The fanfunding campaign for my new record "Whispers from the woods" is complete! We're now recordong!

Description and goal

When I started recording music, I never would have believed I'd be in the position of making my 4th album so soon. My first album Welcome to the Past introduced listeners to my passion for storytelling and history. Providence took a more broad approach to my music and added some electric guitar. My double album Eiderdown offered listeners even more stories with an edgier approach on a few of the songs. I am honored and humbled to have all of you, the most awesome fans and friends I could want, on this road with me. I've also had the chance to work with some of the best musicians in the business, receive awards, have the Providence and Eiderdown albums balloted for GRAMMY awards, and have my songs and records chart in the top 10 and even reach number #1! What an amazing journey it has been, and the new music is still flowing!

After months of composing music and lyrics, I have officially launched and concluded a fanfunding campaign for my 4th album, which has the working title of Whispers from the Woods. I have twelve original songs, perhaps more, queued up. I'm excited to switch creative gears and start the recording process again. I'll be recording in Maine and New Jersey with two incredible producers, Jud Caswell and Eric Troyer. The whole process of recording, editing, and mixing is fascinating, and I'll blog about it as the album progresses. Many of you have shared how much you like the studio work but really enjoy my live shows even more. With that in mind, I am aiming to keep more of a live sound to many of the songs on Whispers. You can still expect a few songs to include amazing guest musicians. I may even go back to my roots and give myself permission to rock out on a couple of tracks. I am confident that you will absolutely love Whispers from the Woods, and please keep checking here for album progress updates!

$12,000 Goal with 100% pledged
YOU have made this record possible. Thank you all!

I am enormously grateful for your support of my music! Quite frankly, the people who enjoy my music, books, and concerts remain the backbone of my creativity. Your support makes it possible for me to do what I do and share my music with you all. If you're new to this page, please read my blog about why we need to raise this amount. Indie artists, like me, don't have a huge record label to front the expenses of recording and producing an album. We need to rely on the generosity of listeners and fans.

For those of you who have pledged, or anyone who would still like to become involved in the support of this new record, your contributions are safely made on the secure link below through PayPal or Stripe (credit card), or you may opt to send a good ol' personal check with the memo "Whispers Contribution" to me at P.O. Box 271, Winter Harbor, ME 04693.

Creating music has been so sustaining through these difficult times. I've shared a handful of the new songs at recent performances, which have already become popular requests. I am so grateful and humbled at the numbers of you who have partnered with me and given life to these songs on the album. The contribution tiers and rewards detailed below. Also, be sure to keep checking the Blog at the bottom of this page for news about progress on Whispers from the Woods. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart! Let's go make a new record!

CONTRIBUTION TIERS and REWARDS

The goal of $12,000 covers the recording, mixing, production, mastering, formatting, promotion, and a small portion of the distribution of Whispers from the Woods. If you'd like to be part of the journey, please select a tier or an amount of your choosing and use the contribution button [YOUR PRICE] at the bottom of this page. Thank you very much!

$ 10: Walkabout Tier – Enjoy a digital download of the new album.

$ 25: Grand Concert Tier – Enjoy a digital download plus an autographed and inscribed CD of Whispers from the Woods.

$ 65: Baritone Tier – Each contribution at this tier covers one hour of studio time. You'll receive the benefits of the Grand Concert Tier plus a VIP invitation to the album release event.

$ 250: 12-String Tier – Enjoy all the perks of the Baritone Tier plus your choice of one of my Books or CDs and a one-on-one interview with me to chat about the stories behind the music and the creation of the new album.

$ 500: Song Sponsor Tier – Each contribution at this tier covers the studio time to record one song. Choose the song and your name will be listed on the album's liner notes as a song sponsor. In addition to the benefits of the 12-String Tier, you may select a second autographed Book or CD.

$ 1,000: Song Patron Tier – This covers all aspects of producing one song – including its mastering, formatting, artwork, promotion, and some of the distribution. Choose the song, and your name will be listed as a song patron on the album's liner notes. In addition to the rewards of the Song Sponsor Tier, I will perform an online concert specifically for you and your friends on a day and time that's good for both of us.

"Whispers from the Woods" Contribution
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"Whispers from the Woods" Contribution

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Thank you so much for contributing toward the recording and production of "Whispers from the Woods." 100% of your contribution goes toward its creation. Please enter the $ amount of the contribution tier you've selected or an amount of your own choosing. You are now part of this creative journey and part of the new record!

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Here's Something Important, Just in Case You Were Wondering... 

As we enter the new year and near the end of the fanfunding campaign, I am finding myself filled with gratitude. There are so many of you who have chosen to support my music over the years and who have chosen to contribute to my album campaigns. The fanfunding campaign for Whispers from the Woods was no different. At the time of this writing, we've raised 87% of the $12,000 goal that is needed to create the new album!

