Posts Tagged ‘Reckless Kelly’

LA Times: Package designers Sarah and Shauna Dodds have been on a Grammy roll

Thursday, February 16th, 2017
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

by: Randall Roberts

Shauna and Sarah Dodds are on a streak that could make Adele envious. The sisters from central Texas, whose creativity focuses on roots music, have been nominated for Grammy Awards in four of the last five years.

This year they’re once again jetting to Los Angeles for the ceremony, a trip earned for their work with country rock band Reckless Kelly for the album “Sunset Motel.”

The Dodds, however, aren’t musicians. Rather, they’ve won two trophies for their recording packages, the only Grammy category among the dozens that focuses on sight rather than sound.

Awarded to the graphic designers who wrangle invisible wave-forms and turn them into cherished art objects, the field might seem quaint in this time of on-demand streaming, when Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book” can earn nominations without releasing physical copies at all.

In truth, though, physical product remains a thriving part of the music business, due in large part to the revived interest in vinyl LPs and their physical heft, bigger cover-art canvas and higher profit margins.

“We feel like if we’re going to do it, you gotta make it something that the fans are going to be interested in,” says Shauna on the phone from Austin, Texas, where she and her sister’s Backstage Design studios have become an Americana powerhouse.

In 2016, vinyl LP sales rose for the 11th straight year, surpassing sales of 13 million units. That’s still only about 6.5% of total album sales, but that’s still money that can help sustain artists in an industry that calculates royalties by fractions of cents.

As a result, artists are investing in packaging as a lure for fans. With devotees willing to spend $20 or more for albums they can stream for free online, musicians are increasingly teaming with designers such as the Dodds to craft fancy packages that reward attention. A side effect: compact disc packages are becoming more of an afterthought.

. . . read more at LATimes.com

 

Reckless Kelly’s Sunset Motel / 2017 Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package A closer look at the artwork

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

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The lyrics to the title track of Sunset Motel, written by Willy Braun, set the stage for the storyline behind the most recent collaborative effort between the Dodds Sisters and Reckless Kelly. Written as somewhat of a love letter, the track voices a plea to not be left to his own devices, hinting at concerns of PTSD. You quickly learn that our main character fears that, if the lady-in-question were to leave, he’d be lured by the temptation of his vices back to the one place he hoped to never return.

Don’t turn me away don’t leave me out in the cold
You know that I’ve only got one place to go
And just like the last time it won’t work out well
Don’t let me go back to the Sunset Motel

The packaging presents itself as an enticing 1950s-60s era travel brochure for the Sunset Motel, promising a desert oasis – a place to “escape from it all.” The reality, however, as only seen through the translucent red Motel Key Tag included within the CD Digipak, is a run-down possibly-abandoned flea-bag motel. It’s hey-day: far gone. The bathing beauties and welcoming staff: all but a memory. Saguaro cactus towers outside it’s walls – not the swaying palm trees pictured… Lurking in these hidden images, you see the true culprit: darkness/addiction/temptation, embodied in the archetypal nemesis and Reckless Kelly classic icon: The Serpant.

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Enclosed within the brochure, a poster sized fold-out US Highway roadmap, covered with handwritten lyrics, illustrations and doodles (from both Willy & Cody Braun), documenting a road trip. The reverse side is filled with advertisements for tourist attractions and travel-related goods, with artwork and themes derived not only from the lyrics of Sunset Motel, itself, but from the full library of Reckless Kelly music and fan culture spanning the past 20 years.

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But, after any amount of analysis, you’ll quickly realize that the ads and slogans on the map don’t accurately represent the concepts or themes included in the lyrics on the record…. “Volcano,” for instance, isn’t about a Tiki Lounge, “One More One Last Time” is definitely not about Mt. Rushmore, and “Lucky Stars” has nothing to do with a casino. So, what gives?

Well, in the end, our protagonist was, indeed, lured back to the Sunset Motel, and did what he’d predicted: he got back on “that stuff” and sufficiently hit the bottom. Conceptually, the tracks on the record were born of hallucinations inspired by the advertisements found on his highway map… a la alice in wonderland, wizard of oz and the like. The handwritten lyrics and doodles on the map are those of a man with a broken heart spiraling downward on his way to the one place he worried he’d return.

Where IS the Sunset Motel? We can’t really say… the path traced on the highway map ends before he got to the final destination. When viewed at a distance through the Motel Key Tag, you’ll see, yet again, the culprit.

The artwork is reminiscent of the golden age of interstate travel – when Route 66 was lit by the warm glow of neon and gas-guzzling classic cars hit the open road to see America. In contrast, the design also presents a somber look at the remnants of that lost era.

