Memoirs of a Honky Tonk Heart: Not Every Story Has a Happy Ending...
Like Waylon said, "I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane." So here I am with a country album I really had no business making, and thrilled beyond belief at the final product! I'm so in love, and all I want is to share this crazy project with somebody, anybody - the whole world would be great?
Not surprisingly, there's a ton of drinking and heartbreak on the album - obvious, timeless country music themes. But for good measure, I threw in some addiction issues, domestic violence, a sawed-off shotgun, and a grave in the desert - so basically a love story. It winds up with a honky tonk angel beyond salvation, jolting us out of an outlaw dreamscape and into a harsh modern-day reality, with unanswered phone calls, an unexpected new character, and the most final of final escapes. Happy endings are overrated.
At some point, I realized Memoirs of a Honky Tonk Heart was like the photograph negative of the Red Headed Stranger by Willie Nelson - black where he had white, gray where he had gray, a steely woman where he had a reckless man, and an irreversible downward spiral instead of his red headed stranger's redemption. I remember poring over the illustrations on the back of the album as a young girl - the opening wail, "It was the tiiiiime of the preacher..." still gives me chills. So that unintentional twist enthralled me even more.
That wasn't the only instance of strange serendipity. Through a friend's Instagram page (thanks Kenzie Kovick at @rhinestonedcowgirl, amazing purveyor of wester vintage duds! ;), I came across a seductive multi-talented musical and visual artist, Ambur Rockell West (@witchywestern; @midnightballadera for her book). Short story, I asked her and she agreed to illustrate the album. Her medium is old-fashioned pen and ink, and she came through with pictures even more beautiful and perfect for the story than I could have imagined. Thank you, Ambur!
The pictures are simply inseparable from the music, just like the pictorial on the Red Headed Stranger album cover. However, that kind of storyboard would never fit on a CD cover, and in a CD booklet it would just be hidden away. For a digital download, it would never even be seen. So, proof of being crazy and also possibly insane, I decided to include a 12" album "cover" with every single order - CD and/or digital. Sensible? Totally not. Profitable? Hahahaha! Just do whatever you want with it, cut it open and hang it on the wall where you can see the front AND the back at once...?
Speaking of rewards of being a contributor...let's check out a preview of how I want to thank you for helping me finish up this project:
Not enough for ya? Still hungry for more? No problem. The last two levels, the OUTLAW and the GRAVEDIGGER get even more seriously awesome, with rewards straight from my own hands and heart:
Yep, so I know you're like "WOW" and itching to get over to the supporter's page now, so I'll wrap this up.
The instructions on this section say to tell your story like you're explaining it to your friend. Well, my closest friends and family already know that I've spent the last 2 years working on this project in my spare time, around parenting and wife-ing and running my business. They already know I've spent an illogical amount of money on it (thanks Citi and Cabela's points!) but understand how important it is to me. They know that many of the songs are rooted in AMPLE personal experience.
They've also already heard about how awesome Ray Hamilton and Richie Boe with Trial by Fire Productions have been to work with, playing instruments on the tracks and contributing their creative touches to fleshing out the songs and expert mixing. Blake Francis Bickel of Dynamic Sound Service will be polishing them up with mastering. Then it will be shipping off for CD manufacturing and sent off into the cloud for streaming at Bandcamp!
So with that, THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading my story, check out the video to see how awkward and not-a-video-producer I am, and please consider being a contributor by ordering this one-of-a-kind album and getting some of the awesome rewards available for all you awesome project backers!
XOXO, Jessie Wesloh
Risks and challenges
Everything about Memoirs of a Honky Tonk Heart has been a risk and a challenge, except the actual writing of the songs, which flowed out with a life of their own. Challenges: learning what to do with a song with a song after you have scribbled words on paper, like making a beginning and an end. Keeping a flow and momentum working 2 hours at a time, sometimes 3-4 weeks apart. Listening to drafts over and over again with 2 kids gravitating like magnets toward any attempts to focus.
RISKS: Everything, but 100% worth it. Spending literally thousands of dollars to record and mix a 13-track album (and that's with so much generosity from everyone who helped me - it should have cost much more). Putting my heart and soul into songs that are special to me but might be terrible to everyone else. Remembering it's about art, not profit.
And now a finished product in hand, ready for mastering and production. This pre-sale is not only a way to get the word out and estimate an amount to order, but a hope for a final little funding push to get this thing out the door. My goal is small because I'm almost there and don't expect to recoup what I've already invested up to this point. Your generous support will just help me take this last step in making Memoirs of a Honky Tonk Heart a reality!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)