I fully recognize that I am far from the only game in town. There are other artists endeavoring to do the exact same thing as me, and many other causes, organizations, and commitments that are in need of funding and competing for your attention. I am so humbled to know that many of you have made a conscious decision to choose my new music for your support.

Here's something important, just in case you were wondering. I want you all to know that I also have skin in the game and am not relying solely on your external, financial support. Out of the grand total that it takes to record, produce, and market a new album such as Whispers from the Woods, I'll be dedicated about 30-33% of my own funds, which is over and above the $12,000 goal. I've done that with my other albums, as well. The $12,000 goal for Whispers from the Woods was simply the remaining portion I needed to raise to make the record possible. I wanted to let you know this, so no-one thinks I rely on fans to fund 100% of the costs whenever I want to make a new record.

Here's a new and essential announcement: I have decided to extend the Whispers from the Woods fanfunding campaign for one additional week. December is not the ideal time to run a fanfunding campaign, but that's the time frame that was available to me. I know I was rather distracted and otherwise committed over the holidays, so I'm sure many of you were, too. For those of you who identify with that group or those of you who needed to wait until January to contribute, this is your opportunity to consider being part of my new album. There is $1,530 that remains to be raised, and I'm hoping some of you might find it within your ability to help push us over the finish line by January 8, the final day of the campaign. If so, please click here.

I can't wait to begin the recording phase in earnest, get into the studio, and make some new music for you all. Again, thank you so very, very much for your support of my creativity. I'm excited! Let's go make a record!

Waiting... 

Here's the raw truth...

You know what I'm not very good at doing? I mean really bad? Waiting. I can't stand waiting. It drives me crazy, makes me anxious, and immerses me in the feeling like my wheels are spinning. Spinning's no good. I like traction and forward momentum. Now, that's not a good quality to have when recording a record, especially when one of the studios I'm using is in New Jersey, and I'm in Maine. Don't get me wrong. I completely love the studios I'm working with in both Maine and NJ, but it involves waiting. Waiting for schedules to mesh. Waiting for studio time to open up. Waiting for travel. Plus, I don't like to keep my fans and listeners waiting. Many of them have contributed hard-earned funds to my fanfunding campaign, and, while I think everyone knows the situation I'm in for recording, I still don't like that it's going to be a better part of a year before Whispers from the Woods is released. You see, I don't like for YOU to have to wait either! I know, I know... Take a breath. Control the things you can and let the rest go. Yup. Easier said than done. These songs are like a class full of students on the last day of school before summer vacation. They are antsy, so done with rehearsal, and are screaming inside my head for release. They want OUT into the real world...NOW! So, that's one half of the equation.

There's a part two, as well. There's another thing I'm not very good at doing - asking for money. I've never been good at it and probably never will be. It makes me extremely uncomfortable to talk about money, especially if it's for me. Knowing that, you can imagine how uneasy it makes me to launch a fanfunding campaign! Unfortunatlely, it's a necessary component for most indie artists, as I've explained in my earlier blog. There are very few days that go by when I don't see some sort of crowdfunding campaign notice from other artists. They happen all the time. It's part of the process. Ya know what? It still doesn't make it any easier for me to ask for money from people. I am keenly aware of how tight things are for some and/or how many other requests people get for contributions. I get it - totally get it. Still, here I am needing to adhere to a schedule for funding request posts on social media and email. Sigh!

I guess what I want you to know is this. There is NOTHING I'd rather be doing with my music than composing and performing it for you. Those are my happy places. So, when you see my posts about the fanfunding campaign, when you see my E-mails about contributing to Whispers from the Woods, know that these are the steps I need to take to get to the point where I can send you a brand new album. They are the steps I need to take to get them on playlists. They are the steps I need to take to do the business end of this entirely strange and wonderful career of interpreting emotion and observations into song for you all.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to those of you who have contributed to my upcoming record! At the time of this writing, we are 4/9ths through the fanfunding campaign, and we still need about $7,500 to make the record a reality. I promise a record that you will absolutely love! If you have not contributed, please consider clicking HERE and see if you can help. Together, we can make some beautiful music into an album called Whispers from the Woods that'll last forever!

The Songs of Whispers from the Woods 

While living at my cozy cottage in the woods in Lamoine, it didn't take long to realize that the place had a special quality to it. True, I was there during the onset and the height of the pandemic, so I had ample time to get intimately familiar with the house and its surroundings. I also had prior knowledge of the area, as it was the place where my family used to vacation when I was a child. In fact, my cottage was under a mile from that former vacation spot, which I passed almost every day. I was surrounded by ghosts - vivid memories of the people and events that filled my past. However, I have lived surrounded by woods and memories almost my entire life, and I can tell you that there was something mystical, almost otherworldly, about that cottage in Lamoine I had come to make my home.

