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In the Wake of Giants & Mountaintop Removal Tour

Quotes from the North Carolina show...

Andrew Heffner, Restoring Eden

band1"I've been doing this for a long time - writing letters and trying to change the mind of people who are in positions to enact change."

"The way I see it, taking the time to actually write a letter by hand shows how much we care, and can really make a difference."

These words came to me when talking with a couple of long-time activists who came out to our show in Black Mountain, NC the other night.  I thought it was a perfect, concise, description of why we've been encouraging the concert attendants to write letters to people like Congressman Oberstar; the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee this week.  With every show, from state to state, we build momentum, and it's already been exciting for me to put all these letters in the mail!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Drayton, In the Wake of Giants

band5So far, this tour has to proved to be an amazing respite from the monotonous routine of daily life. Everywhere we have gone, we have been so graciously blessed by our hosts. They have fed us, given us places to sleep, and taken care of us. That, to me is the joy of being on the road. Don't get me wrong, I love music. I love hearing music and I love playing music, but touring is less about music than it is about community. We find commonality in playing music with people, something perhaps to base a friendship off of. Then we hang out, spend time with strangers, and discover their virtues, their struggles, their hopes, likes, dislikes etc. Then all of a sudden they aren't strangers anymore! Then, we are able to encourage each other and provide support for one another, beginning this sort of nationwide community.

band3We met a man in Asheville, NC named Jeff. He happens to be friends with some of our friends, but because he travels around and lives in other places, we have never met him before. As it turns out, he is one cool cat. We were headed to Nashville, TN after Asheville. So was Jeff. Jeff popped into our bus and rode with us to Nashville. It was a blast. We hung out, conversed, got to know each other over a game of "would you rather?" IE: "Would you rather not be able to read, or not be able to write?". Needless to say, it was quite a time. We will be running into him quite a few times within the next few weeks, and who knows, maybe he will ride with us again.

Regardless, this is the sort of thing that I am talking about; getting to know fascinating people whom we would never have met if we hadn't hit the road. Jeff will always have a place to stay in Pittsburgh now, and that is the beauty of it all: a vast network of friends and people who care about one another.

In forming relationships, we have been able to discuss with some people the importance of caring about the earth. Most of the people we meet already live simply, trying to reduce their impact on the environment. Jeff, for example had already heard about the disastrous impact of Mountain Top Removal, and is headed to West Virginia at the same time we are to go to the same festival that we are to protest Mountain Top Removal.bus

I  also held a conversation with a man named Steve in North Carolina about the importance of being selective about what foods we choose to buy; how much of the food that is marketed is not healthy to eat. He was a big advocate of organic meat, and pesticide-free crop food. In be selective about what we eat, we are not only making choices that are good for us and our health, but we are also showing that we care about being good stewards of what is given us.

In short, this tour has been a blast. We have met so many people that are fantastic in so many ways, and will continue to do so.

First Stop:  Morgantown, WV

June 19th, Andrew Heffner

band4Now that we've finished our first show and are in the middle of our first full day on the road, I thought it would be a good time to check in.  Last night's show was a great start to the tour!  After making the two-hour drive from Pittsburgh, we set up shop in an old Episcopal church in downtown near West Virginia University and had a nice little audience come to check things out.  The crowd was a really interesting mix of younger folks more interested in the band's music and older people from the host church who had come largely for the conversation about mountaintop removal.  Sensing that things might be a little weird for the latter folks, I passed out some ear plugs before the band started, and that seemed to really help everything go smoothly while they played their set.

Afterward we had people from both "camps" come up to the booth to write letters, buy the band's CD, and talk a little bit about their own stories.  I talked for a while to an older former minister named Ernie who had a lot of passion about everything from coal issues and church dynamics to music and politics.  Given his background, he seemed genuinely interested in and supportive of this tour.  I think these unlikely meetings with people like Ernie are exactly why we're doing this tour.

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