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This year marks eight years performing as a duo. Throughout those years, we have released an EP (self-titled, 2016) and a full length album (The Lonesomest Sound That Can Sound, 2018), produced a single (Shame On You, Shame On Me, 2019) and a collection of songs amidst pandemic quarantine (The Quarantine Tapes, 2020), published a book of photography (Just Another Road, 2017), performed in 47 of the United States (and a couple of Canadian provinces), shared stages and studios and campfires with musical heroes and enormously talented artists, formed timeless friendships, consumed a profuse amount of truck stop coffee, been high on mountains, been low in valleys, succeeded, failed, come up short, and come out ahead. We've been denied access to parking lots. We've received $0.11 checks from Spotify. We've met such sweet and kind people from all over the country who come to our shows, sing along to our songs, post photos of us making awful guitar faces, and share with us what our music means to them -- all without a real band name.
At this point, though, it'll have to do. Our band is Clay Parker and Jodi James. And we are pleased to share our next venture with you.
Electric Wreck: Our Studio
First, we'd like to take you back to 2015. We were making our very first demos of freshly written songs, and we both had enough experience with recording that we felt we could do a decent job. Created using four microphones, a small mixing console, and a four track reel-to-reel recorder, those demos came out surprisingly well. That session began a years-long process of building a purely analog-based home studio -- slowly, piece by piece -- with the intention of being able to fully produce our own records.
Along the way as we expanded our gear selection and experience, songwriter friends started approaching us to record in our space -- first, just a couple of songs; then some EPs; then full length albums. Taking on certain roles of a makeshift record label, we began offering photography and album design services and assisting artists through the weaving web of do-it-yourself album releases. While helping others with their own projects, it became apparent that we'd reached that point where we could really do this -- record, engineer, produce, design, and distribute our own album.
Your Very Own Dream -- Coming January 2024
We holed up in our little home studio for three days in October 2020 and hashed out a collection of songs in our then-typical live setup: two acoustic guitars, two voices, and the silence of a room. By the end of those sessions, we had an album's worth of material. But (besides the fact that we wouldn't be able to tour a new record at that time anyway), we ultimately decided that the album we made felt too safe, and we put it off to a later date.
In the late summer of 2022 on somewhat of a whim, we decided to go and see some familiar faces in Fort Worth, Texas, and we booked some studio time with our friends Ryan Tharp (engineer) and Clint Kirby (drums). We had been hanging with those guys during our tour stops in Fort Worth and developed a true kinship with them. We booked this studio time because we needed to get out of our box for a season, and we knew we could trust our musical visions with Ryan and Clint.
Along with our pal from Baton Rouge, Dave Hinson (bass) -- Dave has played on nearly every recording we've collectively released and is a revered musical giant -- we brought some electric guitars, three of the tunes we had previously recorded the past October, and perhaps a hungry desire to set something on fire. Within six hours, we arranged and recorded those three songs (Fire For The Water, Nothing At All, and A Matchbook Song), had some Mexican take-out, and came back to Louisiana with a head full of ideas.
A few weeks later, Dave came up to our home-studio with his upright bass for a day session, and the three of us put the rest of the album to tape. In a total of fourteen hours of arranging and recording, this was our living sound -- amps fizzing, floors creaking, standing up within the music of a room. At times, it feels naked. At times, it feels brave and unsafe. At times, you can see the skeleton through the flesh. This is Your Very Own Dream.
Crowdfunding and Pre-orders
From the very beginning, we have approached the business of making music with a slow-yet-steady pace and DIY'd our way through most of it on a shoestring budget. We haven't been too terribly interested in making anything that we don't think will have longevity. We take our time, we avoid debt, and we try to make every bit of content we release a thing of intention and meaning. We are also aware that the forces that often guide the music business do not operate like this. But there are also hopeful voices that emerge within this industry that align with our own sentiments. And we are immensely grateful to our peers and the professionals out there that have helped steer us down this path over the years. They operate on this ideal: your art can create the means by which you create more art.
And these voices are the ones we want representing our work.
We truly believe in this new album, and we are asking you to join us in making it another means by which we are able to reach both further out and deeper within. Having already self-funded everything along the way of making this album, it is now time that we reach outside of the DIY model and hire a professional public relations team to get it into the eyes and ears of writers, publishers, DJs, etc. -- and ultimately, wider audiences. Here is a breakdown of our largest upcoming costs:
-- Press $3,500 / month for 3 month campaign - $10,500
-- Radio Promotion - $3,500
-- Vinyl Records - first pressing - $3,600
-- CDs - first pressing - $700
– T-shirts, stickers, miscellaneous swag - $700
Plus videos and a few incidentals, this figure rounds up to about $20,000.
It has been suggested that we shoot for a mid-January 2024 release date. We have already partnered with the kind patrons of the Louisiana Americana and Folk Society (Baton Rouge's Red Dragon Listening Room), and they have given us a generous jump start on this campaign. From now until October 31, 2023, you can choose any of the following packages to assist us in the last stages of bringing the work of this album into fruition.
Our hope is that you see this as an investment not only into our career but also into the overall operation of an independent music business where art and its creators are not corporately owned and handled -- where music is made not by formula but by truthful expression.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for taking time to care. Thank you for your continued support that enables us to keep moving our music into the wider world.
Love and gratitude,
Clay Parker and Jodi James
FREE SHIPPING! Items will be shipped out approximately one month before the album release date. We'll also send an email with a private link to stream the album before it goes to streaming. Please note if you would like your record signed.
FREE SHIPPING! Custom handprinted limited-run T-shirt. (See sketch). Items will be shipped out approximately one month before the album release date. We'll also send an email with a private link to stream the album before it goes to streaming.
FREE SHIPPING! Includes a vinyl record + custom handprinted limited-run T-shirt. (See sketch). Items will be shipped out approximately one month before the album release date. We'll also send an email with a private link to stream the album before it goes to streaming. Please note if you would like your record signed.
FREE SHIPPING! Includes a CD, vinyl record, custom handprinted limited-run T-shirt (see sketch), and 2 tickets to a private concert to be held at the Red Dragon Listening Room (date TBD). Items will be shipped out approximately one month before the album release date. We'll also send an email with a private link to stream the album before it goes
FREE SHIPPING! Includes a CD, vinyl record, custom handprinted limited-run T-shirt (see sketch), and 2 tickets to a private concert to be held at the Red Dragon Listening Room (date TBD). Items will be shipped out approximately one month before the album release date. We'll also send an email with a private link to stream the album before it goes to streaming. Please note if you would like your CD or record signed.