Stand like an Oak with Compassion and Strength

Interview from February 2020, the beginning of the Pandemic.

“The muse is not a factory or a 24 hour grocery store.  She has moods and motives and needs to set her own schedule.  Giving pause to creating allows for the distillation of ideas/inspiration into something more magical than the constant need to put out content.  Art is visceral as well as subtle, and it’s important to know the difference between the two,” says Chloe of Rising Appalachia.

Cynthia: “Do you think this time will breed an influx of self-appreciation and self-value in the music industry? And do you see a shift to more self-publishing efforts that are more vulnerable for artists building a more direct relationship with fans and followers or even uniting a community?

Chloe: “I believe this great pause will shift many things in our industry.  Self appreciation and self value in artists that will likely reflect as self care and a more paced schedule.  A stepping off the production train if you will.  Let’s be real.  The music industry has evolved in the past years, but has much more evolving to do in order to actually serve the artists who are at the center of its success.  There are so many “hands in the pot”, many of which are unnecessary and antiquated.  Artists are waking up to that now more than ever and finding out direct ways to rebuild and share work in these new times.” 

Cynthia: “Why is it so important to draw influence from nature with your music?” 

Chloe: “Well, creators draw from whatever brings them life and puts some fire in the belly.  For us, that’s many things.  The rewards of nature.  The imbalances of society.  The pangs of the heart.  The deep well of family roots.  Our music ebbs and flows between many influences.”

Cynthia: “With your single, “Stand like an Oak”, you say “we are seeing the roles of music and healing practices in our abilities to see through this pandemic and stay steady on our course of compassion and strength,” How are you doing this? Are you connected directly with and mental health organizations for musicians or in general?

Chloe: “Mostly, we are centering our efforts internally on our direct band members and crew and our capacity to check in on one another and keep uplifted when all of our performance work has been cleared off the slate for what looks like the entire year if not beyond.  Like so many folks around the globe, we are tightening loose bolts in our lives and focusing on a smaller group of needs than those larger ones we usually serve when out on tour performing for thousands across the country.  It’s good medicine, really.  Just as much as we have widened our circles throughout the past years, we are now given the opportunity to tighten our circles and put our energies into our direct communities.  For us, that looks like our band, our families, the lands we each live on, our partnerships, and our own bodies.  We are, additionally, working on direct partnerships with some mental health groups… specifically serving the musician and artist communities.  More on that soon.”

Cynthia: “How do you view music as a catalyst for change?

Chloe: “Music can be a great equalizer…. bringing folks together across the boundaries of country, language, ideals, religions, rage, gender, politics, and everything else that can separate us.  I believe, and have felt in the music that I love, a deepening of my own spirit when in musical spaces.  A certain levity as well.  Some could call it spiritual. Others may call it celebratory.  Either way, art calls us into a very sacred space… outside of our heads and our to do lists.  From that space, so many things can be built and reimagined.  We need artists at the table of policy and design and education.  Artists bring the charisma and magnetism that the world is drawn to.  Without that, where is the intrigue?”

Cynthia:”How can we all connect our time in nature, our love of music, and propel social change? What are some tactical things we can all do right now to make even a slight shift with these things as a focus?

Chloe: “Now is the time to be local, if there ever was one.  Ask yourself some questions and then go out and get your answers/make your changes.  Some good places to start…. where is my food coming from? What companies am I giving my money to? Is there someone in my direct community that could use some help? What is burning in my heart of hearts… what am I longing for?  Follow that longing.  It won’t lead you astray. I love seeing the creativity of “activism” these days… from microgrants to drive by sing-alongs to free seminars on health and healing.  People are offering up things for free or for barter now more than ever, breaking down the illusion that only that which has a dollar value is of value.  We have to always remember that the vitality of our lives rests in the strength of our networks and communities.  I encourage everyone, and myself, to really dig into that.”

Rising Appalachia’s own Leah Song will be speaking at the #Bioneers2020 Conference, joined by hundreds of other thought leaders, innovators, and thousands of solutions-focused attendees at “Beyond the Great Unraveling: Weaving the World Anew” on December 5-6 and 12-13. We’ll be exploring cutting-edge solutions to today’s most pressing challenges. Reserve your spot now at bit.ly/B2020-speaker

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