When it comes to artistic initiative, one of the most inspired, purposeful, and unprecedented efforts I’ve yet to witness comes from none other than Andy Dalton, who managed to nail the honors of being selected Most Innovative Artist, Best Rock Instrumentalist, and also secure the trifecta with the honor of Best Album Release at last year’s 2020 REVIEW Music Awards for his 97-minute long opus The Fireside Wake.
An immensely versatile musician who in the vein of artists such as Paul McCartney or Dave Grohl can deftly function as a multi-instrumentalist handling duties as a vocalist, guitarist, pianist, drummer, songwriter, and now, as a one-man marketing dynamo - Dalton recently embarked upon an entirely unique and captivating Crowdfunding Campaign to finance premier vinyl copies, CD’s, and merchandise of The Fireside Wake; which because of the Pandemic that hit last March, have yet to see the light of day and up to now have only been available via digital download and streaming.
If you are unfamiliar with the divergent range of musical magic on The Fireside Wake, you can sample it out on all the major streaming channels. As my colleague Matt deHeus described it: “In one word this release is about ‘Volume’. Not merely for its size and scope, clocking in at over 90 minutes, the album is epic in its reach. If you sit down and listen to this album in its entirely it will conjure up many of the great cohesive efforts of the past. When people name drop works like The Wall, Quadrophenia and Zen Arcade as comparisons, you are on to something.”
And now through March 31st, if you visit Dalton’s website at TheFiresideWake.com, you can participate in Dalton’s Crowdfunding Campaign which carries the goal of raising $15,000 to put this 97-minute 3-LP and 2-CD set into production and circulation. According to Dalton, since 2013 he has already invested over $15,000 of his own money to cover studio time, mixing, mastering, and commissioning of artwork, so now he is asking friends, fans, music lovers, and supporters throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond to help bring this lifelong project to the finish line.
The lacquers will be cut at Welcome to 1979 Studios in Nashville, TN and the vinyl will be pressed at Jack White's Third Man Pressing plant in Detroit, MI. CDs will be properly glass mastered. Both versions will be housed in a double gatefold jacket with a lyric & artwork booklet included.
According to Andy, he put this phase of the project on hold back in March when the Pandemic hit; and he still acknowledges the difficult times we're currently facing that created initial hesitance to move forward with this campaign.
“My original goal was to go live in May of 2020,” he explains. “However, it seemed grossly obscene to ask for financial help during a time when many of my friends and fans were and are still struggling to make ends meet. After living with things for over a year, and a new "normal" establishing itself, I decided that there was likely not going to be a "better time" to move forward with this. My family and close friends have encouraged me take a leap of faith and trust that my friends, fans, family, and colleagues will all want to support this endeavor regardless of timing. I need to get this out there. There are things in my personal and career-life that I can’t focus on until I get this project wrapped up, so on March 1st I decided to launch this campaign as a birthday present to myself.”
Since the WebStore opened on March 1st t and after closing out his first 10 days of crowdfunding, Dalton says to date he has raised $5,928.76 of his goal; which in and of itself is an impressive feat. “The fact that I’ve raised over $5,000 so far is incredible to me. I’m 1/3 of the way towards my goal and inspired by the response thus far.”
"I’ve been also saving $50.00 a month along with investing all my digital sales to date in this project," adds Andy, “so am also building up a cushion to help complete the project if I fall short of my goals. Conservatively, even without one more single sale, if I drain my savings account and max out my credit card, this project is going to happen. I’d just love to see if I can make it happen through the Fireside Wake Pre-Sale Campaign first.”
Dalton says the initial quote he got to produce the 3-LP colored vinyl disc deluxe package for The Fireside Wake came in at $7,500 just for the record and packaging of 100 copies. Therefore, he has set the price per copy at $100. “I admit this is an expensive vinyl set, but do feel it’s a reasonable goal,” reflects Andy. “I realize I’m a small local artist from the Mid-Michigan area; but for most artists releasing a vinyl LP the cost would be around $25.00; only this is 3-album set instead of a single album. I also realize this is a debut release from a largely unheard new artist, so I’m trying to remain reasonable while being able to make this project attainable.”
For that $100 investment one will receive The Fireside Wake debut album in a Limited Edition 3xLP Colored Vinyl Set housed in a Triple Gatefold Jacket which includes Lyric + Artwork Booklet Insert, the accompanying 2 Compact Disc Set, and Digital Download. The CD alone is only $30.
“Realizing I’m probably pricing some people out, but others may pay more than $100, for an extra $10.00 I’ll sign the record; and for those willing to pay a little more I will add a hand-written lyric sheet.”
The Truly Fun Part!
In terms of innovative marketing, this is where Andy’s Fireside Wake project gets truly inspired.
Check out this inventory of Fireside Wake Merchandise that one doesn’t come across every day: for $25 you can get Fireside Wake Coffee Beans; for $65 you can get a two-sided puzzle with 500 pieces that when assembled gives you the front & back cover artwork; and for only $50.00 Andy will come to your house and give you Porch Serenade Merchandise Delivery!
“The Singing Telegram is a lost art in this age of the internet,” states Andy. “So rather than waiting for USPS to ship, lose, or damage your order, I will hand deliver your purchase to your door while I sing a Fireside Wake song at you with my acoustic guitar and voice box. All people have to do is contact me with what song they would like me serenade them with.”
Other items include: A YouTube Jukebox Request song for $100. Any song people would like to hear Andy do he will perform and post for your viewing pleasure on YouTube; and he will also provide a private concert of the entire album from front to back for $500.
When asked about the genesis of this entire project Andy says: “The Fireside Wake is both a concept rock & roll band and a visual concept. It’s something I’ve wanted to since 2004. Some may feel this is an expensive vanity project, but I am putting out the type of package I would want to own as an album collector. I loved opening St. Pepper and seeing all the cutouts and tactile things that can be held. I feel this way it becomes more of an experience than a limitation, because people are out there that want a full product.”
“I want my music to be accessible and free, which is why I put it out there on Spotify, Google, everywhere really; but I also want to create a high quality product and hope people find value in supporting me with this endeavor.”
The Fireside Wake Webstore will be open through March 31st and will have Vinyl and CD sets available to preorder as well as other merchandise like T-Shirts, Hoodies, Aprons, a Two-Sided album art Puzzle, Coffee, Experiential Packages, and more to help raise funds to help Andy hit his goal.
The best ways to show your support include: 1. Share the Crowdfunding video with your friends and family. 2. Preorder the album or any other Crowdfunding Reward. 3. Donate directly to the campaign.
The album was released digitally on December 20th, 2019 and is available to listen to in its entirety for free at www.thefiresidewake.com, where you can also view the full array of Crowdfunding products.