CROWDFUNDING RADAR: Projects from Carsie Blanton, Miss Leo Trio, and Erin McLendon
Carsie Blanton (photo by Jason Albus)
A friend recently shared a photo on social media that I, unfortunately, have seen before. It was a screenshot of the last Americana Airplay Chart, with enough Y chromosomes to fill an all-adverb Scrabble board. Despite the fact that women have consistently been the primary trailblazers in the roots music scene for over a decade (and, giving Mother Maybelle Carter due credit, possibly forever), it seems the Americana listening audience disagrees. I won’t say that the photo inspired me to pick only female-led projects for this week’s list, because, in all honesty, I’d already decided on two projects led by women so it was really just a case of picking a third from a fairly robust list of projects by women I already had stored as possibles. I don’t know if any of them will crack the airplay charts, but with a little help, they can get their art out to the world.
Carsie Blanton – Love & Rage (click here to view project)
Can there be any two words that better describe 2020, and the first few months of 2021, than “love” and “rage?” Carsie Blanton doesn’t seem to think so, and she promises plenty of both on her new album. Judging by the album’s first single, “Shit List,” the rage is aimed at worthy adversaries. Written in the wake of the 2017 Charlottesville riots, Blanton found the song to be even more relevant after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Finding some of the best musicians in the world at a loose end during the pandemic, Blanton engaged remote recordings from artists including Jay Bellerose, Griffin Goldsmith, and Mike Viola. In addition to the album in digital, CD, and vinyl formats, the last two signed, backer perks include two styles of T-shirt, “Be Good to the People” for those on the love side and “Fuck Fascism” for those on the rage; a grab bag of merchandise from across her career; a personalized message of love or rage, as you choose; and a three-part creativity workshop.
Miss Leo Trio – Debut Album (click here to view project)
Calling her style of music “funky soulgrass,” Miss Leo Matthews has been a fixture on the California coastal scene with her band Miss Leo and Her Bluegrass Boys. Now, pared down to a trio featuring Scott Marlin and Scott Conroy, Miss Leo Trio is ready to emerge from the pandemic with a flourish of tie dye and bell bottoms befitting Matthews’ style. The Trio is working with producer Eric Patterson (The Turkey Buzzards) at his Hill Studio to record the album. In addition to the album in digital and CD formats, backer perks include a signed art print; a “psychedelic cowgirl” shirt with a custom tie dye option; a one-hour music lesson with Scott Conroy, or a date with him if you prefer (there’s a man who knows how to be a team player); and a socially distanced acoustic “driveway show.”
Erin McLendon – Third Album (click here to view project)
Calling herself “the walking, talking poster child for ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,’” Erin McLendon backs up the fun-loving attitude present in her songs with a strong voice influenced not only by roots music but also a diverse group of artists that range from Aretha Franklin to Lin-Manuel Miranda. Originally from North Carolina, McLendon currently lives in Nashville after attending Belmont University. For her third album, McLendon is taking to Kickstarter with some interesting backer perks. In addition to her first single, “Shakin’ in My Boots,” available to backers at any level, other perks include a digital photobook, a signed copy of either of her previous two albums, a video song of your choice recorded and e-mailed to you, livestream access to watch a tracking day, studio charts, and for the foodies out there, either homemade cookies or a full barbecue dinner.