Woohoo! Thank you thank you thank you! We made our initial Kickstarter goal AND our first stretch goal AND our second stretch goal! So we are onto the THIRD stretch goal: $40,000. At that point we can extend the publicity campaign by a month or even two. AND WE CAN ORDER HOODIES.
Also, we just added a long-sleeved t-shirt option! More on that (and how to add it to the pledge categories to your right) further down.
I'm Katie Dahl, a nationally touring singer-songwriter. My new album, "Wildwood," explores life in 2019 through the lens of the small peninsula where I live, Door County, Wisconsin. These songs circle around six generations of family who lived in this place before me, and my experiences living, loving, worrying, singing, being a friend, and raising a family here now. I cut the album live over three days in Nashville, joined by some of the best musicians I've ever met, guided by producer JT Nero (Birds of Chicago). This story is one of deep roots and broad branches, and I'm asking you to be a part of it.
I grew up in Minnesota, but to me, Door County (a narrow peninsula in eastern Wisconsin, jutting out into Lake Michigan) has always felt like home. My great-great-great-grandparents came here from Scandinavia in the 1850s. As a child, I came here often to visit my grandparents. When I was 20 years old, I started spending summers here. And when I was 25, I moved here full-time.
Since my last album of original songs came out in 2015, a lot has changed: I've played a few hundred shows, released a covers album, had a child (he's now three), and watched as the world (in Door County and beyond) has begun to feel less certain. And though I didn't intentionally set out to write about Door County, it gradually became clear to me that this latest constellation of songs was exploring the world through the lens of Door County, a place where I have six generations of history--and where I am currently raising the seventh.
The place where my family settled in Door County (my relatives still own property there) sits just across from Wildwood Road. I've always loved that word, "wildwood." It seemed to me a little scary, and also a little beautiful--not unlike how life seems these days. I took it as the name of the album.
I chose JT Nero, frontman of Birds of Chicago, to produce the album, in part because Birds of Chicago is, no exaggeration, my favorite band (check them out), and also because JT has a lifelong history in Door County. I have loved JT's songs for years, so I knew our musical perspectives were sympatico, and that he would get where I was coming from--literally.
In the weeks leading up to recording, JT shepherded the songs into their best selves and even co-wrote a couple of them with me. The album also includes two songs from my upcoming musical, The Fisherman's Daughters (set in Door County in 1908), as well as a cover of a song by Door County's resident Grammy nominee, pat mAcdonald.
The full track list is as follows:
1. Anna Lee / 2. Worry My Friend / 3. Braver than Me (co-written with JT Nero) / 4. Helen / 5. Good Northern Ground / 6. Wildwood Girl (co-written with JT Nero) / 7. Oh Minnesota / 8. The Fisherman's Daughter (from The Fisherman's Daughters) / 9. Valmy (by pat mAcdonald) / 10. In the Dark (previously released as a single, re-recorded here) / 11. Breathing Room (from The Fisherman's Daughters)
Here's the title track from the album:
We recorded the album at Hen House Studio in Nashville, and JT assembled a stellar group of musicians to play on it: Steve Dawson (Bruce Cockburn, Tim O'Brien) plays guitar, pedal steel, dobro, banjo, and more. Kristin Weber (Dolly Parton, Eminem, Kacey Musgraves) plays fiddle and sings. Jamie Dick (The Milk Carton Kids, Rhiannon Giddens) plays drums. Allison Russell (of Birds of Chicago and Po' Girl) and Larissa Maestro sing. Filling out the band are my husband Rich Higdon (upright bass) and me (lead vocals, guitar).
We cut the album live, which I've never done before. What you hear is really what happened, in a room, with four or five people playing music together and listening to one another and feeding off one another. This was awesome, not only because it sounds so real and warm, but also because I was unable to devolve into my usual cautious (some might say neurotic) recording self. What I played and sang is what I got; I couldn't re-record every vocal part twelve times; and that was freeing. The band was lovely to hang out with, and we ate some delicious food together, including some killer egg scone (biscuit?) sandwiches and a particularly memorable Baileys Irish Cream chocolate chip cake that Rich and I picked up at a Nashville bakery.
