We don’t often promote crowdfunding campaigns from artists trying to raise money to complete recording projects. There are a great many of them, and not all of them are worthwhile, though we do try to let our readers know about charitable enterprises, especially fundraising efforts for medical expenses.
But when the campaign itself is this original and entertaining, it becomes a story in itself. And that’s just what The Grasslers have here for their premiere album, Bluegrass Machines.
The Grasslers hail from the south of France, and are relatively new converts to bluegrass music. They have embraced it fully, and applied some of the theatricality that is more common among metal and pop artists to what they do. Performing as a quintet, they bring a full show experience, even adopting individual characters as band members.
To clarify what they are doing, take a step back and consider the way that American country and bluegrass music is viewed in many parts of western Europe. A very common stereotype found in France and Germany is that of the cowboy and the wild west, with even contemporary country acts dressing as wranglers or cowhands on stage. It is an image that lingers in the imagination of a good many Europeans, and a strong association with western themes is as accepted for bluegrass as lederhosen would be for an oompah band in a German restaurant here in the states.
Taking that as a starting place, The Grasslers have created a wild west attitude with a steampunk vibe. We shared a previous video they made, a grassy version of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, shot as a short film set in a 19th century western town. It was an ambitious and impressive effort, showing that this bunch mean to be taken seriously, and are willing to put in the hard work to share their artistic vision.
The man behind The Grasslers is Christophe Richard, who plays guitar and sings the lead vocals. His character in the band is known as Johnny West, supported by Yvan Bouc as Trinity Gordon on banjo/dobro, Nicolas Desvignes as El Padre on mandolin, Christophe Gamonet as Thomas Spencer on bass, and Laure Bonomo as Willy Wild on fiddle.
They have created a video for their online funding page at ulule.com, staged as a comic book adventure in which The Grasslers are tasked with recovering a stolen time/space convector and saving the day!
A modest budget of just under $4,000 is set at ulule, with the various premiums offered to donors shippable to the US. Find out more at ulule.com,