Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday Will Be Funded! THANK YOU!

There are still four days left, but for everyone who has already contributed to the Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday Kickstarter, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!! I learned last evening around 6:00pm that the project will indeed be funded! Woo-hoo! There are still more flex goals and things to aspire and wish for (like colored vinyl, heavy duty pressings, longer liner notes with more photos, nicer candy cigars, etc.) so please do keep sharing the project with your friends in these last few days, but just knowing that it WILL HAPPEN is beyond thrilling. http://kck.st/2OVxC0t

I can't even pick an appropriate adjective. I'm so grateful. I'm so relieved. I'm so excited. I'm so happy. I'm so exhausted. I'm so very thankful to everyone who contributed to the cause: each and every Kickstarter supporter, the musicians who played on the record, the studios and engineers who made it sound great, the academic conferences and music festivals who let me sing my songs and discuss the effort, the radio DJs who have shared the project with their listeners; the friends who let me crash on their beds and couches throughout my journeys, my puppet-making friend and all of the volunteer puppeteers, everyone who shared the project with their friends or who offered me encouragement or support or food throughout the stressful process, and most of all, the Stars of Starday themselves [Betty Amos w/ Judy& Jean, Bill Clifton, Rudy "Tutti" Grayzell, Wade Jackson, Sleepy LaBeef, Little Roy Lewis, Jesse McReynolds, Darnell Miller, Frankie Miller, Arnold Parker, Margie Singleton, & June Stearns] for taking part in this crazy idea!!! I give you all my sincerest gratitude with an all-caps THANK YOU and a hearty YEE-HAW! Onwards to the finish line! http://kck.st/2OVxC0t

L-R: Chris Scruggs, Pete Finney, Kenny Vaughan, Dave Roe, Betty Amos, Judy Lee, Jean Amos, Nate Gibson, Timon Kaple. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: Jesse McReynolds & Nate Gibson. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: John McTigue III, June Stearns, Darnell Miller, Kenny Vaughan, Dave Roe, Nate Gibson, Chris Scruggs. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: Bobby Flores, Jeanette Parker, Arnold Parker. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

Kevin Kathey, Tim Atwood, Steve Hinson, Margie Singleton, Buck Jarrell, Nate Gibson, Joe Rucker, and Lonnie Spiker. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: Bill Clifton & Nate Gibson. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: Kenny Vaughan, Sleepy LaBeef, Nate Gibson, Chris Scruggs. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session. 

L-R: Tim Moore, Dena El Saffar, Nate Gibson, Jerry Miller, Mike Bridavsky. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: Nate Gibson & Wade Jackson. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: Cris Burns, Nate Gibson, Dale Watson. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: KennyVaughan, Marty Stuart, Chris Scruggs, Nate Gibson, Little Roy Lewis, Lizzy Long. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: Nate Gibson & Rudy "Tutti" Grayzell. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: Tom Umberger, Bobby Trimble, Nate Gibson, Frankie Miller, Bobby Horton, Kevin Smith. Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday session.

L-R: Chris Scruggs, Kenny Vaughan, Nate Gibson, Marty Stuart, Harry Stinson. Promoting The Starday Story: The House That Country Music Built (University Press of Mississippi). 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Observing the Stars of Starday Veterans

As we observe Veterans Day this year, I thought it would be appropriate to acknowledge four of the Stars of Starday and thank them for their service to our country: Frankie Miller, Jesse McReynolds, Bill Clifton, and Wade Jackson.

Frankie Miller and Jesse McReynolds served the U.S. Army in Korea between 1952-1954. Both Frankie and Jesse were already recording stars by the time they entered the war, Frankie with 4-Star/Gilt-Edge and Jesse with Kentucky Records, and each continued making music during their time in Korea. Jesse formed a band with Charlie Louvin called the Dusty Roads Boys and entertained the troops, while Frankie entertained his fellow soldiers with his guitar as a forward observer for a Howitzer cannon field battalion, eventually earning a Bronze Star Medal for heroic effort in a combat zone. Frankie remembers, “I had a guitar with me everywhere I went over there. I probably went through four or five guitars because they had a rainy season and man, the glue would just come apart. One day you’d grab the handle of the guitar and it’d be in your hand.” Both Frankie and Jesse scored major label contracts upon their return from Korea and each of them also joined the Starday ranks in 1958.

