House concerts are age old. People plucking strings on their porches, rocking their dorm rooms, having holiday parties that morph into caroling fests. I could ramble on and on with examples, but I will spare you. For folk singers near and far, house concerts are fantastic venues to share songs with people who might possibly really care about music, who wouldn’t normally be at a bar or a coffee shop catching a show, who trust the host’s taste and know it will lead to good, indie discoveries.
This past weekend marked the start of the recording process for my 5th album. I’ve returned to Sacred Heart Studio for the 4th time for its gorgeous acoustics, sacred setting and the chance to work with the revered sound engineer Eric Swanson. Sacred Heart’s website says: “A number of local, regional, and nationally acclaimed performers such as Low, Charlie Parr, Trampled By Turtles, Retribution Gospel Choir, Dark Dark Dark, Mary Bue, Sara Thomsen, Coyote, Cars and Trucks and the Crash Test Dummies have discovered the Sacred Heart Recording Studio is an ideal setting to capture their unique sound.” – I’m so happy to be on this list! I plan to have the album mastered by Tom Herbers, another “Knob God.”
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While my touring has ebbed and flowed, I CAN say that I’ve done it (!) and done solo stretches of up to 30 days. I’m in the beginning stages of planning the largest tour of my so-called life in March and April. Part of it, selfishly, will be to escape winter in Duluth, Minnesota. But truly, I will be touring behind a new record and returning to some well-loved cities and venues.
It is with great pleasure that I announce these two exciting performances: Saturday, August 23rd at the Chaperone Block Party (Duluth) AND Wednesday, September 3rd at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis.
I woke up Monday morning after the “super moon” the previous night and couldn’t stop thinking about the roller-coaster that is attachment: Expectation, getting hopes up, elation, disappointment, and over and over again. This is the human condition and a huge cause for suffering. How do we figure out how to gracefully ride the turbulent emotions? Do we remain forever pessimistic, making a practice of NOT getting our hopes up and thus never get disappointed?
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The Arrowhead Story is a collective of earth lovers based in Duluth, MN who are choosing music as a medium for change. Their Facebook page describes it further: “Last year, a group of musicians came together in Duluth to record a compilation album titled ‘Industry. Peace. Environment.’ to raise awareness about sulfide mining and the permanent changes that upcoming decisions will have on the landscape they love. This year, the movement gains ground by drawing together even more artists and activists to collaborate on an unprecedented series of events that will serve as a forum for a chorus of voices on this issue being raised and heard.”
Do you see your facebook/twitter/whatever social media friends say “Please support my new project with Kickstarter/IndieGoGo/Pledgemusic” and immediately groan and un-friend, unfollow or block that person? Sigh. ‘Tis the age of crowdfunding, and everybody has a project.
Crowdfunding is the collection of finance from backers—the “crowd”—to fund an initiative and usually occurs on Internet platforms … Kickstarter: The company’s stated mission is to help bring creative projects to life. Kickstarter claims it has received over $1 billion in pledges from 5.7 million donors to fund 135,000 projects, such as films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, and food-related projects. People who back Kickstarter projects are offered tangible rewards and special experiences in exchange for their pledges. This model traces its roots to subscription model of arts patronage, where artists would go directly to their audiences to fund their work.
In my social networks, I see it mostly with music, art, film and sometimes nifty inventions or delicious food products like Punk Rawk Labs vegan nut milk cheeses (SO GOOD). I have backed around 15 projects, from my friends (Ida Jo, Toby Thomas Churchill) to one of my favorite musicians of all time (Jane Siberry) to an international documentary that tugged at my heart strings (Embrace).
I have successfully funded an album in 2012 with Kickstarter:
and am in the middle of another campaign to record “Live to Lathe” at Welcome to 1979 Studio in Nashville this summer.
I am not hesitant to fund projects as I see it as a way for people to follow their dreams AND if the project doesn’t get funded, nobody loses any money (but maybe the inventor’s heart breaks a little). However, I can understand the irritation as SO many people – any old joe off the street – can try and raise funds for a project. They can get their fans’ hopes up — and if it doesn’t get fully funded then it’s seriously disappointing. Or what about if you funded something and the award never came? GAH! And yet, as awkward as it seems, it can be validating to pursue … It’s exciting as a fan to be a part of something and I still am giddy to get packages in the mail other than bills. Go fund something! www.kickstarter.com