Michael Rubin New Album Fundraiser

 It’s finally happening.

After 35 years of being known as the “side guy” in the harmonica world, I am recording and releasing an album of original music.

I’ve played harp with dozens of bands, thousands of shows -- some with luminaries like Cyril Neville and Ruthie Foster...

I performed in the Tony-nominated Broadway musical, The Civil War, as well as on your song at the campfire. 

I’ve been featured on many, many CDs…

And through my whole career I’ve been writing my own original songs… 

...but I’ve barely shown them to anyone.

It was in college that songwriting really clicked for me. 

I used to go see Little Charlie and The Nightcats, and I was always in awe of how the front guy, Rick Estrin -- one of the greatest singers, songwriters and harmonica players who ever lived -- would hold court in front of enraptured audiences. 

Rick was kind enough to become my harmonica mentor during those years, and his approach to songwriting shaped what I’ve been doing with my own music ever since. 

See, one thing Rick always had in his songs was a sense of humor… and under his wing, I became convinced that this combination of humor and blues was the ultimate in music.

So my songs became in the tradition of some of my favorite songwriters -- folks like James Harman, Mose Allison, Sonny Boy Williamson II -- as well as non-blues heroes such as Jonathan Richman, Tom Lehrer and David Bromberg.

But as convinced that I wanted to be a harmonica-playing frontman like Rick (which I knew would make me THE hippest cat around)... 

The challenges were big. Keeping the band together, booking the gigs, and leading the band onstage,  all while losing money…

At the same time I just kept getting hired to turn other people’s performances into a show… it was so easy and still felt great because I was getting my harmonica out to a much wider audience.  I was appreciated, getting recognition and almost completely artistically satisfied.

But deep down, I knew there was something I needed to do...

Because over all the years, no matter who I was playing with, the songs kept coming.

Then in 2020, I turned 50 -- and as I reflected on my life and musical career so far, I looked at all the original songs I’ve had gathering dust in the back of my head all this time, and said, 

“You know what, it's getting to the point where if I don't put out these songs, they're not going to get put out.”

So I finally started working on an album. 

In March of 2020, I was about to go into the studio... then, COVID. 

Now it’s a year and a half later, I’m 51, and the songs aren’t any more put out than they were before… it’s now or never.

I choose now.

Guitarist, harmonicist and vocalist Josh Valero and I are co-producing. Josh has toured the world with heavy hitters like Marcia Ball and Jerry Portnoy, and has helped me put together a group of amazing musicians... 

We’ve got Mike Keller, formerly of The Fabulous Thunderbirds on guitar… Michael Archer on stand up bass and Mark Hayes on drums (rhythm section of The Little Emore Reed Blues Band)… Dr. Sick from Squirrel Nut Zippers on fiddle, and more...

October 18 and 19th we are heading to Six String Ranch in Austin, Texas, where we will lay down the backing tracks under the capable hands of sound engineer, Matt Smith. 

I’ll do what I’ve been practicing every day for the last 35 years, and lay down the harmonica tracks…

Then I’ll do what I’ve never done before -- and record the lead vocals, singing my own songs.

The CD is going to be a work of art, with graphics by one of my bandmates from The McMercy Family Band, Dan Grissom. (If you live in Austin you might know Dan, from his work around town -- including the mural at Radio of the desert scene with the coyotes and poster designer for small, local bands like Metallica)

I’m equal parts excited and worried… (the album is currently titled “I’ll Worry If I Wanna”) but I cannot wait to share the finished recordings with you, and everyone I’ve played music with and for along the way.

I want to share it with as many people who might appreciate it as possible. I’m going to make it happen one way or another…

If you can help me, that will help me.

See, between the musicians, the producer, the sound engineer, the mixing and mastering, graphic design, physical printing, promotion, and all the rest...

I’m estimating the total investment to get these out there the best I can to be in the neighborhood of $13,000.  I have set my goal  at $6500, hoping we can meet each other in the middle!

That’s why I’ve started this GoFundMe campaign, so that all my friends, musical collaborators, students, Austinites, fellow harp players and Blues enthusiasts can contribute…

...and in doing so, be a part of my contribution to the rich and timeless musical legacy that has given so much meaning to my life.

If you’d like to be a part of this project, go ahead and contribute any amount that feels good to you. No amount is too small (you can always help more later on! ;-)
All donations $20 and above will receive a free download of my CD.

And even if you aren’t in a spot to contribute financially right now, you can still help by spreading the word! However you want to share this campaign, I’d really appreciate it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter!

I look forward to sharing my music with you soon :-)

-Michael Rubin

P.S. As the rehearsal and recording process starts, I’m going to be posting updates here on this Gofundme campaign page, so if you’re interested in this project, make sure to check back in to see pictures and videos from the studio!Video by M. Edmund Howse
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Michael Rubin 
Austin, TX