Boston-based musician Alastair Moock received funds to help record and produce his first CD for children. His primary goal was to make a kid’s album that parents could also listen to and enjoy. His second goal was to introduce children to a little American musical history; among his original songs he included music from Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt and others. He released this album, called A Cow Says Moock, in 2010, and it was the 2010 National Parents’ Publishing Awards Gold Winner. This was followed in 2011 by another children’s album, entitled These Are My Friends, which features other members of the Boston music scene such as Lori McKenna, Mark Erelli and Kris Delmhorst.
In 2010, Austin Nevins received a grant to help improve the quality of his equipment in his recording studio. In addition to being a prominent songwriter in the New England community, Austin produces and records for many of his fellow musician’s albums, including Josh Ritter, Rose Cousins, Chris O’Brien and Amber Rubarth. He wanted to take his recording capabilities to the next level, and the Iguana grant helped fund this. With his improved recording studio, he can now accept inquiries for recording and producing from a larger number of musicians.
In 2009, the David Wax Museum asked for and was granted money to fund their second tour. Primarily Boston-based, more than half of their shows in the prior year and a half had been in the Boston area (including a CD Release show at Club Passim), and they were eager to grow their fanbase and continue to build on the momentum and excitement of their first East Coast tour. Since then, their touring has expanded at a rapid pace, and they continue to play the East Coast and beyond. After they played the 2011 Newport Folk Festival, Bob Boilen described them and their music as “pure, irresistible joy.”
In 2011, the all-female bluegrass band Della Mae was given the money to purchase their own microphones for touring. As a five-person band with a specific mic set-up, they realized that it would provide a more consistent sound quality if they could bring their own mics with them. Directly after winning the Iguana grant, the women of Della Mae headed to Germany for a three-week tour, and continue to perform at festivals and tour around the country, which recently included two sold-out shows at Club Passim.
In 2011, Emma Beaton was given funding from Passim to finish building her own banjo, which she had recently started making from scratch with the help of one of her bandmates from Joy Kills Sorrow. She wanted to improve her own banjo skills and strengthen her instrumental building skills as a professional musician. Since then, Emma has continued touring the country with her band (including regularly scheduled shows at Club Passim), and continues to work on her banjo.
The Iguana Music Fund granted Girlyman money to partially fund a high-quality microphone for their recording purposes. Since receiving the grant, they used this to record their 2009 album, Everything’s Easy. They continue to play sold out shows domestically and abroad, including regular gigs at Club Passim.
In 2009, Margaret Glaspy asked Iguana for the funds to record, package and master her first album. Since this was her first album, it also served as an integral step into her career as a full-time musician. Margaret currently tours widely between the New York City and Boston areas, and frequently plays at Club Passim.
In 2010 and 2011, Iguana provided Kristin Andreassen and Laura Cortese with a grant to help them start Miles of Music, a multi-ages camp for developing musicians. In the first year, they used the grant to help design their website and publicize the camp. In the second year, they further expanded their camp’s success by creating an Artist-in-Residence program. The camp continues to thrive, currently heading into its second season as a collaborative learning retreat for people of all ages.
In 2009, Sam Kassirer asked for the funds to purchase new windows for his recording studio, so that it could stay open year-round. In 2006, he founded The Great North Sound Society, located in a renovated farmhouse in Maine. The building has been an affordable and inspiring place for many New England-based artists like Erin McKeown, Josh Ritter, Mark Erelli, Kris Delmhorst, and more to record their music. The addition of the new windows allowed artists to use the space during the coldest months of the year, including Joy Kills Sorrow and, most recently, former Iguana Music Grant winners David Wax Museum.
Three Mile Island Songwriting Retreat
In 2009-2011, the Iguana Music Fund provided grants to Dinty Child, Rose Polenzani and others to fund a week-long group songwriting retreat at Three Mile Island in New Hampshire. Each musician spends time working on their music in solitude, then reconvenes to share meals and songs, which lead to group collaboration in writing and arranging. Once back to civilization, the group performs together at Club Passim, showcasing some of the work they’ve accomplished during their time together. In the future, they intend to continue their musical collaborations with more summers at Three Mile Island.
In 2011, Zachariah Hickman was given a grant to fund music lessons from local artists, in order to increase his own musicianship. Zack has been performing consistently at Club Passim since 1999. He plays upright bass with Josh Ritter, but also performs with Barnstar!, Mark Erelli, Rose Polenzani, Jake Armerding, Lori McKenna and more. Since receiving the grant, he has taken lessons in a variety of different musical mediums, including production and engineering, jazz theory and jazz bass, and continues to play at Passim to captivated audiences.