Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: Emily Barker, Voyager Golden Record, and Kingston Trio
With the summer touring season over, many artists have turned their attention to the studio to begin work on their next project. That means a lot of new crowdfunding options as artists coincide writing and recording with pre-orders or fundraising to pay for studio time. This week’s batch of three campaigns truly strike at the, well roots, of roots music, with a new project from an Australian/English Americana star, as well as a tribute to one of the folk revival’s founding fathers and an album of music that tries to encapsulate the entirety of a planet’s musical history for ears as foreign as can exist.
English by way of Australian singer songwriter Emily Barker spends a fair amount of time in Nashville. As a well-regarded Americana performer, she’s a popular draw on the local scene. As a member of the trio Applewood Road with fellow Americana soloists Amy Speace and Amber Rubarth, she’s been a major draw at the Americana Music Festival for the past few years as well. But Barker decided to go west to record her new album, leaving Nashville’s country and Americana behind for the blues, soul, and rockabilly groove of Memphis, and specifically the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Service. Barker is working with Grammy award winning producer/engineer Matt Ross-Spang. Backer rewards include a handwritten lyric sheet, a house concert, and Barker’s first acoustic guitar.
How do you encapsulate an entire planet’s worth of musical legacy, from the beginning of recorded history, on one record? That was the herculean task given to NASA as they prepared to launch the Voyager probe in 1977. Along with drawings and photos to help possible aliens understand humanity better, a golden record was included with music from around the world. The results range from Bach and Mozart to indigenous works like a Peruvian wedding chant and a Navajo night chant to works from Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, and Blind Willie Johnson. Voyager crossed the heliopause in 2012 and has officially become the first man made object to cross into interstellar space, where it will serve as a musical ambassador to any would be E.T. That truly gives new meaning to Blind Willie’s “Dark Was the Night.” Backer rewards include a massive box set with pictures, essays, and the music and greetings sent into space on the “golden record,” an art print, and an enamel pin.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of The Kingston Trio on folk music. In the vanguard of the folk-pop revival, the band broke barriers that allowed everyone from Bob Dylan to David Grisman to Shawn Colvin to have a voice. Despite their clean cut appearance and genial songs, the band encountered a lot of resistance, both from the traditional folk community for their pop stylings and from the new folk community for their political neutrality. But today, The Kingston Trio is rightly seen as a trailblazing act. So it’s no surprise that a tribute album to them would include some of music’s brightest stars, including some Rock & Roll Hall of Famers. With producer Fred Molin at the helm the artists lining up to pay tribute to The Kingston Trio include Rosanne Cash, Timothy B. Schmit, Al Jardine from The Beach Boys, Don McLean, and America. Backer rewards include a menu from the Kingston Trio owned Trident Restaurant and John Stewart’s own London Fog jacket.