Pick up your copy at RecklessKelly.com, and dig in. To reveal what is hidden, peer through the Motel Key Tag… lean in…. stand back… enjoy. Paradise awaits!

Follow us on Facebook for more insights and revealed secrets.

Continue Scrolling to view images of Reckless Kelly’s Sunset Motel
2017 GRAMMY Award Nominee for Best Recording Package
from Shauna & Sarah Dodds of Backstage Design Studio in Austin, Texas.

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And so much more . . . when you think you’ve found it all, look again.

Download High Res Images (328mb)

Art Direction & Design by Shauna Dodds & Sarah Dodds
Creative Direction by Willy & Cody Braun
Illustration by Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds, Willy Braun & Cody Braun

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Big Thank you to Bruce Chambers at ICLA and Aaron Prohuska at National Hospitality for making those clear red Motel Key Tags a reality! And, to PrintCraft and Thirty Tigers for bearing with us through this, and for getting it to the finish line!!

2017 Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package: Sunset Motel Third Consecutive Nod for Reckless Kelly and The Dodds Sisters

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

View images of Sunset Motel, GRAMMY Award Nominee for Best Recording Package from Shauna & Sarah Dodds of Backstage Design Studio in Austin, Texas.

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Download High Res Images (328mb)

Brownwood Bulletin: Dodds sisters claim second Grammy in three years

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds and Dick Reeves - Grammy Winners 2016By Andrew Valderas

Brookesmith natives Sarah (left) and Shauna Dodds won their second Grammy in three years for Best Recording Package on Monday night at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

At the Staples Center, the Dodds sisters and collaborator Dick Reeves from their Backstage Design Studio accepted the illustrious accolade for their work on “Still The King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys” by country music group Asleep at the Wheel.

The Grammy is presented for the visual look of an album. It is awarded to the art director(s) of the winning album. This Grammy award dates back to 1959 and has included winning albums from singer Frank Sinatra and rock band The Rolling Stones.

…Read the full story at BrownwoodBulletin.com

Still the King / GRAMMY Nominee for Best Recording Package

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Still The King Cover Art - 2016 Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package: Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds & Dick Reeves

It’s nearing two weeks since we received the incredible news that our efforts for Still the King had been honored with a GRAMMY Nomination for Best Recording Package, and the gleam still lingers on our faces.

When Dick Reeves and the folks at Bismeaux approached us last year about the third (and final) Asleep at the Wheel Bob Wills tribute that Ray Benson was cooking up, along with a slew of amazing artists (a veritable who’s who of today’s country and americana), we knew that the packaging design had to be special – something deserving of the music it accompanied and representative of the legacy that Benson has built in honoring Wills and keeping his works alive.

As Bob Wills had a well-known and iconic affection for cigars, we felt that Still the King, “the fondest of tributes to the man justly billed as the King of Western Swing” (New York Times), should be celebrated as Mr. Wills, himself, would have deemed appropriate: with a box of cigars.

What we created was a cardboard cd package that is reminiscent of a vintage cigar box, in the vein of those treasured boxes found tucked away in a closet holding a collection small treasures from decades past. We took a great deal of pride in developing an air of authenticity, with mindful care to leave no detail excluded.

  • Delicate raised emboss adorning the cover and inner panels
  • A tax stamp featuring original illustration from local Austin artist, John Wilson
  • Custom portrait illustration of Wills adorning the inside of the cigar box lid
  • Asleep at the Wheel product seal
  • An illustrated set of Still the King Cigars in the style of early cigar advertisements, with branding similar to that of Will’s favorite brand: Roi-Tan
  • 22 Page booklet, with cover artwork like that of vintage collectible cigarette cards
  • CD label artwork evocative of a vintage 78 record
  • As always: A secret goodie hidden away underneath the cigars…. Bet you didn’t even know it was there.

We’re eternally grateful to be so fortunate as to have been a part of this amazing project, let alone be considered for a GRAMMY for simply doing what we love. Thank you to Ray Benson, Mindy Espy-Reyes, Dick Reeves, Sam Seifert, Peter Schwartz and everyone else at Bismeaux for bringing us in on Still the King, embracing the big ideas, entertaining the insanity that is our creative drive and for reeling it in juuuuuuust enough. Love y’all. 

And, a big ah-haaa to Jim Cocke and the team at Crystal Clear CDs. You guys knocked it out of the park, again.

