Hi, Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan here. We are making music to lift your spirits. And we want you to be part of it!
In case you don't know us, we've been making music together for the last 18 years, driving all around the country in our Honda (or the rental car du jour) playing coffee houses, clubs, festivals, parks, churches, living rooms and gardens. Our reason for doing what we do is to move people with our music. It's been a ton of fun so far and we have met the best people all along the way. Like you!
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost five years since our last record. We want to thank everyone who helped us out on – All Our Luck Is Changing. Since then, we’ve been working hard on a batch of new songs that we want to share with you. And we think these are songs that will lift you up, help you down and then take you back home. So we have set out to make a recording of them that will stick with you like an old friend.
To do that, we sought out Grammy-winning producer/musician Laurie Lewis help us to realize this vision. And last summer, we began working with her on this new record. Laurie is a legend in the Folk and Bluegrass community, and its been really fun to work with her and the other great musicians on this recording.
What does this record sound like?
Here's a rough mix of one of our newest songs, "Lover's Tree." There are more songs below.
Naturally, with Laurie producing, and our own folk roots, there is a distinct Americana flavor to this record. It's our fifth CD, and our deepest dive yet into songwriting with 14 original songs. Rather than stick to one genre, we have crafted a musical journey across the vast Americana landscape. We take you from a Merle Haggard/Buck Owens inspired country song, to the flood ravaged streets of New Orleans, to the fast lane of California's Highway 5, through Johnny Cash's back yard, then up to Brooklyn, landing right back in our own living room. Because it just wouldn't be a Claudia Russell CD without her intimate and heartfelt songs about love, longing and loss. So you'll hear both some light-hearted fun romps, and some pretty deep stuff. If you’ve listened to and liked our previous recordings, we think you’re going to love this one.
And check out this Buck Owenesque send off, "Let's Just Keep It That Way." Plus, there's one more song at the bottom of this page.
We're very excited by the band we've had the pleasure to work with. Long time fans will recognize Debra Dobkin on percussion and Carl Byron on piano, organ and accordion. Session ace Todd Phillips played bass on most of the songs. Other musicians include master fiddlers Tashina Clarridge, Brandon Godman and Chad Manning, Mike Witcher on Dobro and lap steel, Tom Rozum and Mary Gibbons on guitar, Bill Evans on banjo, Laurie Lewis on bass, and Leah Wollenberg and Laurie on background vocals. Of course, Claudia played acoustic guitar and Bruce plays guitar, mandolin and banjo.
We can't do it without you...
We are never going to get rich and famous. That's not why we're here. But we have created music that makes people laugh, cry and sing along, and we want to share it with our audience how ever large or small it turns out to be.
Making a record costs a lot of money. We’ve managed to get close to the finish line with funds that we’ve set aside from gigs and sales of our last CD. But we still have a way to go before we can launch this new collection of songs into the world early next year. That’s why we're asking for your help to finish the project. We need about $7500 for what Bruce calls the four Ms - mixing, mastering, manufacturing and marketing.
Mixing is when you create your final soundscape and choose exactly how all the parts come together. Mastering is the final polishing of the sound. Manufacturing includes photography, package design and, of course, pressing the CDs. Last but not least, we need to hire people to get the music out to broadcasters and journalists.
But listen! This Kickstarter campaign is not just about money. We're hoping you will become part of our inner musical circle and share this music with your friends. Word of mouth is everything - and we need your help.
If you’re familiar with Kickstarter, you know a big part of the fun is the premiums. We have a lot of cool premiums that we think you’ll like – please check them out. Her are just a few
- Signed CD with personal vintage postcard greeting
- Your name in the CD credits with the Deep Gratitude package
- Pancake breakfast with Claudia and Bruce
- The Claudia and Bruce Complete Unboxed Set
- Co-write a song with Claudia
- Bruce's Coffee Emporium
If you feel like being part of our team, you can help us for as little as $11 or whatever you can afford. We’re so grateful for your help at any level. Because we want to share this music with as many people as possible, even if you can't contribute, we’d really appreciate it if you’d share this campaign with your friends on social media.
