Check out this video from "Used Songs," the new EP of covers that you can only get by supporting this Kickstarter! This was a ton of fun and I have to thank my buddy and producer Troy Pohl for filming and producing this track. So without further ado, here's my take on AC/DC's classic, "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)."
A few years ago, a whole bunch of you came together and made it possible for me to record my last album, New Lore. There’s no way I could have done it without you and I’m grateful to you for allowing me to have that experience and to make that record.
In the time since, there have been a lot of big moments — good and bad, but big — the kind that punch you in the face. These sorts of moments are tricky when you’re going through them but if you happen to be a songwriter, they can also leave you feeling pretty inspired. So I’ve written a collection of songs that chronicle the wild ebb and flow of the last few years and I’ve found a dream team of smart and talented people that want to help me record them.
For starters, I’ll be teaming up with my trusted friend and longtime production partner Troy Pohl. Troy helped me make my first record, Magic as well 2014’s Madman, and lots of other music. Troy fundamentally gets me and knows where I’m coming. I couldn’t imagine making this album without him.
Troy and I will be traveling to Eau Clarie, Wisconsin in April to team up with two more people who are great at this stuff: Arranger, writer, drummer, and producer extraordinaire Shane Leonard and esteemed engineer Brian Joseph who’s worked with some folks you may recognize like Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens. We’ll be holing up at Brian’s magical studio, Hive, in Eau Claire for a week where we’ll be working on what’s shaping up to be my most ambitious record so far.
Shane and Brian have built a community of thoughtful musicians who really know how to listen to songs to find exactly what they need and nothing more. You know, hearing someone play the exact right part for a song is a really cool feeling. You don’t really expect to be surprised by something you’ve created but when it sparks something in a kindred spirit, the results are spectacular! The best part is that all of these talented people want to come together to collaborate and surprise each other with these songs. It all feels really exciting to me and I can’t wait to dig in.
This is where I could use your help. Making a record is always a pretty ambitious undertaking and we’re really swinging for the fences with this one. I’m trying to raise the money to cover the production costs. We’ve had exceptional luck in the past finding folks to help manufacture and release these records and we’re grateful to every single one of them. I’m pretty sure we can find someone to help there again but I need your help to get us to that point. If you support this Kickstarter, you’ll be supporting the creation of my new record.
If you’re reading this, you may already be supporting me over on Patreon, and I can’t thank you enough for it. I hope through that experience you’ve seen that I don’t take your help for granted and that I really try to make that a worthwhile venture for everyone. If you’re among that awesome community, then you’ve had access to some of the demos I’ve recorded for this record and know what I’ve been working on. So if you’re at all able to make a donation to this Kickstarter, you’ll be helping me finish what you’ve already helped me start. That said, if Patreon is where you’re most comfortable pitching in, that’s 100% cool with me.
All of you who are watching this and thinking about helping out with the new record, thanks. If you’ve ever listened to my music or watched me dig into my other passion — wild foods — on my web series Can I Eat This?, just thanks. You’re what keeps all of this going. That’s why I’m hoping I can count on you to help make this new record possible.
We’ve come up with some cool and exclusive rewards as our way of saying thanks, but I’ll be saying thanks a whole bunch over the next few weeks and meaning it every damn time. In fact, I’ll start right here. Thanks for reading this and/or checking out the video! Thanks for thinking about kicking in some dough! And most importantly, thanks for listening.
I've tried to come up with some ways to adequate ways to adequately convey my gratitude and I hope that you like what we've come up with.
$10: DIGITAL COPY OF THE RECORD
Supporters at this level will receive an mp3 download of the new record as soon as it's posted.
$25: DIGITAL BUNDLE:
As soon as the new album is uploaded, you can download WAV and MP3 versions. You'll also immediately be able to download "Used Songs."
These are some of my favorite covers that I've been throwing in my set over the last few years:
Tom Waits: I Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You
Bruce Springsteen: The River
AC/DC: It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)
Lucius: Go Home
The Magnetic Fields: Papa Was a Rodeo
Blaze Foley: If I Could Only Fly
Lefty Frizell (also recorded by Johnny Cash and The Band): Long Black Veil
$35: SIGNED CD
Supporters at this level will receive a signed copy of the CD as well as a download of "Used Songs."
$50 SIGNED VINYL
One of the cool things about records is how they encourage you to interact and engage with the music. Who doesn't love listening to the songs while checking out the photos and liner notes? Well, if that's your thing, too, then this might be the way to go. As soon as we receive the records from the presses, we'll start packing them with care and shipping them your way. In the meantime, you'll get an immediate download of "Used Songs" — an EP of cover songs I've performed in my live shows over the years.
$60: "ONE FOR THE KIDS" BUNDLE, CD
In addition to a signed copy of the CD and an immediate digital download of "Used Songs (the new covers album)," You're going to get your choice of a youth T-shirt or onesie with custom featuring an illustration by Scott Ackerman and inspired by the song "Follow Your Trail" from my last album New Lore. You may recognize Scott's work from the covers of my albums Magic and Madman. He's a real friend and an incredible artist. I'm grateful and excited to offer this to you!
