CROWDFUNDING RADAR: The Return of Love Songs
Phil Madeira (photo by Chris Griffy)
The pandemic has brought out a number of themes among songwriters. Songs of isolation and desolation. Songs of depression. Tons of songs about politics. Even quite a few about reconnecting through disconnecting. But there haven’t been a lot of songs about love. Maybe that’s because a year of forced togetherness dampened the fire, though if the predicted baby boom is an indication, the flames of passion may have flared up on occasion. Maybe there was too much screaming on social media, our only “social” outlet in lockdown. More likely it’s just that people write love songs all the time and the sheer differentness of the pandemic required something more than “silly love songs,” with apologies to Sir Paul. Whatever the reason, love isn’t something you see entire albums about exiting the pandemic — until now. This week, I’ve got two campaigns for albums about love, both of the romantic and “ … your neighbor” variety, as well as a third that throws back to my last column featuring AmericanaFest artists.
Phil Madeira – Bliss (click here to view campaign)
Leave it Phil Madeira to bring the love to a (sort of) post-pandemic world. He is, after all, a guy many of us got to know via his 2012 collaborative album Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us, with its simple theme, “What if God is love?” He’s also a member of The Red Dirt Boys, who back up Emmylou Harris, one of the warmest personalities in all of roots music. The new album, Bliss, promises, per his Kickstarter video, no snark and no politics, just 11 love songs. As usual, Madeira is bringing a slate of guests to the album, including fellow Red Dirt Boys Bryan Owings and Chris Donohue, Cindy Morgan, and Jeff Coffin. As always with veteran crowdfunder Madeira’s campaigns, there are plenty of backer perks available at every budget level. There is the album in the usual formats, though if you want vinyl you’d better jump because they’re being limited to 90. There is also a signed copy of his book God on the Rocks, downloads or CDs of his entire album collection, and an executive producer credit.
Jess Jocoy – Let There Be No Despair (click here to view campaign)
Nashville-based songwriter Jess Jocoy let the pandemic inspire her to write not about depression, but about love, aiming to throw a wall up against the constant barrage of news stories filled with people who have found a reason to hate some other people. Jocoy went into her campaign with a $7,500 goal that she seemed genuinely nervous about reaching in her campaign video. She needn’t have worried, as the campaign has already raised over $10,000, with just a third of the time run. But the extra isn’t just frosting, as she’s now added vinyl tiers to the campaign. In addition to the vinyl, as well as the usual digital and CD offerings, backer perks also include a flower pot hand-painted by Jocoy filled with wildflower seeds; handwritten lyrics; and a gift basket of her favorite Nashville products.
Heather Bond – The Mess We Created (click here to view campaign)
I hadn’t heard of Viktor Krauss before I caught his set with Jack Silverman and Rob Burger at AmericanaFest. Probably not something I should admit as a frustrated bassist, but there it is. So imagine my surprise when, less than two weeks later, I see his name again, this time producing the second album by Heather Bond. Unlike most Kickstarter campaigns where you have to either listen to old songs or trust what you hear in the campaign video, Bond’s YouTube page has plenty of examples of songs from the album as well as production rundowns of the songs by Krauss, perfect for that gearhead in your life. Backer perks for the campaign include the album in digital, CD, or vinyl, the last two signed or unsigned; an emailed thank you note; and a private listening party with Bond and Krauss.