Bill Clifton joined the U.S. Marine ROTC while a student at the University of Virginia in 1950 and his guitar playing helped him make a few important friends in an otherwise hostile basic training environment. He joined the Marines in the Winter of 1954 and spent much of his time in North Carolina and two summer stints in Puerto Rico, eventually earning the rank of First Lieutenant. He completed his service as a commanding officer of a platoon in the Second Marine Division in June 1956 and began recording for Starday Records shortly thereafter.

Wade Jackson, a 20-year U.S. military veteran, also spent time in Korea around the same time as Frankie and Jesse (preceded and followed by longer stints in Germany). Initially with the U.S. Army under the command of his older brother Marvin Jackson (his younger brother Stonewall Jackson went into the Navy), Wade was injured twice in combat in Korea but remembers that, “I went to the hospital and they got most of [the metal] out.” He told me that, “While during the War in Korea, our company was being held in reserve and a special services show of all GI talent came through to entertain us. They borrowed me, literally out of the foxhole, to continue the rest of their entertainment stops with them. I felt so honored and privileged that my eyes still get a little damp when I think about it.” After the Korean War ended, Wade joined the Air Force and continued entertaining troops around the world as frontman of The String Kings and later The Drifters. He retired as a Sergeant and returned to the U.S. in 1966 and began recording for Starday Records later that same year.

To all four of these great artists, thank you for your dedicated service to our country! And as musicians, thank you for your incredible music throughout the last 60+ years. I am a huge fan of all four of these artists and it is the honor of my life to get to record with them on the new Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday project. If you’d like to hear our new record, please support our Kickstarter which has less than 2 weeks till close! http://kck.st/2OVxC0t Many thanks!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Audio from 2011 Starday presentation at ARSC in UCLA Now Available

One of my favorite things to do is give conference and festival presentations about Starday Records. Last month I was kindly afforded an opportunity to talk about Starday Records at the New England Shake-Up (many thanks again to Beck Rustic and Sean Mencher!) and last week I spoke about Starday at the American Folklore Society in Buffalo, NY. I've been doing it now for seven years and I think I've gotten slightly better over the years, but if you'd like to hear a young me give my first ever conference presentation about the importance of Starday Records, the kind folks at the Association for Recorded Sound Collections were kind enough to upload my 2011 UCLA presentation here:


And if young me was at all able to convince you of the significance of Starday, perhaps old me can also convince you to support the Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday Kickstarter!

Details here: http://kck.st/2OVxC0t

Thursday, October 25, 2018

New Kickstarter Rewards, Same Great Music!

Today marks the official 1/2 way point of the Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday Kickstarter campaign and to try to influence even more of my thoughtful and generous friends to contribute to the cause, I've added 3 brand new Rewards Packages specifically targeted towards my puppet-loving, sport-loving, and baby-loving friends. That should cover just about all of you! 

As of today, you can now get YOUR OWN CUSTOM MARIONETTE with your double-LP pre-order!

Or, you could get a very limited set of Topps baseball cards featuring the Stars of Starday and their athletic highlights on the back (for instance, did you know that among myself and these 14 country, bluegrass, and rockabilly legends we have a National Senior Softball Hall of Famer, a professional boxer, a semi-pro baseball player, a Texas high school quarterback, owner of a champion race horse, a high school basketball phenom, and an AAU Junior Olympics weightlifter, to highlight just a few?), 

Or, you might prefer a charming "It's a Baby!" package featuring a candy cigar, a customized Zippo lighter, and a faux birth certificate. 

And of course, there are still several other great rewards still available including signed 8x10s of the Stars, original Starday 45s, Starday books, and more! 

