The sweeteners include everything from a downloadable copy of the CD to a chance for one funder to pick the B-side to a limited edition 7-inch made specifically for this campaign. Other pledge levels offer an all-day event and even the opportunity to own an "official" FolkCraft travel dulcimer signed by the artist.
Ross is also offering an EP called "Gone," which highlights a technique called looping, in which short segments of sound are repeated and built upon.
For years, Ross has made a name for himself as a dulcimer musician of the highest echelon, with several albums of instrumental music. Lately, however, he has ventured in new directions. He joined Amber Fults and the Ambivalent Lovers as an electric guitarist. He said much of his work of late is focused on writing story songs and exploring the possibilities with looping.
"As far as my career, I’m getting away from virtuosic mountain dulcimer," he said. "The loop pedal stuff—I told somebody once that it sounds like Keller Williams trying to cover Old Crow Medicine Show. At the same time, I’ve been writing a lot of stuff ... songs that tell stories."
The bulk of the album is already complete, he said. The $4,600 he’s trying to raise will go toward making the album a physical reality. As of this article, the campaign had 36 backers and $3,165 raised.
At heart, Ross is a folk musician with a keen interest in exploring ways to tell a story through song. The songs on "People, Places, Things" are grounded in traditional folk melodies. With age, Ross said the process of songwriting has gotten easier.
"When I was 20, if I hadn’t written a song, I was like, 'The muse has left ... it’s over,'" he said. "So much of the writing process is exploring new directions; the longer you do it, the more you recognize what it is that does work. An album of poppy love songs is not what I do. But I can tell stories."
The first demo from the album has been released. The song "Glad That We’re Together" is a love letter to Chattanooga and its musical community. Likewise, it includes a host of local talent: Mike McDade, Jessica Nunn, Katie Kilgore, Jim Pfitzer, Hayley Graham, Travis Kilgore, Amber Fults and Ryan Oyer. Ross plays ukulele and sings.
Listen to the song here.
The Kickstarter campaign continues through Oct. 20. A CD release party for "People, Places, Things" will be at The Camp House on Nov. 15.
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