I am almost half-way through my Kickstarter campaign and I am celebrating this week by releasing a full-length track from the album ... below! The name of the song is 'Transition' and is the namesake of the record (listen closely to catch the album title in the lyrics). I hope you find this song full of heart … I gave it my all!
Sometimes in life, a surge in creativity and abundance of free time align so perfectly as to allow us to begin ambitious projects. Our hearts are on fire and our minds consumed with visions and dreams for what this project will become. And then ... life gets complicated ... messy, even. And we have to fight to make time for those dreams. After fighting for a while, the dream can become hazy and overwhelming, and we resign to turning our backs on it so we can attend to the mess. YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. The project gets put on the shelf, collecting dust while we barely hold together the remnants of our lives.
But still, the dream is there. It stares down at us from the shelf now and then, and sometimes we even take it down and dust it off, allowing ourselves to be consumed yet again by the vision it holds. We let the rest of the world become a haze and dive into the joy of creation. But eventually, we have to come up for air. We look around, and yet again see the mess around us that needs attending to. And we put the project back on the shelf.
So it has been with my upcoming record, ‘Winded, Spirited, Stranded’, being released at White Pine Wilderness Academy on Saturday, June 8th, 2019. This album is 13 YEARS IN THE MAKING, and I cannot wait to share this music with you! Below is the album artwork by Stephanie Renner. Stephanie also designed the artwork for my band’s 2017 release ‘Something Wild.’ Stay tuned for more on the backstory to the album art!
ABOUT THE ALBUM:
'Winded, Spirited, Stranded' is a collaborative project between myself and Chip Reardin, recording engineer at Airtime Studios in Bloomington, Indiana. Chip is an old friend and kindred spirit, and also a master instrumentalist, composer, arranger and producer.
Chip once told me, laughing, that if this body of work has a theme, it is patience. We began recording the first tracks on a blustery fall day in 2006. Over the past 13 years, the project was put away on the shelf and then dusted off again many, many times. Babies were born, loved ones died, bodies were broken, hearts broken, and new projects (and bands!) begun. We were distracted again and again from its completion but, ultimately, it was all in perfect time.
These recordings were always ahead of their time. Chip heard complexity in the songs and in my voice even when I brought him just the skeleton of an idea. And through it all, the music remained relevant. Over the years, I have developed a sophisticated musical sound with my band, Sarah Grain & the Billions of Stars. I have grown as an artist and human in ways that allow me to finally live up to the depths of these recordings, and throughout the process, Chip coached me as a vocalist to my fullest potential. The album is robust, sultry, funky and complex. I love it, and I know you will too. We also had some extremely talented musical guests appear on the album, including bassist Nate Brenner (long before his days creating with The Tune-Yards) and violinist and viola player Dena El Saffar of Salaam, a highly regarded Bloomington-based band that mixes traditional and original Middle Eastern music. Other guests include Cole Tutino (cello), Frances Miller (violin), Ryan Deasy (upright bass) and Josh Lehigh (trumpet and flugelhorn).
To give you a taste of the depth and complexity of ’Winded, Spirited, Stranded’, I wanted to do something a little untraditional. Below, you can listen to an album preview track, which contains snippets of EVERY song from 'Winded, Spirited, Stranded' so you can get an idea of the diversity in rhythm and instrumentation for this body of work. Some might argue that I am taking the mystery out of the album. Trust me. There is still a LOT of mystery left!!! When I said before that Chip was a master instrumentalist, I meant it. On this album, Chip plays drumset, electric bass, upright bass, acoustic guitar, piano/rhodes/keys/synth/toy piano, pump organ, B3 organ, mandolin, vibraphone, hammer dulcimer, melodica, banjo, clarinet, and the broom. He is a machine. Later on in the campaign, in a few weeks time, I will release one COMPLETE single. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this preview track!
I remember those times that I had to fight for this project. Chip and I had a particularly productive streak when my twins were still babies. They were barely two years old, and had just learned to sleep through the night. On multiple occasions I would get all three of my kids to sleep, around 7 p.m. and drive an hour south to Airtime Studios. Chip and I stayed up all night recording for these sessions, and I would hop back in the car at 6 a.m. to be home by my kids 7 a.m. wake-up time. I wouldn’t sleep again until that night, passing out completely at 7:30 pm, exhausted from having been up for over 30 hours.
