Aug. 24 2016 12:03 AM

New studio album from Michigan roots-rocker Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis, former Steppin; In It guitarist/singer and finalist on NBC's "The Voice," is crowdfunding his latest recording project.
Courtesy Photo

Joshua Davis is in town to record his next album, and he’s reaching out to his fans for help. The singer/songwriter launched a Kickstarter campaign Aug. 5 to help fund the effort.

“I've decided to come to my community like I've always done instead of courting a big record label,” Davis writes on the Kickstarter page. “I want to make the album I hear in my head instead of the album someone else wants me to make.”

Davis, former singer/guitarist for local folk group Steppin’ In It, was a finalist on the last season of NBC’s “The Voice.” His appearance on the reality singing competition opened up opportunities for touring around the U.S. and beyond.

“I was equally surprised by the incredible support not only from my community, but from so many people all around the world,” Davis writes. “The past year has been a whirlwind of incredible tours, working with wonderful people and trying to harness this momentum in the best and most genuine way I know how.”

Davis, who lives in Traverse City, is back in the Lansing area to record with local recording guru Glenn Brown. For the new album, Davis is reuniting with former Steppin’ In It bassist Dominic Davis and keyboardist Mike Lynch. He has also recruited southeast Michigan-based percussionist Mike Shimmin. Brown is engineering the album and Steve Berlin of Los Lobos is producing. A veteran session musician and producer, Berlin has worked with John Lee Hooker, Faith No More, R.E.M., the Replacements and more. Davis describes Berlin as “one of my heroes and a roots-rock pioneer.”

“I can't tell you how excited I am to work with him,” Davis continues. “Most of my recorded work has been self-produced, so it's going to be a big change to work with another set of ears at the helm, but I can't think of a more perfect producer for this record.”

The campaign ends Sept. 4. So far, Davis has raised nearly $19,000 of his $30,000 goal. Rewards for donors range from early release digital downloads of the album and signed 7-inch vinyl records to Skype music lessons and private house concerts. Funds raised by the Kickstarter campaign will go toward recording costs and manufacturing CDs and vinyl albums. (“No 8-tracks on this run,” Davis jokes.) The funds will also be used to promote and market the album.

“In the past, I've made albums that I'm very proud of but haven't put much weight behind promotion. I want this project to be different,” Davis writes. “I feel like we're on the cusp of something really incredible, and I want to harness that momentum and really push this album. That means Americana and AAA radio promoters, a top-shelf album publicist, social media strategists, graphic designers and then some.”

Davis’ grassroots approach hopes to show there’s a path for independent musicians to succeed without compromising for the sake of radio play or mass marketing.

“I hope you'll join in to support independent music and help us carry the torch and create something we can all get behind,” Davis writes. “We can't wait to share this project with the world!”