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.
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!
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
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!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)