Q: What do you call someone who is always hanging out with musicians?
A: A songwriter.
I've been playing music my whole life. As near as I can remember, I had my first paying gig when I was 19. Now I'm 52. You've never heard of me, but I've been making money doing what I love for all those years. With a variety of bands, I've recorded and released albums on vinyl, tape, CD, and MP3. In most of those bands, I was a featured songwriter, but I've never done an album of my own, where I call the shots on everything and decide which musicians to use on each song. 18 months ago, I became the father of a baby girl,
and she has inspired me to do something with the (literally) hundreds of unrecorded songs I have written. I picked out a few oldies, wrote some new stuff- I'm hoping to finish and press between 12-18 songs. I'm putting a lot of work into this album, because I want something special to leave behind for my daughter. No, I'm not dying anytime soon (that I know of), but that's what's driving me to finish this project.
I'm fortunate to live in a musical community that is rich in talent, and I have somehow convinced an all star crew of players to help me out on this disc. For the past 15 years I have played in a Celtic Rock band called The Lash. We have performed nationally on stages both very big and very small. I have recorded the basic tracks for Hopening with the rhythm section of The Lash, and I'm now in the process of doing overdubs, with a cast of over 20 guest musicians. This project has already allowed me to sing with some of my very favorite vocalists, like Rachael Davis and Lindsay Lou & Josh Rilko of Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys. Since this is my first solo album (although it's hardly solo I guess) I have a once in a lifetime volunteer backing band. I expect next time they'll all want to be paid.
What do I need the money for?
I'm recording at a state of the art digital studio called Epiphany Sound Productions . Even though I'm getting a very good rate to use this facility, and they're allowing me to run a tab (if you've ever spent an evening in a bar, you know how dangerous that can be), by the time I check out, there's going to be a hefty bill. At this point, I don't want to cut corners- I think this is shaping up to be quite a good album. All that being said, I'm a pro, and so are the people I work with, so there's no wasted time, and this won't be an outrageously priced project. Probably 40% of the funds I'm hoping to raise will go toward duplication and artwork.
The goal I have set will enable me to pay for the creation and publication of my album- but just barely. Every dollar that exceeds my goal will allow me to spend a little more time mixing, a little more money on mastering & design, press a few more discs, do promotion- you get the idea. More is better.
Hopening, as an album, is going to be all over the place- there will be children's songs, alt-country, acoustic rock, a ballad or two- even a spoken word electronic piece. It's going to be entertaining for you, and a family heirloom for me. Thanks for your pledge!
Sneak Preview! Here are some unmixed, unmastered, unfinished songs (© 2012 Robert Klajda/BMI) for you to check out. They are not perfect & are still awaiting performances by other musicians:
HEY! Guess what?
I've already booked my CD release party. It's in mid December, and barring any last minute changes, most of the musicians recording on my disc will be there playing live. Even better, in the Kickstarter spirit, I'm donating all the proceeds, including 100% of CD sales, to our local food bank, for a program similar to this one supported by Pearl Jam. The more discs I can press, the more money they'll make.
I should mention that the awesome cover photo of me was taken by Bonnie Bucqueroux, one of the Lansing music scene's best friends.
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