Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: Frank Turner and Mickey Hart
After a few weeks of theming the Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week column, I’m going back to my roots music roots this week with two completely unrelated campaigns, with the only thread being that they are new. In this week’s column, we have the new hybrid project from a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and a greatest hits compilation from a musician who constantly defies genres.
Mickey Hart has never been one to was afraid to experiment. As drummer for The Grateful Dead, Hart helped create the blend of psychedelic jam, rock, bluegrass, and folk music that made that band’s unmistakable sound. Now, with RAMU, which stands for “Random Access Music Universe”, Hart continues to play with melding divergent styles into something cohesive. Working with producer Michael Menert of EDM group Pretty Lights, Hart is dipping his toe into the world of electronic music, but sampling things like Jerry Garcia guitar licks and auctioneers from the 1940s. But the real sell here is the list of guests Hart has lined up. As usual, he has bassist Oteil Burbridge to hold things together, but he also gets guest vocal help from Tank Ball from Tank & the Bangas and Avey Tare from Animal Collective, as well as a lyrical assist from longtime Grateful Dead collaborator Robert Hunter. Backer rewards include a social media shout out from Hart, signed drum heads and cowbells, and a personalized video message.
The link between Americana and punk music is pretty well defined. While the two sound like complete opposites, many a punk rocker has made a career turn as an Americana singer-songwriter. Then there are people like Frank Turner, who never saw the need to divide those genres at all. Turner has a well-earned reputation for dynamic live shows with the raw energy and DIY ethos of a punk rock show, but with the kind of acoustic virtuosity and lyrical depth that makes him many a fan in the Americana community (and a favored touring companion of Jason Isbell). If you’ve never listened to Frank Turner, you now have a way to sample his entire career with the new retrospective double album Songbook, out Nov. 24. But Songbook is not just a greatest hits album. It also features stripped down acoustic re-imaginings of some of Turner’s hits, as well as a new song, “There She Is.”