What can a songwriter do about the horrors of hydrofracking?

Friday, March 11, 2011

One of the advantages of being a traveling musician is that you get to see beyond your corner of the world. You get to visit the lives of people who live in different places, work in different occupations and have different concerns.

Last autumn, when I was doing a show in Sullivan County, in far west New York State, I became acutely aware of the madness known as hydrofracking or fracking. I talked to people who’s communities and families had been ripped apart by the temptation of fast money from gas companies desiring to lease their land. And was confronted with tales of poisoned wells, the air pollution, the radioactive waste, and the disease that had already been caused.

This led me to address this issue in song. I employed satire and humor, but with a deadly serious edge. The song, ‘No Fracking Way’, is in the form of a conversation between a farmer and a gas executive who wants to lease the farmer’s land.

After trying it out on several audiences, I recorded the tune with some truly top notch sidemen. John Sebastian, originally from the Lovin’ Spooful; Eric Weissberg of ‘Dueling Banjos’ fame; Mike Esposto from the Blues Magoos; Eric Parker from the Joe Cocker Band; and Don Davis from the legendary Microscopic Septet.

And after the basic tracks were complete, I sent out an open invitation on Facebook to come and sing along at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY on a Sunday afternoon. More than a hundred folks showed up and sang their hearts out!

The song has begun to catch on with the many anti-fracking groups around the Country. Just a couple days ago I was invited to perform at some major events at venues in New York City over the next few months. These include the Great Hall at Cooper Union and the Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall.

We’re now working on creating a video to accompany the song. That’s the only way to reach really large numbers of folks before the termination of the moratorium in New York State early this summer. I’ve set up a website for folks to pledge in support of this project. There are different levels of pledges with different rewards…from signed CD’s, to name credits on the film. At the top level, Marc is offering a free house concert!

The webite address is www.pledgemusic.com/projects/nofrackingway.

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