Update - On Living

Hey guys, thought I'd drop some words down here on the blog to keep everyone in the loop on what has been going on and what's on the horizon. I'm currently waiting for my laundry to finish drying at my friend's house. 

What a few weeks it has been. I moved into a new house, built the studio, led worship in Knoxville with some of my heroes,  and performed and produced a worship album in the new space just last night. It has been go, go go and gift, gift, gift. After a quick rest this afternoon, I am going to begin setting my sights on the upcoming tour, where I will be traveling around the southeast, performing songs from the Andrew Blooms catalog with some of my really good friends. Honestly, it has been such a long time coming that it doesn't even feel like it's about to happen... if that makes sense. The amount of time and effort that has gone into these endeavors always surprise me, because from the outside it is difficult to see. 

On Living - There is something I wrote on a friend of mine's blog the other day and it really stuck with me. Nathan said, "Being alive is worth everything." This idea has echoed deep inside me and has begun to shape so much of how I make decisions and what I value. What I have realized is that it is easy to become dormant in certain areas of our lives - to let our guards down, to compromise, to grow tired, to grow lazy. And while we are technically breathing and walking and living our day to day lives, some part of our hearts - or much of it- falls asleep. But... the process to becoming alive is simple, yet not easy. Just like life itself. To find life require death. It requires the dying off of old ways, old thinking patterns, old routines. It requires a commitment to adventure, exploration, shaking up the satus quo and most importantly... risk.

Someone told it to me this way: Imagine you were thrown naked out into the wilderness to survive. You would be alert. You would be ready to hunt. You'd be listening for streams. You would be paying attention. You would be curious. You would be afraid. And life would be your ultimate goal in everything you did. 

I am in a process in my own life where I am at a crossroads between the easy life paved before me, or the unpaved road that will require risk, courage and a lot of the unknown. We know this as the road less traveled. I am currently figuring out a way to live my life where I am unapologetically committed to truly living. Not just breathing, not just working, not just walking around... But relishing each moment. I feel like it sounds cheesy... but I really do think about it. What is living really like? What is a full life? Is there a depth in our every day that makes each moment magnificent. Am I just not looking for it? Am I took afraid to look for it? 

Our we committed enough to living what we openly invite the death of what isn't to be? Patterns, thoughts, knee jerk reactions, judgments, astronomical expectations of life and others. Might these be the things that must die to make way in the soil? Wouldn't it be worth it to be fully alert and fully alive? To be uncomfortable, to be awkward, to be unconventional, to let go of things that are dead anyway?

I don't know. Perhaps I am rambling. But I have noticed in myself recently: The more that I have been willing to let go, the more alive I have felt. I have felt more space for God to move, I have felt more openness to the spontaneous and unpredictable. I have felt more curious. I have felt more passionate. All through a mindset that is crying out, "whatever needs to die to make work for life... let it be so, and may I release it with humility." It is painful. It is scary. It's not safe. But aren't all these things worth it in exchange for feeling your own heart beat?

"Miles" Live released Today!

Super excited about this new vid! We got together last Friday and arranged a couple videos of some of the songs off the album. I love the people that were involved in making this video, and we had a blast doing it, White Tiget BBQ Lunch and coffee and all. I love the feels that we found when trying to "acousti-fy" the tunes and rearrange them for a more stripped down band. This was recorded live at Studio 1093 in Athens, GA. Hope you enjoy!

Video Produced by Evan Reece 
Engineered by Jeffrey Vernon & Mark Plemmons
Performed by: Bobby Forrester (Acoustic and Vocals), Shelby Lynn Frank(Vocals), Kamron Munch (Bass), and Joseph Park (Drums).

The Next Adventure

It is a happy Friday. I am taking this slow afternoon to sip on some espresso and revisit the blog. I have been pretty silent on here for the last few months. I think the process that I have been in has either had me too busy to write on this platform, or in some ways, too afraid. Either way, much of the deep work that was being done inside me was best kept offline. But, as as I face an exciting new chapter in life, I would really like to begin using the blog as an adventure log of sorts, as the future is as uncertain as ever. For the first time in my life, in this way, I am jumping into an unknown adventure I feel like the Lord has called me to. 

