CROWDFUNDING RADAR: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Crowdfunding Christmas
Keenan McKenzie (photo by Conway Li)
If you read that headline and shook your head sadly, please know that I am a kindred spirit. I too feel a little of myself die every time I go into a big box store in September only to find Santa Claus in the aisles and saccharine Christmas melodies on the sound system. But you have to give crowdfunders a bit of a pass on the early Christmas blues. In order to release a Christmas album by early November and maximize the two months of relevance it has, the fundraising portion has to begin in July or August. So, for this edition of Crowdfunding Radar, I am putting my pre-Thanksgiving Christmas Scrooge to bed and featuring two holiday album campaigns, rounded out by a new live album from a 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association Momentum Band nominee.
Keenan McKenzie – A Bull City Holiday (click here to view project)
Durham, North Carolina, is a hotbed of roots music, but it’s probably not the first location you think of for a swing band. Keenan McKenzie wants to change that. Two years after releasing his debut album, Forged in Rhythm, McKenzie is turning his talents to the holidays and filling out his roster with purely North Carolina-based talent, including vocal turns from Shana Tucker, Laura Windley, Mark Wells, and more. Nine of the ten songs on A Bull City Holiday are originals, a decision that came from McKenzie’s observation that many holiday classics have not stood the test of time (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” anyone?) and a desire to write new holiday songs with a 21st-century sensibility. Backer rewards include both digital and CD versions of the album, a custom ornament based on the artwork for the album, lead sheets or full charts for the album’s songs, and a chance to visit the studio during the album’s recording.
Michael Lington – A Foreign Affair (click here to view project)
Sax man Michael Lington has crossed genre lines between jazz, R&B, and soul throughout his 20-year career, but one thing he hasn’t done is release a holiday album. Until now. Lington is currently running an Indiegogo campaign for A Foreign Affair, releasing in November on his own independent Copenhagen Music label ahead of his slot alongside Dave Koz on his annual holiday tour. Koz does a guest turn on A Foreign Affair, as do vocalist Sheléa, trumpeter Rick Braun, percussionist Luis Conte, and more. Backer rewards include digital and CD editions of the album, signed sheet music, sampler packs from Lington’s wine and cigar line, and a VIP meet and greet experience at a Michael Lington concert of your choice.
Cane Mill Road – Let’s All Do Some Living Live (click here to view project)
Cane Mill Road may be newcomers on the roots music scene, with the band’s oldest member being 21, but they’ve made the most of their time so far. Both of their two albums spent time on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart, and the band garnered a pair of nominations at the 2018 IBMA Awards, one for Momentum Band of the Year and one for Momentum Instrumentalist for banjo player Tray Wellington. Now they’re aiming to catch the live energy that has led to their success on tape with Let’s All Do Some Living Live. The album’s title is taken from The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses,” a cover of which will be included on the album along with a mix of bluegrass traditionals and original recordings from their two albums. Backer rewards for their Kickstarter campaign include the album in digital and CD formats, downloads of their two previous albums, a limited edition T-shirt, and a signed set list.