For one, I've never heard wind rush through the trees like it did there. I was surrounded by an almost constant chatter of waving branches, rustling leaves, and the whoosh of the wind. At night, the woods would literally howl with the mysterious language of the wind. Those of you who are familiar with my online concerts of that time know that I dubbed the home Howling Woods Cottage, and the name was well deserved.

Within a couple of months, I felt a presence surrounding the cottage. It wasn't anything concrete, and it wasn't ghostly. It was more like a muse, a tangible, inspiring well of information. I couldn't help being moved by this presence to compose and write songs. I've never had a period of time when the songs came so quickly. It didn't matter if I was at home, on the shoreline, or somewhere on the surrounding roads. This area wanted me to write - demanded might be a better word - and it wouldn't let me go until I put pencil to paper. At times, I would have a complete song blocked out in the time it took to walk my dogs.

What ensued was a multitude of songs that seems to be whispered in my ear from the woods around Howling Woods Cottage. It is from those songs, composed by the voices in the wind, that I gathered the best ones to comprise my new album Whispers from the Woods. Here's a brief description of them for you in no particular order.

"Brilliant" - a song about the intrinsic value that each person has

"Essence" - paying tribute to the songs that we know from our formative years and the way in which they shape us

"Evening Bell" - a nod to parts of our lives that have faded and the importance of not taking things for granted

"Hymn to Love" - a love letter to those we cherish

"Push" - this song deals with addiction and the belief that those afflicted are never truly alone

"Second-hand" - a journey through the past and the comfort some people gain from its grip on their lives

"Shine" - this song implores the listener to life life to the fullest and pay attention to one's inner voice

"The Bones of Old John Ford" - a tribute to the patriot and his claim to the oldest, known gravesite in Lamoine, Maine

"Second Floor" - this is a quirky view of where heaven and earth merge in some minds

"There was a Time" - a nostalgic review of the passage of time and its resolution

"Twilight" - the title says it all and incorporates thoughts of where we are and where we're headed

A Quick Word on Fanfunding 

You might be wondering why I'm choosing to use the term "fanfunding" instead of "crowdfunding," the more common term you may have heard. Well, it's because my fans are awesome! They know me and my lyrics and music. Many of them have tuned in to hear weekly, online concerts, have become what we call our "online family." People support that which they know and feel they have a connection. You are not part of a faceless crowd, you're fans and family. That's why I call it "fanfunding."

So, why $12,000? My project is on the smaller side. While $12,000 is a sizeable amount of money, and I don't think lightly of the responsibility it places on me to create a quality product in return for fan contributions, the dollar amount is also pretty manageable. This allows me to reach out to people who are interested in, and familiar with, my work and not so much to the general public.

Furthermore, you might be questioning why I'm not using one of the well-known crowdfunding sites that are so popular these days. The reason is three-fold. First, many crowdfunding projects need the goal to be met within a defined timeframe before the artist can collect the pledges. It's all or nothing. That can slow things down on the recording and production end of things, which is not ideal. With fanfunding, the project funds can be used on a rolling basis. Second, crowdfunding platforms take 8-15% of the collected funds. Wait...8-15%? Yep! That a lot! Instead, I'm electing to keep contributions between my fans and me with no middleman. That allows me to put 100% of the pledges toward the music I want to create for my audience. It also provides contributors the knowledge that their money isn't going, in part, to support some faceless, crowdfunding platform. All of the contributions toward Whispers from the Woods, for which I am extremely grateful, go toward the new record, and the contributing supporters and fans become partners in the creative process with me. Third, many crowdfunding platforms do not pay out unless the goal is completely met. This means an artist could find him/herself 10% short of their goal and receive non of the pledge money at all, which could bring recording to a grinding halt.

Recording, mixing, producing, mastering, promotion, pressing... It's more than most indie artists can absorb, especially in this age of streaming when artists get an average payout of...wait for it...a whopping $0.004 per stream! Let's say a song gets 100K streams. That means the artist only sees $400! Seriously, there is very little profit to be made in record sales and airplay these days. We are far away from the time when records were king. Now, any money to be made at all in music is in live performance, not in music sales.

All of this points to why fanfunding is so important to indie artists. It's a relationship between the artist and the fans. While it's nice to have a record company support and back an artist financially, that only happens to a small minority of artists. For the vast majority of us, keeping things between an artist and the fans is what keep us going, keeps the music alive, and is, I believe, much more personal and meaningful.