Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: Sawyer Fredericks, Frank Hannon, Toubab Krewe
A lot of virtual ink has been dedicated over the years to the term Americana, and specifically the Americana Music Association’s “big tent” approach that takes not only the genre’s country roots into account but also “roots” music from across a wide spectrum. This week’s edition of Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week explores three very different artists that represent vastly diverse corners of that big tent, from a young singer-songwriter, to a hard rocker taking on Southern rock with a solo project to a band that usually gets classified as “world” music, possibly the one genre with an even bigger tent than Americana.
Credit to my No Depression colleague Amos Perrine for pointing me to Sawyer Fredericks. Amos has always been reliable in helping me discover artists from a bit north of my Nashville-based bubble. Hailing from rural New York (which is quietly becoming a little incubator for roots music), Sawyer Fredericks is just 18, but came to increased prominence in 2015 after winning The Voice, a feat unto itself for an Americana musician. Now Fredericks is following up his self-titled debut with a new album, Hide Your Ghost. Backer rewards include a signed copy of the album on CD or vinyl, a chance to catch Fredericks at a sound check, and a set of Polaroids from the road.
It could be argued that metal is the new punk for Americana music, with a number of hard rockers from the ’70s and ’80s dipping their toes into the Americana stream in recent years. But for Frank Hannon, it’s really not a major stretch. Hannon’s primary band, Tesla, was a hit making juggernaut during the hair and makeup days of MTV, but always had an underlying blues foundation (and a lack of mascara) that set them slightly apart from artists like Poison or Warrant (although both of those bands have also had members dabble in roots music). Hannon also has Southern rock in his family, being married to the daughter of Allman Brothers legend Dickey Betts. For From One Place.. To Another, Hannon sticks to covers of Southern rockers that inspired him, and assembles an impressive list of guests including Duane Betts, Nelson, Paul Jackson of Blackberry Smoke and original Heart guitarist Roger Fisher. Backer rewards include signed copies of the album, Hannon’s guitar picks, and an autographed mini-Marshall speaker.
The best bands are often hard to put into a genre box. So it is with Toubab Krewe. The North Carolina-based instrumental collective have spent the last decade melding the music of their home with the music of their adopted home, West Africa. The resulting music is a kind of bluesy Afro-pop that is uniquely theirs. More importantly, Toubab Krewe is socially active, donating and raising money for numerous African charities. 2% of the total money raised for Stylo will go to Seed Programs International, an organization dedicated to ending global hunger by the distribution of vegetable seeds to developing nations. Backer rewards include a seed garden in a Toubab Krewe collector’s box, a Skype lesson with various members on their chosen instrument, and a private concert from Toubab Krewe.