I just listened to the Songbird album last night for the first time in a long time. I spent so much time with those songs that I needed a break from them for a while. Writing, rehearsing, recording, mixing, performing the same songs changes a song. So does collaborating with others on a song, usually for the better.
I really enjoyed listening to what we created. There are so many people that contributed in so many ways. I am grateful for them all. Not because I want more. Because I have a sense of accomplishment form a team effort. The following are people that I featured during the crowd-funding campaign for the Songbird album, where we raised $8500, to help pay for the recording of the Songbird album. Also, the list continues with a glimmer of nice things people said in the press press and in the music industry who helped get the word out to make it happen. I would like to honor them all again:
Donor of the Day: Eddy Nix
Eddy is a wizard, a genius, a ravel-rouser, a bibliophile, and a friend to all wandering creative types. He is the proprietor of Driftless Books & Music in the little town of Viroqua, WI where I live. The bookstore is a magical place of mayhem and wonder. It is home to over 250,000 books, a performance space that hosts hundreds of concerts & events, and a recording studio.
He has hung out with counter culture heroes like Timothy Leary, Jello Biafra, Robert Anton Wilson, Dave Dellinger, William Burroughs, Abbey Hoffman, Julia Butterfly, Tom Waits, Johnny Clegg, and Stephen Gaskin.
He has seen the Grateful Dead in Stockholm, Morphine in Nashville, Ella Fitzgerald at the Hollywood Bowl, Eartha Kitt in Jack Kerouac's apartment, and hosted Cloud Cult at Driftless Books.
Eddy has a way of getting people to work together to create something bigger than themselves. He is the brainchild of The Wisconsin Roots Music Cooperative that has recorded over 30 session video recordings, produced 3 compilation CD’s, and is working to help artists and musicians enhance the musical landscape of the Driftless Area and beyond.
Eddy is a friend to all creative people and those who seek knowledge. He is my friend and I Love him dearly. Thanks for all you do.
Donor of the Day: Pete Engen
I can think of very few people in the Driftless Area more dedicated to creating a flourishing music scene here and in Greater Wisconsin. Pete sees the big picture. He collaborates with festivals, venues, promoter, artists, and media to create a network of people who Love live music. Only someone completely smitten with music could have a vinyl collection as big as his. Pete owns a converted school bus with a stage on top so he can host traveling pop-up concerts. How cool is that!
Pete is a sincere person with a big heart and a beautiful family. He is also quite the wordsmith. He and his partner, Parker Forsell, run and own Ocooch Mountian Music. Check them out at: www.ocoochmountainmusic.com or go check out their home base and Curiosity Shop in Downtown Winona, MN. Thanks Pete for all you do to make a world I believe in come into fruition.
Donor of the Day: Benji Nichols
Benji is one of the most genuinely friendly people I’ve ever met. He is a proud papa, sound engineer for Boz Skaggs, percussionist, community organizer, and owner of a quarterly magazine focusing on positive news of the Driftless area called Inspired. He inspires me to be the best person I can be and I know that he is going to Love this new album.
Donor of the Day: Liam McLaughlin
Liam is a painter, muralist, farmer, and proud papa. He and I met when we lived and worked together as
AmeriCorp volunteers in the Columbia River Gorge. Actually, we were neighbors. I lived in a old cabin and he lived in a treehouse. His art has always inspired me. We have partnered in many creative projects together including painting large trampolines and hanging them from trees for Feel Good Music & Art Festival. He also created the album artwork for five of my CD’s when I was once known as the artist formerly known as The Reverend Eddie Danger. To keep with the bird theme here he is pictured with me after I officiated his wedding. Go check out his amazing artwork at: www.liammclaughlin.com
Donor of the Day: Eric Tryggeseth
Eric played the Cosmic Mechanic in a music video I made Emmy Award-winning director Jack Norton. To film the video we took over a gas station in the Wisconsin Dells where Eric worked and all the customers you see in the video were very confused by our presence. Eric is an avid outdoorsman and live music enthusiast and I’m glad we have become friends. Thanks Eric!
