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Updated: 3 days ago

Tea Leaf Green’s keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter – also a farmer, a winemaker, and a botanist – shares stories about how growing up immersed in Nature inspired the lyrics of songs from The Garden Suite to Kali-Yuga to Smoggy Air.


Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to The Nature of Music, which relies on the generous support of listeners like you.

Conservation Value Institute today released Episode 4 of The Nature of Music Podcast, welcoming keyboardist and songwriter extraordinaire, Trevor Garrod of Tea Leaf Green.


I first got to know Garrod and Tea Leaf Green during my ecological Ph.D. studies at UC Davis. I was fortunate enough to meet friends of the band and enjoy their early performances at intimate house parties. To put it mildly, we had a lot of fun as Tea Leaf Green launched into an epic run highlighted by sold out shows San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, a packed showcase at Bonnaroo, and several legendary performances at High Sierra Music Festival.


What drew me to Tea Leaf Green was not only their raucously triumphant rock n’roll concerts, but the band’s meaningful lyrics, many of which are infused with Nature imagery. Take for example a couple of verses from the song, Drink of Streams (Coffee Bean Brown Comes Alive, 2009):

If you’re thirsty drink from me

My toes are tapped to endless springs

Like rooted trees and jealousies

For salty seas of which they dream

So test your eye by meteor

Think with thought of mountain core

Walk the edge of and ocean shore

I’m sure there’s more than this.

I remember once driving back to California from a Colorado ski trip, Tea Leaf Green’s “Looking West” (2010) blasting on my stereo as I cruised across high desert basin and range landscapes:

Go ‘cross the desert and over the mountains

Roll through the valley and into the ocean

Go ‘cross the desert to California

All the way from Baja to the forests of Arcata.

Obviously, I was excited to welcome Garrod as one of our first guests on The Nature of Music podcast, and enjoyed preparing questions for him – including by inviting fans to submit their own (follow The Nature of Music on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram for opportunities to submit your own fan questions for future guests).

Raised on Cooper Garrod Estates Vineyard in Saratoga, California, Garrod shared memories about how his time studying botany in college profoundly expanded his perspectives before he transitioned to being a full time-musician.

With Tea Leaf Green having recently released its first new album since 2013 (Destination Bound – 2020), Garrod talked about the influence of Nature (and politics) on several of the band’s new songs – including Shelter (a song about immigration), Smoggy Air (a song about climate change), and Before There Were Houses Here (a song that laments the loss of natural habitats to human development).

Asked about another tune that seems to allude to climate change (5000 Acres – 2005, Taught to Be Proud), Garrod recalled sitting in a restaurant while on tour in the Deep South, watching a television news story that inspired his haunting lyrics:

Dirty oil in this engine runs

As 5000 acres burn

5000 acres burn

5000 acres burn in California.

The Tea Leaf Green keyboardist reached deep into his memory to reminisce about how the anthem, Kali-Yuga (2003, Living in Between), was inspired by a book he read nearly twenty years ago:

It’s a long way

Through Kali-Yuga

Age of iron

Cooled in the ocean

And the mountains

Are for exploring

Devils have danced on my doorstep

Angels have sung in my yard

There’s wise men hiding in mountains

While most of us are working too hard.

After a solo performance of Smoggy Air, Garrod answered questions from several fans – encouraging them to absolutely Vote on Tuesday, revealing that he has a new solo album on the way, and sharing tales about the origin of the band’s mythological “Garden Suite” of songs.

As a long-time fan of Tea Leaf Green, this episode was a lot of fun to produce – especially to prepare by exploring Garrod’s remarkable online songbook for ideas of Nature-related questions to ask. I couldn’t help geeking out a bit and guiding the conversation to explore the backstories of some old fan favorites. Garrod didn’t disappoint, sharing never-before heard chronicles that old school (and new) Tea Leaf Green fans are sure to enjoy.

Click here to listen to Episode 4 of The Nature of Music podcast, which is also available on podcast apps ranging from Apple Podcasts to Spotify.

And please consider making a small donation to Conservation Value Institute’s GoFundMe Charity campaign for the The Nature of Music podcast’, which wouldn’t exist without the generous support of music fans like you.

