This project is part of the 2023 Creative Scotland Crowdmatch competition. Creative Scotland will match individual pledges from the crowd up to £10,000. So if you donate £20 to the project, your donation will be matched with a £20 pledge from Creative Scotland, effectively doubling your donation! The match funding for this project is now complete.
As an extra special THANK YOU to everyone for jumping on this campaign so quickly and so generously there's a new reward, for ALL supporters, including those who have already pledged. A FREE download of any album from my back catalogue. Choose which one you want at the end of the campaign and I'll send you a download code to use on my Bandcamp site. Everything's available there, and a few exclusives as well.
I'm a singer songwriter from Scotland. To date I've recorded 8 (official) solo albums (with 1 more on the way in May 2023), mostly in the US, with some amazing musicians and producers. My most recent - Sinner's Shrine - was recorded in Tucson, with musicians from the legendary Calexico, and released in 2022. I'm delighted that it's had some of the best reviews of my career, including from publications in Netherlands, France and Italy.
I don't have a major label behind me, and I have self funded the recording of all my albums, including successful crowdfunding campaigns. I have a small team of go-to industry professionals who help with release and promotion.
For my next album, Spirit Ridge, I plan to head to Crinale (near Bologna) in Italy. Crinale (which means ridge in Italian) is a studio set up in a beautiful 400 year old farmhouse, in the Emilia-Romagna region, way up on the ridge above the towns of Brisighella and Faenza. From Crinale you look out towards the hills of Tuscany.
My reason for going there is to work with renowned Italian musician, songwriter, producer and film maker, Antonio Gramentieri, otherwise known as Don Antonio. I was first introduced to the music of Don Antonio through his fantastic band Sacri Cuori (described in this great Guardian review as "mischievous imaginary soundtracks ... with touches of Mexican brass and homegrown folk... a shapeshifter"). Calexico's John Convertino had played on some of their records and after working on my Sinner's Shrine album, John introduced me to Antonio as he thought we would connect and hopefully make something great together.
Last October I went out to Crinale for a recce, and to meet Antonio and his bandmates. Sure enough, we got on like a house on fire. The area where the studio is located is truly inspirational, and I began writing even while I was there. Since I got back I have been writing a whole bunch of new songs and I am ready to go back and record.
This is a very short video showing the studio (inside and out) and some brief clips of jam sessions with me and the guys:
Emilia-Romagna is also the region where my Italian ancestors come from. Some of you will be familiar with my song Dora, written about my grandmother being born into the circus that was formed by my great, great grandfather Ambrose Salvona, the lion tamer, who came from the Parma area. So, I guess with this new project I really feel like I'll be following in the footsteps of the lion tamer.
I will spend around two weeks working with Antonio and his network of talented musicians, including members of his current band, The Graces. This feels like a very natural progression from Sinner's Shrine and I'm very excited about the material I've been writing. Antonio understands the whole Desert Noir feel that I love so much and captured on Sinner's Shrine with the guys from Calexico and he is a master of creating a very cinematic soundscape.
The funding will go towards:
- Travel to Italy
- Hiring the Crinale studio for 1-2 weeks (including sound engineer, food and accommodation)
- Employing musicians - Antonio and his bandmates plus some additional session players
- Creating demos in a Scottish studio before I go, as sketches to work from
- Bring a professional film maker with me to Crinale to document the process, including taking photos, recording interviews and filming some of the sessions for promo use for the album release (and for sharing with campaign supporters).
- A specialist video editor to edit the film footage into professional promos
- Mixing (approx 7-10 days in a studio, with sound engineer) and mastering
- Commissioning designer/artist to create the initial logo/images for the album, including for the reward items like T Shirts
I am ready to travel as soon as I have raised the funding, and have space provisionally booked at the studio. My aim is to make the best album I can and to release it in 2024.
I hope you will consider joining me on the journey, by supporting this campaign, and choosing the reward package that suits you best. There are lots of reward options (all named after mountains and ridges) including:
- Supporting it just because you want to help
- A copy of the finished album (digital, CD or vinyl), with options to have it signed and your name included in a special thank you on the album artwork.
- Exclusive "bumper bundles" including demo recordings, various Spirit Ridge branded items like postcards, stickers, badges, T Shirts and more.
- Commission me to write and record a song especially for you
- Have me play a special intimate concert in your own home, or in a local venue of your choice, just for you and your friends. We can talk you through how to do it if you've never hosted a house concert before. It's very easy.
- For fellow beer lovers there's even a couple of very limited special rewards kindly donated by two of my favourite local businesses - Bear Claw Brewery and Curfew Micropub (Berwick on Tweed). You will need to be able to pick them up in person, but these rewards will be available as soon as the campaign is complete.
The cost of shipping is included in the reward amounts, and we can ship to anywhere in the world.
Just click on the reward level of your choice from the list on the right to make your contribution and get the reward you want. Some of them are limited availability, so the earlier you jump in the better.
I fully understand that these are very difficult times for everyone financially, but if you've enjoyed Sinner's Shrine (or any of my previous albums) I really believe that you're going to enjoy what I plan on creating with Don Antonio in the land of my ancestors.
This will be my 10th official album release. I am very aware of the challenges involved and I take my responsibilities to my supporters very seriously. The plan is to release the album some time in 2024, so it will be a little while before you will be able to listen to anything, but I will keep you updated on progress throughout.
PS Finally, a little music to enjoy, from my Sinner's Shrine album (which was made possible by a successful crowdfunding campaign):