Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: Anna Coogan, Rick Wakeman, and Henry Butler
With hundreds of crowdfunding campaigns popping up each week and more sites dedicated to crowdfunding coming on line every year, the number of choices can be overwhelming for music fans, especially when many of the sites mix their musical offering in with art, film, and technology. That’s where I come in. Each week, I browse the popular crowdfunding sites to find worthy roots-oriented campaigns that may interest you. These campaigns vary from truly independent artists trying to get an album off the ground to more mainstream artists trying to maximize revenue from a declining album sales market by offering extras. Think your band’s campaign deserves some extra attention? Send me an e-mail with a link to it, a sample of your music, and a press-ready photo and I’ll choose my favorites each week for feature here.
New Yorker Anna Coogan is a name that may not be widely familiar outside the Northeast. But in her region she has become a fixture, as a singer, performer, vocal coach, and teen mentor and has toured the United States and Europe extensively. A wider Americana fanbase may know her from her recent tours as a sideman with Johnny Dowd. Now Coogan is teaming up with longtime collaborator and drummer Willie B., who has toured with the likes of Brian Wilson and Neko Case, to release her first album in four years. Coogan is known for her powerful and emotive lyrics and, if the album title is any indication, The Lonely Cry of Space and Time will be no exception. Backer rewards include “Lonely Cry of Space and Time” underwear (yes, really), a 30 minute Skype lesson, and postcards for a year from wherever in the world Coogan is touring.
On the surface, roots music and progressive rock might sound like polar opposites. But talk to very many roots and Americana fans and you’ll find a shocking number of closet progressive rock fans as well, drawn to the instrumental virtuosity shared both by prog and bluegrass. Not many names in progressive rock are bigger than Rick Wakeman. The former keyboardist for prog titans Yes is also one of, if not the, most prolific solo artists in the world. Piano Portraits is Wakeman’s 100th solo album. After getting positive press for his touching piano rendition of “Life on Mars” when David Bowie died, Wakeman has recorded piano re-imaginings of many of his favorite songs, including tunes from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and even Cat Stevens. While there are no extra backer rewards for this release, backers do have the option of getting the album on either CD or LP.
Just two weeks ago, I broke with the normal course of this column to present a campaign without any “extra” rewards, just a pure fundraising effort for Those Darlins Jessi Zazu’s cancer treatment. Sadly, we have another campaign of a similar nature to report this week. Anyone who is a fan of New Orleans-style jazz probably knows the name Henry Butler. Butler’s piano work has helped shape the ever evolving sound of that region. Blind since childhood, Butler now finds himself facing yet another health foe, having been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. This GoFundMe campaign aims to raise funds to get Butler to Germany, where it is hoped that some cutting edge treatment options can save his life. There are no backer rewards, no extras to come along. This is strictly a donation only campaign for anyone whose life Butler has touched over his long career.