Donor of the Day: Valerie Charneski
Valerie is a strong, beautiful, & independent. She is an active supporter of all things artsy in musical in her community. It swells my heart to think that something I did helped her find that passion within herself. Thanks Valerie! In her own words:
With time comes change. We all emerge from something to move on to something else. Our next phase of growth often requires us to leave something of ourselves behind in order to immerse ourselves in the unknown of the future. A wise woman told me once that "transformation only happens outside of your comfort zone."
In celebration of the evolutionary career of the man who was the Reverend Eddie Danger and author of the
musical Feel Good Revolution, this folk-singer, multi-instrumentalist, playwright, award-winning songwriter is reemerging as Stanton West.
I invite you to support the beginning of this journey, a new album concept called Songbird. Its storyline is one of transformation and seeking out a higher existence. It's all of our story. With a stellar track list and creative genius Joe Craven at the helm, this project's release is much looked forward to.
So please, click the link. Read the story. Contribute if you've a mind to. This project will only happen for summer of 2017 if this Hatchfund campaign is successful and, well, I already have my album release dress. It has songbirds on it.
Donors of the Day: Ani & Dre
Look at these cute little aspiring musicians. I definitely want to make them proud. Thanks for believing in me like I'm a Rockstar Dre & Ani!
Donor(s) of the Day: Ryan (Rocket Legs) & Jessie Haney
I would not be where I am today in my career without these two wonderful friends. Their production company, Star B Imaging, has created most of my music videos and professional photographs. They were
instrumental in the success of Eddie Danger, The Seafaring Puppeto, Renewsical: A Musical About Renewable Energy, Wisconsin Roots Music Cooperative Session Videos, and Now Stanton West.
Be sure to check them out at: www.StarBImaging.com
Donor of the Day: Angie Lemar
Angie gets special recognition because she is my Life Partner and an amazing mother to our two beautiful children Addelaide (9) and Calliope (5). She has always believed in me. She Love’s me for the person I Am trying to be.
She has put so much time, money, energy, and faith into this project. Songbird is just as much her album as it is mine. We have done this together and I Am so deeply grateful to have such a caring, hard-working, honest, loving, and foxy cohort in this endeavor. Thank You & HAPPY MOTHERS DAY my Love Bird!
Angie is also a creative being and an amazing crafter. Check out her wares
When she is not being a great mom and being crafty she is out saving the world working for a non-profit organization that promotes and educates people about compost and recycling.
Pre-order the Album and you can hear the Love Song I wrote for her. I have written numerous songs for her and “Ray O’ Sunshine” is my favorite. I wrote it using an old love letter I found in a drawer that was titled, “22 Things I Love About You.”
Donor of the Day: Katie Stellpflug
Katie Stellpflug is the owner of ARTique. Beyond her support for the Songbird album Katie and ARTique provide a place for artists to display and sell their creations. If you are ever swinging through the majestic state of Utah be sure to stop in.
Donor of the Day: Tom Noll
Tom is an amazing Rock n Roll artist who blends color and music to create some amazing paintings. His prints are sold all over the world. Tom was the first person to back my project. Artists Supporting Artists. Learn more about Tom's art at: http://www.tomnoll.com/art-prints/
I Am Humbled and Grateful to have such Wonderful People in my Life.
Thanks for your support!
Donor(s) of the Day: David Arkin & Anni Tilt
These two people have been a constant inspiration to me. Their environmentally friendly building design is inventive and beautiful. They are positive and energetic. Thank You for your mentorship and generosity! Check them out at: www.arkintilt.com
David Loves a good pun and joke, so here goes:
The new album, Songbird, will take flight thanks to your help. Thanks for taking me under your wing. We are birds of a feather. You are the early birds. Thanks for providing me with a nest egg. I couldn't have hatched without your Love & support. Love is for the birds. I am down with that. This album was created from my bird brain. I am totally winging this! I am following my dreams because I'm not chicken. I am crossing the road and going to the other side. I am flying the coup. I can fly higher than an eagle. You are the wind beneath my wings!
