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An album of danceable December music, with original songs performed by vocalists and musicians from Durham, NC!
148 backers pledged $6,606 to help bring this project to life.

About

A Bull City Holiday: Keenan's Next Swing Album! project video thumbnail
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$6,606

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Hello friends and music lovers! 

Two years after recording my first album, Forged in Rhythm, I've organized a new session with some of my favorite musicians in Durham, NC. We'll be playing swinging, danceable holiday songs I wrote, with a planned release this fall. I've already saved up to cover much of the costs, but I'm asking for your support with the studio time, mixing, and mastering. You can help by just pre-ordering the album (at its eventual selling price), or check out the other rewards if you are able to pitch in more!


THE BIG PICTURE

My first album, Forged in Rhythm, was recorded with musicians and friends from NYC to LA. For my next release, I wanted to highlight some of the stellar players who live right down the street. A Bull City Holiday will feature several of North Carolina's unique voices, and it will revel in the energy and talent of Durham.

A few months ago, you wouldn't have convinced me that this would be my second release. Aren't there already a million Christmas tunes? What else is there to say? 

Back in the spring, I was asked to write a few holiday swing songs. I had a really difficult time finding inspiration in the off-season, but that changed once I got started. Ideas started flowing, and soon I was nearing an EP's worth of material. Before I knew it, I had a full album on my hands.

While there are many beloved classics, we also hear old Christmas songs with problematic lyrics that haven't stood the test of time. Perhaps there is an opening for swinging holiday music with 21st century sensibilities! Forged in Rhythm helped me grow as a songwriter, and I hope you'll enjoy how I approach themes of winter weather, festivity, and Christmas romance. 

Keenan McKenzie & the Riffers at Bull City Swingout 2019 (photo by Conway Li)
Keenan McKenzie & the Riffers at Bull City Swingout 2019 (photo by Conway Li)

THE LINEUP

It's a joy to compose music with specific voices in mind. When I wrote the songs for the last album, I had a sense for how Laura Windley would deliver them. Laura will be singing on this project, along with several other NC vocalists you are going to love. It would be impossible to get everyone on one album, but I'm thrilled to have the following folks representing Durham, Raleigh and the surrounding area:

  • Annie Bennet (saxophone)
  • Meggan Cashwell (voice)
  • Lucian Cobb (trombone)
  • Jim Crew (piano)
  • Daniel Faust (drums)
  • Billie Feather (guitar)
  • Jason Foureman (bass)
  • Lynn Grissett (trumpet)
  • Aaron Hill (saxophone)
  • Jim Ketch (trumpet)
  • George Knott (bass)
  • Ben Lassiter (guitar)
  • William Ledbetter (bass)
  • Shaena Ryan Martin (saxophone)
  • Renée McGee (trumpet)
  • Marcia McKenzie (voice)
  • Woody McKenzie (fiddle)
  • Chip Newton (guitar)
  • Wes Parker (trombone)
  • Paul Rogers (trumpet)
  • Al Strong (trumpet)
  • Alan Thompson (saxophone)
  • Robert Trowers (trombone)
  • Shana Tucker (voice)
  • Tamisha Waden (voice)
  • Mark Wells (voice/piano)
  • Laura Windley (voice)
  • Dave Wright (trombone/voice)

The session will be engineered by Jason Richmond, who mixed Forged in Rhythm and recorded both albums for the Mint Julep Jazz Band!

Playing a local dance at a Vecino Brewing Co. (photo by Micah Haycraft)
Playing a local dance at a Vecino Brewing Co. (photo by Micah Haycraft)

THE SONGS

We're aiming for around ten tunes: nine originals and one traditional selection. If we can afford extra studio time, that may expand. We'll have a mix of small group numbers, larger combos, and even a few big band arrangements! Here are some of the working titles:

  • As the Nights Grow Longer
  • Another Cozy Moment With You
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • A Charming Winter Town
  • Coal for Me
  • The Christmas Trap
  • Our Sweet Home
  • Santa's Cap
  • Snow Day
  • The Single Tree
Laura Glaess is currently working on a logo for my band! Here's the latest version.
Laura Glaess is currently working on a logo for my band! Here's the latest version.

REWARDS

This campaign is largely based on pre-sales. There's no premium for getting the album this way - you pay what you would if you bought it in December. Plus, you get it before it's officially released!

If you want to do more to ensure that this project is successful, here is what you could get at higher levels of support:

  • A button with the new logo for Keenan McKenzie & the Riffers (designed by Laura Glaess)
  • A custom, dance-themed ornament, inspired by album art
  • Lead-sheets of the original songs
  • Private music lessons
  • The actual big band charts from the album!
  • Acknowledgments in the liner notes
  • Access to the recording session
  • Transcriptions of big band recordings (!)

What if we exceed the goal?

If we exceed the goal by a little, it will help us weather any unexpected costs. If we go well beyond it, we could potentially:

  • Record/mix/master additional songs
  • Upgrade the CD packaging, with space for additional photos, song lyrics etc.
  • Hire a professional photographer or videographer to join us in the studio

Risks and challenges

If we are not funded, we may have to scale back or delay the release. However, I think I've set a very attainable goal we can reach mostly with small contributions. I know it's hard to feel the Christmas spirit during summer, but it will pay off in a few months!

I know (from experience) that there are often unexpected costs and setbacks when making an album. I've tried my best to account for this, and I've built in extra time so we can get the album out by December.

Finally, with this many people involved, any project becomes quite complex. Each track will feature different combinations of performers. I will use the full breadth of my band leading and recording experience to stay organized, and I have a few backup plans in case we hit a snag.