With Gratitude,

Jonathan Gelbard

Conservation Scientist & Host of The Nature of Music Podcast

Updated: 3 days ago

Lebo reflects on the influence of Nature on his lyrics and songs, tells the story of a magical experience in the Costa Rican rainforest, and reveals how ALO got its start in college playing “Rainforest Thursdays” at a Santa Barbara pizzeria


Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to The Nature of Music, which relies on the generous support of listeners like you.


Conservation Value Institute today released Episode 3 of The Nature of Music Podcast, featuring a fascinating conversation between conservation scientist, Jonathan Gelbard (program host) and guitarist Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz of ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) – a California based band that has built a passionate following through famously fun live shows that “liberate the inner animal” of their fans.

Lebowitz and Gelbard are supporting a GoFundMe Charity Campaign to launch The Nature of Music Fund, which Conservation Value Institute will use to benefit musicians in need during the COVID19 pandemic and help cover the podcast’s production costs.

“We hope that with venues closed and festivals cancelled, music fans will support both The Nature of Music and musicians in need during the COVID19 Pandemic,” said Lebowitz.

“We’re just doing what we can to give something back to our friends in the music industry who bring so much community and joy into our lives,” said Gelbard. “We thought about how we can help musicians during this crazy time when closed concert venues and cancelled tours have left them without a paycheck. The idea came to us to create a virtual ‘venue’ where we partner with musicians to advance conservation and climate crisis solutions. We host GoFundMe Charity campaigns to crowdfund a small payday for their help advancing our mission. It’s a community effort.”

STORIES OF NATURE AND MUSIC

In Episode 3, Lebo shares stories about the influence of Nature on several of ALO’s songs. “You want to express…the things that are on your mind, the things that you’re wondering about, the things that might be troubling you, the things that inspire you and make you happy, and I would say that Nature fits all those things…it’s something we care so deeply about, it’s the rivers and the fields, but..Nature is you and me too.”

The ALO guitarist shares a fascinating account of being entranced by the soundscape of a Costa Rican rainforest, which “was like a complex orchestra – from the animals to the rushing water, to everything. They all played their part.”

Inspired by a fan question from old friend, Leila Salazar Lopez (currently the Executive Director of Amazon Watch), Lebo reflects on the band’s early days playing “Rainforest Thursdays” at a pizzeria in Santa Barbara. “We were creating a space for people to celebrate and gather, and at the same time, we were able to raise money for what Leila was involved with, and Jenna (who’s my wife now)…We were able to help their cause that they were working on, which was buying acres in the rainforest to conserve. To me, it’s like a complete circle when you can have that kind of thing. I mean I love music on its own, but when it’s working to create something bigger, to me that’s a much greater goal, it’s much more powerful, it’s much more inspiring.”

Toward the end of the interview, Lebo recalls the night that a torrential rainstorm captured his emotions and inspired the lyrics for the 2009 ALO song, “I Wanna Feel It”. A powerful live version of the tune, played with Grateful Dead bass player, Phil Lesh and Friends, at New York’s Capitol Theater, brings the third episode of The Nature of Music to a close.

To hear these and other stories that Lebo shared with Gelbard, click here to listen to Episode 3 of The Nature of Music podcast (which is also available on podcast apps ranging from Apple podcasts to Spotify).

ABOUT THE NATURE OF MUSIC PODCAST

The Nature of Music features interviews with musicians that tell the story behind their Nature-inspired lyrics and songs. Each episode explores the conservation and climate crisis-related issues — and solutions — that musical guests are passionate about. To encourage listeners to let their voices be heard in the voting booth, the podcast, “promotes the important work of our friends, HeadCount.”

A Charitable Program That Supports Musicians in Need During the COVID19 Pandemic: Each episode of The Nature of Music promotes a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe Charity. Episodes with headline-level artists such as Lebo raise funds to support the program’s charitable and educational goals. For musicians who the program hopes to aid, their episodes promote a dedicated GoFundMe Charity campaign, with proceeds split between guests and The Nature of Music podcast (as needed to help cover production costs).

The model’s success depends on the generosity of music fans and other listeners. If many listeners give just a little (e.g., the cost of an average-priced concert ticket, or a $10 monthly donation), they will enable the program to provide musicians in need with a modest payday (for their help advancing Conservation Value Institute’s mission) during this time when the pandemic has left so many in the music industry without a paycheck.

An Invitation to Donors to Help Conservation Value Institute Build The Nature of Music Fund: The Nature of Music invites donors, foundations, and corporate giving programs to help us build The Nature of Music Fund, which we will use to subsidize payments musicians in need. We’ll tap into The Fund to make sure that musicians who request compensation can earn at least $500 for appearing on the podcast.