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As some of you may have seen, I am officially stepping down from my position as a worship director at Classic City Church and am transitioning into full time music. I will be pursuing my artistry as Andrew Blooms, as well as a career as a music producer that integrates faith, family and discipleship into my approach to creating records. As I reflect on this change, I realize that this is my dream come true. I remember laying on my bedroom floor at sixteen, wishing and hoping that one day I could write songs and be a musicians - and here I am, nine years later, taking a plunge into that vision. There are a few factors at play that made it the perfect time to do this, and because I believe in the power of vulnerability and truth, I wanted to share a little more in depth about some of the dynamics at play in hopes that it could help all of us process together situations that you might be trying to navigate in your own life. I am going to share my thoughts about the true purpose of the church, church leadership, how money should never be a reason to do or not do anything, and the revelation of family, community and worship and how these things relate to making music. This avenue is serving as my way of thinking out loud, and who knows how much of it is spot it. Take what you will!

I have been the worship director at Classic City Church for the last three years. This job has taught me more about myself and God than any other job I've had. I learned how to dig in, I learned to fight, I learned to show up when I wasn't feeling it, and I learned how to trust God. I learned how to lead a team and I felt like it was such a special opportunity to create a culture amongst a team of worshippers. It became a team of humble worshippers with no superstars and no divas. It was truly a team effort each and every Sunday. I was literally blown away over the years at the quality of people that came to use their gifts on the team. But over the years, as I led one or two services each week, I began to grow tired. My worship became so tied with work that it became difficult to receive during times of corporate worship. Responsibilities and checklists were always in the back of my mind, as it was my job to create the worship environment. Put simply, I missed being a part of the church. I had a moment sometime in March where I realized I had led worship on a weekly capacity for nearly 10 years, with no breaks. And after a while it becomes your identity and all you feel like you can bring to a community. Part of the reason I chose to step down was I felt like some of my spiritual life was suffering and being sacrificed for the sake of preserving an identity as the worship leader or musician. So, as I began to consider my position on the stage, I began to perceive that a "reset" was to take place - to deconstruct how I was approaching church and faith and strip my walk with Jesus back down to its core. After all, worship is simply an expression of a personal love for God. So, I am excited to come under my church, to be a volunteer, to pray for people, to sing with the congregation and to arrive at church at a Godly hour. 

As each year passes, money gains more power. Its voice gets louder. Some friends are making a bunch, others not... but it feels like the world relentlessly imposes its expectations on life, even if un-welcomed. The pressure grows with each year. But, I want my life to be an adventure. I want my life to be marked by trust, fearlessness, and faithfulness to the things of God. And with quitting a job came the obvious question of "how will you live?" But as I have wrestled through this fear I continue to come back to this one saying I am choosing to live by now: "Money should never be why I choose to do or not do something." This is a truly radical thought. I paused after typing that and rested my finger on the backspace button because I had to make sure I believed it. But, I am exploring this philosophy. Maybe it works all backwards. What if, if you pursued what you truly were passionate about, money would follow? What if, by being obedient to the God dream deep inside, it would create a space, through faith, where God would provide everything I need? These are questions I am asking myself! I have no answer! But beneath my worry about how I will make money, is a deep calling to "keep going. faithfully, keep digging, and I will provide all you need."

This next year is the year of putting all my cards on the table. I am interested in songwriting, a community of song-writers, house church, worship as a way of life, and truly living as Godly community with the people around me in Athens.  If you've made it this far, we're true internet friends. I'm currently in the process of pursuing a housing rental that would be a community space to put my studio and host gatherings for worship and songwriting to happen. I'm in the last stages of being approved to do this... It's a much much longer story than I'd like to put here... but I really believe this is God's leadership in my life for this next year. I would like to share more, but a few things need to fall into place first. 

My next steps are my first tour, being announced next week. I can't wait to share this with you! Thanks for reading!

Back

Been quite some time since I've written. Sometimes I feel like I have really nothing today say, at least in the public sense. Things are changing in a big way in my life, the details are to be shared soon. But I feel like, in some sense, I'm on the cusp of something extremely important in my life... beginning the process of becoming everything I was created to be. It's going to take risk, sacrifice, and hard work... but these things are all worth it to discover the purpose of my life. I want to risk big for a dream that I believe in, and it feels like the older I get the harder it is to take risks. I am fighting a river of expectation, comparison and fear of the unknown. The world gets bigger and I get smaller. But again, I am going to share with you all more specifically what this all means to put it into context. But in the mean time, I got some film photos back from the lab from the recent months. Here are a few!

