Kickin Grass makes fan financing work

The Kickin Grass BandThe Kickin Grass Band, popular alt-grass practitioners from North Carolina, have a new CD out on Superfan Records. Using the familiar string band instruments, Kickin Grass creates a hybrid sound that Superfan describes as a “roots-flaunting Americana style of bluegrass.”

The band is made up of Lynda Dawson on guitar and lead vocals, Jamie Dawson on mandolin, Matt Hooper on fiddle, Patrick Walsh on bass and Ben Walters on banjo. This is their third recorded project, but have chosen to make this one a self-titled release. Most of the songs are originals written within the group, with Lynda taking on the lion’s share of the songwriting duties.

Of particular interest is the creative way the new project was funded, a topic Brance had discussed in a post earlier this year.

After having completed six songs, Kickin Grass ran out of money to complete the album – a scenario that presents itself to countless unsigned bands. Instead of going into debt or waiting for a label commitment, they decided to try fan financing. And it worked.

Lynda Dawson explained how it all went down…

The Kickin Grass Band - Ben Walters, Patrick Walsh, Jamie Dawson, Lynda Dawson, Matt Hooper“That was definitely one of the coolest parts of this project‚Ķas a band member, it’s pretty amazing to have fans who not only support you by coming to shows, wearing your hats or t-shirts, etc., but by literally investing in you.

We had been working on recording the CD for over a year, and we had a lot of folks coming up to the table at festivals and shows, always asking us ‘When is the new CD coming out? Jamie realized that everyone in the audience wanted it to be finished just as much as we did, and that they would probably help fund it in advance for some very early ‘pre-sale’ copies, and a chance to be more involved with the band.

We sent the word out via a blog on our website, and our monthly email newsletter. We also announced it from the stage at our shows.”

The Kickin Grass Join The Band appeal asked fans to contribute $100 to the recording budget, in exchange for 5 pre-release copies of the finished CD, a “thank you” listing in the liner notes, two invitations to a private CD release party and insider updates on the project’s progress.

Some fans gave us more than $100, others purchased the sponsorship as a gift for family or friends… it was very cool. We raised enough money between December ‚Äò07 and March ‚Äò08 to book studio time and finish recording and mixing in June ‚Äò08.

Superfan came into the picture in July ’08, after we had raised the money, recorded and mixed. Our artist/label relationship with them is a little different in that we didn’t need money for the project, but we really needed a hand with the time and effort we knew it would take to coordinate, promote and sell the record we had made. Katrina and the Superfan folks have been fantastic to work with. Our relationship is really collaborative, with everyone pitching in to help with whatever they do best.”

Lynda said that promos are going out to radio and print media next week, so you may be hearing and reading more about the new CD shortly. Audio samples can be found now on the band’s MySpace page or the Superfan site, and CDs can be ordered on the band site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.