CROWDFUNDING RADAR: Acoustic Projects From Peter Mulvey, Morgan Harris, and Ordinary Elephant
Ordinary Elephant (photo by Olive & West)
Over the last decade or so, roots music has embraced more Southern and blues rock elements, with artists like Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and American Aquarium making electric instruments fit right into the roots mainstream. But sometimes it’s nice to step back and revisit the “roots” of roots music, those acoustic solo or duo acts who strip the music down to bare bones and let the pauses play out. This month, I’m featuring three such projects from a roots veteran, an artist releasing a solo album after years of band work, and a duo whose musical identity embodies stripped-down acoustic melodies.
Peter Mulvey – More Notes From Elsewhere (click here to view campaign)
In 2007, after years of requests by fans for an album of his songs the way he most often plays them live — solo and acoustic — Peter Mulvey released Notes From Elsewhere. Now, after a decade and a half of people asking him the same thing about his newer material, he’s following it up with a second solo acoustic retrospective album titled More Notes From Elsewhere. Recorded and co-produced by Steven Foxbury, Mulvey kept the team as stripped down as the album itself. Mulvey has already blown past his initial $10,000 funding goal, so he’s in stretch fund territory now. The backer perks for this one are pretty stripped down as well, and serve mostly as a preorder campaign for the album, which will be released in digital, CD, and vinyl formats (with the physical media signed). The only two perks that aren’t the album are a T-shirt and a hoodie.
Morgan Harris – New Solo Record (click here to view campaign)
Colorado-based artist Morgan Harris is best known as a member of old-time trio Tall Poppy String Band. But sometimes she likes to step away from the band life and explore what she calls “potential for starkness and space in playing solo.” So she’s started a $7,000 Kickstarter campaign to record her new solo record, adapting old fiddle and banjo songs for the acoustic guitar. It’s also a milestone album for Harris, her first as an out trans artist and the first released under her new name. Backer perks for this campaign include the album in digital, CD, and vinyl formats (with CD and vinyl signed), an original cocktail recipe based on your favorite old-time tune, guitar lessons, and an original song written for you.
Ordinary Elephant – New Album (click here to view campaign)
I was fortunate enough to catch the duo Ordinary Elephant at The Station Inn during AmericanaFest a few years ago and was struck by just how intimate their songs were; just the two of them around one microphone, with two instruments, letting the spaces between the notes linger. So I was excited to see a Kickstarter campaign from the duo and especially excited to see they were working with producer Dirk Powell (Rhiannon Giddens, Our Native Daughters). The album, which is already done, was at Powell’s encouragement recorded in the same way the pair play shows, face to face and acoustic. For their $25,000 Kickstarter campaign, Ordinary Elephant is offering a number of backer perks. You can get the album digitally or via signed CD or vinyl. You can also get a book of poetry, handwritten lyrics, a house concert, and a custom poem.