While sites like PledgeMusic and Kickstarter are referred to generically as “crowdfunding” sites, the popularity of this style of buying has led to them broadening. There are still a number of traditional “I need to raise this amount of money in this amount of time to make my album” campaigns, but increasingly these sites are being used for pre-orders and re-issues from more mainstream acts. In this week’s column, I have a mix of crowdfunding types, from a traditional campaign involving a collaborative album, to a pre-order from a young artist to watch, to a new album from a recent (and long overdue) Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
Reid Genaur and Folks- Conspire to Smile
Reid Genaur is known to most folks as the frontman for the bands Assembly of Dust and Strangefolk. Now he has gathered over two-dozen independent musicians for a collaborative project promoting compassion, Conspire to Smile. Genaur’s stated aim is to combat what he calls “social media paralysis,” the amplifying of negative world news through social media’s echo chamber, by taking social media back to its original pre-internet form, storytelling. The album includes a new song by the original members of Strangefolk, their first since 1998. Backer rewards include albums from Strangefolk and Genaur, an HD video of the album, and a children’s audiobook.
Caitlin Canty- Motel Bouquet
Caitlin Canty moved to Nashville from Vermont in 2015 and very quickly became immersed in that city’s collaborative vibe. She puts those connections to good use on Motel Bouquet, her fifth album. Produced by Noam Pikelny, the album features an all star band that includes Pikelny, Stuart Duncan, Paul Kowert, Jerry Roe, and Russ Pahl. It also contains guest spots from Aoife O’Donovan and Gabe Witcher. Backer rewards include the new album on CD and vinyl, guitar strings from the recording session, a collection of all five of her albums, and a VIP guest list addition to three of her shows.
Joan Baez- Whistle Down the Wind
When Joan Baez was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, most reactions fell on one of two tracks. The first was “it’s about time.” The second, “wait, she wasn’t already in?” I will admit to having fallen into that second category. Baez’s influence on the ’60s folk rock movement is so huge it seemed unreal she wasn’t. But then I remember it took this body until 2018 to induct Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the woman who mostly invented the genre they created a “hall of fame” for. But Baez seemed unfazed by her long HoF snub and is fortunately still quite active. Her new album, Whistle Down the Wind, her first in a decade is available for pre-order now. Produced by Joe Henry, the album features songs written by Josh Ritter, Tom Waits, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.