Producing Zac's record. Summer 2018.

Producing Zac's record. Summer 2018.

Typical. Making beats, spring 2018

Typical. Making beats, spring 2018

Mixing "From My Window To Yours." Spring 2018

Mixing "From My Window To Yours." Spring 2018

Catching storms on the marsh. Charleston, SC 2018

Catching storms on the marsh. Charleston, SC 2018

Sunset in Panama City. Spring 2018

Sunset in Panama City. Spring 2018

Joe with Joe. Greenville 2018.

Joe with Joe. Greenville 2018.

April 12 Update - The Deep Invitation of Loneliness

I am gearing up to release this music to you guys. I have been working so long on it it seems. Every day, trying to finish, trying to make it the best it can be. I have found myself quite stretched recently between many things, trying to do them all well. It is a daily battle to always return to the main heart of life, of my passions, and why I even exist. So often, I can get lost in the results of a venture - the outcomes of a cause - that I forget to be thankful for its simple existence and blessing in my life. I am returning to that this evening, and I should more. 

The album is finished, being mastered at the moment. The band is rehearsing for the show this upcoming Tuesday. I am so thankful for each of them, for stopping their lives to help me out. I feel truly cheered on and supported. I could not have a better band for this show. 

Something that one of my friends said to me yesterday at dinner was so beautiful. He was telling me about the depression he experienced after one of his dreams came true. He told me that he was learning that no dream could ever satisfy. No status, no arrival was ever going to fill his soul. It was so beautiful to me because I realize in those moments how true that statement really is. We spend all of our time, energy, and thoughts on achieving these trophies that turn to dust in our hands. I think this way about music all the time. I think this way about the golden idols we perceive as our futures and dreams. For me its playing cool shows, meeting successful people, getting more opportunities, having a platform. But... It all turns to dust just as quick as it was formed.

When we are confronted with this reality it leaves a hole in our lives that manifest as a heaviness, a purposelessness, and loneliness. But what is different about me now is that I am thankful for these experiences. Loneliness is not equivalent of a failed life or shortcoming socially. Loneliness is not that absence of purpose. Loneliness is an invitation. I was at a conference last month and the speaker said something along the lines of, "Loneliness is the time that God is inviting us into communion with Him that we misinterpret." Wow... how true. Instead of taking on shame for the emptiness we feel, we are to begin to interpret those moments as God pulling us in the whisper and to speak to us. Let the pain of the silence and the awkwardness of the quiet place propel you closer to the Lord, and not away. If it is true that we are never alone, then we can, in the quiet recesses of our souls, be satisfied. And that is amazing. Embrace the quiet.

Love Has Come - Live on Milledge Ave

Here it is guys! Please enjoy this live video of my new song, "Love Has Come." This video was recorded at the Classic City Ministry Center on Milledge Avenue in Athens, GA. Thank you to Gray Hauser for making this amazing video for me. 

Here are the lyrics:

I won't fear the night. I won't fear the cold. Cause I know you've gone before.

I see the birds and how you feed them all. But how you love me even more.

My Love Has Come

I will let things die, so you can make things grow. Let me trust you even more.

Through the seasons tides, and all this push and pull, let me trust you even more.

My Love Has Come

You can have my life, if I can have your heart. You've become my only one.

You've become my only one.

Tide's Shifting

It's 10:50pm on the night of February 26th. I am in the midst of an incredible amount of growth, challenge, breakthrough, and learning. God is near to me, His presence the air I breathe and His grace my strength for my days more so than ever before. I feel like life is climbing a path that spirals around a mountain, where we pass the same view over and over again, and in our minds we feel like no progress is being made. But in reality, we are just that much close to our destination. Growth is never linear, but a slight incline that teaches us perseverance, faith, and ultimately how to be content in how slowly we actually improve. There are no shortcuts.