Here is an article on the crowdfunding campaign from the LACROSSE, TRIBUNE:
I’ve not often pitched in for crowdfunding campaigns, I’ll admit, partly because of a built-in skepticism about online financial transactions. Sometimes the cause hits so close to home — an acquaintance with a medical malady, say — that I can overcome that hesitation, but people’s artistic pursuits have rarely seemed like an emergency situation to me.
I once contributed some money for moving expenses for Richard Lloyd, a guitarist I greatly admire, with the promise of getting a print of a cool photo of him. It’s only been a year or so now since he actually made the move from New York City to Tennessee, so I’m hoping to see that photo in my mailbox any time now. The delay left me a little disappointed, although I don’t take it personally. I’m hoping Lloyd is just a little bit behind schedule, and I don’t mind if he concentrates on recording new music.
I recently found another artistic crowdfunding cause I can get personally get behind, one that has a deadline of midnight on Monday involving a Viroqua musician and creative force for good.
Edward Stanton Lemar was Eddie Danger before he became a performer, earning the nickname because of his predilection for rock climbing. People were calling him Eddie Danger a couple years before he took up the guitar, and he didn’t perform under that name for another few years after that. Just for fun, he added “reverend” to the mix, to make things extra confusing. So he was known as The Rev. Eddie Danger for much of the past two decades of performing music he describes as “cosmic country-folk with a tribal twist of jazz.” He made 11 albums as Eddie Danger, appearing in a film with Garrison Keillor, winning songwriting contests and becoming a familiar voice to listeners of Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Simply Folk” program.
Danger also was the creative force behind the Feel Good Music and Arts Festival, the Wisconsin Roots Music Cooperative and a musical marionette show with a seafaring theme, all the while handing out “magic acorns” to unsuspecting music festival patrons.
But Eddie Danger died recently. He survived a bout with malignant melanoma, and that’s part of what killed him. Confused? Sorry about that.
After going through his struggle with cancer, Lemar saw an opportunity to reinvent himself as someone other than Eddie Danger. For the past 10 years, he’s been a stay-at-home, home-schooling dad and part-time organic farmer in addition to being a performer. His kids are old enough to all be in school now, and with cancer having prodded him with the reminder that life is short, Lemar is starting his musical career anew under his grandfather’s name, Stanton West.
As I write this, West is working on recording his debut album with Joe Craven, his musical hero. Craven is best known as a percussionist for mandolin master David Grisman and for his work with Jerry Garcia on his acoustic albums.
Craven has a studio in California, affording West his first chance to record in a professional studio after 11 independent home-studio productions. West is calling the concept album “Songbird,” and describes it as the story of his life, with “groove-driven folk tunes about feeling good, being who you are and staying present in the moment.” As the story of his life, it’s a more metaphorical approach involving an injured songbird’s flight from the nest, migration, transformation and a return to home.
While Danger might be transitioning to a new artistic life as Stanton West, he still has a commitment to promoting “family fun, environmental stewardship, building community, healthy local food, live and local music, creative expression and being a positive (yet practical) force in the world.”
How can you not want to get behind that?
West has been making thought-provoking, often funny blog posts since early March, with titles including “Why Am I So Strange?,”“Worry Is Misuse of the Imagination,” “Where Do Songs Come From?” and, my favorite, “Don’t Look for a Partner Who Is Eye Candy. Look for a Partner Who Is Soul Food.” (I will say, for the record, that my partner is both.)
The blog entry about why he is strange was especially charming, telling how this lanky (6-foot-6 or so), left-handed, freckle-faced redheaded rock climber “embraced his uniqueness,” picking up a guitar and flipping it around to play it upside down and backward like Elizabeth Cotton, Bill Staines and Dick Dale.
West’s crowdfunding campaign had raised $3,212 as of Thursday afternoon, not quite halfway to the $7,500 target and about a third of the way to the $10,000 “stretch goal.” The $7,500 will cover production costs, studio rental, studio engineer, mastering, session musicians and travel to California, with the extra stretch goal money to pay for printing the CDs, artwork and graphic design and a publicist to “get the album out into radioland.”
