___________________UPDATE AUGUST 21_________________________
Thanks to the generous support of 102 Kickstarter backers, we've reached our primary funding goal a couple of weeks before our deadline! This means our project will be funded. We'll be in touch in early September to get mailing and/or email addresses and firm up details about fulfilling all the rewards. Thanks again!
Our $5k goal was to pay for original artwork, CD manufacturing/shipping, and mailing CDs to radio stations. If we receive enough additional backers in the next couple of weeks, those funds will go towards hiring a PR firm to do the radio mail-out and publicity.
Our CD is now mixed and mastered, Chris just finished the album design, and everything is going to the manufacturer momentarily....
___________________UPDATE AUGUST 14__________________________
Here's the front and back wrap-around artwork Jason came up with - we love it!
Thank you for checking out our Return to Trion Kickstarter, which is a great way to help us make our new album by pre-ordering a CD and/or trying another of our "perks." If you're interested in old time, bluegrass, and folk music arranged specifically for clawhammer banjo and Dobro, please read on....
DOBRO AND CLAWHAMMER - ORIGIN STORY
What spawned this unlikely pairing of instruments? Chris and I first met teaching at a bluegrass workshop in BC around 2003. I lived in Montana and he lived in Toronto. We swapped CDs in passing, and over the years, we ran into each other at various events and had the chance to jam a bit, occasionally with just banjo and Dobro since that's what we happened to be carrying. Around 2008, we had the idea to try a duo tour of the northwest showcasing this sound and had a great response. We had an album recorded a couple of years later called Farewell Trion, which received a rare "highlight review" in Bluegrass Unlimited. Our Banjo Newsletter review referred to us as a "two-man folk festival."
Since then, we've refined the unique sound of clawhammer banjo and Dobro (or Weissenborn). We also switch it up and have some guitar/Dobro songs, as well as an occasional double-banjo tune. It's a really fun project, especially since Chris and I both spend most of our musical time as "sidemen" in support of other people's music. It's great to have this project as an artistic and creative outlet, and we're happy to be mostly done with a follow-up CD! As you heard in our video, we had been thinking of "Return to Farewell Trion" as a title, but at the last minute decided we'd go with plain old "Return to Trion."
RECORDING RETURN TO TRION
Since we made our first CD, I've moved to Toronto--it's been much easier to record now that Chris and I don't live thousands of miles apart.
I'm doing the recording, mixing, and mastering myself. Though I have great mics and preamps, I still don't have a real studio space in Toronto, which is why Return to Trion was recorded 98% live in Chris's parents' living room in Guelph, Ontario and at my Toronto apartment (carefully coordinated with streetcar and baby nap schedules). It turns out stuffed animals make decent acoustic panels in a pinch....
Return to Trion is comprised of old public domain songs, a few originals, and three cover songs: our versions of Robbie Robertson's "Stage Fright," Jesse Winchester's "Glory to the Day," and Bill Trader's country classic "A Fool Such As I." We always have a good time seeing where the instrumentation takes us in terms of arrangements. The recording is complete, and we're almost done mixing. Have a listen!
Here's a working mix of one of our more upbeat numbers (in tempo if not lyrically), "Train that Carried My Girl from Town."
Here's a mix of one of our new clawhammer banjo and Dobro tunes, which Chris wrote while waiting for me to show up to rehearse. It's called "Waiting for Ivan." I guess that's what I get for being late....
Chris is a great guitarist as well. Here's a mix of old, old English folk ballad, "Georgie," with fingerpicked guitar and Dobro.
And here's our Weissenborn/clawhammer version of Sail Away Ladies (based loosely on the Tommy Jarrell-style lineage of the tune).
GRAPHIC DESIGN AND ARTWORK
Chris is doing the graphic design for Return to Trion. Our unbelievably talented friend Jason Laudadio (who did the artwork for Farewell Trion and Chris's Old Dog CD) is working on some stellar artwork for the jacket. We lost our minds over the rough drawings! I promise, this will be a CD you'll want to hold in your hands. Here are some ideas Jason sent us so far:
TO THE FUTURE, AND BEYOND!
So, our future expenses at this point are artwork, manufacturing/shipping, licensing fees for a few cover songs, and mailing CDs to radio stations (which is actually the biggest expense). We've set $5000 as a Kickstarter goal to make this all happen. If we're fortunate enough to reach our goal, we will definitely put the funds to good use! If we happen to exceed our goal, we will put those additional funds towards hiring a good publicist to handle PR and our radio mail-out.
If you like what you heard, we hope you'll consider pre-ordering a Return to Trion CD and/or trying another of our perks. Now mathematically speaking, it's a proven fact that more people on Earth will dislike our music than like it. If you don't enjoy what we're doing at all--and our music makes you feel as if your head will explode like Revok in the last 5 minutes of "Scanners"--we wonder if you'd be open to the possibility of getting our album as an insidious gift you can inflict on one of your worst enemies....
Kickstarter is a great way for us to front-load some of the lofty expenses associated with releasing an album of non-commercial roots music. But we aren't looking for a handout, and we've done our best to price all of our perks so there's good value for our supporters. We came up with several combinations of CDs and mp3 downloads, and we included other options that include banjo or Dobro tablature, Skype lessons, house concerts, and more. Please scroll through all the options to see if there's one that's right for you.
As a special bonus, every supporter will get the recipe to my great great granduncle Bill Monrosenberg's world famous Bluegrass Bagels.
We of course understand that times are tough and you must have other important things on your expense list already. If you enjoy our music but can't participate financially, you can still help us out by sharing our Kickstarter with your acoustic music-loving friends via email, Facebook, mind control devices, etc., and by putting in a good word for us at your favourite music venues and festivals.
If you back our Kickstarter, we'll send very occasional updates: important non-boring progress reports, a song or two before the album is out, some other assorted music, and of course some super special exclusive content to be named later....
Thanks again for checking out our Kickstarter--we appreciate it, and we're looking forward to sharing this music with you!
Risks and challenges
In the big world of risks and challenges, let's face it, making a folk music CD ranks pretty low.
We'll have the CD mastered, album artwork done, licenses purchased, and project cued up at the manufacturer by the time the Kickstarter finishes. We should be able to send out the mp3 download rewards sometime in September. Same goes for the "Tab and mp3 download" perks. We have a CD release tour set up for mid-late September, so if we get our CDs at the last minute, we may have to wait until early October to mail physical CDs.
A small perk-fulfilling challenge will be the logistical issue of scheduling skype lessons or house concerts. This is hardly insurmountable, we'll do our best to fulfill these perks as soon as possible on a schedule that works for you!
If someone takes us up on our mayor-related perk, I think it's safe to say there will indeed be a multitude of risks and challenges--we can't guarantee any particular outcome, but we'll do our best and document our efforts!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)