Thank you so much for your support - I can't wait to share this music with you!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Digital Album

    The entire album, before it goes on sale! You will receive a Bandcamp download code, allowing you to select your preferred file type. You could choose mp3 or an uncompressed format like WAV and AIFF. You will also receive a thank you on social media!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Physical Album

    A physical CD, mailed out before Thanksgiving! The album will be packaged in an "eco-wallet" including interior liner notes not included with the digital album art. You also get the digital download prior to the album release date.

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
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    37 backers
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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Button!

    Select this reward and receive a 1" round button, featuring the brand new logo of Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers, designed by the multi-talented Laura Glaess! You also get a physical copy of the album and a digital download.

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
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    16 backers
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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Custom Ornament (SHIPPING FIXED!)

    A custom hanging ornament, based on artwork being created for the album: a winter night, a crescent moon, people dancing in a home with a cozy glow. You also get the button and a CD!

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    11 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    3 CD Package

    Get a couple extra copies of the album to give as gifts in December! You also get the ornament, button, and a download code.

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    11 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Lead Sheets of Original Songs

    Tired of playing the same old holiday songs? At this level, you'll receive pdfs of all the lead sheets so you can play the songs at your winter gigs this year! As a bonus, I will include Bb, Eb, and bass clef instrument versions for your bandmates! You also get the ornament, button, and CD.

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    • All Lead Sheets of Original Songs (pdf)
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    Private Music Lesson

    A 60 minute private lesson, in person or via Skype/Facetime. We can cover topics such as composition, arranging, transcribing, improvisation, or whatever you're working on musically. You also get the lead sheets, ornament, button, and CD.

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    • All Lead Sheets of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Private Music Lesson (60min)
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Your Name in the Liner Notes

    As a thank you for supporting at this level, your name will be printed in the liner notes on the interior of the CD packaging! You also get access to all lead sheets of the original tunes, the ornament, the button, and an extra copy of the album.

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    • All Lead Sheets of Original Songs (pdf)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Holiday Big Band Charts!

    Do you direct or play in a big band? At least 3 songs on the album will be arranged for large ensemble, and at this level you get the complete arrangements! This includes pdfs of the score and all the parts, and optimized for either full, modern big band (4 trumpets, 4, trombones, 5 reeds) or slightly smaller "Swing-era" size band (3 trumpets, 2/3 trombones, 4 reeds). You also get all of the rewards from the $100 level.

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    • All Lead Sheets of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Big Band Arrangements of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Name in Liner Notes
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Studio Visit!

    Hang out with us in the studio as we record the album! To accept this reward you must be available on Friday, August 23, 2019 and provide your own transportation and housing, if necessary. You also get all the rewards at the $150 level.

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    • All Lead Sheets of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Big Band Arrangements of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Name in Liner Notes
    • Studio Visit (Aug 23)
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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Transcription: "Five O'Clock Whistle"

    Do you wish there were more 1930s/40s big band tracks you could hear live? At this level, I will transcribe/adapt this recording and donate the work to Heritage Sounds! I revived many charts for the Chick Webb, Jimmie Lunceford, and Lionel Hampton projects, and with no campaign in 2019, we can still bring a few tunes back to life. Choose "Five O'Clock Whistle," and you can hear this Duke Ellington/Ivie Anderson number performed in December by the Lindy Focus All-Star Orchestra!

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    • All Lead Sheets of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Big Band Arrangements of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Name in Liner Notes
    • Transcription of Big Band Chart
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Custom Ornament

    A custom hanging ornament, based on artwork being created for the album: a winter night, a crescent moon, people dancing in a home with a cozy glow. You also get the button and a CD!

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 2 backers
    $

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street"

    Do you wish there were more 1930s/40s big band tracks you could hear live? At this level, I will transcribe/adapt this recording and donate the work to Heritage Sounds! I revived many charts for the Chick Webb, Jimmie Lunceford, and Lionel Hampton projects, and with no campaign in 2019, we can still bring a few tunes back to life. Choose "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street," and you can hear this Duke Ellington/Ivie Anderson number performed in December by the Lindy Focus All-Star Orchestra!

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    • All Lead Sheets of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Big Band Arrangements of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Name in Liner Notes
    • Transcription of Big Band Chart
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    $

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  14. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    "Otto, Make That Riff Staccato"

    Do you wish there were more 1930s/40s big band tracks you could hear live? At this level, I will transcribe/adapt this recording and donate the work to Heritage Sounds! I revived many charts for the Chick Webb, Jimmie Lunceford, and Lionel Hampton projects, and with no campaign in 2019, we can still bring a few tunes back to life. Choose "Otto, Make That Riff Staccato," and you can hear this Duke Ellington/Ivie Anderson number performed in December by the Lindy Focus All-Star Orchestra!

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    • All Lead Sheets of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Big Band Arrangements of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Name in Liner Notes
    • Transcription of Big Band Chart
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    "So Far, So Good"

    Do you wish there were more 1930s/40s big band tracks you could hear live? At this level, I will transcribe/adapt this recording and donate the work to Heritage Sounds! I revived many charts for the Chick Webb, Jimmie Lunceford, and Lionel Hampton projects, and with no campaign in 2019, we can still bring a few tunes back to life. Choose "So Far, So Good" and you can hear this Duke Ellington/Ivie Anderson number performed in December by the Lindy Focus All-Star Orchestra!

    Includes:
    • Digital Album
    • Physical Album
    • Button: "Keenan McKenzie & The Riffers"
    • Custom Ornament
    • All Lead Sheets of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Big Band Arrangements of Original Songs (pdf)
    • Name in Liner Notes
    • Transcription of Big Band Chart
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    $

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    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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Funding period

- (22 days)