Recently, I have been having some really pointed moments in the quiet place of my life. In the deep of my soul, the part that no one could ever see. But something about the exchanges I am experiencing in that depth... is unprecedented. And though I've known God for almost 10 years, and though I've known myself my whole life. I feel like I'm meeting both of these people again. I thought that tonight, as I am preparing for bed and listening to some of my favorite music, I would unpack a little of my month. I like to document through my Canon AE1 35mm camera, so I'll share some pictures that tell the story of my February. There are other photographs from the studios taken by Savannah Shaw and Evan Reece. There are going to be stories, encouragements, thanks, anecdotes and little nuggets of wisdom, which I will highlight, because people don't like to read long things anymore! So if anything, take the nuggets :)

Chapter 1: MY RECORD and creative success

The record is underway. I am in week two of official production, but has been a little over two months since the conception of the idea. Last week, we were able to knock out drums, bass and guitars for three of the six or seven songs to be on the first half of "From My Window To Yours." I am approaching this record with a little bit of recklessness. I am trying not to sweat details or minute decisions, but am chipping away at it to discover the essence of what it is I'm trying to do and who I am as an artist. It's like when you begin a marble sculpture, cause most of you I assume will do one in your lifetime, you don't start with the tiny details. You probably knock that block down to the general shape and form so you can help visualize the details.  Often we wait to feel like somethings is all figure out before we even take steps to flesh them out, and that's exactly the moment where we get stuck in fear and give up on trying. The key to creative success, to me, it fearlessness and a willingness to go places even if you will fail. Creative success is defined in the process of discovery, not the presentation of an outcome. Process is the reward.

I had the pleasure of working with Harold Brown (@TheHaroldBrown) please follow. I love this man. He was such a gift to the record but also to my life! There is such a tangible difference when working with people under the covering of humility and genuine love for music. HB is one of the most incredible studio musicians I have ever worked with and is, more importantly, intuitive, genuine and has a true passion for his craft. He has been such an encouragement to me along the way, helping me to believe in myself. Literally because of him, everything is already sounding so much better than I could have ever anticipated. You are the man Harold if you are reading this!

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Chapter 2: other records and creating a space of others to come alive.

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In producer world, I am working on a few projects at the moment. One being Carly King who goes by The Little Strong. Please follow @the_little_strong. It is her first record and she is doing an incredible job. Her songs are honest, pure and authentic. When you hear it you will know exactly what I mean. There is a depth in how she sings them and how she wrote them that you can tell cost her something. That's the kind of things that will move us deeply. I am beginning to walk  with more vision in my role as  a producer. I think the best part of it is watching someone like Carly set out to pursue a very vulnerable dream only to find victory on the other side of her faith. I LOVE sending artists their first mixes and them being amazed at what they created. It is truly one of the best jobs ever, I get to have a front row seat of destinies being unfolded in front of people. 

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On Saturday, I had the amazing privilege of working with one of my biggest inspirations and influences, Family and Friends. This band is incredible and has shaped me as a musicians over the years. I remember first hearing their record in college and it blew my mind. Their arrangements and their expression is refreshing, and also comes from a place of passion and relentless pursuit. They came to the studio to record some music for some live video releases they will be doing to promote their next record. I don't know what the record sounds like, but the songs are amazing. As a producer, it was definitely the most technically challenging session I have ever recorded and might be for a long time, but I felt like all the previous sessions lessons informed the approach just enough and everything when smoothly. I am really happy at how it sounded as well and truthfully had an incredible time working with them. They are wonderful hangs, and I am thankful for the opportunity. I am talking with Mike now about going forward into more tracking and possibly some mixing

On Thursday, I will be flying to Tulsa Oklahoma to celebrate the release of an album I produced in January. Val (Artist MD) was kind enough to offer to fly me out for the album release party. Honestly, I'm a little in shock. I have always hoped that music might allow me to see different parts of the world I wouldn't normally get to experience, and here I am getting on a flight to Oklahoma on Friday! Might not seem like too big of a deal, but it is a first for me. I can't wait to watch Val as he shares his dream with his community and just be around this dude again. Love him.  


Chapter 3: Today is Good and Tomorrow will be better, have hope

Here are just some shots of life.Sometimes I look at what God has surrounded me with and begin to smile for no reason.  Something is softening so deep in me that when I just put on a song I really like or I smell the spring air through my window or a I see the clouds in a particular pattern, I well up with emotion. I don't know if it's just joy, thankfulness, or disbelief or what, but I feel like I am being led back into my youth, the aw of a child. Here are some photographs of just things and people I love and thank God for. 

