Keep Left at the Fork: a faerie album and fine arts nexus
Listen to Perfect Storm, the first SINGLE off the album!
Listen to This Isn't You, the second SINGLE off the album!
Listen to Catalyst, the third SINGLE off the album!
When you Journey into Faerie, Keep Left at the Fork.
I'm Leslie Hudson, a musician that sounds like what would happen if Tori Amos and Loreena McKennitt swapped set lists. I write about the paths women walk through life and myth and media. I'm a feminist, a pagan, and pursue equity in all its forms. This is my new album.
Keep Left at the Fork is comprised of 13 songs that follow my Journey into Faerie. 13 songs I wrote to hold the place of 13 steps on a Path from start to finish, inspired by the work of Brian & Wendy Froud in The Heart of Faerie Oracle.
Pagans like me who reach back into the Past for meaning and inspiration, for research that informs faith, for language study and prayer, to touch ancient iconography and sacred spaces, can find that we long to go backwards in time, to step into what was and dwell there. It's a siren's song, calling us home to ancestry or to heartland or to memory or to desire. There's a seduction in letting go of our anchor in the Now.
Keep Left at the Fork chronicles my Journey into Faerie as it is, not as it was. I am a modern pagan in a modern world. These songs tell the story of a vital and present woman, engaged in her life, testing it, enlightening it, transforming it. I'm not writing about Faerie so much as I am walking into Faerie.
I'm writing about the blessings to be found in the midst of chaos, the joy of feeling free to live a chosen life, the memory of trauma and the consequence of standing up for personal truth, the challenge of living with dysmorphic inner voices, the fear of opening up to someone else, the baggage of past relationships, the moment of silence where clarity begins, the search for self and validation, the lure of glamorous association, the spark of creation in the blackness, the weight of ideas so massive they will change the world, the lessons passed from mother to daughter, and the mystery of metamorphosis.
The Blessing. The Leaving. The Remembrance. The Challenge. The Joy of the Future. The Shadow of the Past. The Song. The Question. The Temptation. The Hope. The Dreaming. The Gift. The Returning.
This is a Journey into Faerie of the sort you may not recognize. There are no tell-tale signs of wings and pixie dust. It's a modern Second Sight as subtle as it is profound, the truth that hides in plain sight.
I've had the privilege of collaborating in weird and wonderful ways with musicians and writers around the world for many years, thanks to the annual songwriting challenges I participate in, my extensive touring schedule, and the international communities who support me. But this time it's different.
Never before have I poured so much of myself into a project. This isn't just another album; it's a Magical Working.
I've gathered musicians from across the US, Canada and as far as Norway to help me sculpt this sonic landscape. The terrain is more carefully crafted than it has been on other albums. Think keys and strings, voices, rhythms and words. Think magic and infusion. Think oneness of purpose.
The versatility and stylistic reach of these musicians is extraordinary. When each of them agreed to be on the album, I danced. We're going to be able to build exactly the sound I heard in my head when I planned the project. A true gift.
The musicians are
- Leslie Hudson - vocals, piano, songwriter
- Betsy Tinney - cello
- Jodi Krangle - backing vocals
- Kristian Børresen - synths, ambient percussion, piano doctor
Joining us are special guest musicians
If you're unfamiliar with any of their music, take some time to remedy that. Follow the links to their pages and listen to them, support them, encourage them. Follow them on social media. Attend their concerts whenever you have the opportunity. Most of us perform regularly, all of us make music regularly, some of us tour together as often as we can. It's a stellar crew and I couldn't be more excited to hear how we're all going to sound.
Fine Arts Nexus
But I want Keep Left at the Fork to be more than an album.
In May I returned home at the end of a 4-month tour with the fire of inspiration burning in my head. I reached out to friends, artists of many kinds, to painters, jewellers, calligraphers, potters, textile artists, photographers, and asked them to join me. Each one multi-talented, each one willing to let my art inspire theirs, and to infuse this project with their unique vision, magic and style.
Between them - and this is a list of such massive creative ability it's astounding - they are designing original works inspired by specific songs on the album and by the Fae themselves. I am so thrilled, honoured and grateful to be able to share with you their beautiful artistry.
The Fine Arts Nexus is
- Stacy Koviak-Davison of Psoma Design
- Sherry Kirk of SidheFire Arts
- Caroline Julian of Céilidh Creations
- Laura Tempest Zakroff of Owlkeyme Arts
- Katt McConnell of Platyfly Studios
- Elise Matthesen a.k.a. Lioness Elise
- Brenda Sutton
- Matthew Cimone (stretch goal)
From semi-precious stone necklaces to prints of original art, from glazed ogam tokens to a silver and blood pearl circlet you have to see to believe, from satin pixie skirts to illustrated lyric scrolls, from customized spell verses to fully-integrated metamorphic rituals, we have something for everyone. (Read through the reward tiers for details on each one.)
