As the nature of the music business changes, more and more artists are turning to crowdfunding to pay for a new album or tour. While sites like Kickstarter and PledgeMusic used to be primarily for smaller independent artists who didn’t have label backing, it has become popular enough that even established musicians with labels are making a crowdfunding pre-order campaign part of their pre-album marketing. Every week, I will bring you three roots music crowdfunding campaigns that have piqued my interest and hopefully will yours as well. Does your band have a crowdfunding campaign you think should be featured here? Send me an e-mail with a link to your campaign and either some of your music or a link to listen to it. I’ll choose my favorites each week to feature here.
Sara Watkins made her fame as one-third of the progressive bluegrass group Nickel Creek. After the vocalist and fiddler went solo, she has released two successful albums and gained a significant following of her own with frequent festival shows and multiple appearances on the popular NPR variety show A Prairie Home Companion. Now Watkins is preparing to release her third solo album produced by Punch Brothers’ Gabe Witcher and including guest appearances from fellow Punch Brothers Chris Eldridge and Paul Kowert, Watkins’ “I’m With Her” tourmates Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan, and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James. Backer rewards include a handwritten lyric sheet, and a signed vinyl test print.
Emmy award winning songwriter Peter Himmelman has never been a household name, but has maintained a strong following in the roots community since his debut album in 1986. Now Himmelman has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his newest album There is No Calamity Here, which will be produced by Los Lobos keyboardist Steve Berlin. Backer rewards include a signed book of lyrics and illustrations, a signed copy of Peter’s book Let Me Out, and an Iphone case featuring Himmelman’s artwork.
William Shakespeare is a guy who doesn’t get name-dropped often in roots music, but so many words and themes created by his work permeate the English language so thoroughly, it’s impossible for him not to be an influence on any writer. 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of The Bard’s death and a group of English folk musicians are celebrating Shakespeare’s life by forming The Company of Players to collaborate on an album of new music. The Company of Players features rising UK stars Said the Maiden, The Sam Kelly Trio, Kelly Oliver, Minnie Birch, Daria Kulesh, Kim Lowings, Chris Cleverley, and Lukas Drinkwater. Unique backer rewards include a signed prop skull, original artwork, and house concerts by several individual members of The Company of Players. 20% of the money raised will be donated to the charity Storybook Dads.