Like a lot of crowdfunding projects, there are perks for donating. For a gift of $15, you can get a digital download of “Songbird,” while $25 gets an autographed CD. For $50, you get a magic acorn pendant and an album download. Double that and you get a signed poster, magic acorn pendant and signed CD.
If you’ve always wanted an “executive producer” credit on an album full of groove-driven folk tunes, you can get that for $500, and $1,000 makes you an official sponsor and host of a CD release party.
Even if you’ve never heard any Eddie Danger music, it sure seems like paying a little extra in advance to get a signed copy of Stanton West’s debut CD is a pretty painless way to support an artist. Personally, I think a magic acorn might have some useful mojo in it. Couldn’t hurt. Might help.
Rock on …
(SIDE NOTE: WE DID SURPASS OUR GOAL AND RAISED $8500! THE ALBUM WAS RELEASE AND YOU CAN LISTEN TO HERE
OR READ ABOUT THE ENTIRE JOURNEY HERE
Here are some other nice things the PRESS and PEOPLE have said about me:
"There is some great originality there. He sounds like Ma Na Ma Na from The Muppet Show"
-Josh Wise, National Jug Band Competition
"He does such an amazing job working with students. He was inspirational. He inspired creativity and Love of performance. He has an awesome ability to write songs. I absolutely Loved working with him" -Tomorrow River Community Charter School
"I Love his music. I find this great playfulness in it. I listen to it to lift me up because he makes me smile" - Tom Pease
"I want the world to see him. I want the world to hear him. I want the world to see his work. In whatever capacity because I find him to be a brilliant songwriter and just a great human being. His creativity and nature are fun to be around... and enlightening. He is the type of guy who can change peoples lives"
“…his casual folk-blues ballads with colorful characters and true-life experiences conjure a friendly intimacy that bolsters the spirit and warms the soul”
"I had one gentleman tell me that he came expecting live music and went away having had a spiritual experience"
-The Wausau Grand Theater
"I had one woman tell me that she loved your trio's music but each time she thought she had labeled your style, it escaped her again and she asked "what do you call this music? This style? Basically the same question I had many years ago: what is this and where do I find more?
-The Wausau Grand Theater
“Dear Stanton, thanks for sending the CD. I've enjoyed listening to it. It's very well produced, you and Joe did a great job. The project has a good spirit about it, the songs work well and the performances are very satisfying. So many nice elements with the fiddle and percussion and even the Hammond B3. Good stuff!” Good luck with it. I'll hope to see you at Kerrville one of these days.
“Songbird oozes with sweet folkie charm and giddy grooves”
-Randy Erickson LaCrosse Tribune
“I’ve known and worked with Stanton in a variety of capacities over the past 10 years. He is one of the most creative and artistic people I've ever known. In addition, he has experience as an environmental educator and enjoys working with youth.” -Jeremy Solin, Environmental Educator
"In my time co-collaborating with Stanton, I found him to be both a gifted musician and a gifted educator. I personally believe it is the combination of these two gifts that gives rise to his music - music that informs, inspires and motives one to action in the care of our natural environment. His was a joy to work with as part of MRCSE. His contributions helped numerous environmental and sustainability educators gain comfort with integrating music and the arts into their lessons. I found him to be especially good at making music accessible to his audiences. Whether through putting instruments in their hands or teaching them a new song, it was not long before Ed had his audience jamming right along with the band. We all felt a part of his music and his message.
As an educational designer, I find his appreciation of teaching and learning to be an intuitive part of who he is. He is a special educator and musician who teaches from the heart. He is committed to be a change agent in this world and is willing to to put in 110% in order to meet deadlines, ensure quality work, and provide the best experience possible for his audiences. I feel confident that your school will greatly benefit from Stantons contributions."
Christine Kelly, Anagennao
"Stanton has the playful nature of a modern day minstrel"
-Ocooch Mountian Music
"The New Roger Miller" -WKPO VIroqua