Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: Exploring the Fringes of Roots Music in 2018
Americana music is, intentionally, a very broad term. While that “big tent” philosophy has annoyed some roots music purists, it has also led to the surge in popularity seen in recent years. That classic country crooners like Malpass Brothers can co-exist on a festival lineup with Southern rockers like American Aquarium and old time traditionalists like Dom Flemons is, to my way of thinking, a great thing. In the end, there are really only two genres of music; good and bad. So in this week’s Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week, I’m going to cast out to the edges of Americana’s big tent for some bands that are bringing different sensibilities to roots music.
Mmhmm- Debut LP
Blending pop with roots music is certainly nothing new. But typically pop/Americana hybrids have taken on two forms; intensely (sometimes excessively) earnest folk-pop like The Lumineers or Mumford & Sons, or more ethereal dream-folk like SHEL or All Our Exes Live in Texas. So while brand new duo Mmhmm, consisting of Hannah Fairlight and Raelyn Nelson (Willie’s granddaughter), isn’t treading completely new ground with their rootsy pop, they are carving their own niche by steering away from the above and bringing the catchy, hook-laden fun of “sounds of Summer” pop song energy with folk instrumentation. They currently have a PledgeMusic campaigns for their debut LP. Backer rewards include signed copies of the album on CD or vinyl, a house concert, and a signed tambourine.
Fantastic Negrito- Please Don’t Be Dead
Taken at face value, Fantastic Negrito’s blend of blues, soul, and r&b doesn’t hew too far from a lot of roots artists. But his path to success reads more like a rock or hip hop artist than a roots musician. The son of an orthodox Muslim, Negrito rebelled against the strict upbringing and took to the streets before a near death experience led him back to the music he loved. Negrito has always been politically conscious, but Please Don’t Be Dead appears set to tap into the cultural landscape that has driven so many roots musicians to release socially charged albums in the last year. Backer rewards include signed copies of the album on CD and vinyl, a vintage clothing shopping experience with Negrito, and a chance to hang with him in the studio.