Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: John Oates and Tom Rush
When the internet provided the mechanics to invent crowdfunding, the early adopters were almost all independent artists. The label system was still working in the late ’90s, although the terminal illness had already set in, and most established artists still took that route. Times, as Cole Porter once assured us, have changed. Today the major labels have become the home for radio-friendly pop country and meme chasers (the “cash me ousside” kid has a major label deal. Let that sink in), leaving even established acts to go directly to their fans. This week’s edition of Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week features two legendary artists who have plenty of experience with life in the label system, now enjoying life outside it.
For several years now, songwriter John Oates has led a double life. As one-half of Hall & Oates, the most successful duo of all time, Oates sells out arenas on the strength of hits like “Private Eyes” and “Maneater.” But for much of the past decade, Oates has put out a series of solo albums that have increasingly embraced roots music. Oates splits his time between Colorado and Nashville, both great places to be if you’re into roots music, and has titled his new album Arkansas. For this new album, Oates has put together a great band, called the Good Road Band, consisting of Sam Bush, Russ Pahl, Guthrie Trapp, Steve Mackey, Nathaniel Smith, and Josh Day. Backer rewards include handwritten lyric sheets, an autographed copy of Oates’ biography, and a signed vinyl test print.
While never as commercially successful as Oates, Tom Rush’s influence on music has been no less pronounced. For over 50 years, Rush has helped shape the singer-songwriter “genre” of music, recording not only his own compositions but also reviving folk classics for new ears. Now Rush is headed back into the studio in Nashville to record his as of now untitled new album. He addresses his reason for taking to crowdfunding site PledgeMusic on his funding page by saying “in olden times this would have been funded by a Big Record Company, and they would have wanted a lien on your soul and a second mortgage on your first-born son.” Backer rewards include handwritten lyrics sheets, a chance to “give Tom a guitar lesson”, and one of Tom’s signature white suits worn on stage.