CROWDFUNDING RADAR: Guests Galore with Che Apalache, Wood Belly, and Fireside Collective
With dozens of new crowdfunding campaigns launching each week, it can be difficult for a young band to get enough notice beyond their core fanbase to make a campaign successful. One tactic used by young artists to stand out is to invite along a more established producer or collaborator. These established artists not only help boost the signal, especially if they promote the projects on their own social media, but they also lend an air of credibility to a campaign, a sign to potential investors that the artist has been around long enough to get noticed. For this edition of Crowdfunding Radar, I’m featuring three campaigns with notable guests.
Che Apalache – New Album with Béla Fleck
Aside from heavy metal, bluegrass may be the most sub-genred musical style in the world. There’s newgrass, Celtgrass, and jamgrass, just to name a few. For Che Apalache, the term Latingrass is fitting. With members from Argentina, Mexico, and the United States, the band’s sound fuses the “high and lonesome” traditional bluegrass of Ralph Stanley with Argentinian musical traditions. Who better, then, to produce their new album than the man who has taken that most traditional of bluegrass instruments, the banjo, to places you’d never expect it to go: Béla Fleck? After spending the last two years touring America and drawing fans with their socially conscious songs like “The Wall,” the band is ready to hit the studio and record what they hope is the start of a “cross-cultural dialogue.” To that end, they’re donating 5% of the funds raised to Siembra NC, a North Carolina-based charity that organizes grassroots campaigns for immigrant rights. Backer rewards include the standard signed album on CD or vinyl, a customized limerick, handwritten lyric sheet, and a motivational speech written and recorded by fiddler Joe Troop.
Fireside Collective – New Album with Travis Book
Fireside Collective may be a relatively young band, having only formed in 2014, but they have quite the pedigree. The core of the group comes from roots music hotbed North Carolina, with newer members pulled from the roots music incubator that is East Tennessee State University. Along the way they have found themselves in the finals of the Telluride Bluegrass band competition and winning the MerleFest band competition. Now the band is preparing to retreat to Asheville’s Echo Mountain Studio with a producer who knows a thing or two about making a successful progressive bluegrass album: Travis Book of The Infamous Stringdusters. Backer rewards include the album on digital and CD, including a few with alternate “first edition” artwork; a “behind the scenes package” that includes photos, music charts, and notes from the band, as well as guestlist passes to a show; and guitar, banjo, or dobro lessons with members of the band.
Wood Belly – New Album Featuring Sally Van Meter and Jeremy Garrett
Wood Belly may be the newest band on this list, having only released their debut album last May, but they have certainly found a following as the Kickstarter campaign for their new album hit its $20,000 funding goal in just over two weeks. With a few days left to go, the band decided to go with gusto and push a stretch goal to help finance a new touring van. The IBMA Momentum Award nominees have tapped a couple of bluegrass veterans to help them make their second album even more popular than their first. Producing the as-yet-untitled album is Sally Van Meter, who has worked with everyone from Jerry Garcia to Hot Buttered Rum and brings a seasoned hand to the producer’s chair. Also joining the band for a few songs is Infamous Stringdusters fiddler Jeremy Garrett. Backer rewards include the album on digital and CD, a signed poster, earrings made by a local artist from the band’s used strings, and a VIP album release party for Kickstarter backers only.