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.
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.
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.
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 .
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 .
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.
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.
Last Remaining Nick Simonite Framed Print!
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").
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.
Olamaie a Restaurant in Austin, Texas
El Rey Court Stay
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)