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Love you all. Thanks for taking the time to read. Tomorrow is a massive day for me, I probably won't be able to sleep. But the reasons are for me to know :) Til next time.

"M I L E S" - Behind The Song

INSPIRATION

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The concept behind the song M I L E S has probably been brewing in me since I began to realize how disconnected so many things in my life were, and began to doubt how God worked in all of it. There was a point, maybe near the end of college, when I think I began to believe somehow that God only used the put together people, the strong people, the ones who seemed like they had it all together. I thought maybe that the idea of being known AND loved was impossible - that if God fully knew my heart and all its brokenness, then it would cause Him to love me less. Or if He fully loved me, then that meant He didn't know everything about me.  

I, just like you, have been through challenges in this life. I am constantly getting in my own way. I am self-sabotaging. I am stubborn and I am proud and weak all at the same time. And there are so many moments in my life I look back on and wonder, "What the heck was I thinking!?" I have, in the past, struggled with my outlook on getting older- looking at life as a journey in which we collect bad experiences, mistakes, and unresolved situations that we have to continue to live with. More time, more failure that I cannot understand, the further I will feel from innocence and the purity of past seasons. Will I just have a bunch of broken pieces at the end of my life?

But on Monday night, as I was getting ready for bed, I was suddenly filled with the most joyful thankfulness for everything I have gone through in life. It was like God lifted my spirits to a new perspective, to His perspectives on my past. All my wrong decisions, seasons of crippling fear, depressions, failures, were illuminated in such a beautiful fashion. It was like a sunrise in my heart. It was like I could see the whole picture, just for a moment, of God's plan for my life. It is easier for me to have grace on the situations that are outside of my control, but have always struggled with dealing with grace for the mistakes I chose. But suddenly there was grace over all of it, it was all the same. I began to see myself through the eyes of the Father who looks at His baby. Love is the core of who He is, not anger, frustration or control. To a Father, it doesn't matter if His son chooses to touch the stove or if a kid on the playground picks on him, all that matters is that His kid is not experiencing the fullness of life that is out there. I think it might be the same with God. He has infinite compassion for the "why" behind our wandering. Man becomes angered with the failures themselves, but I think what God really hates is all the forces that push His children to act short of who they're supposed to be. He doesn't see me for the times I have chosen wrong, but is committed to seeing me through the process of understanding the deep, deep "why" and has infinite compassion for the process of life. It is truly a hike through deep mud and beautiful views and everything in between.

My spirit rejoiced in this revelation and I began to thank God for everything. Then this song poured out. The next day I finished up the lyric and made this recording. I started at about one o'clock in the afternoon and went to 12:30AM, with a taco break in there :). I truly got lost in the wonder of making this song and the truth behind it. When I was singing it, I felt the joy of the LORD in me. I have never had an experience like this recording music.  But, I thank God for this song and for the opportunity to sing and create this music to help frame who He is. Hope you enjoy it!

LYRICS

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There's the song and here are the lyrics if you want to take a look at them! Here's a little underneath some of the lines:

"Pin light in the dark." Sometimes God seems really far way. Sometimes hope seems really far away. But to me, in dark times, I see it as a pin light in the distance. Where even 1 speck of light is enough to keep me going. Keep on believing and holding onto that light in the distance. It will get bigger.

"That strengthened my feet to dance." This is a metaphor for the principles of discipline. Failures and trials grow our faith and our character. We should thank God for all the trials in our life because if we let Him, He can use it to build up substance in our hearts. Strength is not given but earned through repeatedly trusting and exercising the muscle of faith in the face of trials. Our souls are being strengthened with every obstacle. 

"With you I stand, look back and smile." One of my spiritual parents prayed the other week that I would be able to laugh at the future. That I would be filled with hope when I thought about life. I think we can also look back on the things we have experienced and smile too. It's like I'm looking back on things that felt like crisis in the moment and seeing all the purpose. Life can feel serious, but it really doesn't have to be that heavy. We can laugh at life.

