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The sophomore album from Austin, Texas based country band The Tender Things
154 backers pledged $40,500 to help bring this project to life.

About

Mission Bell: An Album Project by The Tender Things project video thumbnail
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$40,500

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The Tender Things is a new chapter in my life.  Coming out of my years with Heartless Bastards I felt it was time to begin to create a document.  These songs are that document. They are postcards, sketches of times and places, of loves and lost friends, changing memories and recurring dreams.  Pushing myself into the habit of writing has been one of the most transformative experiences of my life, and it is my very first healthy habit.   

The title Mission Bell refers to those moments in life from which one comes away changed.  We all have those moments...  they may seem innocent or innocuous when they occur, but as time passes they become touchstones for change.  Moments from which we are forever steered in a new direction.  

I'm proud to introduce you to Matt Strmiska, Sweet Gary Newcomb, Z Alexander Lynch, and Ricky Ray Jackson.  This band of musicians have worked with Steve Earle, Alejandro Escovedo, Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, Black Joe Lewis, Richard Buckner and Jonathan Tyler to name but a few.   

We'll be recording at  Niles City Sound , a beautiful broadcast style analog studio in Fort Worth Texas.  Producers Josh Block and Austin Jenkins have been friends of mine since their days in the band White Denim, and you've probably heard their work with Texas soul singer Leon Bridges.  

Artwork for the project will be contributed by London artist Tom Jean Webb .  We met in the west Texas high desert, where he was painting a mural on the side of a hotel office with his mother assisting.  My wife and me struck up a conversation (she's English as well), and we came to learn we had many friends in common.  From there a friendship and mutual admiration for each other's work developed, and Webb offered art for the first Tender Things album. 

Self Titled Debut Album
Self Titled Debut Album

I find myself in the company of so many wonderful and hard working artists every day, and I'm flattered to enjoy their support.  Photographer  Nick Simonite  works in landscape and portraiture that shares an aesthetic of space and character with the songs coming from me.

Nick Simonite
Nick Simonite

I share my home and life with artist and designer  Mishka Westell  who will be collaborating with the brilliant  Fort Lonesome  to create unique pieces of wearable art to carry the message of the music into the world on your very jacket.    

Ft Lonesome design
Ft Lonesome design

The  Bunkhouse Group  designs destination hotels for adventurous souls and feels their funky  El Cosmico  trailer park in Marfa, Texas is well soundtracked by the sounds of The Tender Things.  

El Cosmico, Marfa, Texas
El Cosmico, Marfa, Texas

Architect, artist, welder and baseball team captain Jack Sanders is a community minded artist who is connecting people through ideas, experience and baseball with his  Design Build Adventure  camps, sandlot baseball facility  The Long Time , and team of rag tag thinking man's competitors  The Texas Playboys Baseball Club .

Artwork by Jack Sanders
Artwork by Jack Sanders

Here's a rundown of what is being offered in return for your involvement.

For your fifty dollar pledge you'll receive a vinyl copy of a private press run of the album.  Tom Webb has begun sketching ideas for the LP artwork, so the images here will evolve as the project develops.

 For your seventy five dollar contribution you can choose to receive the classic deluxe edition of the vinyl LP which will include a silk screened insert poster, each individually signed.  

Original Alexandra Valenti Painting/Collage

Alexandra Valenti is an inspiration to me.  An accredited photographer for many years she took a chance last year and committed herself to filling a gallery show, and got to work.  What emerged is an impressive body of work with immediate impact.  Bold color and composition pieces that seem to bring forth a language that when read as a whole tells the story of an artist reawakened, forging forward in an effort to find new voice and meaning.  She's a leader.  Check out her work  here .

Alexandra Valenti Studio
Alexandra Valenti Studio

Stay Two Nights at Tourists, North Adams, MA

 Tourists  is a beautiful re-imagination of the classic American motor court.  John Stiratt (of Wilco) and his partners have developed the property to be an airy indoor-outdoor space that encourages the patron to explore the arts community and beautiful forests of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts.  The hotel is near Mass Moca, a museum and foundation famous for it's contemporary art and performance curation.  North Adams hosts music festivals, theatre events, and has some darn good freestone fly fishing for the angler.  The property is adjacent to the Appalachian trail, and boasts a James Beard awarded chef.  

