In an eleventh-hour attempt to make it over a fundraising hump, The Art of Cool Music Festival has teamed up with one of R&B’s consummate soul crooners, Anthony Hamilton, for a special video announcement regarding the second Art of Cool Music Fest, due next April 24–26. If the Kickstarter campaign reaches its $35,000 goal, Hamilton will be added to next year’s festival lineup. As a bonus, he’s promised to perform the entirety of his 2003 LP, Comin’ From Where I’m From, which would commandeer the festival’s well-received “Carolina Soul” slot.
In April, before The Art Of Cool Project co-founder Cicely Mitchell saw the final ticket sales from the Durham-based, jazz-advocacy organization’s inaugural music festival, she expressed apprehension about the festival’s ability to sustain itself for a second consecutive year. “We’ll lick our wounds, get our money back … maybe try it again in 2016,” she told the INDY in the days leading up to the festival. Shortly after the festival, an overwhelmed and optimistic Mitchell—bolstered by the “peoples’ support”—sang a different tune, which promised the return of Art of Cool Fest in 2015.
Now, the festival has dates and two headliners already, jazz-soul icon Roy Ayers and jazz-fusion collective Snarky Puppy. The rest of the festival makeup hangs in the balance of The Art of Cool’s second festival-related Kickstarter campaign, which is less than $9,000 shy of its $35,000 aim. The campaign ends Friday night, Sept. 19, at 11:59 p.m.
This last-minute Hamilton stunt may come with a rather unconventional caveat, but what better way to assuage a soul-thirsty audience than with one of the last two decades’ seminal soul albums. Comin’ From Where I’m From embraced every facet of love’s hustles, from entrenched self-pity (“I’m a Mess”) to big-boy lusting (“Since I Seen’t You”). It settled at late-Motown folk (“Lucille”), soared with sexuality (“Float”) and, most important, left its tear drops with the sterling ballad “Charlene.” If The Art of Cool wants to dangle the opportunity to experience this album, live and in-full, so that next year’s festival is a success, more soul-power to them.