Hey there friends, if you haven't had a chance to visit www.PrayerAndVulnerability.com yet you should. It has everything you need to know and more about this project from blog posts about working with Josh Garrels and John Mark McMillan through to video snapshots of me discussing the album in Anderson, Indianna. There are music video's and a home page story-telling of the whole ethos and narrative behind Prayer & Vulnerability. But, if you don't want to move on from here to there then read on my good and worthy fellow, read on...
Welcome to Prayer & Vulnerability (a story),
Last September, in the heat of a long and seemingly unending summer in Anderson, Indiana I accidentally recorded an album.
It's an album like none of mine to date, in the strangest kind of way.
The first day I sat down in front of the mics to record what I'd initially hoped would be an EP I honestly didn't think I'd be able to croak out a half decent song. I'd been sick for years, really sick. More sick than I felt I could even let on to my friends and family at home and it had changed my voice, a lot.
I wasn't sitting in Varsity Studios with my friend (and co-producer) Jon Class because I was full of album-length energy, I was sitting there because I was desperate to try something. To do anything to walk out of years of Dark Night living. To do the only thing I had the reflex for, to sing psalms.
But an album did come, and as a result every song on this record is tentative. Most of them were wept out, thrown down keys and at times more whispered than spoken but all are born from not only raw and honest writing but a truly raw and honest performance and production.
That's why I decided to call this record Vulnerability.
Because one song is an entire single take that I wept through remembering the place it was written in. Because I sat in front of a microphone with a guitar to live record them as honest as I could. Because there are creeky chairs and deep inhaling breaths.
The sound couldn't more truly fit the emotional aesthetic.
It's not a "down" album at all though. It's spacious, honest and beautiful but it's not sad. Because I learn't that dark nights are ultimately as beautiful as they are morose, illuminating as they are painful, and as revealing as they are veiling.
This album is full of subtle joy and an honest hope by a genuinely transformed human being and I can't wait to share more of it with you.
Those same years prayer and poetry started to flow from my hands as my voice suffered. I began posting these prayers via Commoners Communion on Instagram and decided that it would be wrong to separate the prayers from the songs. They've both grown from the same soil. They both belong together as accompaniments to one another.
That's why this campaign is called Prayer & Vulnerability, because this album comes with my first ever published book of prayer and poetry titled, Prayer Vol.01.
So, the album and the book are recorded, written and ready for release. All I need now is your help to print, press, replicate and deliver it into your actual physical hands.
Would you help me finish the production of Prayer & Vulnerability? I literally cannot do it without you.
Yours in love,
Vulnerability - The Album
Vulnerability is a 10 track 43 minute long record with new friends, old friends, and my first recorded spoken poem.
Here's the track list to whet your appetite..
1. Already Home
2. Oh My Love
5. Holding On
6. Love & Mystery
7. The Streets (ft. John Mark McMillan)
8. Be Your Sign (ft. Josh Garrels)
9. Love You Still
10. Never Alone
Prayer Vol.1 - My First Prayer & Poetry Book.
This accompaniment to Vulnerability is a 74 page 50 prayer artistic and poetic expression of the new closeness I found with God during this recent season of my life. When God became real to me in his humanity, in his being there and understanding, and when he showed himself to me as a friend.
It's a creative, journal sized book of short prayers, poetry and devotions that I hope could be as much of a companion in your pilgrimage as these moments were in my own journey. They're the language of living again, finding love and of quiet transformation through the patience of waiting.
My big dream is to see these sitting around in cafes, on bookshelves at home, as gifts for the spiritually seeking and the marginal or spiritually exiled in our world of confusion and loneliness. That they would find their way into the kinds of nooks and crannies a CD, vinyl or digital album can't, and to be a friend to the friendless in their journey towards the beauty of God.
So thank you, because by supporting this kickstarter you're helping me to make that a reality.
So, What Is This Kickstarter Campaign Funding Exactly?
The money raised in this pre-order will go to three things;
1. It will enable me to create all the physical merch (CD's, vinyl, books & shirts) to share with you.
2. It will pay for the design work of both the album and the book.
3. It will help pay back the remaining debt from our initial studio time.
And What Happens If You Don't Reach Your Target?
Whatever happens here this album is coming out digitally on Friday, April 27 (NZT).
If I don't reach my target in this campaign however, I won't be creating the physical merch to accompany it. Believe it or not stuff like vinyl, books, CD's etc actually cost a lot of money! And also believe it or not, being an indy artist, especially one in a genre that "falls in the gaps between the walls" as I've been told, isn't the most lucrative career choice. Short of around five thousand dollars to pay back some initial studio time debt, the rest is all that stuff!
I still believe in the power of holding something physical though, and I hope you do too.
Wait, Strahan, before you go... how does this story end?
Does any story ever really end?
I can tell you one thing. My health has radically changed, my voice has returned to me all be it transformed by the years of grit it suffered, and I have never been more full of hope and tender- love in my life.
But to hear the crazy stories of literal dreams coming true, food turning up out of nowhere and opportunities falling from the sky (not so literally), you may just have to wait until the next record...
Long term click bait much anyone?
Oh, and a little merch preview ;)
Risks and challenges
Creativity requires risk, there's no getting around that. With this being my fifth studio record and third Kickstarter I've tried to create something as streamlined and manageable as I could possibly think too.
The good news is that I've already done the record! No matter what (whether this campaign totally flops or not!) you will hear this thing. The question is how broke I will or will not be at the end of it :)
This campaign is about getting you something you can hold and own. Something I still really believe matters in this world of streams and subscriptions.
For US distribution I will be working with a manufacturer and distributor directly who will handle all national perk fulfilments and postage. There is always a risk of delay with CD, Vinyl and book manufacturers themselves which is something I have no control over. I've done my best to think ahead and create realistic timelines but timing with this stuff is always a risk.
Outside of the date you get it in your hands though, there is no other risk.
That seems like a pretty fair trade don't you think?
- (30 days)