Signing Story: Dimestore Dolls

Date Signed: April 2022

Label: Indie/CD Baby

Band Members: Kelly Buchanan, lead vocals and rhythm guitar; Chris Whalen, rhythm guitar and vocals; Scott Frenchek, bass, keyboards and vocals; Mollie Swartz, vocals; Jeanette Stillman, vocals; Christy Engel, drums

Type of Music: Alternative Rock

Management: Self

Booking: Self

Legal: N/A

Publicity: Mitch Schneider - SRO PR

Web: dimestoredolls.com 

Radio Promotion: Robb Haagsman - shineonpromo.com  

Taking a true independent approach to their career, Lancaster, PA band Dimestore Dolls took a long and pragmatic look at the best means of promotion. Adopting the lead of prime mover and shaker Kelly Buchanan, a babysteps versus giant leap philosophy was not only a good business move, but one she has pursued in her own life. The singer-songwriter and music educator embraced humility based on the significant trauma of a 2008 sports injury where she took a severe street hockey slap shot to the head. The damage was so great that it impaired her ability to walk, talk and fully function. A promising solo career for the Berklee College of Music grad was completely in jeopardy for over 10 years.

Thankfully, through diligent physical therapy and family support, Buchanan regained complete use of all her faculties and ability to sing and play guitar. “I love music and it’s something I’m passionate about,” explains Buchanan. “I see music as a coping thing. There’s no better way to recover from trauma and unfortunate things than to be successful in what you do. Creating music is fun and soothing.”  

Fast forward to the present day, where Dimestore Dolls had released their full-length debut Wooly Mamas and were contemplating a game plan. 

“We did a segment on a local NPR station, WITF,” recalls Buchanan. “We played a bunch of songs and did an interview. We got a lot of great response from that. Tons of people came to our next show and we immediately understood the impact radio could have on us. So, I specifically looked into people who did radio promotion and sent them my record.” Robb Haagsman at Shine On Promo heeded the call and helped guide the band to several key radio placements at select Top 20 commercial and college stations.

“It’s been over 14 years since I did my last self-titled record. It’s a big deal to finally release original music again after all these years,” says Buchanan. “And I’m happy to be indie right now. When you talk about the adjustments of such an experience—going from being in a wheelchair to not needing help and being back on your own—I feel a lot of humility. That’s huge! Maybe for our next record I’ll think about labels and distribution.”