Spring is coming.
I'm up at 6 a.m.
It's still dark, but it feels promising.
Yesterday I met my daughter Nina at a brewery where she was doing a tarot reading event.
They allowed dogs so I brought little Tobi.
Oh boy did he have fun.
He loves children, and the brewery has an outdoor climbing area for kids.
A new generation parents in Minneapolis, at least some of them anyway, take their kids along to the brewery on a Sunday afternoon.
It was really fun, everyone (except the kids and the dogs) walking around with a glass of artisan crafted beer.
The only thing important about this story was that everyone liked Tobi and also that it was the first time this year that we were sitting outside eating and not uncomfortable at all.
I have a feeling of promise around the whole thing right now.
Promise is in the air.
My show this Friday will be a new level of influence for me.
These people are careful about who they bring in for their concert series and they've chosen me as one of only six artists for this year's series.
This one female artist, Claudia Schmidt, is on many of the same rosters as me for this year.
Rob has worked with her.
I've met her only once I think.
She has traveled in a higher circle of the regional folk community than me for years.
In the years I was traveling with my band I just seemed like a rock chick to people in the Folk world.
Playing solo has changed that.
Making the Songs From The Open Road album of old songs I love has changed that.
I was a Folky all along?
What was John Denver?
What is Cat Stevens?
What...oh what...is Bob Dylan?
I'm whatever those guys are/were.
Rock stars who play Folky rock.
I'm gearing up to make a new all originals album.
It's going to be a big task in the sense that I have to do a real fundraiser and get the full amount committed before I begin.
Rob Genadek cannot be asked to work for nothing again.
It isn't fair.
I used to be able to pay him out of my own savings, until I spent all my own savings.
Now I have to ask my fans to come up with it.
It's just going to have to happen.
I feel it.
I need a place for me and my little dog.
Seven days, ten days.
Somewhere very quiet but not scary.
Not to record, just to write out the songs.
If you have an idea, let me know.
Like a one room cabin.
Like a tiny house no one needs for ten days.
A place that can handle a small to medium dog....who is already very well trained.
A shower or a tub.
Not someone's guest room.
It has to be a free standing building.
Then we raise the money, and not before.
I have to have the songs ready, I have to do my work first so people believe.
Rob G has to get $10,000 to make this record, $5000 up front, $5000 when he finishes it.
Start in late May, finish by late July.
That kind of effort needs that kind of money so he can devote his time and still survive those months.
Jon James, who's played with me since my Beautiful Lonely album, has to get paid too.
These guys have worked for me for nothing or nearly nothing since my money ran out.
Asking them to work for nothing has nearly ruined my relationships with these people.
Jon James will be paid $2000 for this new album.
That's actually a very humble going rate, usually $150-250 per song.
I asked a more famous guitarist to play on my High Priestess record, just to see, and he said yes, but his going rate was $1000 per song.
I'll need money for manufacturing and the promotion.
I talked to Rob and JJ about it a bit at the last show.
They said to make sure I ask for enough to do it right.
None of the money will go to me.
I will continue to play shows and do consultations and book club appearances all summer for my own survival.
I'm thinking it's $10,000 for Rob for pre-production, production, studio time, mixing, mastering.
Pre-production is Rob helping me arrange the songs and get them ready to be recorded. He usually pushes me to rewrite lame passages or add a bridge or something. Always well worth the extra time.
The full disclosure on this is that Rob has really lost all his patience for working with me for no pay.
He just sits there fuming while I mull over my millions of little lyrical questions.
He feels like I'm wasting his time and not respecting him.
I feel like making records is so much fun and so exciting that I have just thought Rob was being a grouch.
But he's sitting there in his studio that he has to pay for and working with an artist who isn't going to be able to pay him.
It's a buzz kill.
He's told me I could find another producer who might be willing to do a record on spec like he's done.
But he has said repeatedly that he won't do that with me again.
A record on speculation.
Hmmmmm.....I wonder what amount of money we can speculate Rob might get later.....the answer is zero as an independent artist.
Only if a record of mine gets bought by a bigger record company for international distribution would Rob get paid what I owe him in production fees.
That's part of our "speculation" deal.
And that could still happen, people.
But in the meantime, Rob has to get paid half up front or he won't do it at all and I don't blame him.
He has to see that I have the funds raised already before we begin.
This is coming up.
I'm going to do it.
I know I can and I must.
Rob and JJ have my sound in their souls, in their own styles, in their fingertips.
The two of them know exactly what I'm trying to do musically.
They have to be the ones for this new record.
JJ plays bass, he plays lead guitar, he plays keys, and he sings great harmonies.
Plus JJ is a songwriter himself and he has great brilliant ideas that I respect.
Rob plays drums and bass and percussion and mandolin and guitar and everything else too.
And he knows how to put it all together and make it wonderful.
This is what has to happen and nothing short of this will do.
The deadline for completion has to be short and swift to get these guys through the process and out on the other side before we leave for Europe in late August.
Dragging out the process is expensive and it muddies the waters...believe me....some of my albums took a year to make and that suuuuucks.
First the week of songwriting.
Then the fundraiser.
I'm going to ask for $18,000.
Or should I ask for $20,000?
The only thing that could be super cool would be to bring in a pedal steel player or a great piano player like Jeff Victor.
Each of those guys would be another $1000-2000.
If I say $20,000, we bring them in for sure.
I don't want to skimp on this at all.
I want efficient, swift, greatness.
I'll have to decide on a minimum amount because the Kickstarter program only allows you to receive the money if you make your goal within the set time.
I think that's great.
We'll just pound it out until we have it and it'll really light the fire under us all to make it happen.
Amanda Palmer's story is that her fundraiser hit it's goal very early and her fans just kept giving money and on the midnight of the completion date they hit one million dollars.
That's quite a story, from the early days of crowd funding.
I have a deep regard for this process and I don't take it lightly.
In order to do what I want to do, fan support is crucial.
It's become a new way of doing business and making art.
The record labels used to give people money up front to make records, and they still do, but because of my age I've been an outlier.
I'm proving that the record labels are wrong about only promoting young artists.
I want to prove them more wrong than ever about this.
I know a guy who is turning forty. He's a singer and songwriter himself. He is also a music producer. He's producing a fourteen year old girl right now who he says is the next Taylor Swift.
He wanted to be a success himself at one time.
He said to me right to my face that only youth sells and that the artists are just getting younger and younger...look at Billie Eilish who just won everything and is eighteen.
I love Billie Eilish, and possibly her brother Finneas more so, but she's not able to do what I can do.
My friend the producer is wrong to think that only young artists can have success or can be viable.
He thinks this.
There's nothing I can do to prove him wrong except prove him wrong.
I want every person who tells themselves that they're too old to look at me and realize that life is long and you can make yourself into what ever you want.
Willie Nelson and John Prine put out great new albums last year.
Tanya Tucker did too, but the men are seventy and Tanya is only sixty.
I'm going to be sixty next year.
Tanya won a Grammy for her record.
I want to win one next year.
Tanya has been famous since she was in her twenties.
I want to prove that a woman can have acclaim for her work for the first time at any age.
She can become a success at sixty, not just have a come back at sixty.
In any field she pursues.
Youth is not the supreme state of creativity.
Our culture has to stop thinking that way.
I don't want a world ruled by wayward youths.
I want a world inspired and ignited by the fresh perspectives of the young and also enriched by the wisdom and fire of the old.
Do you get this?
My crowd funding effort has to reflect this level of commitment to music artists of all ages.
We have something to prove.
I'm going for the $20,000.
In the industry, that is a humble budget for a full length studio album.
We are going to do this.
Thanks for reading.