Widgets Magazine

Acklen Park Kickstarts Great American Song


Acklen Park created a buzz on Country Radio last year with “Lost,” showcasing a melodically intertwined duet style. Not content to sit around and wait for a major label deal, the group struck out on their own, independently, on their Otter Rapids Music label.

The natural follow up was to build on the ballad’s success, but, when it came time for the new release, Acklen Park was a little up in the air. The band has recently decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund their latest video.

Brad Hardisty / Performer: Weren’t you set to release “Great American Song” later in the year?

Marcum Stewart: Right, we changed at the last minute. We were originally going to go with a ballad Andrea and I wrote, then one of the radio promoters came to me and said, “I think you really need to go with ‘Great American Song.'” We found out that a lot of other bands like Lady Antebellum and Thompson Square were releasing slow melodic songs. We would be locked into competing against the big boys and we wanted a song that was gonna have a “natural” shot. We were hoping the song would be out in time for July 4th.  They said “Well, honestly it takes a good seven to eight months to really even have a chance to make it into the Top 30, so, if you even want a chance, release it now.”

Andrea Villareal: As an indie band, timing is huge. At this point, we don’t feel we can compete with the big names. We have to be a little bit smarter about it.

BH: I heard you had a radio shootout to get an idea how the song would do.

MS: Paul Ciliberto, Program Director, at WDNB, Thunder 102 in Liberty, New York does this thing called “Starting to Rumble Facebook Face Off,” where they take new artists and pit them against each other, head to head and the listeners decide what song continues on to the next round. We actually finished undefeated. We won six shootouts in a row. We recorded the most votes in shoot out history at WDNB.

BH:  What made you decide to do a Kickstarter campaign for the video?

AV: Marcum found the Kickstarter page; being independent, we have been funding everything ourselves. We were kind of iffy on it, so we did a little research and saw that some indie artists are really successful on there.  We officially released the project a couple of days ago.

MS: They actually rejected my original idea. I went to them and asked for a page to pay for radio promotion, but they would not allow it. We had to have a project that had a start and an end so that backers could feel a part of it. Alright, we need to make a video so how about we just go with that. I’m actually happier. I think people are going to enjoy doing the video and we’re going to enjoy it more. We can allow people to be a part of the video.

BH: Is there a cut-off date for the Kickstarter promotion?

MS: March 4th at noon.

AV: If we reach our goal by that day, we will have the funds to be able to start shooting the video.

BH: Are there other country acts using Kickstarter?

MS: I found Kelly Willis. She’s trying to record a new album with Bruce Robison. They were asking for $35,000. I was like, “Good night!” We would love to quit our day jobs and just go for it. This might come to a point where that is what we have to do. Just go for it.

AV: Just wing it; it’s a gamble.

BH: Best of luck with “Great American Song” and the Kickstarter video project.

Photo by Melody Hood

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