Sound engineer Tom Smouse has been helping Twin Cities artists record their albums for nearly a decade, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that he decided to attempt his own foray into songcraft. With the help of 100 different local musicians, Smouse has been slowly piecing together a massive recording project titled To My Bees Knees --
and now, after a successful Kickstarter campaign
and a whole lot of long hours in the studio, the hugely collaborative album is ready to see the light of day.
"Over the past two years my small idea for an album grew into an enormous endeavor," Smouse writes. "What started as a side project evolved into a large effort of collaboration, admiration, and a widespread donation of talent."
Here's a full list of the artists who took part in To My Bees Knees
WE ARE THE WILLOWS--ALICIA WILEY--WHITE IRON BAND--THE ALPHA CENTAURI--LOST SHEPHERDS--FAREWELL MILWAUKEE--NIHILIO--NIGHTINGALES--WHITE LIGHT RIOT--JEREMY WALKER--
BIG LAKE--MINNEAPOLIS 1989--CHRIS KOZA--THE NEW STANDARDS--THE CHORD AND THE FAWN--
RYAN PAUL & THE ARDENT--THE WESTERN RIDGE--BETHANY LARSON AND THE BEES KNEES--PERT
NEAR SANDSTONE--SEVENTH HOUR--THE SMALL CITIES--MAMA DOOM--COLDER IN MOSCOW--THE
BLENDERS--ASHLEIGH STILL--MAYDA--MY COUSIN DALLAS--BLUE VOODOO--MAMBO'S COMBO--
READYMADEFIRE--MYRRH--RACHEL GRACE KOLIAS--ERICA BURTON--HILLHAVEN RAVEN--
FAREWELL CIRCUIT--CLARET--SARAH PRAY--RED FOX GREY FOX--CLIFF MITCHELL--EMILY
HAMMER--KANDIYOHI--ALEX PROCTOR--BRAD SENNE--SHASTA BOULEVARD--THE NEW CONGRESS--
THE DEVINE COLLECTION--AMERICAN FAMILIES--PETER BIERER--BRIAN DAVID BAND--KATE
KEPPLE--JESSE HAMBLE--KEN WILSON
So what does an album with all of these people on it sound like, anyway? Well, if the snippets of audio in this introductory video are any indication, it sounds surprisingly... normal. Or at least, it's safe to say that the musicians didn't all play and sing at once. Rather, it would seem that each contribution was carefully arranged and included to be part of a larger whole, without sounding overwhelming or verbose.
But that's just our take from the brief samples we've heard so far. We look forward to hearing the whole thing when it is officially released as both a digital download and vinyl album on April 15.
Keep an eye on the album's official website, ToMyBeesKnees.com
, for more updates about this intriguing project.