From the time I learned to sing, I knew that songs are powerful tools. Songs have helped to right pernicious wrongs, and have given strength to people seeking freedom, justice, and peace. Just as important, however, are those songs that tell the stories of ordinary people from ordinary lives who, for one reason or another, came to the attention of a songwriter who lifted their stories from obscurity with a ballad. How would we know such names as John Henry, Casey Jones, or Joe Hill today without the songs and ballads that carried their heroism far and wide?
Today, pop artists are more interested in appealing to the lowest common denominator than telling these stories of local and regional heroes, and I want to step in and help you to celebrate them. Here is an overview of the project.
I want to find twelve extraordinary stories from anywhere in the world to write twelve songs, twelve modern-day ballads celebrating people who might otherwise be forgotten, record them professionally, and publish the resulting album for sale at a modest price. So, if you have a family story, a story from your town, or just a good story about an extraordinary person or community, I would be thrilled if you would submit it to Project Balladeer.
For a donation of five dollars, you will receive my everlasting gratitude, and I will publish your name / Internet handle on my blog so that everyone can admire your generousity.
For a donation of ten dollars and up, I will post not only your name/handle, but your story on my blog, and put it in the running to be voted up or down by other donors. Write it out clearly and well: make it so that anyone who reads it will understand why it is important to you! If your story is voted into the top twelve by the end of the fundraising period, I will record it on the album. When the project is finished, you will receive a digital copy of the album along with special features that will not be available to anyone except my donors!
For twenty-five dollars, you will also be able to add one dedication in either the “special thanks” or “in memory of” columns in the liner notes.
For a donation of sixty dollars and up, in addition to posting your story and a free digital album, I will write your story into a song and record it especially for you, regardless of whether it gets voted onto the album or not.
For a donation of one hundred dollars and up, in addition to the aforesaid, I will let you choose the date you want your custom song: please, no due dates closer than one week from your donation.
So, to make a pledge while the project is in its beginning stages, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and definitely spread this around to everybody with a story to tell – meaning everybody.