Hi you guys. I hope you've all been well since last time we talked. After our 2010 Kickstarter campaign, Heartless World went out to all of those that donated -- nearly 250 folks – and it's since sold out its first pressing of 5,000 and found fans in countries all over the world. I hope you discovered a lot of Detroit vigor and personal spirituality in the record but mostly I hope you enjoyed it. I can't thank you enough for your belief in me and my music and the tremendous collaborative effort that goes into making a record.
In the two years since I spoke to you last, I’m more excited than ever about the songs and band and all we've got under our belt: the duet with Bruce Springsteen, tour dates with Bob Seger, and various award nominations. I've also completed an ebook titled What Don't Kill Me about my experience with leukemia, a bone marrow transplant, and high dose steroids for several years.
I'm posting here today ‘cause I’m in the midst of writing and recording a new record to follow up on the success of Heartless World, plus planning to shoot a performance/bio documentary DVD with renowned filmmaker Keith Famie. The documentary about the ups and downs of my life will accompany the new CD. Those ups & downs were and are: leukemia, raising money and awareness on donor matches for minorities, making Detroit the best place it can be and the struggles of an artist on the bubble of more renown, etc. It's a great life, but not always easy. Nor should it be, really.
These remain exciting times for independent artists, musicians, and music business entrepreneurs. There is more opportunity in the “new” music business than ever before. Now a lot of us indie artists can make a living communicating directly with our audience, and that audience is everywhere in the world. I have fans and listeners in every country from Finland to China and of course the US.
But to finish all this new music and the DVD, I'm looking for $25,000 -- not a lot considering all the work we're trying to get done. I'm excited about the rewards with this Kickstarter campaign, being able to include the new ebook, plus the cd and documentary DVD, and really believe fans will get a lot for their respective donations.
I hope you’ll consider contributing to this new project. The money will be used to finish recording and mixing the songs at RMS Studios in Birmingham with my partner, drummer and co-producer Bryan Reilly. We'll then play a full band show and shoot it in high def video, and edit and package that, along with tons of other interview footage we've already shot, into the documentary. To specify further, the money goes to paying additional musicians, a graphic artist for the Digi-pak, mailing costs to radio & media people, a radio plugger both here and in the UK, photographers, publicists, studio costs, and an assortment of myriad costs that always pop up. Then there's the entire video process to contend with.
This record is starting out as a very simple, acoustic music, and we plan on keeping it stark and uncluttered. It's music played by real people, with real emotional input. Music has been a consistent connection with others since I was 14, and still is. I continue to make music with its own point of view, intent on real human connection, free from the traps of age, fashion, or era. I want to say "This has been my life over the last few years. How's it been for you?" to as many of you as I can, as a collection of friends and fans who have identified with any one of my songs.
Every songwriter on earth tells you his latest songs are his or her greatest, but I believe it to be true. As we get a little older, we get a little better. These new songs are among the best I've written, with a consistent tone and a kind of morality, even though some of them are bitter lyrically. We are, after all, enduring very tough times. Yet most are about love, our surroundings, prices paid, Michigan and compassion in these hard, hard times. This is kinda like my version of the White Album, with acoustic love songs bumping up against bluesy rockers and soul music covers (the Hot Wax/Invictus classic "Band Of Gold") next to anthemic Heartland rock. What do I know? It just all comes outta me, as I love so much diverse music. Hope you do too.
Thanks for considering donating and becoming a part of this project. I'm also looking for as much feedback and commentary as possible from all of you--please continue to tell me what you liked and didn't like on Heartless World, suggest names for this new cd, and let me know the songs of mine you'd like to see performed on a live show DVD. I'll be in touch.
Stewart Francke, August 2012
Dirty Old Town
Leave A Light On
By Your Side
Band Of Gold
Higher Than The World
Dancing On The Killin' Floor
Breakin' Under It All
Love Is The Only Law
The Golden Glow
- (39 days)