Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: Elizabeth Cook, Robert Ellis, Sweet Water Warblers
Few things have changed the recent landscape of music like crowdfunding. Sites like Kickstarter and PledgeMusic allow artists to bypass the label system and take their creations directly to the fans. But the problem with crowdfunding campaigns is that the popularity has made finding an artist worth backing with your money a difficult prospect. So each week I browse through the major crowdfunding sites to choose three worthy crowdfunding campaigns to check out. Are you an artist who would like to see your campaign featured here? Send me an e-mail with a link and I’ll choose my favorites for inclusion in a future column.
Elizabeth Cook is one of the most popular ladies on the Americana scene, collaborating with the likes of Todd Snider and Jason Isbell and writing songs like “El Camino.” She is also one of the leading voices in Americana with her weekly Sirius XM Outlaw Country radio show “Elizabeth Cook’s Apron Strings.” Now, six years since the release of her last album Welder in 2010, Elizabeth Cook is finally back in the studio with Exodus of Venus, an album she promises will deal with “everything from drug abuse to scandalous love affairs.” Backers of Cook’s PledgeMusic campaign can get rewards like a signed copy of the East Nashvillian magazine with Cook on the cover, an Apron Strings apron, and a house concert.
Robert Ellis only released his first album in 2009, but he’s already made an outsized impact on the scene. Ellis’ last album, 2014’s The Lights from the Chemical Plant, earned him three Americana Music Awards nominations that year, tying him with genre titans Jason Isbell and Rosanne Cash for the most nominations. Ellis’ next album, which will be self-titled, is due June 3 and Ellis is offering it for pre-order at PledgeMusic. In addition to the various digital and physical copies of the album on offer, backers at various pledge levels can also get an instant download of the album’s first single “Drivin”, a Skype guitar lesson from Ellis, a chance to go record shopping with Ellis, and a signed guitar.
Michigan may not be known as a hotbed for roots music, but that birthplace is the common bond between the three ladies who make up The Sweet Water Warblers. Rachael Davis, Lindsay Lou, and Mary Erlewine have all found success in their own bands and as solo artists. But after performing a one-off festival show together in 2014, the trio decided to make the relationship permanent. Now The Sweet Water Warblers have taken a couple of years of touring into the studio to record their debut EP, which is as yet untitled, and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund it. Backers can get rewards such as an autographed EP, a limited edition Sweet Water Warblers shirt, and a house concert.