These original items are available in small quantities only so if you see something you must have, snap it up quickly! It may not last long.
Behind the Scenes
June has been a blur. With my sound engineer, John Cooperider, down in Mattawan MI, we recorded the lead vocals for 13 songs in 18 hours over 2 days. It was such an intense and rewarding weekend. Sent the tracks straight off to Jon Tornblom and Ken Merkley at Transparent Mastering to begin the mixing process back in Hamilton ON.
While still in Michigan, I did a photo shoot with Bryan Koviak in the woods at Al Sabo Land Preserve. I can't remember the last time I walked barefoot in the woods. We had a perfect day for it.
I sent the rough mixes of vocals + piano to the other musicians on the album and they set to work. You should hear me squeal with delight when I listen to a cello track from Betsy or a backing vocal track from Jodi. This album is going to sound so Magical because of everyone involved.
For the first time I commissioned an original painting for the album cover, by Stacy Koviak-Davison, inspired by my love of woodlands and the belonging I feel when I spend time beneath those trees. Nothing touches my soul and restores my heart like the natural world and Stacy has captured every bit of it.
When we have the finished product in hand it will once again be graced by the graphic design of Karl Stahl, who has designed the layout of every album with me since I started making them 20 years ago.
The discs will be printed by Disc Runner, who I've successfully used to print my last 5 albums, and will be shipping out of Toronto to Canada, the US, Europe, and anywhere else my music reaches.
Album Release & Shipping Dates
The release date for Keep Left at the Fork is August 9-11, 2019 at Myths & Legends Con in Denver CO, where I'm the Music Guest of Honor and will be performing all weekend long.
My subsequent tour will feature the 13 songs from the album in every show, start to finish. If you want me in your city, I'll see what I can do! I'll be touring across Canada and the US from August to October 2019.
Physical CDs will ship early August 2019.
The original art pieces will ship from August to October 2019, depending on the item and your involvement in the design process, as some allow for your personal input and direction.
Custom collaborative ritual design and associated booking will be negotiable on a case by case basis, depending on scope and any seasonal considerations, as well as (if my participation is involved) distance and my tour schedule.
Everyone will have everything tangible in the mail by October 1st 2019. I've included shipping costs in the pricing to keep it clean and simple because I want you to know how much you're contributing up front.
Intangible rewards, like digital album downloads, will come to you in early August. You'll have your digital copies of the album almost as soon as I do!
Help make Keep Left at the Fork a reality
I am ready to bring this album into the world, but I need help to do it. With such a strong and supportive community growing around me and my music, having toured across the US many times and all the way to Germany, I feel blessed enough to be heard and welcomed by so many. But making music is my livelihood, and the truth of it is that I can't succeed at it without you.
There are so many hidden costs when you create an album, and the hundreds of hours of time it takes to compose, construct, record it, design its look, mix and master it, print, ship, market, and distribute it are a massive investment of time, love and finances.
You are an integral part of this project. I know you'll support me because you have proven you will. We have years of trust built between us. But this time I'm asking for more than your support. I'm asking for you to invest in me, in a project that is so much larger and more challenging than any I've attempted before.
I want to give you more than an album. I want to give you some of my Magic. I want to share with you a Journey like no other, a Journey we can take together. I want to introduce you to my friends, the Creatives, and the beauty of their creations. I want to weave a nexus between us of music, art, magic and wonder.
Help me by investing in this project. Buy the album. Choose reward tiers that include the original works of artisans from across the continent and support them, too. Spread the word and share this Kickstarter with friends, family, and community. Watch for updates along the way. Stay connected.
I dreamed big this time. There are more wonders waiting in the wings if we can get there, but let's focus on this goal first. Come with me. Let's do this.
Risks and challenges
There is no risk I will not finish the album. The challenge here is raising the funds I need to release it into the world. I have recorded my parts, the musicians on the album will have their parts finished by the end of June and are already working on them, while the production team is preparing for the mixing process that will last the month of July. The printing company I use has proven very reliable and their shipping on time so while I anticipate a lot of work behind the scenes over the next 60 days, we are on track to finish the album on time and get it out to you in August.
The artisans working with me are either in process on their pieces, have completed them, or are waiting to begin until this campaign concludes. All of them are professionals with excellent work ethics and I trust each one to complete what they have committed to complete within the time specified, barring accident or severe illness. I have limited the quantities for each item to ensure that we will be able to ship all their pieces to you by October 1st.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)