Where the money goes:
By the time the project is released, we’ll have spent about $25,000. Happily, most of that goes to really good people, not corporations. We paid $18,000 of the budget with money we've set aside from gigs and sales of our previous CDs. But we still need your help to finish. Here's where the money goes:
$5000 - Studio Expense
$10,000 - Musicians and producer
$5000 - Mixing and mastering
$2500 - Packaging, photos and Manufacturing
$1500 - Kickstarter expense
Now that we've exceeded our goal, here’s how we’ll use any additional money:
With 4 days to go, we've exceeded our basic goal. There are still two things we want to accomplish between now and Wednesday, when the campaign ends. First and foremost, we'd like to get at least 250 people total to back our project, even if its with just a dollar. We want as many people on our team! In terms of money, any additional funds beyond our goal will go to marketing.
- $750 will give us a budget to promote the CD to UK and European press, radio and concert promoters.
- $1500 will give us the opportunity to shoot a really nice video
- $2200 will allow us to promote the CD on folk radio shows all across the country.
Stretch Goal Reward: The Cover Song Project
But that's what's in for US. We want to give YOU something. So if we exceed our goal by $2500 and raise $10,000 or more, we will record a song every month and make them available to all our backers. Right now, our intention is to focus on cover songs - personal favorites of ours, songs you suggest and obscure gems written by our friends and colleagues.
Who are Claudia and Bruce, anyhow?
If you don't know us (but you likely do - if you made it to this page). here's our official bio:
Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan traverse a wide Americana landscape, stopping at wondrous musical landmarks along the way, tipping their hat to bluegrass bands, blues divas, jazz cats, Village folkies, and singing cowboys. Driven by Claudia’s expressive voice and distinctive guitar style, it all comes together beautifully. Our mission is simple: to move people with our music.
Claudia has a knack for crafting tightly written songs that carry you to the sweet spots of youth and the autumn colors of growing older. Bruce’s melodic accompaniment, on mandolin, banjo and electric guitar, is spot-on. All of this is served up with a generous helping of homespun humor and shaggy dog stories, making for a heartfelt and humorous evening of deeply engaging music.
Indeed, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote, "Russell has a voice that was born for folk music – she breaks hearts." Claudia has won numerous other accolades including Best New Artist from WUMB FM in Boston, Best Musician in the East Bay Express Reader’s Poll, 2x Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Finalist, and high praise in Sing Out, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Boston Globe. Paul Zollo, a senior editor of American Songwriter magazine, called her last CD, All Our Luck Is Changing, “a masterpiece.”
Claudia and Bruce have been married 27 years and live with their cat Mo in Point Richmond CA.
Meet our producer: Laurie Lewis
This project has been carefully guided by Laurie Lewis. Laurie is a musician, songwriter, fiddler and producer beloved by many, especially in the Bay Area. We’ve known Laurie casually since we moved here 14 years ago. But after working with her so closely on this project, our admiration has grown. She is encyclopedic in her knowledge, focused in her listening, kind with her feedback, and generous in mentoring other musicians.
Here's what Laurie says about working with us: "When Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan approached me about producing their new CD, I was happy to take it on. I have long been an admirer of Claudia’s singing and guitar playing. Her songs are well-crafted, interesting, and most often deeply beautiful. Bruce’s instrumental “hooks" make the songs come alive, and together, Claudia and Bruce have a terrific work ethic. The results of these sessions proves that they are a joy to work with."
A message from Claudia –
“What this record means to me.”
Writing an entire CD of original songs is a giant milestone for me. All my adult life, I’ve had some truly amazing songwriter friends. But I always saw myself as “just” a singer. I honestly felt like I had nothing to say that anyone would be interested in. A trip to Nashville almost 25 years ago inspired to me to begin finding my own voice as a writer. It's been a slow but rewarding journey and I realize I have the gift of being able to raise people's spirits. Now, 25 years later, I have four CDs and 3 dozen recorded songs that I have written or co-written with “a little help from my friends.”
One More Song Before You Go!
Here's one more song (rough mix) before you go. It's called "I Wish You Were With Me."
Thank you again for your support!
Risks and challenges
We see no risk to getting the CD finished. Our worst fear is that we make a fantastic CD that only gets heard by a few people. So that's where you come in. We invite you to become part of our Word of Mouth Team and let people know what we're doing! Thank you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)