mountains

Great American Taxi's "Blair Mountain" is free mp3; supports WV mining ecology

For Great American Taxi and frontman Vince Herman, who grew up in West Virginia, fighting for social justice in Appalachia and calling for an end to mountaintop removal seems the natural thing to do.  According to a recent studypublished last week in the journal Environmental Research, a "significantly higher" rate of birth defects exists in babies born near mountaintop removal mining sites than those in non-mining areas. Mountaintop removal mining is a particularly environmentally destructive type of resource extraction that involves using explosives to blow the tops off of mountains to expose coal underneath the soil and rock.

So it’s no surprise that “Blair Mountain,” the aptly named title of the first single from the band’s forthcoming yet-to-be-titled new album (set for release this fall), premiered exclusively on the Sierra Club’s special public service call-to-action video, Battle for Blair Mountain. The song was recorded in May with Todd Snider producing. Master folk musician Tim O'Brien, a West Virginia native recently inducted into the WV Music Hall of Fame, plays banjo and fiddle on the track.

GAT is encouraging fans to download a free MP3 of “Blair Mountain” from the band’s website and get involved in restoring Blair Mountain to the National Register in support of the Sierra Club’s recently filed legal petition with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to make Blair Mountain off limits to mining.

“I wrote the song “Blair Mountain” to try and do my part to let people know about what we as working people stand to lose if Blair Mountain is destroyed,” said Herman. “As the grandson of a proud union miner, and former resident of the mountain state, this struggle connects deeply. The coal wars are not over in this country as whole communities are destroyed, water tables ruined and mountains bombed daily in what has become a national sacrifice zone to the interests of the coal companies. I hope that his song may help get us closer to ending the destruction of the most diverse forests in America.”

Great American Taxi continues its summer tour; June highlights included concerts with Barry Sless (Phil and Friends, David Nelson Band, Moonalice) at the Nelson Family Vineyards on 6/19, at the Hopmonk in Sebastopol on 6/22, and special guests New Monsoon in Santa Cruz on 6/23. More surprise guests will be announced for the Eldo in Crested Butte on 7/9 and GAT played with Todd Snider on 6/25 and 6/26.



Great American Taxi includes Vince Herman, Chad Staehly, guitarist Jim Lewin, bassist Brian Adams and drummer Chris Sheldon.

Chamberlin Release Friend-Made Video for "Turn Around"

What could be better than making music you love surrounded by friends and sweeping views of the Green Mountains in Goshen, VT? For the guys in Chamberlin, not much. In advance of their debut album Bitter Blood, the band has made a video with the help of 23 friends that chronicles the making of the album.

The video for the reflective song “Turn Around” opens with a shot of a lonely dirt road that reveals the secluded cabin rehearsal space where Bitter Blood was created. The spot overlooks the Green Mountains of Goshen, VT, an undeveloped piece of land that hasn’t changed since the cabin was built in the late ’70s by one of the band member’s parents. Chamberlin and friends captured the footage for this video on a small point-and-shoot digital cameras, gathering clips of Bitter Blood recording sessions, beautiful landscape shots and live performances. While writing and rehearsing the record, late night liquor-fueled rehearsals, fireworks and bonfires became common practice for the band and ended up in the video.

Bitter Blood was produced by Scott Tournet, guitarist for Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and engineered by Ben Collette. The album captures a unique time for Chamberlin spent in an extraordinarily unique location. It will be released on February 14, 2011 via Roll Call Records/EMI. Chamberlin will be playing a show with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals on December 28 at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT.

Watch the video here.