The excitement and adrenaline from those up-all-night sessions kept me going, but not without wearing down my body. Weakened from lack of sleep, strange symptoms that I had ignored over the years now became unavoidable. My legs and feet went numb and tingly. I began walking with a limp. My right hand lost all its muscle use and I couldn’t write or play guitar. After an MRI, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Needless to say, ‘Winded, Spirited, Stranded’ was put on the shelf yet again while I healed and regained agency of my body. During this time, I began playing with the Billions of Stars (Mina Keohane, Doug Sauter, Ryan Koch and Nate Gray). I funneled my creative energy into developing the band‘s unique sound and to recording ‘Something Wild’, our debut album. I learned to balance my passion for music with the discipline to take care of my body, at all costs. I have now been symptom-free for almost 3 years, and I am grateful every day for my health and vitality. I feel better than ever!
THE IMPACT OF OUR 2017 KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN:
Two years ago, 123 Kickstarter backers came together to help us release 'Something Wild‘ on vinyl, CD and digital. Over 325 people packed into our album release show in the historic Catacombs of the Indianapolis City Market to celebrate this accomplishment. Since then, we have had countless opportunities to share our music with live audiences all over the city, and the album has opened doors to new venues, new audiences, and new adventures. Most recently, we were asked to create a professional quality music video for Tonic Ball of Elton John's 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘ with Mays Entertainment. This was an outrageously fun day, and a beautiful video was made that reflects that joy and energy. If you have not seen it, please take the time to view it below!
Most importantly, however, 'Something Wild' has been able to touch the lives of listeners, accompanying them on their life journeys. Countless listeners have shared with me that this album remains a constant for them as they celebrate their utmost joys, and serves as a healing balm for their aches and sorrows. This is the aspect of writing songs that motivates me the most - knowing that my music is a friend for others to walk with during the most difficult and most blissful times in their lives.
WHY ANOTHER KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN?
I have remained an independent artist, self-releasing all of my albums. There are many unseen costs that go into this: studio time, mastering, website hosting, copyrights, event space fees, event insurance, digital distribution, shipping, album design, and more. Before releasing 'Something Wild', I had no idea what all of these costs were. The experience of self-releasing my music has taught me a great deal about cost projection and budgeting. It has been an awesome learning experience.
Fortunately, our ‘Something Wild’ Kickstarter campaign helped us close the gap in our budget and, as promised, allowed us to start raising money for the next album! IN FACT, I HAVE 500 VINYL COPIES OF ‘WINDED, SPIRITED, STRANDED’ ALREADY IN HAND! The music is mixed and mastered, the album design done, and vinyls are at my house awaiting release!
Out of a desire to also offer this record in CD format, the upcoming Kickstarter campaign will focus on that as its primary goal. I so appreciated those that supported 'Something Wild.' I hope that you will want to support 'Winded, Spirited, Stranded' as well!
MY GOAL IS TO RAISE $2,545
This will help me accomplish the following:
- Print 300-500 CDs of ‘Winded, Spirited, Stranded’ (500 vinyls are already in hand!)
- Digitally distribute the album on Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music and more
- Print digital download cards
- Copyright the album with the Library of Congress
- Cover event costs for the June 8th album release at White Pine Wilderness Academy
WHAT HAPPENS IF I RAISE MORE THAN MY GOAL?
The overwhelmingly positive response and publicity we enjoyed through making the video for ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ (link above) opened my eyes to the importance of video production as a way to share our music with a larger audience. If I raise more than my $2,545 goal, I will use the additional funds as incubator money to make a music video of an original work by my band, Sarah Grain & the Billions of Stars. We can’t wait to get started!
ABOUT THE ALBUM RELEASE ON JUNE 8TH:
SAVE THE DATE! I will celebrate the release of 'Winded, Spirited, Stranded' with the Billions of Stars at an album release concert at White Pine Wilderness Academy on the evening of Saturday, June 8th! For those that are not familiar with White Pine, it is a wilderness school focusing on nature connection and primitive technology (think archery, wild edible foraging, woodcrafting, hunting and more), and I am honored to be a Forest School teacher there. The concert will be outdoors under the open sky, backdropped by a bonfire, and with an after-party powered by DJ Dicky Foxxx in the outdoor yurt, spinning soul, funk, reggae, hip-hop and more! It is going to be a night to remember! All ages!
To close, I just want to thank each and every one of you for believing in me and my music enough to learn more about my Kickstarter campaign. I am going to do all I can to pay that kindness forward. I invite you to continue walking with me on this journey!
Risks and challenges
The good news is that I already have 500 vinyl copies of ‘Winded, Spirited, Stranded’ in hand, so the album release on June 8th is happening no matter what!
However, I really want to offer this music on CD, digital, AND vinyl in order to reach the widest possible audience. The production company is able to print the CDs in as little as 15-20 days, so knowing my budget by the end of March will give me plenty of time to make my order and get it shipped.
In the rare event that the CDs are not complete in time for the June 8th release, I plan on shipping or delivering these personally to Kickstarter backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)