Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week: Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo and Ella Fitzgerald
When you write about roots music, one thing you're called on to do regularly is to try to “define” the term “Americana.” Having an entry in the dictionary helps (thanks Jed Hilly and crew for saving me some extra explaining on busy days), but it's not what Paul Harvey would call “The Rest of the Story.” For my part, I define Americana not so much by the artists, who vary too much to truly be called a “genre” but by the fans and their dedication to preserving the roots of various musical styles and honoring them. So in this week's Crowdfunding Campaigns of the Week, I'm going to feature two releases that don't meet the “alt-country” definition of Americana, but are by artists who I know from my conversations at Americana festivals are loved by most. One is a symphonic pairing of classic hits from one of the greatest vocalists ever. The other is a new live DVD from a duo that made their bones as a guitar-rock MTV staple in the '80s but have over the years stripped down to a bluesier rock and roll that fits snugly in the Americana tent.
Pat Benatar is a name that should be familiar to most readers. In the early '80s you couldn't turn on MTV for more than an hour without hearing “Love is a Battlefield” or “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Neil Giraldo may be less familiar name, although he's been an integral part of Benatar's career since the beginning. Back in her label days, Benatar was forced to market as a solo artist because the label wanted the sex appeal angle (figuring, as labels do, that Benatar's amazing voice wasn't enough to move merchandise). But as they have aged and gone independent, Benatar and Giraldo have billed themselves as a duo. They have also begun to strip back her rock hits to the bone, revealing some strong blues and soul roots in them. We Live for Love is a DVD release of acoustic renditions of the duo's greatest hits. Backer rewards include the video on either digital download or DVD, as well as a signed poster.
Ella Fitzgerald, arguably the greatest jazz vocalist ever, died in 1996, so it's rare to get a “new” album from her. Someone to Watch Over Me isn't “new” from the Ella Fitzgerald sense. Instead it is some of Fitzgerald's most recognizable songs paired with new recordings from the famed London Symphony Orchestra. Recorded at Abby Road Studios, Someone to Watch Over Me gives Fitzgerald's timeless vocals a swelling string section. Guest vocalist Gregory Porter lends his talents to “People Will Say We're in Love.” Backer rewards include the album on CD and vinyl, a tote bag, and a 58 page original full score for those who truly want to dive into the music.