for September 25th. Let's get the word out.
358 backers pledged $31,050 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Stories and Songs - A New Book. A New Album.

$31,050

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Hello lovers of words and music.
Welcome to my Kickstarter. I'm David Berkeley—father of two, husband of one, singer, writer of songs and (most recently)  books, lover of food, rivers, and the smell of piñon wood.  

We're thrilled to announce that we hit our goal! Thank you to all who gave. That said, you're not too late to get in on the party. We have a new stretch goal of $32,500 that we're now trying hard to hit. If we do hit it, I'll be able to afford to make a music video, and every backer who comes in at $50 or more will get a behind-the-scenes DVD of our recording sessions, in addition to all the other gifts. Yes? Yes. Now back to the project.

I'm currently working on my most exciting project yet: a novella told through ten intertwining stories and an accompanying album of ten songs, one for each story. To pull this off the way I'd like to, I need to ask for a little bit of your help. And you can do so, right now, to the right of this here screen.

First and foremost, I just want your support. I want you to help spread the word. That is more powerful than money. I'd rather you turn ten friends onto my music than give me $10. Truth. 

However, if you can do both, that would be great. Producing a high quality album and getting it out there into the world costs a lot. Here are some of of the big ticket items:

  • Studio Time We'll be recording in Chupadero, about twenty minutes above where I live in Santa Fe, NM.
  • Engineer Jono Manson will be turning the dials. He's really great. But he ain't free.
  • Musicians Bill Titus, Jordan Katz, Mathias Kunzli, Will Robertson and Sara Watkins will form the core band. I want to pay earn a living wage and cover all their travel, food and lodging.
  • Babysitting When I'm in the studio, someone needs to watch my boys.
  • Video I'd like to bring Ehud Lazin out to document the recording on video in the hope that we can also release a DVD and send you clips.
  • Mastering I'll probably use Roger Seibel again. He's based in Phoenix and is one of the few who still cut to vinyl should we choose to press vinyl again.
  • Artwork I care a lot about how the packaging looks.
  • Manufacturing I use AtoZ Media in NY. They're pros.
  • Promotional Costs It's the rare music review you hear on NPR of an album that wasn't handed to the staff by a publicist being paid over 3 grand a month!

Ultimately, this project will cost well over $25,000. But I will be forever grateful if you can help me with even a small portion of the costs. In return, of course, I've got all sorts of goodies I'll give you, among them a Skype tour of the studio, a private concert or and personalized song. 

(Ready to Give? Check out the sidebar on the right of your screen.
(Ready to Give? Check out the sidebar on the right of your screen.

Still reading? Well, then, I'll still write. 

More Back Story:

Over the past decade, I've recorded five studio albums, which you can listen to at www.davidberkeley.com. Along with my fourth album, Some Kind of Cure, I wrote my first book, a memoir entitled 140 Goats and a Guitar. It told the stories behind the songs on that album, most of which were written after the birth of my first son, Jackson, while we were living on the island of Corsica. The book included a download code for the songs, and the idea was that you would read a story and then listen to the corresponding song. Working on that project got me increasingly interested in what I could do with prose that I couldn't do with songs and vice versa. It also got me excited about the idea of trying my hand at fiction.

Goats is quite confessional. My songs express a good bit of my soul, and the book bared even more. After having done lots of readings from the book and performances of the songs, I found myself wanting to write about other people and other worlds. 

A couple years ago on Christmas morning after all the gifts had been opened, I took a run in my then hometown of Berkeley. I passed a really unattractive piece of lawn art: a faux-stone Brontosaurus sitting among unruly jade plants in front of an otherwise unadorned Craftsman house. I kept running, trying to imagine who would find something like that pretty enough to purchase and put out in front of his house. As I continued on, I watched someone pull a coat out of a garbage can and put it on. Then I saw a grey-haired man sitting on a curb, his head in his hand, smoking a cigarette. I ran past them and back home to the smell of baking bread and my kids playing with all their new toys. 

The combination of wondering about who would find that Brontosaurus beautiful and seeing those lonely and lost men on Christmas marked the beginning of my book. I began dreaming up narratives of isolation and dislocation, character sketches of people who were slightly off, who didn't  fit in. And what if each of them had the gift of seeing or creating beauty in surprising places? I gave all the stories the same setting and time, so the characters had the potential to interact and bump into each other. Ultimately, it was their appreciation for the beautiful that began to pull some of them together and allowed for some kind of redemption.

I wrote each story in third person (or what George Saunders calls the third-person ventriloquist, because each story assumes the tone and some of the inner thoughts of the main character). They're all written intentionally at a slight distance, with a quieter voice than I might otherwise use. That distance, I hope, contributed to a sense of isolation among the characters. It also made room for my songs, which are more emotional, expressive, and are sung in the first person. I wrote them loosely from the perspective of the main character in each story.

