NY Loves Mountains Benefit

Steven Wishnia Jul 10, 2008

Mountaintop-removal mining is one of the most environmentally destructive methods of extraction there is. As practiced by coal companies in the Appalachians, it involves literally blowing up the top of a mountain to get at the coal below and then dumping the toxic slag in nearby valleys and streams.

Wanna do something about it? Come to the Music for the Mountains Benefit Concert, Friday, July 11, at the Jalopy Theater, 315 Columbia St., Red Hook, Brooklyn. Proceeds go to Ed Wiley’s Pennies of Promise, a campaign to build a new school for the students of Marsh Fork Elementary in Sundial, West Virginia. The current school building sits in a valley directly below a leaky-dammed pond containing 3 billion gallons of toxic sludge.

The event opens at 7 p.m. with a dinner and speakers J.W. Randolph of Appalachian Voices and Rory McIlmoil, campaign organizer for Coal River Mountain Watch & the Coal River Wind Project. Photojournalist Antrim Caskey will present a slide show accompanied by the Improvised Explosive Devices. [] The three-course meal costs $65.

Those on lower budgets can show up at 9 p.m. and pay $15 to hear music by six Appalachian and local acts, in order:

1) Here’s to the Long Haul, playing “Appalachian music fed by the waters of modern grass-roots resistance to that which is wrong, and the creation of that which is good, in our mountains.” The band was born out of jams at the Mountain Justice Training Camp [] and a protest against the School of the Americas, the U.S. military’s injustice training camp for Latin American authoritarians.

2) Supermajor, who describe themselves as “melodic, hooky music.”

3) Cari Norris of Kentucky who plays guitar, clawhammer banjo, and mountain dulcimer. She has three albums out and also produced an album by her late grandmother, Lily May Ledford, who led the Coon Creek Girls, the first all-women string band to appear on the radio. []

4) The Improvised Explosive Devices, improvised music featuring the drumming and dumpster-gamelan sounds of Eric Blitz, along with some no-talent double-bass player who used to be in the False Prophets and now doubles as a scribe for leftist rags like The Indypendent. []

5) Andrea Reising of Brooklyn, a singer-songwriter with three albums out and a style inspired by classical music, fingerpicking, Flea, and Perry Farrell.

6) Sam & Karen Duffy, who play “roots-based originals and traditional folk and blues,” in a style they call “both humorous and revelatory.” Getting there isn’t as complicated as you think; Red Hook is not the dark side of the moon. By subway, take the F or G train to Carroll St., walk about 5 blocks west on First Place and Summit Street over the BQE, and make a left on Columbia St. By bus, the B61 runs from Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg to Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn and then directly down Columbia St.

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