Still the King - Asleep at the Wheel - Tribute to Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys - Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package - Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds & Dick Reeves

Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys - Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package - Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds & Dick Reeves

“The most beautifully packaged cd I’ve ever seen in my life”
– Bob Cole, KOKE FM

Still the King - Bob Wills - Asleep at The Wheel - Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package - Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds & Dick Reeves

Grammy Award Nominee for Best Recording Package - Still the King - Asleep at the Wheel - Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds & Dick Reeves

“The packaging of Still The King is quite unique: a salute to the old King Edward cigar boxes, obviously a nod to Wills’ swing monarchy, and his signature cigar-smoking.” – Daniel Mullins, The Bluegrass Situation

Still the King - Best Recording Package Nominee - 58th Annual Grammy Awards - Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds & Dick Reeves

Best Recording Package Nominee - Grammys - Still the King - Asleep at the Wheel - Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds & Dick Reeves

“[This] is easily the most beautiful, intriguing, and nostalgic jewel case I’ve ever seen. The manila background with raised brown letters is exactly the way and old cigar box was made. Lots of easter eggs in the design–the faux stamp on the outside corner, the names of the artists involved on the outside edge, and then when you open it up–the cigar inset, and the CD itself, with the look of an old 78 record. To top it off, the inside of the case is in the design of an old ashtray–you’d almost expect an ash from ol’ Bob’s Roi-Tan to fall out.” – Randy Atkins, Amazon.com Customer Review

Best Recording Package Nominee - Still the King - Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds, Dick Reeves, Asleep at the Wheel

Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package - Still the King - Asleep at the Wheel - Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds & Dick Reeves

You can order a copy of Still the King, today, at AsleepAtTheWheel.com

The 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on Monday, February 15, 2016, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

 

Still The King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Still The King Cover Art - 2016 Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package

We recently had the pleasure of working with our favorite tall Texan, Ray Benson, and Asleep at the Wheel again on another amazing project: Still The King, Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. We felt that “the fondest of tributes to the man justly billed as the King of Western Swing” (New York Times) should be celebrated as Mr. Wills, himself, would have: with a box of stogies. The packaging design is reminiscent of a vintage cigar box, complete with emboss, tax stamp, seal sticker and, as always, a hidden goodie…. it, like the music, was a labor of love, and we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we loved killing ourselves over it. It’s now available everywhere. Go download it on iTunes, order a hard copy at AsleepAtTheWheel.com and tell your friends… ALL of them. 

Still the King - Asleep at the Wheel - Tribute to Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys - Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package

Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys - Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package

Still the King - Bob Wills - Asleep at The Wheel - Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package

Grammy Award Nominee for Best Recording Package - Still the King - Asleep at the Wheel
Still the King - Best Recording Package Nominee - 58th Annual Grammy Awards

Best Recording Package Nominee - Grammys - Still the King - Asleep at the Wheel

Best Recording Package Nominee - Still the King - Shauna Dodds, Sarah Dodds, Dick Reeves, Asleep at the Wheel

Grammy Nominee for Best Recording Package - Still the King - Asleep at the Wheel

 

 

 

The Dodds Sisters Discuss Their Grammy Win on The Texas Music Scene

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

The impact of the Dodds Sisters of Backstage Design Studio on the Texas music scene is undeniable. These talented ladies have crafted the artwork for some of your favorite Texas musicians for years now, and they even came up with the graphics and logo for this TV show. Their work on Reckless Kelly’s “Long Night Moon” won a Grammy award, and we couldn’t be prouder to call them friends! Here are Sarah and Shauna Dodds in our special Texas Legends series.

From The Texas Music Scene

Austin Monthly: DESIGNING WOMEN WITH A GRAMMY WIN, THESE SISTERS ARE OVER THE MOON

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Shauna Dodds and Sarah Dodds Backstage Design Studio

Not everyone can say they’ve bested David Bowie, Jay Z and Metallica for a Grammy Award, but sisters Sarah and Shauna Dodds can. The talented duo behind graphic design firm Backstage Design Studio won the music industry’s highest honor for Best Recording Package with their album concept forReckless Kelly’s Long Night Moon, beating the aforementioned artists as well as the alternative music group Geneseo. The native Texans, who were nominated for the award in 2012 with another Reckless Kelly album, Good Luck & True Love, were shocked—and ecstatic—to hear the presenter utter their names. After making their way to the stage, the first words out of Sarah’s mouth were, “Holy crap, Cyndi Lauper’s here.” The 10-year-old studio, where Shauna, 34, is the “design maven” and Sarah, 33, is the “illustration goddess,” has a client list that includes Kris Kristofferson, Slaid Cleaves, Emily Bell and Wheeler Brothers. Long Night Moon, however, is special in that it marks the pair’s 100th album cover and has given the duo a career-making turn. “Once they called out our name, everything changed,” says Sarah. Now the phone rings off the hook, and the Dodds are swamped with requests. With only three people on their team, they’ve had to start a waiting list for their services. “It’s a great problem to have,” adds Shauna.

