CROWDFUNDING RADAR: The Welcome Optimism of Making Art in Troubled Times
Adam Klein (photo by Jeff Shipman)
These past two weeks, I found it difficult to make my usual trips into the crowdfunding world to look for campaigns to feature. Instead, I found myself drawn to NPR, keeping tabs on the Derek Chauvin trial, what seemed to be an almost daily parade of mass shootings, and the ongoing general malaise of the COVID-19 world. But, with the Chauvin trial ending with at least one mark in the “good for humanity” column (we haven’t worked out the shooting at people thing yet, unfortunately), I found a little energy. I turned away from my plan of finding three protest albums to feature and just focused on crowdfunding in general. There’s a certain optimism about crowdfunding an album of any kind. Whether the songs are happy, sad, silly, or angry, they all start with people looking into the same pit of bleak news stories and pandemic isolation that we are and saying “I’m going to make art this year, and I think people will pay me for it!” I, for one, could use a little more of that sort of news.
Adam Klein – Holidays in America (click here to view campaign)
Don’t run away! While it actually isn’t really very early for people to start crowdfunding Christmas albums, this isn’t one of those (thank God). Instead, Holidays in America is the latest from Athens-based roots songwriter Adam Klein. I enjoyed Klein’s last album, Little Tiger, and the read on this one makes me think that Klein may have been joining me in constantly refreshing his favorite news site over the last weeks. Mostly written in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, this album finds Klein drawn to “stories of hurting, unfulfilled American lives.” On one song, he pulls inspiration from the literary works of Cormac McCarthy, himself not really known for his rosy outlook on life. To reach his $12,000 Indiegogo target, Klein is offering a number of backer perks. You can get the album in the usual digital, CD, and vinyl formats, the last in a limited run of 300; a “Cowboy Angel” mystery grab bag; a vinyl test print (limited to four total); and a songwriting workshop with Klein.
Wood Belly – New Album (click here to view campaign)
I have featured Colorado bluegrass act Wood Belly here before, when they ran a Kickstarter campaign for their last album. Since that time, needless to say, the world has gone through quite a few changes, and so has Wood Belly, adding guitarist and vocalist Tom Knowlton to the band. Leaving their jamgrass-centric home for another bluegrass incubator, North Carolina, the band took the songs they’d spent most of a lost touring year perfecting and worked with producer Jon Weisberger to put them on tape. The band has an ambitious $27,500 Kickstarter goal and a whole host of entertaining backer perks to help them along. The album is available in digital, CD, and vinyl formats, but if you want to get more up close and personal with the band, there are plenty of ways to do that. You can get a pair of guitar string earrings, handmade by a local artist from tour-played strings. If you need wall art, you might prefer the “Dogs (And a Cat) of Wood Belly Calendar” or a wood-burned wall hanging made by a member of the band. If you want to get extremely personal, there are also opportunities to accompany band members fly fishing, golfing, snowboarding, or to a backyard BBQ and concert.
K.C. Jones – Queen of the In-Between (click here to view project)
If you aren’t familiar with the name K.C. Jones, you might be with Kelli Jones, of Cajun rock bands T’Monde and Feufollet or her duo projects with Joel Savoy. Because she wanted to explore completely new musical genres and styles, she adopted the pseudonym. But the new styles come with some familiar faces on board, including Joel Savoy, Feufollet’s Chris Stafford, and T’Monde’s Megan Constantin. Jones has a Kickstarter budget of $25,000. Backer perks include the album in early access digital, CD, and vinyl formats, the last two signed; a “Queen of the In-Between” badge pin, a backer listening party for the new album, a cover song of your choice, and a house concert.