To contribute to The Nature of Music Fund, click on any of the “donate” links on Conservation Value Institute’s web site, ConservationValue.org.

Click here to join the campaign raising $1,000 in support of Episode 2 of The Nature of Music podcast, featuring Nat Keefe of Hot Buttered Rum!

LISTEN TO THE NATURE OF MUSIC PODCAST:

· Conservation Value Institute Web Site: http://www.conservationvalue.org/podcasts

· Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-nature-of-music-podcast/id1517742395?ls=1

· Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/65PHBukjgf767CtGPhqzHP

· Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9uYXR1cmVvZm11c2ljLmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz&ved=0CAIQ4aUDahcKEwjAs4arrojqAhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQBg

· Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=544587&refid=stpr

· Libsyn Home Page: https://natureofmusic.libsyn.com/

ABOUT CONSERVATION VALUE INSTITUTE: Conservation Value Institute is a non-partisan non-profit 501(c)(3) organization creating and advancing conservation and climate crisis solutions. We specialize in researching and educating people about Nature's valuable benefits to society — e.g., environmental, economic, health, social justice, national security, and quality of life.

ABOUT THE NATURE OF MUSIC HOST, JONATHAN GELBARD: Conservation scientist, Dr. Jonathan Gelbard’s, life and work are inspired by a love of Nature. He infuses The Nature of Music Podcast with 25 years’ experience strategically designing and reliably executing conservation science, "climate smart" land management, and sustainability education projects. With strong ties to the music industry, Gelbard is emcee of the Nature-based festival, Camp Deep End, and appeared in the environmental documentary film, Dig It, directed by Danny Clinch and featuring members of Pearl Jam and Timberland’s CEO, among others (click here to watch a clip). In 2004, he served as the founding Outreach Director of HeadCount during its inaugural Jammy Award-winning campaign, was National Sustainability Producer of Green Apple Music & Arts Festival from 2007-2009, produced and directed the Rothbury Festival Think Tank in 2008-2009, advised efforts to green the Outside Lands Festival, and led the design and implementation of High Sierra Music Festival’s vendor compost program (a partnership between the festival and local farmers that continues to this day).

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Contact Information (not for publication):

The Nature of Music host & Conservation Value Institute Executive Director, Jonathan Gelbard, Ph.D. jon@conservationvalue.org


Updated: 3 days ago

"THAT SONG COMES FROM THE WORLD OF EDWARD ABBEY"


Please click here to make a small tax-deductible donation to The Nature of Music, which relies on the generous support of listeners like you.

Conservation Value Institute today released Episode 2 of The Nature of Music Podcast, featuring a fascinating conversation between conservation scientist, Jonathan Gelbard (program host) and guitarist Nat Keefe of Hot Buttered Rum – a Bay Area-based “souped-up, left-coast string band…who weave their love of bluegrass, folk, jazz and soul into a riveting strain of Americana.”

The pair are hosting a GoFundMe Charity Campaign to benefit Hot Buttered Rum AND support the launch of The Nature of Music Podcast.


Donations to Conservation Value Institute, a non-partisan non-profit organization, are tax deductible.

“We hope that with venues closed and festivals cancelled, our fans will make a ticket price level donation to support both Hot Buttered Rum and Conservation Value Institute’s work advancing Nature’s valuable benefits to society,” said Keefe.

“We’re just doing what we can to give something back to our friends in the music industry who bring so much community and joy into our lives,” said Gelbard. “We thought about how we can help musicians during this crazy time when closed concert venues and cancelled tours have left them without a paycheck. The idea came to us to essentially create a virtual ‘venue’ where we partner with musicians to inspire fans to support Nature’s valuable benefits. We then host GoFundMe Charity campaigns that offer our musical guests a small payday for their help advancing our mission.”

STORIES OF NATURE AND MUSIC

Episodes of The Nature of Music start off with Gelbard asking the same open-ended question of guests – “Do you have any stories that you can share about the influence of Nature on your lyrics and songs?” A “jam” of ideas ensues, flowing in spontaneous and sometimes surprising directions.

