Over the years, bluegrass bands have used a wide variety of modes of transportation. From Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys packed into cars with a bass strapped on top, to the comfortable tour buses used today by bands like Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, bluegrass musicians have just about seen it all. Our own Chris Jones even recently discussed the pros and cons of everything from buses to burros in his weekly column.
However, as Chris explained, there are quite a few downsides to most types of transportation available to bluegrass bands. Cars break down, planes are delayed, and burros are just plain smelly. As such, most bands eventually try to acquire some sort of bus or large van. Some, like East Tennessee band the Sons of Bluegrass, turn to their fans to help them out.
While many new bands perform almost exclusively within their home region, this Johnson City-based group is preparing to embark upon a spring and summer tour which will take them over 8,000 miles around the United States. With concerts and festival appearances booked in ten different states between April and August, the band got a little worried that the two personal vehicles (both with over 200,000 miles on them) they had been using might not be the safest or most reliable choice.
In their quest to find a vehicle that will hold all of them and all of their instruments, the Sons of Bluegrass have taken to Kickstarter. And, just like the project itself, the rewards for donating are a little different than what you might find on any other Kickstarter. While potential rewards do include such standard items as digital song and album downloads, signed CDs, and band t-shirts, the Sons of Bluegrass have also opted to draw backers through more unique ways.
Fans have the chance to make their mark on the Sons’ bus – literally and figuratively. They can have their name written anywhere inside the bus, or choose to display a corporate logo on the outside. The band is even offering the chance to name the bus, putting it in good company alongside the Martha White Express and the Widow Maker. Other rewards with a personal touch include displays of Civil War relics found by band leader and Civil War enthusiast Chris Armstrong, personalized songs, and the opportunity to name the band’s upcoming album.
Find out more about their bus fundraiser at Kickstarter.
For more information on the Sons of Bluegrass and their upcoming tour, visit their website at www.sonsofbluegrass.net.