The Tattletale Saints have been pulling in the crowds on their recent six-week, 20-something date tour of New Zealand but that shouldn’t really surprise.
The Auckland-based duo of Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan, who have been together on and off both professionally and personally for a decade, won over a dedicated audience when they crowd-funded through Pledgeme their debut album How Red Is The Blood.
The album was recorded in Nashville and produced by Tim O’Brien at Burcher Shoppe Recording Studios, which was the birthplace of many of Johnny Cash’s classics.
“We always knew we wanted to work with Tim,” says Winstanley. “We talked to him, got a price and knew we needed around $20,000. Neither of us had that kind of money nor did we have a financial backer. We had heard about crowd- funding through various musicians we have known – in particular an American cellist called Ben Sollee. Vanessa and I actually pledged for his album and it just seemed like a really great model but we knew that our target was kind of ambitious.”
That didn’t stop more than 220 supporters stumping up for the various rewards the Tattletale Saints offered on their way to raising the highest amount raised on a New Zealand-based crowd- funding website. And so in January this year, Tattletale Saints (once also known as Her make Believe Band) headed to Nashville and a date with O’Brien whom they’d picked because they wanted an album that had an “honest acoustic sound”.
“Tim popped into mind because, one, we are huge fans of his and, two, because we do have a connection with him through a mutual friend who tours with him from time to time,” Winstanley says of O’Brien who won a Grammy for his 2005 album Fiddler’s Green. “It was a huge honour to work with him.”