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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Gelbard


Updated: Jul 13, 2020


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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.”


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.


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, (or send a check to Conservation Value Institute at the address on the organization’s web site).


· Conservation Value Institute Web Site:

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).


Contact Information (not for publication):

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

Hot Buttered Rum management: Brian Heisler

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