A Band's Most Important Backup Players

Friday, May 1, 2009; 3:42 PM

The new Shane Hines and the Trance album, "The Glory Journal," wasn't funded by a record label. Instead, it was made with the financial support of fans, who collectively contributed $34,180.30 to cover the Washington-based rock band's recording and promotional expenses.

The group solicited contributions last year on its Web site, www.teamtrance.com, offering every donor something in return: For $15, they'd get a copy of the album; $250 was worth a two-hour guitar lesson; $5,000 garnered a recording session with the band. There were 131 donations, ranging from $10 to, yes, $5,000.

"I was shocked that while the economy was tanking, people were still giving us money to make another record," says Hines, who has become one of the area's more unlikely musical hyphenates: singer-songwriterguitarist-fundraiser. "... I had zero expectations, so when someone pays $5,000 for her son to come into the studio with us as a birthday present -- that's mind-blowing. I had no idea that someone would even give us $15 to get a CD."

Flush with funding, the band -- which specializes in tuneful rock -- went to Nashville to record with an established producer, Chris Grainger. Otherwise, Hines insists, nothing changed.

"I wasn't sitting in the vocal booth thinking, 'I hope that donor likes this vocal!' " Also: "We're living on the cheap, trying to stretch the money as far as it can go. I can't go to some steakhouse and spend the money that somebody gave us to make a record; people didn't sign up for us to live nice for six months."

One-time deal, by the way: Hines says the band will not be asking fans to fund the "Glory Journal" follow-up. Here's how the "Glory Journal" balance sheet breaks down. (Based on a total budget of $34,180.30, of course.)

-- J. Freedom du lac

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