Check 'em out here: http://kck.st/2OVxC0t

More details on the new Kickstarter Rewards:

Now that we are officially 50% finished with the campaign, I've come to a grave realization:
We still need to gain $3,500 more dollars to fund the project, but most of the high dollar rewards are gone. 
Yikes! But worry not. In addition to the reward packages that remain available, I've just this evening created three brand new Project Reward Packages that I'm excited about and that will hopefully entice even more folks to contribute to the cause. What are these great new Rewards Packages, you ask?
Do you love the Stars of Starday marionettes and the aesthetic of the entire project? Have you seen the Frankie Miller and Nate Gibson "Rain Rain" video and decided to make puppeteering a career choice? And do you want a marionette made of yourself (or someone else) to make your own art projects? Then this is the package for you!! After you have claimed this prize, contact me with at least 5-10 photos of yourself, and I will work directly with the master maker of the marionettes to get you a custom marionette of yourself that you love. If I can get the photos by the time this Kickstarter ends (Nov. 24), then we can get you your marionette before then end of the year (around Christmas, hint hint). Then you and your marionette can blissfully dance along to the double LP or the digital download till your heart is content! The double-LP and other perks will take longer and will be shipped separately. Included in this reward is the marionette [approximately 2 feet tall, with another foot or two in string length], the double LP, the digital download, the postcard, as well as an instruction sheet on how to use your marionette! [Note: Due to the immense amount of time and effort it takes to mold, paint, sew, and stitch together a marionette from scratch, this package is limited to only 5 buyers. Instruments, mics, backgrounds and other assorted features seen in the music videos are not included]
2. The Starday Sports Lovers Package
Did you know that among Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday there is a National Senior Softball Hall of Famer, a former professional boxer, a semi-pro baseball player, a Texas high school quarterback, owner of a champion race horse, a high school basketball phenom, and a Junior Olympic weightlifter, among other athletes? If you love sports, country music, and trivia about sports and country musicians, then this is the package for you! You'll get the double LP, the digital download, the postcard, AND the official Topps brand baseball card set featuring 15 cards of Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday. Only 15 sets available for sale! Extremely scarce!
3. The "It's A Baby!" Package
Sometimes releasing a new record that you have been working on for months and months can feel like giving birth to a baby. OK, probably not exactly like that, but it feels like giving birth to something super significant and it's worthy of celebration. So, this package will help you celebrate that new double LP and digital download with a custom Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday lighter by Zippo, a candy cigar of Nate's choice, and a faux birth certificate for the Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday album release suitable for framing in your record room [not to mention that it goes perfect with dim lights, whiskey on the rocks (not included), and some loud, loud music!].
Many thanks again for supporting this project. I'm overwhelmed by the support thus far and I appreciate all of you!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Kickstarter Goal Half Met, and a New Nate Gibson & Frankie Miller Video

Very exciting day--We've just hit the 50% funded mark on the Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday Kickstarter!

In honor of the achievement, I thought I'd release the first music video from the album: Nate Gibson & Frankie Miller's "Rain Rain," which coincidentally was the first song recorded for the project. I just had to see what a music video would look like with the puppets and I'm really excited with the results [and hopefully we can get funded to make some more!]. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the making of the song and the video, specifically Frankie Miller, Bobby Trimble, Bobby HortonTom UmbergerKevin SmithCris BurnsCarl Sonny LeylandRachel Tatge, and Marit Barkve Dally! If you tuned in to Bill C. Malone's Back to the Country or DJ Del Villarreal's Go Cat Go shows last week, you've already heard it. But now, for the first time, you get to SEE the Starday marionettes in action! Rain Rain! 

[Note, if you share the video, please kindly also mention the ongoing Kickstarter campaign]

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Marionette Magic and the New Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday Album Cover

Hooray! The album cover art is complete. I'm mighty excited to be joining a long list of talented musicians who have used marionettes on their album covers. Do you know of any others I have forgotten? There are some pretty incredible visuals and puppets among the covers I found, but I think Ken's Starday marionettes just might be my favorite  To pre-order Nate Gibson & the Stars of Starday and check out some of the cool rewards, please visit the Kickstarter page at http://kck.st/2OVxC0t And if you're so inclined, every share is greatly appreciated! Cheers!

some other great marionette album art: