WATCH: River Whyless' Special Video in Support of America's National Wildlife Refuges
January 31, 2017
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Folk-rock bandRiver Whyless has released a special new song and music video, inspired by a trip to Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in southwestern Wyoming. The band, along with a variety of nonprofit partners, intends to generate support for National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands across the country. A portion of the proceeds of song sales will be donated to the National Wildlife Refuge Association to support National Wildlife Refuges across the country.
"National Wildlife Refuges, along with our state and national parks and forests, are vital parts of our continued effort to preserve America's natural beauty and essential ecosystems. They also happen to inspire our music," said River Whyless' Alex McWalters.
The song, "Hold Me To Ya," is the result of a collaboration with the nonprofit group Sustain Music and Nature through their Songscapes program.
In an effort to access new audiences and support public lands, Songscapes provide musicians with the opportunity to travel into, learn about, and create music inspired by protected landscapes.
For this most recent Songscape, River Whyless partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to spend a week enjoying Seedskadee NWR in southwest Wyoming. The refuge protects a vast sagebrush landscape, ribboned by 36 miles of the Green River and the lush riparian areas lining its banks. During their visit, River Whyless experienced the unique beauty of the landscape and the wildlife that call the it home, including moose, pronghorn, cutthroat trout and the iconic greater sage-grouse.
Greater sage-grouse, which have dramatically declined due to the loss of healthy sagebrush habitat, inspired the band to create a new instrument for their Songscape. When listening closely to "Hold Me To Ya", audiences will hear the sound of the grouse's display dance mimicked with a mason jar and water.
The stunning beauty of Seedskadee and the band's songwriting journey were brought to life on film by National Geographic Young Explorer Corey Robinson.
To learn more about the project, download "Hold Me To Ya", and support the National Wildlife Refuge Association, visit the project's home page: Songscape.refugeassociation.org
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, No Depression Editor-in-Chief, Kim Ruehl joined us in the guest DJ seat for a special hour of music from the Civil Rights Era and beyond. You'll hear songs that were the soundtrack to Martin Luther King's Civil Rights marches from Joan Baez, Mavis Staples and Odetta. Also included in this hour are examples of modern artists creating music inspired by King's message like Rhiannon Giddens, The Roots and Common.
Audio for this Guest DJ hour is no longer available.
They say the devil's in the details and when it comes to storytelling, those devilish details are especially important. The difference between a great storyteller and a ho-hum storyteller? The great storyteller knows exactly which details to include in his or her story...and which details to leave out. With a voice that's as warm as a crackling fire on a sub-zero January day, Rayna Gellert's detail-filled songs on her new album Workin's Too Hard represent storytelling at its finest.
After listening through Workin's Too Hard just once, it's clear that Rayna Gellert, for all her technical virtuosity as an instrumentalist (she's a first-rate fiddler), has a deep and profound appreciation and respect for the simplicity of old-time American music. Her original songs sound like they could have been written decades earlier, probably a nod to Gellert's childhood, growing up steeped in the traditions of Appalachian ballads and stringband sounds. And the way she delivers those songs? Sheer perfection: she knows exactly when to step back in a story to give it a little room, to give the listener a chance to catch up (the fiddle break in "Perry" serves as a good example).
Gellert admits reaching into her own life experiences for inspiration in Workin's Too Hard, but, again, there's simply no escaping her respect for musical traditions of the past. These are characters we've all met or known before: your down on his luck character, just trying to make it through each day in the title track, your character who warns that going through life not making any decisions is, actually, a decision ("River Town"), and the character with arms and eyes wide open to any experiences that might come his or her way ("I'm Bound for the Promised Land").
Recording with Kieran Kane and engineer Charles Yingling (and other talented friends, including Kai Welch and Jamie Dick) in one room, Gellert pours her heart and soul into these seven tracks. Her voice is intimate and it immediately grabs your attention because it's not TRYING to grab your attention. Instead, the quality of Gellert's vocals forces you to lean in to really understand the story she's telling. And by the time you do that, well, that's it. Rayna Gellert has you by the heartstrings and she isn't letting go.
Workin's Too Hard is out on January 20th via StorySound Records and available at iTunes and Amazon.com