We are Joe Hart and Nikki Grossman--the Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers!! (www.sapsuckersmusic.com). We play old-time fiddle-tunes, sing country harmonies, play square and contra dances--and generally consider ourselves to be professional fun-havers. We have a baker's dozen of new tunes and songs to share with you on our latest album, and we're hoping for your support to pull it off.
We play a lot of dances and concerts--as many as we can schedule. But we've also found time to write a bunch of new music. We're excited to share it with you.
During the first week of December, we'll be recording an album with the help of Tom Herbers. Tom is a Minneapolis-based producer and engineer who is as pro as they come. We are fortunate to be able to work with him on this project. We are convinced he will get our music to sound exactly the way we want it to--like real life, but slightly better!
For those of you who have heard us play, and/or purchased our debut album, you know we do a lot of traditional folk tunes and vintage covers. It has been our delight to excavate and dust off forgotten gems and old favorites, making them our own in the process. We are, however, song writers, and we’ve been writing away busily as our band grows and develops. We look forward to sharing the ones that have made the cut! With your kind help, we’ll be able to do that. Look forward to:
-a ballad about a couple of Nikki’s ancestors who were killed in a bizarre, tragic train wreck!
-Our own personal polka-ized goodbye song!
-A caRaaaaaZy love song!
-A swing-y jazz hit!
-A close-harmony ode to our beautiful home-place, complete with yodeling!
-…and much, much more!
Viroqua, Wisconsin, population 4,362, is our home base--and it’s not just your typical rural farm town. Since the 1850s, farmers, hucksters, homesteaders, and vaudevillians have made it their destination--and today is no different. It remains a haven for oddballs, free-spirits, and not a few urban expats. It boasts, among other things, a fast-growing community of artists creating marvels of all descriptions. Nothing represents the coming together of the old and new better than the Ark Arts Center.
The Ark is a community-based arts organization, housed in Viroqua’s oldest (former) church. It is home to classes, workshops, performances, art exhibitions, and concerts. We have hosted our monthly live radio show, the Kickapoo Barn Dance, in the chapel there for three years.
Anyone performing or listening to acoustic music in that space is in for a treat. The room is peculiarly shaped, with a domed ceiling and a bowl-shaped floor. It warms and amplifies acoustic sounds while allowing a natural reverb that is just right. To us, it seems the obvious location to record our upcoming album.
Why the urgency to fund and record this new album?
Starting in January, we'll be heading out on the road to perform a series of dances and concerts, starting in St. Louis, our special home-away-from-home, and eventually ending up in Minneapolis. We'll be joined on some legs of the tour by our good friends Jack Grelle and Ryan Koenig from St. Louis, and by Jack Klatt from Minneapolis (who is also recording with Tom at the Ark at the same time we are).
The Sapsuckers tour in the air-cooled (or air-heated, as the case may be) comfort of a 1997, copper-colored black-topped Lincoln Town Car, which is not only more stylish and comfortable than a minivan, but also gets better gas mileage. Alas, it sits collecting dust at our friend Derek's shop--in need of timing chains and valves. As trusty as our old Dodge Dakota pickup is, it just ain’t tour-worthy. Any money collected here that's left over after recording expenses will go to restoring Mr. Lincoln to road-worthiness.
The money we raise from pre-orders and other Kickstarter rewards will go to cover Tom’s cost for producing and engineering the record, renting the space at the Ark, paying a couple musicians to back us up in places, and printing and publicity costs associated with the new CD. Anything left, as we mentioned, will go to our tour-mobile.
Thanks so much for your support. We are counting on you! And we’re excited to share the fruits of our labors with you.
Risks and challenges
What, you mean besides coming up with the money?! Well, we have a very tight timeline to complete this project. But that was also true of our first album. We are rehearsing like crazy so that when we get into the studio, we'll be ready to work hard and capture good material.
In the mean time, we have negotiated time at the Ark, confirmed schedules with Tom Herbers and the Jack Klatt trio, and are booking dates for our January tour.
It is your support, right here on Kickstarter, that will make all of this possible!
Please feel free to post questions here, if you have any.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (17 days)