August 14, 2013

B-sides

Misty Mountain hop

The marriage of Prohibition-era old-time music and 21st-century technological upgrades might have peaked.

Though it has become increasingly common for musicians in these Apple-fueled times to reach for banjos, mandolins and fiddles, most of them have labored to present an image of Dust Bowl refugees who just woke from a coma and haven’t had time to shower. The Misty Mountain String Band, however, produced their new EP, Went to the Well, on Pro Tools, with money raised through a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Bassist Derek Harris says they’ve sold a good number of EPs on iTunes, as well as on CD. It’s not surprising, as they made 200 percent of their Kickstarter goal, even when none of the members had used the fundraising site before. The band had already produced their record but asked for money to help print physical copies.

“We did everything they said to do,” Harris says about the site. “Most of the people who ended up pledging weren’t even people who had heard us before or knew who we were. They just found us on Kickstarter.”

The experiment wound up expanding the band’s fan base, gaining support from California to Luxembourg. Half of the pledges came from outside Kentuckiana. The band also enjoyed coming up with special rewards for pledgers, from unique T-shirts to a two-hour private house concert for the one fan who gave $500 (or more).

“It gave us a way to be even more creative,” says Harris, even for songs or posters that would only be available briefly or for a small, select group of fans. One man asked for a song for his wife, with whom he was reuniting after a year apart.

The band will do what it takes to get by. One fan buying a CD at their show asked, “Now what’s old-timey about a credit card reader?” Harris laughed and told him, “Man, we’ll do anything we can. It’s a marriage of tradition and technology.”

The band plays Saturday at Down One Bourbon Bar.