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Dear Reader,

We’ve long believed that connecting with people is the point of all of this, but it’s not always easy to figure out how best to achieve it. Turns out it all comes down to the kind of homily that you’d roll your eyes at if an elderly relative suggested it. Turns out it’s about keeping it simple.

Voices, laughing, stories, more laughing, crying, sharing; performances that resemble (and often actually become) a conversation. An exchange.

Having worked out what it is that we love about what we do and worked hard at getting better at it, we’ve started thinking about ways to be able to do more of it. You’ll all know the precarious life of the working musician by now; there’s not really any way around the portfolio career or those sacrifices made (by loved ones too) in order for us to be able to do this.

Despite using the word here, we’ve never really viewed these sacrifices as such. Selling the odd guitar, not going on holiday, budget Christmases; these soon become baked in to our exchange. We get to do something that feels meaningful, and that’s - for the most part - worth ignoring those little hardships for. But I won’t lie. When it becomes about rent and putting food on the table, it gets harder to do. And time is the most expensive commodity of all. Has anyone crowdfunded that, I wonder ?

At a number of our recent, Wapentak-funding house shows, lovely people asked us about how we continue do this and what they could do to help, and we umm-ed and ahh-ed apologetically; thanked them for their already generous contributions and awkwardly tried to sidestep their kindness. The Pledge campaigns we’ve run to fund our previous albums were clearly signposted transactions that made the albums possible: people bought the things that we made in advance of us making them. Easy to grasp. Why was this different ?

What these awesome humans were proposing was something more abstract, and people aren’t always good at dealing with abstraction. Even musicians.

Their proposal was essentially this: ‘there is a value for me in what you do; I want to help you to carry on doing it.’ It took us a while to see it, but there’s an exchange there too. It’s not an investment in the traditional sense because the return is kind of nebulous; it’s more like how relationships work, and though we didn’t see it at the time, that’s actually rather beautiful.

Most of you will know us by now. It might just be through a thread on Facebook, or chatting after a show. We work pretty hard. In the coming months we have various plans to expand operations: get some proper touring under our belts, peddle our wares around Nashville, come up with some new merch, record a live album and - yes - start work on SBP #6,. What we’d like to do is take those of you who spoke to us (and maybe others amongst you who think that this is a worthy exchange) up on your kind offer, to maybe make some - or all - of this possible.

So here’s the thing: give us a year. If you’re willing, set up a monthly standing order to our band account for whatever you can afford, for a year. It could be £3. Or £5. Or £10. Or even £20. For us, it could mean less hours in the day job; more hours spent writing, performing, recording or rehearsing. In return for your patronage, we promise this: our work, our honesty and our gratitude. And your name on everything we do, both metaphorically and literally. If the band splits up, we’ll tell you, and if at any time you want to stop, just cancel the standing order. We’ll still be more enabled than we would have been without you. We're also going to keep you more regularly updated via our mailing list (please be sure to sign up on our Home page), and we'll find ways to involve you all directly at various points along the way.

That’s our idea. Well, actually it’s your idea. We’re already grateful to have such loyal friends. We’d like to be able to offer you more of what we do. I guess in the end that’s what this particular conversation is all about. Thank you for reading this, and for all your support thus far, whether you’ve become a patron, bought an album or a t-shirt, or come to a show. It means the world to us. X

tim & jana

If you would like to become a patron we have setup a PayPal subscription box at the top of this page, alternatively if you would like to make a one-off PayPal payment our payment address is sweetbillypatron[at]gmail.com. If you would prefer to make a one-off payment or recurring payment directly to our bank account please email us at the same email address requesting our bank details.

(please note: by clicking on the PayPal links above, you’ll be committing to a regular monthly payment)

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