Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: Jeffrey Gaines, American Aquarium, and Wrecking Crew
While browsing Twitter on Saturday, I ran across a tweet from the always excellent folks over at Saving Country Music that read “Remember, your favorite music artists, bands, independent labels and promoters are also SMALL BUSINESSES. Consider supporting them on this Small Business Saturday with a purchase.” On this, the weekend where America most celebrates rampant consumerism, it’s a great reminder that there are small business owners in every bar and club in the country. Crowdfunding and direct-to-fan sites are the electronic version of the merch table, allowing artists an additional revenue stream to keep them on the road or in the studio. While sites like PledgeMusic have increasingly been used by studios and mainstream artists for pre-order, this week I’m going back to the origins of crowdfunding with three true “pledge goal” campaigns.
It’s been 15 years since we got an album of new material from soulful songwriter Jeffrey Gaines, but that drought ends in January with the release of Alright, his first for Omnivore Recordings. For Alright, Gaines teamed with the band Jackshit, made up of The Imposters’ Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher and renowned sideman Val McCallum, and songwriter Chris Price as producer. Backer rewards include signed copies of the album on CD and vinyl, a seat to Gaines’ CD release show in Los Angeles and, for those living on the other side of the country, VIP meet and greet passes for shows in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York.
There may be no more appropriate album title for a band than “Things Change” for American Aquarium. While the band quickly established themselves at the top of the heap in the Springsteen Wing of Americana’s big tent, the lineup has been fluid, and sometimes contentious. Frontman BJ Barham blew the entire band up in April and rebooted with a different group. Now, with Things Change, we get to see if they actually do on the new American Aquarium’s first album. Backer rewards include a signed copy of the album on CD and vinyl, t-shirts, a “pen pal” club where the band will send one postcard per month from the road, and a chance to spend a weekend on the road with the band.
Even if you’re not familiar with The Wrecking Crew, you likely have one of their albums in your collection. Since the ’50s, this rotating cast of session players contributed to countless essential albums in the rock pantheon, including those from The Byrds, Frank Sinatra, and The Beach Boys. In 2015, a documentary about The Wrecking Crew was released, along with a soundtrack of music featuring the group. Now the documentarians are back with a second run of songs from The Wrecking Crew, aptly titled Take 2. It’s a testament to how prolific The Wrecking Crew was that the album of songs that didn’t make the initial cut fill a 3 CD set. Backer rewards include a movie poster signed by Denny Tedesco, Hal Blaine, and Don Randi, a signed Don Randi guitar, and a signed Hal Blaine drum head.