"Can this view sustain me? Let me remember. Every winter you turned to spring. Let me remember."  This is a prayer that came out when I was recording the song. This explains the doubt that I face after almost every big work God does in my life. Is this just a feeling or is this something that has changed deep in my heart? I am so forgetful. Help me remember. The last line might be one of my favorites. "Every winter you turned to spring. Let me remember." None of us would ever doubt that after every winter is a spring. We have spring every year. How silly would it be to doubt it? This was my prayer to view God's faithfulness this way. He will bring the new seasons in my life, just like He brings the new seasons to the Earth. 

This was a special one for me, yall! It has been a joy to write it and share it. It has helped me to process my own life and hope is has helped you along the way too. Thank you for reading about the song and listening if you have. More to come soon.

Love, Andrew

Quick Update. Chatanooga, Kickstarter, New Video Coming Soon

It has been such a full week. A lot of growth, a lot of change. Many things are shifting for me personally, and I learning to continue to lean on God in a whole new way. A deeper way. It truly is a joy to walk with God, because He is always better than you think. There is always more. 

My best guy Bobby is getting married this weekend. We have had some rich times with the guys over the past few weeks. Last night, we hung out one last time before Bobby and Bess made their way up to the mountains to get ready for the wedding. Bobby's been sleeping on my couch for the past couple weeks and last night I decided to sleep down in the living room with him. It was pretty silly, but it was a great last late night hang with the bro before the wedding. Enjoy every season with your people. Yes it changes, but it's not for worse or better, just what is next. Enjoy EVERY season and don't wish it away. 

Yesterday, spent the day in Chatanooga with their worship leaders and some representatives from Integrity Music. The conversation was so life giving. There is something shifting in our culture - music culture - a challenge of what has become normal and a question that is asked in all of us. Long story short, without getting into too much detail, I am having my heart and eyes opened to the importance of the song of the saints, not just the few. We are ALL partakers in the story, and if you have a song, even if no one ever hears it. It is important and powerful.

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On the fundraising for the album. It has been truly incredible. I feel like God is totally blessing this adventure and is proving His faithfulness, something He loves to do. I am currently at 2830 out of 3500 with just over 10 days to go! People have been so encouraging and I feel the wind in my sails to keep pushing and and to keep dreaming. I still have a short ways to go, so if you would like to support, here's the link to all that.

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NEW VIDEO SOON: On Monday night I was itching to get creative, so I went late to the studio with my MPC and recorded a version of one of my new songs "Song For All My Days." Then, Evan and Bobby showed up and helped me film a little video! It was such a fun night of spontaneous adventure and hangs. Video set to come out here in the next couple days. 

I am encouraged this week guys. I am seeing life spring forth around me, despite me. I am understanding grace more and am filled with hope. I am deeply encoruaged and ready for me.

BOMBS AWAY

Today, I launched my Kickstarter Campaign for the project, "From My Window To Yours" by Andrew Blooms. I'm getting everything ready to get the campaign out there and to let you good peoples know what's going on. I don't think I have ever been this nervous about starting a project. There is something about putting the idea out there, asking people to help, hoping that you communicated all that you wanted... It's all truly, terrifying. 

There was a moment yesterday during the filming of the kickstart video where I all of sudden became incredibly anxious about making this. It was really strange, it came and left quickly, but was unexpected and caught me off guard. I have been dreaming about doing this album for a long time, and especially over the last few months, I have been able to think of little else. There is a certain weight behind it for me, it is something I know I'm suppose to pursue. I think often in things that are important to us, there is an equal and opposite force against it. Fears, doubts, anxieties, are all part of the mix. I am learning that it is important to pay attention to the fears and doubts in my life - and not just acknowledge them, but run after them. That is where faith is found, right at the edge of what cannot know or understand. Anyway, for me, taking these steps to make this record is running to that edge. The songs I am writing are about my experiences with God, but most maybe not be able to fit into the church context. They're a mix of different parts of me. Worship leader who loves God, 90's hip hop fan, singer-songwriter, blues guitarist... It will be an interesting project. But anyways, Bombs away, the kickstart has begun. 

21 days (20 now) to raise $3500! I believe, let's do this! thank you guys!

I want to thank my roommate Evan Reece, who runs Evan Reece Media, who followed me around yesterday to make the kick starter video. He is amazing at what he does, so just a quick shoutout to him. If any of you need photo or video work, please hit him up, here is his website: https://www.evanreecemedia.com/

With that being said! Here is a link to the Kickstart page where you can read more about the vision behind the album. Thank you again!