$75: "ONE FOR THE KIDS" BUNDLE, VINYL
This bundle comes with a signed copy of the new album on vinyl, an immediate digital download of "Used Songs" — the new covers EP — and your choice of a youth T-shirt or onesie with custom artwork inspired by "Follow Your Trail" from the album New Lore. designed by Scott Ackerman, the artist that designed the covers of my albums Magic and Madman.
If you like what I do and also enjoy getting stuff, then this is the package for you! You're gonna get a signed copy of the of the new album on vinyl or CD, an immediate digital download of "Used Songs" (a freshly recorded EP of covers that I've been performing at shows over the years), and your choice of a t-shirt or limited edition poster featuring artwork from one of my favorite local artists, Ira Marcks.
$150: THE INSIDE SCOOP
When you're making a record, there are a lot of cool things that happen sonically (at least you hope that there are) but recording studios and this recording studio, in particular, are cool looking spaces. I'm gonna be taking a ton of pictures throughout our time in Eau Claire at The Hive. I'm going to put the best of these photos into a hard-cover book that we'll have printed and shipped to you along with a signed copy of the new album on your choice of vinyl or CD. You'll also get an immediate download of "Used Songs" — a collection of some of my favorite covers that I've performed over the years.
$250: HAND WRITTEN LYRICS ON "NEW LORE" JACKET
When ANTI- printed my last album, they had some extra jackets and were kind enough to send them to me. In addition to the receiving a signed copy of the new album on your choice of vinyl or CD, you'll also get one of those of those covers and on that cover, I'm going to write some of my favorite lyrics that I've come up with over the years. Each one is going to be different and filled with words that have been ping-ponging around in my head for the last decade or so. It's worth mentioning that this does not include the New Lore LP, just the jacket.
$325: COVER SONG
As long as it's a song that we can both agree is cool (no Nickelback, please) and I can play it, I'll learn it and film myself recording it, along with a personalized message to you or to anybody else you'd like. You'll also get the "Superfriend" bundle and an audio recording of the song.
$500: ONE-HOUR GUITAR OR SONGWRITING SESSION
Me and you are going to sit down at our computers and via Facetime or Skype, have a one-on-one guitar or songwriting lesson. I've been doing this for a long time now and if you think you might benefit from my experience, then this package is for you. I love sharing information and learning more about what people are creating in the world. You're also going to get a signed copy of the record on the format of your choosing and an immediate download of "Used Songs" — a freshly recorded collection of covers that I've performed in my sets over the years. NOTE: It will likely be November before we can ship the new album, but you can schedule your lesson beginning in May!
$1,000: FORAGING + DINNER PACK
This was a popular item last time around and I love doing them so we're bringing it back! If you know me, you know about my love affair with wild foods. Here, you get "The Superfriend" + a 3-4 hour foraging experience to be followed by a dinner made with all the goods we found that day! This is such an amazing way to experience foraging full circle. FYI, it's totally legit for you to share this incentive with others! You can have as many people as you are comfortable with (I suggest 10-12) and split the fee with them. We can do it in your own backyard, or at one of my super secret foraging spots. Limited to within a 4-hour drive of Troy, NY. NOTE: I can also do a Survival Skills course instead of Foraging if you like! It's awesome for kids or adults, and we'll do skills like fire making, shelter, cordage, and/or baskets.
$2,500: THE PACKAGE OF ETERNAL GRATITUDE
If this is something you're able to do, it's gonna go a long way towards getting this record finished. If you come through at this level, I'll send you every single thing that we're making for this campaign and include you as an executive producer in the album credits. You're also going to get three years of guest-list privileges to any of my shows, so long as I have guest-list spots to offer.
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges associated with making music for a living are pretty well documented. Opportunities for musicians to earn money through their efforts have shrunk down to essentially touring, merchandise, streaming, and if you're super lucky, maybe one of your songs gets used in a movie or tv show. And despite the fact that the money is a little harder to come by these days, the costs associated with making, manufacturing, and marketing albums are still pretty substantial! To do each of those things right can easily cost you $50,000 or more and the days of receiving adequate advances from record companies are reserved for the Bruno Marses and Lady Gagas of the world.
I do my best to make every song, every album, and every show as good as it can possibly be. If that's meant something to you over the years, then I hope you can pitch in here at whatever level you can afford. I've got what I feel is a genuinely inspired batch of songs that are clawing at the door to get out but they're not going to make it without your help. As you may know, with Kickstarter, if I don't hit the goal, then I don't get any of the money necessary to get these songs out into the world, so regardless of whether you can give or not, I hope you'll share this campaign on your Facebook page or however it is you're letting people know about your world these days.
It's tough to adequately say how grateful I am to you for joining me on this ride, but please know that it's a bunch. If you've got any questions or suggestions for this campaign, feel free to send 'em my way and we'll give them our full attention. Thanks so much and can't wait to share these songs with you.
SeanLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)