So there you have it. A book. An album. Maybe even a DVD. Though I can write the stories and songs without you, I'll have a real hard time recording and bringing the words and music into the world without you. So please consider contributing what you can. But if you can't contribute financially, know that I mean what I say up top—your emotional support is just as important as dinero. And telling people about my music and writing is the most important contribution you can make.

And to find out what you get if you do give, move your eyes over to the right.
And to find out what you get if you do give, move your eyes over to the right.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for the love.
Chin Up,
David

Risks and challenges

Most of the risks and challenges are creative. Can I write the stories and the songs and make them work together? This hurdle is more or less behind me; I am nearly done with the book and the songs are finished. Of course, there's still the question of whether it all works. But I have faith that it does and will.

So then the challenges are primarily logistical. Can I coordinate getting all my musicians out to Santa Fe and fit the recording into my already busy schedule of touring and fathering? I believe we've found a window that will work. We'll start on Easter (seems appropriate) and work all through the following week. Then I'll continue to refine the recordings after most of the band goes home.

I'd like to send the book and music to various publishers. That step may delay things because I'll need to wait to hear from them, and they may have a release schedule that I need to fit into. But again, this is just a logistical challenge and not a creative one. Given that I don't have a hard and fast deadline at this point, I'm not too concerned about the timing.

If you can think of other challenges that I'm not considering, please let me know. But if I were backing instead of creating this book and album, I'd feel pretty darn optimistic that this project was going to happen.

With that in mind, if you're ready to chip in, check out the lovely selection of thank-you gifts on the right. And thanks!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    At the entry level you'll get a download link for the new album and my deep appreciation.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    For a couple tens and a five, you'll get a signed copy of the new book and CD, plus a little bit of my love.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    For a 50, you'll get a signed copy of the book and CD plus a DB T-shirt. And you and I will both know, you're really giving me a push toward the goal.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A C Note gets you the signed book and CD plus a T-shirt and a limited edition screen print David Berkeley poster. A bunch of these donations and we're getting really really close.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    This supremely generous level of patronage gets you a signed book and CD, a T-shirt and the poster.
    PLUS you'll get a signed handwritten lyric page (one of only 10 that exist).
    AND we'll put your name in the liner notes of the CD.
    AND THERE'S MORE: We'll also send you an exclusive alternative recording of one of the songs before the album is released.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Our brand new giving level gets you a signed book and CD, a T-shirt and the poster. And I'll send you a DB Apron. Oh yes. PLUS we'll put your name in the liner notes of the CD. AND HANG ON, I'm not done...we'll send you an exclusive alternative recording of one of the songs before the album is released.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Now you're getting into the inner circle.
    You'll get the signed book and CD, of course. You'll get your name in the liner notes of the CD.
    You'll get the exclusive alternative recording of a song before the album is released.
    PLUS: We'll set up a Skype tour of the studio during the recording.
    AND: I'll sing you or a loved one Happy Birthday over the phone on your (or his/her) birthday.
    WAIT, THERE'S MORE: I'll also make a special solo recording of your favorite song of mine just for you.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    The Pen Pal. Introducing a freshly added gifting level. You'll get everything offered at the $500 level ( the signed book and CD, your name in the liner notes, the exclusive alternative recording of a song before the album is released, the Skype tour of the studio during the recording, the Happy Birthday song and a special solo recording of your favorite song of mine just for you). But you'll also get a postcard from me once a week during my birthday month of September. Yes. The Pen Pal.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Oh man, for a clean grand, you get to come for a studio visit in Santa Fe while we're recording--likely the 3rd week in April.
    OR (if you can't get to Santa Fe or just prefer), I will take you to lunch (or breakfast, because I love breakfast) next time we're in the same city.
    PLUS: you get the signed book and CD,
    a T-shirt, my whole back catalogue signed, the exclusive alternative recording and your name in the liners of the CD.
    AND, I'll make a special recording of your favorite song of mine for you.
    Plus, I'll just be really grateful.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    We'll call this the Royale.
    I'll write you a song. Then I'll record it and send it to you on CD with a handwritten copy of the words.
    And yes, you'll get the signed book and CD, the whole back catalogue, a T-shirt, the exclusive alternative recording and mention in the liners of the CD.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    The Big Papa. If you can swing $2000, I'll come and play a private show for you and your friends in the privacy of your own home (office, club or gymnasium).
    And yes, you'll get the signed book and CD, the whole back catalogue, a T-shirt, the exclusive alternative recording and mention in the liners of the CD.
    Note: If a private show isn't your bag, you can pretty much pick your prize. I'll come and cook you a meal, perhaps?
    (Depending on timing and location of the concert/meal, travel costs are likely extra.)

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    The Medici. Yep, come in at this level and you get all of the above and basically anything else you want.

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Funding period

- (30 days)