Episode 4: Help!

It takes a village...

As you may or may not know, recording an album is a huge financial endeavor! And with the record labels going the way of the dodo, it's a tricky time to find a solution.

"Record in your basement!"

You might say, but the truth is, in today's incredible, competitive music landscape, a new artist simply cannot afford to release a recording that's less than professional. EVERYONE has an album now, and audiences are inundated with material. So much so that if they hear something that isn't up to par, they will likely pass on it for good.

So the quandary becomes, how does a burgeoning independent artist find the capital to pay the steep fees associated with recording an album? Which include:

Studio Fees
Musician's Fees

The answer is, it takes a village. For the first time in history, we the people have an opportunity to take a hands on approach with the the music we believe in, from the bottom up. This record will end up costing well over $10,000 to complete.

With that in mind, I'm asking that you make a donation to help make my dream a reality! This money will go directly to the studio/musician fees I will incur this May, and will allow me to progress in this most important step of the album making process!

Rest assured all the money you donate will be used exclusively for the recording of this album, and I will be happy to provide you with a detailed expense report at your request.

Thank you in advance! And please forward this, and my website to any friends, family members, co-workers, etc you think may like to be involved!


Now...this week's episode:

Ben Sollee ~ The Cello

I've never actually met ben face to face...not yet. But he's been a frequent companion for me over the last year or so, from his amazing solo work to the inspiring Sparrow Quartet album, Ben has quickly taken the seat as my favorite little cello rocker. I couldn't be more thrilled to have him on the record.


For a stalwart young artist who creates different means to an end, Ben Sollee has enjoyed a whirlwind year replete with remarkable success and warm, exciting music to match.

Sollee hails from Kentucky, yet sounds nothing like the colloquial music one traditionally associates with the state (or anywhere else for that matter). He eschews traditional singer-songwriter and folk boundaries, choosing a cello rather than a guitar as his divining rod, and utilizing unique plucking and percussive bow techniques juxtaposed against his blue-eyed soul meets Antony Hegarty vocal leanings. Ben enjoys collaborating with musicians as disparate as Otis Taylor and Bela Fleck, touring with indie rock royalty, and covering Sam Cooke as an homage to blues. When he ventures out of Louisville, sometimes he'll just strap this cello to his back and ride his bike rather than enjoy the comforts of a van or bus, as he did on his southern trek in the summer of 2009 -- playing intimate shows in every town he hits between his larger headlining performances. Yes, Ben's always done things a bit differently.

Perhaps that's one reason why his 2008 debut album, Learning to Bend, received such lauding from hardened critical ears. No Depression put the album on their top five of 2008, Paste listed him on The Best of What's Next, NPR raved and invited him to play a World Cafe set, and music blogs provided (and continue to provide) Sollee a steady torrent of praise and journalistic intrigue. His inviting and impressive debut, saturated with sweeping moods and a visceral maturity way beyond his 25 years, also landed him prominent spots on the festival circuit, including Austin City Limits and Bonnaroo, as well as a riveting set on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Not interested in slowing down, Sollee spends his spare time championing issues close to his heart, such as ending mountaintop removal through his volunteer work, playing benefit concerts for Kentuckians For the Commonwealth and Oxfam, as well as assembling the aforementioned bike tours to encourage greener living. Ben wears his conscience on his sleeve without proselytizing or taking away from what matters most, his imaginative music.

The next year looks to be just as exciting as the previous. Ben will release a collaboration with Daniel Martin Moore, also of Kentucky, on Sub Pop due out February 2010 called Dear Companion. The album was produced by My Morning Jacket's Jim James, making the whole project a family affair. Though the project promises to be one of the most prolific for both Ben and Daniel, they are donating their artist proceeds to environmental advocacy group Appalachian Voices.

Yes, Ben truly traces his own trajectory. And perhaps that's what will keep him both an engaging artist and person for years to come.