The declining influence of the traditional recording industry is evident in the ways music fans find and consume their passions, from iTunes and YouTube to the ever-growing collection of blogs, forums and other sites dedicated to tiny pockets of sound styles.
York countians need look no farther than their own backyards to see the proof, most recently demonstrated by HogMaw.
The York County-based band, fronted by guitarist Matt Baldwin, is releasing its first professional album, "Wake," with crowd-sourced financing raised through the website Indiegogo.
Indiegogo, like Kickstarter and similar sites, helps connect projects with backers, giving musicians, artists, inventors and other creative types the opportunity to pitch their products to a broad audience. The projects succeed or fail by audience support alone -- the idea being that people who really like something will put their money where their mouths are.
For HogMaw, fans opened wide.
"A record company can only do so much for you these days, and I think our fans really took on that role," Baldwin says in a recent phone interview. "It's amazing. ... We raised all the money we set out to raise."
And then some. The band set a modest goal of raising $1,200 to pay for a first pressing of 1,000 CDs. As of Tuesday, supporters had chipped in more than $2,100 -- some contributing as little as $5 to see band member Colin Reeves perform pushups, others dropping $25 for a signed album or even $500 for a private dinner and acoustic house concert with the band.
The campaign runs through Thursday at www.indiegogo.com/hogmawsome.
Fans will get the chance to hear the music in person during the CD release weekend at two shows, one in Philadelphia and one at Brown's Orchards in Loganville, reflecting the distance the band has to cover to get together.
The band: Although Baldwin, multi-instrumentalist Reeves and bassist Johnny Calamari reside in York County, vocalist and fiddler Ryann Lynch calls Philadelphia home. Arranging practices can be tough, Baldwin says, with Lynch often making the trek from Philadelphia to rehearse in York.
And, of course, all of the members have day jobs to work around.
"We're trying to make this and not lose our shirts," Baldwin says, admitting he doesn't expect HogMaw to become a full-time musical career. "That would be wonderful, but it's bluegrass -- you have to keep these things real."
HogMaw isn't just straight-up bluegrass; it is, as the band calls it, "thundergrass."
"We had a hard time fitting into the just general bluegrass genre," Baldwin says, explaining that the band's progressive sound can feel like "a threat to the tradition" of bluegrass for some music fans. "We plug in," he says. "We play all acoustic instruments, but it's louder, we play faster, and the music has a little more of an edge to it."
So although the group performs with guitar, fiddle, mandolin, dobro, banjo -- "very traditional bluegrass instruments," as Baldwin says -- "the solos that happen may be a little more akin to something a heavy metal band might do, so fast and lots of notes, complicated: a crack of thunder."
The album: It's an energetic sound audiences have responded to in the four years the band has been together, ever since Baldwin and Reeves met Lynch at a festival campfire jam. The band has given away hundreds of free copies of their live performances over the years to help fans spread the word, but "Wake" is its first studio-recorded, professionally produced album.
Baldwin is justifiably proud of snagging Grammy-winning producer Phil Nicolo to mix the master for "Wake."
"These are the songs as well as they can be performed," he says of the album's 12 tracks. "I think this album's gonna go over pretty well."
HogMaw plays original pieces with lyrics written by Baldwin and music developed by the band as a whole.
"Everybody has an opportunity to put their two cents in, and that works out really well," he says. "We all truly own ... all the songs."
And, in a sense, the band's devoted followers have put their cents in, too, with the Indiegogo campaign.
"Our fans chose the music that they wanted to see made, and that's pretty cool," says Baldwin, who hopes the album will bring the band wider recognition. "Our whole goal with this album is to chart; we'd like to chart on the bluegrass chart." He laughs. "It's a modest goal."
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CD release party weekend
HogMaw will celebrate the release of "Wake" with two concerts.
Yorkers who want to make the trip can head to The Fire, 412 Girard Ave., Philadelphia, for a show at 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 27, for ages 21 and up. There's an $8 cover, and special guests will include The Turnips and The Jersey Corn Pickers.
Closer to home, HogMaw will play at Brown's Orchards and Logan's View Winery, 8892 Susquehanna Trail South, Loganville, at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 28, for all ages (though only ages 21 and up can sample the wines). There's a $10 cover, and the special guest will be American Hollar.
Copies of "Wake" will be available at the shows for $10. And in York, guests might just be able to sample the food the band is named for.
"One of our fans didn't want to donate money, but they offered to cook us hogmaw," says frontman Matt Baldwin, who's happy to encourage those who aren't quite sure about eating stuffed pig's stomach.
"It's good," he insists. "It's just like making sausage bacon-flavored."
To learn more about HogMaw (the band, not the food), visit www.hogmaw.net.
To support the album, visit www.indiegogo.com/hogmawsome.