Category: environmentalism

In Tune With Nature: Cloud Cult mixes music and environmentalism

Since he was a child, Craig Minowa’s two driving passions have been music and environmentalism. As the leader of critically acclaimed indie-rock band Cloud Cult, he’s built a career that puts both at the center of his life.

Cloud Cult began as a solo project in 1995, while Minowa was an environmental sciences student at the University of Minnesota. It has grown into a group that’s earned a devoted cult following for its philosophical and expansive indie-rock on albums such as “Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)”, “The Meaning Of 8” and its latest disc, “Light Chasers.”

During that time, Minowa and his wife and bandmate Connie Minowa have been trailblazers in greening the music industry through Earthology, a nonprofit organization that functions as Cloud Cult’s record label as well as, more recently, the umbrella for their environmental projects outside of music, including Connie’s green outreach work with local Indian tribes.

Originally published May 1, 2011 in Momentum, the magazine of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. Read the complete article.

Interview: Daniel Martin Moore objects to mountaintop-removal mining with quiet, reasoned outrage

Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee

Before Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee ever met, they were united by a love for their Kentucky homeland and Appalachia’s rich musical culture. Classically trained cellist Sollee made his name as part of the folk supergroup Sparrow Quartet (which also featured Bé Fleck) before launching a solo career with 2008′s Learning To Bend, while Moore came from obscurity with his folky 2008 debut Stray Age after scoring a deal with Sub Pop on the strength of an unsolicited demo. But they bonded after Sollee heard Moore’s song “Flyrock Blues,” a quiet, plaintive protest song about the environmental and social destruction caused by mountaintop-removal mining, a controversial method of extracting coal that literally blasts away the top layer of an entire mountain. Their collaboration soon blossomed into a full-fledged album, Dear Companion, produced by fellow Kentuckian Yim Yames, better known as Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Though the mining issue is at the heart of Dear Companion, it’s not so much a protest record as a celebration of Appalachian culture mixed with concern about what stands to be lost. Moore and Sollee are on tour now behind the album, playing Evanston’s SPACE on Friday and Schubas on Saturday. Moore talked to The A.V. Club about the album, its inspirations, and the importance of staying positive.

Originally published on March 12, 2010. Read the complete article.

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