#ConspireToSmile - A New Album and New Years Resolution

Greetings Folks,

Welcome to 2018 and to my website. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t skip around all day blissed out eating candy corn and singing Broadway tunes. Like most, I feel a weight these days that's almost unbearable. The sensation is disorienting but not unreasonable given all of the funky things at hand. That said, there are a lot of wonderful things in our midst as well. Most of us tend to discount the tasty and trend toward the tragedy. It struck me that we need more balance in our online social lives - a better light to dark ratio in our news feeds. For those of you that follow my blabbering on social media, you may have noticed that in addition to shedding light on the under-appreciated genre of Face Melting Soft Rock, I've been tagging many of my posts with the phrase #ConspireToSmile. Besides being a fun thing to say, Conspire to Smile is an album and Kickstarter campaign that begins February 1, 2018. Conspire to Smile is also a communal conviction and my personal new years resolution to break the negative reinforcing loop of social media and shift our collective conversation from paralysis to possibility. It's the notion that we are more alike than different, the belief that music can simultaneously deliver wild freedom and the sense of comfort that comes from belonging to it. Join me in the act of summoning our collective lore so we can #ConspireToSmile. My co-conspirators include all of current members of Strangefolk, Assembly of Dust and a gaggle of soft rock face melters from our extended musical community. Please spend a few minutes and check out the details below, including a music video of the rough mix of Conspire to Smile the song.  

A New Album and Kickstarter Coming February 1, 2018

Conspire to Smile is a new album from Reid Genauer & Folks: less formally stated, me and my friends, a Kickstarter and a social "thought experiment" of sorts. It's a collection of re-told songs about compassion and positivity, covers of songs that have universal messages of love, and strength. It also includes two originals: “Conspire To Smile,” the title track and the first studio recording of the original lineup of Strangefolk since the recording of A Great Long While in 1998/99, and the debut of “Amplified Messiah,” the first studio recording of the original Assembly of Dust line up since Some Assembly Required in 2009.

WHEN: February 1, 2018

WHERE: We will begin releasing tracks online for free on an a rolling basis and begin our Kickstarter campaign. 

WHAT: Here's a partial (read teaser) list of the tracks

  1. Conspire To Smile
  2. Amplified Messiah
  3. Let Love Rule
  4. All You Need Is Love
  5. People Get Ready...

WHO: A partial list of the collective of musicians on Conspire To Smile to whom I have great admiration for and hold with great affection. In  alphabetical order: Aaron Maxwell, Adam Terrell, Andy Herrick, Dave Diamond, Elliot Peck, Erik Glockler, Jason Crosby, John Leccese, Jon Trafton LEBO, Luke Smith, Marc Friedman, Nate Wilson, Ryan Montbleau, Scott Law, Scott Metzger. More to be announced - you lay the dust!

WHY: This project is  about the collective “we.”  It’s a celebration of the power that each of us has in the telling of our shared story, a reminder that we all have way more in common than not. Our little community is geographically distributed throughout the country and amounts to some 30,000 people or so.  If each of us were to gain five minutes a week of peace of mind from this project we would create approximately 150,000 minutes or 2,500 hours/week of personal energy that can be used towards addressing our challenges rather than wallowing in them. I think about it as a social version of the Doppler effect. Like the ripple from a single drop of water if each of us touches even two people and they too Conspire To Smile, the impact and outcome will be profound.  My hope is that that each of us can use this project,  the songs and the broad intent, as a way of being that drop of water. Let's take care of ourselves so we can in turn take care of others. 

LISTEN: Listen to a rough cut of #ConspireToSmile featuring Jon Trafton, Luke Smith, Erik Glockler, Dave Diamond and Elliott Peck.

How I Came To Be Inspired to Conspire

There are several observations that led me to the conviction that the social component of Conspire To Smile is 100% achievable. I recently read a book called Sapiens in which the author thoughtfully examines the seemingly cliché notion that perception is reality. He points out the power in that phrase, in that our reality is in fact nothing more than a complex weave of stories, inventions of the human imagination. Tribes, nations, economies, sculptures and songs are all classes of stories that define how we perceive and interact with the world. Each of us plays a role in the telling of these stories, and as such each of us has the ability to tell a better story and to shift the story line for the better. This year was the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love – a particularly rich American story. If you strip away the hippy dippy rainbow and unicorn design aesthetic, there is no doubt that in 1967 a small collective of brave and creative people broadened our perception of the world for the better. They told a better story. I know we can do the same.

The most concrete inspiration for Conspire to Smile came to me at Strangefolk’s Garden of Eden festival this year. For those not in the know, it's a two day rock and roll affair that I and my Strangefolk brethren host. Its more than a concert; it's more than a gathering; it's a temporary way of being - an attitude, and a suspension of our everyday. As the weekend wound down, I personally felt and kept hearing people say "I don't want it to be over."  Believe me, it wasn't my pink polo shirt and short shorts we were longing to hold onto. We all felt a comfort in the music, the friendships and the well-worn social fabric of our little village. It struck me that while each of our individual lives has immense gravity that often consumes us, we also have a permanent and collective lore that, if we remember is there, we can call upon at any time for comfort and support. To me that's music and social media at its finest. #WeWillRemain


Kickstart Compassion and Conspire To Smile

The most important thing is that you personally conspire in your day-to-day live, to force yourself to see the good even for fleeting moment or two. Easier said than done, but it helps if you're feeling tweaky and it helps others. Try paying someone a compliment on their shirt. It works - you feel good and they feel good (if the effect lasts for more than three seconds, call a doctor. May cause broad smiles and/or nose bleeds and ringing in your ears). Beyond that, if you have the inclination (and scratch) I can use your donation to fuel the fire and pay Conspire To Smile forward faster and further. Peace and love aside, this sh*t ain’t cheap. Each of the musicians on the album has graciously donated their time, but the costs come to me in the form of studio time, production, mixing, video shoots, promotion and donuts - must eat them. If you choose to make a donation to the Kickstarter campaign, think about it as a planting not a purchase. It’s a sowing of the spirit and the orientation of a true north that music and our community afford us. It's the belief that rock & roll can simultaneously deliver wild freedom and the sense of comfort that comes from belonging to it.  

An Overview of the Conspire To Smile Kickstarter Rewards

  1. Reid Genauer & Folks Conspire To Smile Album: 14 songs, 12 “retold” covers and 2 originals
  2. Assembly of Dust Concert Video: 2 sets of AOD, HD multi camera shoot and mutli-track recording
  3. Solo Acoustic Recording: “We Are All Fables,” a collection of 12 songs that span Strangefolk and Assembly of Dust performed in studio by Reid and his Martin guitar.

Thanks for reading this folks. 

We will remain.  Bet your ass on it!

Keep me safe. And I'll keep you wild.

- Reid