Every year, thousands of independent musicians take to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or PledgeMusic to secure the money needed to record or release their new project directly from the fans. Increasingly, these platforms have also become popular with more established artists as a way to compensate for a shrinking album sales market by offering personalized merchandise as a bonus to album sales. But with so much to choose from, how do you find the ones that are worth your limited entertainment dollars? That’s where I come in. Each week, I will scour the crowdfunding sites to bring you three campaigns that offer something unique, intriguing, or just new music from a great source. This week is a globe trotting edition as we go from Nashville to the UK and back to Maine.
It seems odd that some of the best Americana music is being made not in America but in England. But as the AMA UK delegation to the Americana Music Festival each year shows, that’s just what’s happening. One of the highlight acts at the 2015 Americana Festival was Liverpool duo Worry Dolls. While the pair has self-released two EP, they have yet to release a full-length album. Fortunately, while in Nashville last September for the festival, Worry Dolls popped into the studio to remedy that. Working with producer Neilson Hubbard, Worry Dolls have completed work on the album and now have it up for pre-sale on Kickstarter. Backer rewards include a bag of “worry dolls”, which the pair promise will take away your worries if put under your pillow, and signed vinyl copies of the album.
For any roots-based band, playing the hallowed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville is always a career milestone. For Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, that milestone was reached in February 2015 with a sold-out show at that venue. The band loved the show so much, they have decided to package it and release it as their first live album. Backer rewards include an autographed limited edition gold vinyl of the album, a handwritten lyrics sheet, and a code to pre-order tickets to Holcomb’s next Ryman concert in Feb. 2017, as well as a backers only invitation to the after party.
Maine’s The Fogcutters are a truly unique band in a sea of artists trying to fit that moniker. A 20 piece big band, the group has never been content with standard covers of big band and swing artists like Cab Calloway, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. Instead, they have taken practically every genre of music, from hip hop to country to blues, and made it work within a big band sound. After successfully covering numerous artists, The Fogcutters are now ready to release their first all-original studio album and have taken to PledgeMusic for funding. Backer rewards include a digital download of the band’s entire catalog, a signed horn chart, and an original Fogcutters arrangement of a song of your choice.