Tourists, Photo by Peter Crosby
Tourists, Photo by Peter Crosby

13th Floor Elevators 50th Anniversary Show Print

Mishka Westell's 13th Floor Elevators prints that were made for their 50th anniversary show at Levitation Festival 2015 sold out at the show and have been unavailable until now!  She has offered three prints from her private collection that commemorate this historic performance.  

Mishka Westell Print
Mishka Westell Print

Last Remaining Nick Simonite Framed Print!

Nick Simonite
Nick Simonite

Nick Simonite's photography is taking Texas by storm.  His adventurous eye leads him through the vast landscapes of Texas, and into the lives of the hard scrabble folks that live here.  These pictures are framed, and under glass, and are quite large (all approxomately 3'x 3.5'), so they are offered only within the greater Austin area for pickup or special arranged delivery.

Jack White Print

These popular prints are from the artist's personal collection and are signed, and marked "Artist's Proof".  These prints are larger than traditional gig posters (20"X36").

Mishka Westell Jack White Print
Mishka Westell Jack White Print

Pickathon Passes!

Pickathon
Pickathon

Pickathon is a music festival that happens the first weekend in August, in Happy Valley, Oregon (just outside Portland).   This is hands down my favorite festival to either attend or play (I’ve done both).    The talent is thoughtfully curated, and often represents the most exciting new acts of any given year.  They invite artists across a broad spectrum of styles and manage to present them in a manner that feels immersive and inclusive.   The grounds are beautiful and the food is top notch.   For your pledge you will receive two Sunday tickets and a parking pass.   

 Have you ever thought about visiting Marfa, Texas?  Here's your chance!  For your three hundred dollar contribution you can stay in one of these groovy refurbished vintage travel trailers for two nights.  Explore the Judd Foundation, the McDonald Observatory, Big Bend National Park, or just enjoy one of the last dark sky locations in the country.  

Butch Anthony Print

Butch is an American folk artist from Seale, Alabama.  He operates a drive through gallery and collection of curiosities in Seale, and is a sculptor, painter, print maker, and architect.  Check out his website  here .  Butch makes annual visits to Austin to create an art camp at The Long Time with artist Jack Sanders.  

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't
Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

Olamaie a Restaurant in Austin, Texas

Olamaie
Olamaie

El Rey Court Stay

El Rey Court
El Rey Court

The historic  El Rey Court  is a gem on route 66 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The hotel is quickly becoming a home for the new generation of Santa Fe musicians and artists, and the hotel bar,  La Reina  serves as a meeting place and watering hole for folks to share news and enjoy a late night cocktail.  

For your four hundred fifty dollar contribution you and a friend can attend Jack Sanders' two day Design Build Adventure camp, located on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, in March of 2019.  You'll learn the basics of metal work, gain welding instruction and connect the disciplines of yoga and design through practice and discussion.  The camp includes some amenities but not accommodations so please plan accordingly.  

 For your donation of seven hundred fifty dollars you will receive a uniquely designed embroidered back patch for a garment that you provide, Designed by Mishka Westell and Fort Lonesome in collaberation!  Check out Fort Lonesome's FAQ page  here .

 In return for your six hundred and fifty dollar contribution Tom Jean Webb has donated this beautiful original self portrait.   This painting is 8.5" x 11", and will ship to you easily.  

Art is about community.  It does not exist in a vacuum, it is reactive.  It is the product of the parts combined to create it.  Join me, let's make this album together.  

Risks and challenges

Long term my goal is to find a record label to release and promote the album. With talent like this involved through all strata of the creation of the record I am confident that goal will be met. It is impossible to know how long that process will take however, so to get records to you who have contributed I'll press a private "boutique" pressing of the album which will be delivered directly to you from me. Worst case scenario no label is willing, I'll just find and hire a publicist and forge ahead on my own. After all my experience in the changing landscape of the music business, the one thing that remains the same is the positive effect of bringing the music directly to you through touring the live show. The show must go on, so on it will go.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Digital copy of the finished album

    Recieve the album as soon as the project has been mastered!

