Small Forest Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Album

Small Forest members Jeanne Kuhns, Marybeth Mattson and Pat Palmer recording their album at Studio 330 in Sturgeon Bay.

Door County band Small Forest has joined the wave of musicians turning to crowdfunding campaigns to launch its first album since getting together two years ago.

With mother-daughter duo Jeanne Kuhns and Marybeth Mattson creating magical harmonies and Pat Palmer adding his groovin’ bass lines, Small Forest has spent the entirety of the past two years bringing its high energy, progressive indie folk to stages large and small throughout the county and state.

While some of the members have already put out solo albums, unending requests by their audience to hear the trio together demanded the band turn its focus toward creating its first album.

Last summer, they began doing just that, finishing up their 12 selected songs (many independently written by Jeanne and Marybeth, with one special collaboration between the two), setting a budget and picking out a studio where the magic of production would happen. That just happened to be Studio 330, owned and operated by engineer and musician Hans Christian.

To begin financing the album, Jeanne, Marybeth and Pat traded 45 hours of sweat equity for studio time, spending last summer scraping and painting the studio building and bussing tables, serving food and greeting guests at Studio 330’s Christmas party this winter. The trade was as much about putting out an album as it was about getting to work with Christian.

“We wanted him to know we would do anything to be able to record with him,” Jeanne said. “Hans really has taught us how to hear differently because we’ve never recorded ourselves or heard ourselves as a band. That was eye-opening.”

The band brought in several guest musicians: Tony Dale on drums, David Walker on jazz guitar, Tommy Burroughs on fiddle and mandolin, George Sawyn and Seth Raddatz on lead guitar, and Hans Christian on lap steel and cello.

They are pursuing the remainder of the financing the way many independent musicians today are – crowdfunding, in which individuals, groups and organizations organize an online campaign where supporters can donate to their cause.

With a ticket price of approximately $15,000, Small Forest hopes to raise between $8,000-15,000 to fund the album during the 60-day campaign on the Indiegogo crowdfunding website.

“Almost all of the musicians I’ve brought into Woodwalk Gallery over the last two years have been using crowdfunding programs because it just opens the door to share their music on a broader base,” Jeanne said. “It also gives people who are affected by your music a chance to feel good about giving back a little bit.”

“If we reach $12,000 we would be in really good shape,” Marybeth said.

Small Forest’s CD campaign went live March 20. Contributors can donate at a variety of levels to receive the new album as well as merchandise, original art, concert tickets, candles and more.

“We would’ve had to save up for another year if we wanted to just pay for it upfront by ourselves and people wanted the CD now,” she added. “They wanted it two years ago, actually.”

The band hopes to put its album out in early to mid-June. In the meantime, Small Forest will celebrate the launch of its crowdfunding project with a live concert from 7 – 9 pm on Saturday, March 28 at Door County Brewing Company in Baileys Harbor. There is no cover charge.

For more information on the band and campaign, visit