First of all: If there is a reward or combination of rewards you don't see here, please message me on Kickstarter or email me at email@example.com. This campaign is about including you, and I want to make your contribution (and maybe your Christmas shopping?) as easy as possible. And if you're feeling minimalistic, keep in mind that you can give at a higher level than the reward you choose (for example, if you'd like to give $100 and just get the CD, you can simply choose that reward and make your contribution higher).
That said, for this Kickstarter, I've worked hard to come up with the best rewards I've had for any Kickstarter so far (if I do say so myself). They include:
- The CD
- The Vinyl (my first time ever pressing vinyl!)
- The "Wildwood" T-Shirt
- The "I ❤️ Hometown Tables" Stocking Cap (very high-quality and warm, made in small batches in Minnesota)
- The Mix (a CD I'll create with some of my favorite songs)
- The Cup (useful as a juice cup, whisky tumbler, miniature vase, centerpiece--handmade by my husband/bass player, Rich Higdon, at his studio on our property, and featuring a limited edition "Wildwood" stamp)
- The Lyrics (handwritten lyrics to a song of your choice on high-quality paper, suitable for framing)
- The DCA Concert: The Door County CD Release Concert is scheduled for November 30 as a co-bill with Capitol Sun Rays, aka Birds of Chicago, Luther Dickinson, Amy Helm, Grahame Lesh. In short? A fantastic show. This gets you tickets and a song dedication.
- The Concert at Our House: A Kickstarter-backers-only release concert at our house in Baileys Harbor, WI on September 27
- Dinner at Our House: What it sounds like. We believe we cook well (even if our son does not always agree).
- A Concert at Your House: What it sounds like. If this seems financially unattainable, consider splitting the cost with a friend or two, or charging your guests a cover and keeping the money. Learn more about house concerts here.
- JUST ADDED: The Long-Sleeved T-Shirt! To replace a short-sleeved with a long-sleeved tee (for example, you want to pledge for a CD and a shirt but want a long-sleeved instead of a short-sleeved shirt) simply add $10 to a reward level that includes a shirt. To add a long-sleeved tee (for example, if you want to pledge for the digital but also want a long-sleeved shirt, or want to pledge for a CD and a short-sleeved t-shirt but also want a long-sleeved t-shirt), add $30 to any reward level. Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the first time in my career, I'm hiring a real live publicity team to promote this album's release. This is essential to getting the album heard by a broader audience than my songs have had before. Recording the album with some musical heavy hitters in a top-notch Nashville studio was fun and rewarding (and, as I mentioned, delicious) in its own right, AND it's also a fantastic way to get some traction on websites, blogs, radio stations, and print media that might not feature my music otherwise. I'm hopeful that my publicity team will be able to capitalize on the fabulous musicians who came together to make this record. Of course, hiring a publicity team is expensive, which leads me to...
The album has already been recorded, mixed, mastered, and submitted for production. So the project's budget (with the exception of publicity) is essentially set. So far, it's been paid largely via loans from friends, loans I must pay back upon completion of the Kickstarter.
Producer, Studio, Musicians: $11,739
Mixing and Mastering: $3,705
Manufacturing (CDs and Vinyl), Photography, Graphic Design: $8,220
Travel to Nashville: $436
Publicity (Print, Online, Radio): $9,200
Kickstarter Fees: $2400 (8% of total amount raised; budget amount is based on raising $30,000)
Kickstarter Rewards/Shipping: $2,500
I've already received $5,600 in off-site donations to the album (oh my goodness; thank you so much), and I set my initial Kickstarter goal at $30,000, which--if reached--will cover about 95% of my total expenses. So I've got three stretch goals:
Stretch Goal #1: $32,600. At this point, I cover all of the album's costs.
Stretch Goal #2: $35,000. At this point, I can afford to make two more music videos--a huge help in the world of music promotion these days.
Stretch Goal #3: $40,000. I can extend my publicity campaign by another month or two, giving this album a bigger chance to succeed on a larger scale.
Fourteen generous Door County businesses have signed on as sponsors of this album, for which I'm so grateful. Here's the full list.
Risks and challenges
This album is made. The biggest risk I can foresee are that I lose money on it. More realistically, the risk is that these songs don't get heard by as large an audience as I'd like.
If you've read this far--wow. You're a rock star whether you contribute or not. And if you contribute--well, I don't know how to thank you. To begin with, I'll send you your rewards. But please know that my gratitude goes deeper than that, as deep as it can go. Thank you for giving my songs a foothold in the world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)