In Episode 2, Keefe says Nature, “is a religion of sorts. It’s a spiritual passion and it’s something that I keep coming back to for regenerative power and inspiration and healing and fun…and it’s always been the basis for Hot Buttered Rum and for the music that I do.” He shares the story of how Hot Buttered Rum got its start during a three-week backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, exploring granite peaks and side-canyons (that Keefe refused to disclose the locations of, evoking laughter.)

Asked about the meaning behind a specific Nature-based song, Keefe replied, “that song comes from the world of Edward Abbey, the great writer, and it comes probably in equal parts from both Desert Solitaire and from The Monkey Wrench Gang as well.” Listen to Episode 2 to learn which Hot Buttered Rum song Gelbard asked Keefe about.

What are Keefe’s favorite ways that we can “come back stronger” from the COVID19 Pandemic? The Hot Buttered Rum guitarist replied that it’s critical for people to get out and vote for positive change in this November’s historically important presidential election.

ABOUT THE NATURE OF MUSIC PODCAST

The Nature of Music features interviews with musicians that tell the story behind their Nature-inspired lyrics and songs. Each episode explores the conservation and climate crisis-related issues — and solutions — that musical guests are passionate about. To encourage listeners to let their voices be heard in the voting booth, the podcast “promotes the important work of our friends, HeadCount."

A Charitable Program That Supports Musicians in Need During the COVID19 Pandemic: Each episode of The Nature of Music promotes a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe Charity. The Nature of Music splits the proceeds with guests (as needed to help cover production costs) and hopes that if many fans give just a little (e.g., the cost of an average-priced concert ticket), the program can provide musicians in need with a modest payday – at least $500 – during this time when the pandemic has closed venues, cancelled tours, and left so many in the music industry without a paycheck.

An Invitation to Donors to Help Conservation Value Institute Build The Nature of Music Fund: The Nature of Music invites donors, foundations, and corporate giving programs to help us build The Nature of Music Fund, which we will use to subsidize payments to musicians in need. We’ll tap into The Fund to make sure that musicians in need earn at least $500 for appearing on the podcast and helping us advance Conservation Value Institute's mission. To contribute to The Nature of Music Fund, click on any of the “donate” links on Conservation Value Institute’s web site, ConservationValue.org (or send a check to Conservation Value Institute at the address on the organization’s web site).

LISTEN TO THE NATURE OF MUSIC PODCAST:

· Conservation Value Institute Web Site: http://www.conservationvalue.org/podcasts

· Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-nature-of-music-podcast/id1517742395?ls=1

· Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/65PHBukjgf767CtGPhqzHP

· Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9uYXR1cmVvZm11c2ljLmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz&ved=0CAIQ4aUDahcKEwjAs4arrojqAhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQBg

· Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=544587&refid=stpr

· Libsyn Home Page: https://natureofmusic.libsyn.com/

ABOUT CONSERVATION VALUE INSTITUTE: Conservation Value Institute is a non-partisan non-profit 501(c)(3) organization creating and advancing conservation and climate crisis solutions. We specialize in researching and educating people about Nature's valuable benefits to society — e.g., environmental, economic, health, social justice, national security, and quality of life.

ABOUT THE NATURE OF MUSIC HOST, JONATHAN GELBARD: Conservation scientist, Dr. Jonathan Gelbard’s, life and work are inspired by a love of Nature. He infuses The Nature of Music Podcast with a unique combination of scientific and communication expertise, rooted in 25 years’ experience strategically designing and reliably executing conservation science, "climate smart" land management, and sustainability education projects. With strong ties to the music industry, Gelbard is emcee of the Nature-based festival, Camp Deep End, and appeared in the environmental documentary film, Dig It, directed by Danny Clinch and featuring members of Pearl Jam and Timberland’s CEO, among others (click here to watch a clip). In 2004, he served as the founding Outreach Director of HeadCount during its inaugural Jammy Award-winning campaign, was National Sustainability Producer of Green Apple Music & Arts Festival from 2007-2009, produced and directed the Rothbury Festival Think Tank in 2008-2009, advised efforts to green the Outside Lands Festival, and led the design and implementation of High Sierra Music Festival’s vendor compost program (a partnership between the festival and local farmers that continues to this day).

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Contact Information (not for publication):

The Nature of Music host & Conservation Value Institute Executive Director, Jonathan Gelbard, Ph.D. jon@conservationvalue.org

Nat Keefe nat@hotbutteredrum.net

Hot Buttered Rum management: Brian Heisler brian.heisler@redlightmanagement.com

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