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    Vinyl Lp of Mission Bell

    Analog is the way to experience a recording from Niles City Sound. The recording process is a labor of love, and for fans of vinyl, this recording will thrill your turntable.

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    Signed Vinyl Lp and Tom Jean Webb print

    A signed screen printed poster of the image that Tom Jean Webb created for The Tender Things' first album, and a signed copy of the vinyl Lp. The Lp will be from a private press run of records, separate from a record label release.

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    Mishka Westell Jack White Print

    Sought after Artist Proofs from the private collection of the artist.

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    13th Floor Elevators Prints

    Prints from the personal collection of the artist from The 13th Floor Elevators performance at the Levitation Festival in 2015 in Austin, Texas

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    Two Night Stay at the Historic El Rey

    Two nights at this historic motel on Route 66 in Santa Fe New Mexico. The El Rey Court is recently renovated, and the hotel bar, La Reina, has become the spot for Santa Fe's musicians and artists to meet, relax and share a cocktail. Blackout dates include weekends in July and August, and holidays.

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    Pickathon day pass!!

    Two passes for Sunday, Pickathon 2019, and a parking pass!

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    Two nights accomodation at El Cosmico

    Stay two nights in a vintage travel trailer at El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas! Restricted to Sunday through Thursday nights.

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    Dinner For Four at Olamaie, Austin Tx

    Olamaie is a fine dining southern cuisine restaurant in Austin, Texas. Michael Fojtasek has offered dinner for four at this beautiful restaurant! Check them out at https://olamaieaustin.com/.

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    Butch Anthony Print

    Here is an original Butch Anthony print from the the American folk artist who lives in Seale, Alabama, where he has a drive through art museum of curiosities. He was the final subject of documentary film maker Les Blank, and the footage that Blank shot is being edited to finish the film posthumously.

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    Two Nights at Hotel San Jose Austin

    Screamin deal on two nights at Austin's Hotel San Jose! Sunday through Thursday, subject to availability.

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    Camp Design Build Adventure weekend

    You and a friend attend a weekend camp at Jack Sanders' Design Build Adventure studio in Austin, Texas. Campers learn to cut, weld and grind in metal, work collaboratively, conceptualize designs to realize ideas, and learn the connection between welding and yoga. Please visit http://designbuildadventure.com/.

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    Two Nights Stay at Tourists

    Stay two nights at Tourists in North Adams, MS. The hotel is a completely reimagined motor inn, and is close to great theatres for stage drama, fine art galleries and museums, and great fly fishing. North Adams is home to Mass Moca, famous for being on the cutting edge of visual and performing arts. The hotel is adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, in the beautiful Berkshires, just a half day's drive from either Boston or NYC. Subject to availability, and please redeem by 9/26/19.

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    Alexandra Valenti Painting Collage

    This piece is paint, paper and pigment on canvas and measures 19 X 25, framed. There are two minor scuffs on the frame.

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    Nick Simonite art photograph

    Nick Simonite is an Austin, Texas photographer. He is a fine art and commerical photographer and is a rising star in the Austin and greater Texas arts community. These prints are large! They will be available for local pickup or delivery, or if you wish them to be shipped, they will be shipped without the glass. Upon your pledge, drop me a private message detailing which image you have chosen.

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    Original Tom Jean Webb painting

    Tom Jean Webb is a London, UK artist. He explores the metaphysical in his paintings and murals, using landscape, figure, and the negative space thrown in shadow.

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    Custom Fort Lonesome back patch

    Custom chain stitched Fort Lonesome back patch designed by Austin Texas designer and psychedelic poster artist Mishka Westell. Westell and Fort Lonesome have collaborated to great effect in the past, here's your chance to get a unique piece from these vital artists.

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    Solo House Concert

    Jesse will travel to a venue of your design to perform all of the songs from Mission Bell! This will be a bare bones acoustic guitar performance and story telling event where you get to enjoy intimate experience with the artist and his songs and stories. Please contact for travel feasibility prior to pledge.

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Funding period

- (30 days)