 

The MusicFest Magazine: And the Grammy goes to Backstage Design Studio Sarah & Shauna Dodds Draw Highest Accolades for Best Recording Package

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

MusicFest Magazine Cover - Backstage Design Studio - Cover Story

 

From: The MusicFest Magazine – Spring/Summer 2014 Issue
By Mike Ethan Messick

Awarded for accomplishments mostly sown in 2013, and preceded by years and sometimes decades of experimentation, collaboration, and general butt-busting, international stars such as electro-rock pioneers Daft Punk and pop sensations Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, snagged quite a few Grammys this time around. Rock legends including Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin all got their due. So did Texas upstarts like the newly minted country music sweetheart Kacey Musgraves and R&B guitar-slinger Gary Clark, Jr. Joining them all was Sarah and Shauna Dodds of Backstage Design Studio. The two tall, striking brunettes in full L.A. glam mode grabbed the Gramophone statue for Best Recording Package – for Reckless Kelly’s album Long Night Moon – to bring home to the Lone Star State.

Not to overgeneralize, but the Grammy Awards – perhaps even more so than their counterparts at the Oscars and Emmys – tend to award commercial success as much as (maybe more than) the subjective, harder-to-define qualities of artistic success and innovation. Which make is remarkable, to the point of nigh miraculous, that a quintessential business from Austin, Texas was out in L.A. duking it out with infinite-budget heavyweights like Jay Z, Metallica and David Bowie. If that list doesn’t make it clear, let’s reiterate: their competitors were not limited by genre or scale and potentially included every single album that went to print in 2013. Also impressive? Sarah and Shauna Dodds beat them all, and it wasn’t even their first nomination (Reckless Kelly’s previous album, the 2011 project Good Luck & True Love, also earned a deserving nod).

Read More at TheMusicFest.com

Album Cover Hall of Fame Interview / Grammy-winning album cover for Reckless Kelly

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Interview with Shauna and Sarah Dodds, Backstage Design, winners of 2013 Grammy Award for “Best Recording Package” for their work on Reckless Kelly’s Long Night Moon

By Mike Goldstein, Curator, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
March 21, 2014

Dodds, Backstage, Design, Studio, Grammy, Reckless Kelly, Shauna, Sarah, Long Night Moon, album cover

While most of the press coverage of the annual Grammy Awards show is focused on the nominees and winners in the dozen or so “major” categories, there’s a lot of talent on display in some of the lesser-promoted award categories that, given some additional attention by the show’s producers, press and music/art fans that might not be aware of them, would serve both to excite those exposed to their works and serve to show just how imaginative, innovative and influential producers of music packaging and imagery remain today.

And while there are those that insist that, due to the swing from retail to digital distribution of music and music products, album cover packaging and album art in general is less important today than other forms of marketing and promotion, I’d like to point to this year’s winning design for “Best Recording Package” – awarded to Shauna and Sarah Dodds of Austin, TX’s Backstage Design – as a great example of just how shallow this train of thought seems to be. In today’s extremely noisy music marketing arena, it takes a well-honed sense of what it takes to rise above the din and deliver a package to an act’s fans – both existing and new – that engages them and gives them a sense of intimacy with the act, it’s music and the people behind “the brand”. I think that, when you take into account the depth and diversity of what the winning design team created for their clients, you’ll agree that they delivered a package that perfectly illustrates what can – and must – be done to keep the art of music packaging relevant and exciting for artists and fans alike.

Read more at Album Cover Hall of Fame

The Cover Cove: The 2014 Grammy Nominees – Best Recording Package

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

One of the consistently overlooked categories at the Grammy Awards is Best Recording Packaging. This category is gives recognition to the art directors, photographers and artists who create the memorable or creative packaging for non-classical music releases. Since Best Recording Packaging fits the theme of this blog, I figured that it would be fun to take a close look at the nominees. The nominated albums are by Jay-Z, Metallica, Geneseo,  Reckless Kelly, and David Bowie.

2. Reckless Kelly – Long Night Moon
Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds, art directors

Long Night Moon is a fantastic example of celestial Victorian art. The packaging unfolds to a complete night and day theme. Some of the astral artwork glows in the dark, and there are also secret codes and messages.  Sisters Shauna and Sarah Dodds really outdid themselves.

See the full article at TheCoverCove.Quora.com