The “Five for Congo” campaign ended on March 28th, and in 14 days we gave away 161,245 album downloads on Noisetrade! With approximately 8,000 people leaving a tip, we were able to raise $71,566! These funds will be given in full to World Relief to help with their work to bring peace and restoration to the DR Congo. The success of this campaign took us all off guard, and all I can say is that we’re amazed and thankful. What a joy! – Josh
Hello All! So sorry to be silent on blogging front over these past several months. It’s not for lack of things to share with you, on the contrary, I’ve had my hands full with the sheer multitude of exciting things happening! Here’s the scoop…
This past August of 2012, my wife Michelle and I bought our first home here in Portland, OR. It’s a 100 year old foursquare located in the heart of Portland’s urban core. We bought it with the intention of building a standalone studio space for me in the backyard, while maintaining a local presence in the Portland community. For years we’ve longed for a place to call our own, more space to raise our growing family, and to have the authority to both build and change our living environment to better meet our needs/vision (aka – build a studio in the backyard!). We’re so thankful to now have found this space, as it’s a direct answer to many years of hopes and prayers.
The same week we closed on our new home, we wasted no time in launching a one month “Studio Campaign” to raise the funding to build a studio in our backyard. I chose not to run the campaign through a Kickstarter, but instead, to use my own website as the main hub for campaign content, updates, and online donations. Over a one month period I sent out 4 email blasts to my fan-base, and also shared the campaign through various social media sources (Facebook & Twitter). My lofty goal was to raise $75,000 through the campaign, but by the final day we had capped out at just over $110,000! Unreal. The campaign itself cost about $10,000 in operational costs (design, video, web) and incentives (600 limited edition posters, silk screened, signed and shipped), which left about $25,000 dedicated to new music gear to put IN the studio! Needless to say, I’ve been so overwhelmed by the love and generosity that so many graciously extended to us during this campaign, and it’s been a joy to recount the unexpected success of this endeavor to people over the past 6 months. In more current news: The studio architecture and plans have been completed and submitted to the city, and we’ve fulfilled all the permitting requirements (which is the hardest, most time consuming part), so we can now set our schedule to break ground and begin building! I’ll post more updates once the construction is under way…
Lastly…in many ways the impetus for us to buy a home and launch an intensive studio campaign simultaneously, was the fact that my wife Michelle was pregnant with our 3rd child and anticipating an October due date! As many parents know, when you have a baby, life sort of gets put on hold for a few months after the birth, so we wanted to be done with as much logistical stuff as possible before the new baby arrived! So, upon completing the studio campaign and settling into our new home just enough, we began to prepare our hearts and minds for another little life to enter our family. On October 19th, 2012 Michelle gave birth to our son, Peregrin Jude Garrels in our own living room! He’s a perfectly healthy, docile, smiley little man, and he’s already brought much joy to our lives.
This past June & July we did a 3 week tour through 5 states. Generally, I only book a handful of longer tours a year, and although they can be exhausting, we as a family really look forward to these road trips for they always prove to be life-giving for us. We started in North Carolina and worked our way up to Chicago, Illinois, doing shows and connecting with people along the way. The nature of our lifestyle, be it good or bad, is that we have many friendships spread out across the country, and an annual tour to a specific region doubles as our time to catch up with old friends. So life on the road is a mixture of hard work and shows, but also many joyful reunions and late night conversations.
The tour on the whole proved to be one of the warmest receptions I’ve yet experienced…in more ways than one! We happened to be traveling through the south and midwest during one of the hottest summers on record. In fact, when we pulled into Nashville the soles of our shoes practically stuck to asphalt when stepping out of our air-conditioned car, as it was their hottest day in recorded history at 110 degrees! Yet, despite the crazy heat wave, people came out to hear the music, with almost all of the shows ending up “sold out”. It was such fun to not only play music to an expectant audience, but to personally meet so many good people after each show as well. We’re already looking forward to our return trip to each city…
The last leg of our journey brought us to the final Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. At its height in the early 2000′s, approximately 30,000 people would make the pilgrimage to this one week, offbeat music festival, held in the dusty farm fields fields of rural IL. With the struggling economy the festival has been suffering for a few years, and sadly, they had to announce the end of an era this year. But not without one final hoora! I became a Christian in 2000, and have since been to the festival every year excepting one. I owe much to the festival and the folks at JPUSA who’ve faithfully hosted it every year despite almost never turning a profit. The festival is quite literally where I made my performing debut circa 2002. I set myself up on a little one speaker amp with a guitar, microphone, and sampler in front of the coffee tent where I was working. People stopped to listen, bought my self-burned photocopied CD’s, and then came back the next year asking if I would play again. I did. Over the years I was asked to play bigger stages in bigger tents and made many long term friends along the way. The festival and the folks who attended always confirmed to me that it was possible to carve out a vocation as a musician off the beaten track and outside of traditional industries. In the end, it was important for me to be at the final C-Stone Festival, as I feel thankful and indebted to their 30 years of faithfulness. I was able to play my final set on the final night of the festival just before they conducted a viking funeral ceremony for the festival with burning ship. Rest easy Cornerstone, you fulfilled your purpose. – Josh
On June 15th of 2011 we released “Love & War & The Sea In Between”, and in so doing initiated what’s come to be known as our “Year of Jubilee”. In ancient times, the year of jubilee would fall at the end of seven cycles (the 49th year), and on this year debts were forgiven, slaves were set free, property was restored to its original owner, and the land was given rest as it was a year for the people to rest from their labors as well. As many of you already know, we felt impressed to give away “Love & War” along with all the albums proceeds for one full year…and we had no idea what to expect. Were we being foolish? Would we be able to survive? Would this free gift mean anything to anyone else, or would it just get lost in the shuffle of a million other albums online? Here’s a quick look at what actually transpired in the past year.