Top 10 Albums of Marin 2014
Press Release Watershed Music CD
Marin IJ: CD Review by Paul Liberatore
Bay Nature Magazine: Singing the Praises of our Local Creeks
Common Ground Magazine: Review by Lloyd Barde
This unique album is sure to inspire and delight you with its water- and watershed-themed music.
All proceeds from this album support our group’s efforts to protect Gallinas Creek watershed and other Marin County watersheds.
GWC thanks the creators of this CD:
- artists who donated songs
- individuals who contributed time and expertise
- supporters and fans
Who’s On the CD?
Darol Anger & The Republic of Strings – Fiver Brown & The Good Sinners – Amber Cross – Alice DiMicele – Robin Flower & Libby McLaren – Kurt Huget – Evie Ladin – Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands – The Littlest Birds – Jeff Norman – Steep Ravine – Forest Sun
About the Watershed CD
This collection of mostly original songs by folk, pop, and bluegrass musicians all celebrate water and watersheds. Some tunes convey the movement and energy of a stream in the music itself, while others address the impacts of human activity and development on our valuable and often threatened waterways and wetlands. Some compositions range into the realm of memory, testifying to the special place that creeks and rivers can hold in our lives as places of work, play, and spiritual replenishment. Finally, some artists offer water as a metaphor for important life experiences.
Along with being a fantastic collection of music by supremely talented musicians, this album affirms the centrality of water in our lives, and the urgency of protecting healthy and vital watersheds. We titled this album Watershed: Music Inspired by the Place that Connects Us in the hope that the connections created by this album nurture a network that nourishes both our social “ecology” and the watersheds that sustain us, wherever we live. With global warming and the very real changes it is bringing to our global ecosystem, strong, vital and caring human communities that model the very principles of watersheds offer our best hope for the future.
Many thanks to those who donated their time and expertise to this project:
Thomas A. Cohen – Kurt Huget – Evie Ladin – Sue Mace – Jeffrey A. Moss, Esq. – Don Murphy – Jeff Norman – Bob Seeman – Stefan Thuilot – Don Zimmer, Floating Records
Kurt Huget – Glory Day
Home watershed: Gallinas Creek
I am fortunate to live near Las Gallinas Creek, so I get to see it every day. Its beauty has been a great source of inspiration to me for many years, and that’s why I wrote my song Glory Day.
Laurie Lewis – Val’s Cabin
Home watershed: Potter Creek/San Pablo Bay
I was inspired to write my song about the Stanislaus River after my first rafting trip down the Tuolumne. That was twenty-plus years ago, and I repeat that trip every year. In 2013 it was cancelled due to the Rim Fire.
Here’s a video of a this song:
Amber Cross – San Joaquin
Home watershed: Morro Creek
I wrote this song when I was living in the Sierra foothills in the town of Prather, CA. One of my favorite places to hike there was the Squaw Leap Recreational Area, which is along the San Joaquin River, a ways above the Friant Dam. At that time there was talk about putting in another dam there, which would drown miles of trail and this historic site. I began researching the San Joaquin River and found out that due to overuse and poor agricultural practices, 60 miles of the river had gone underground.
What used to be a river exploding with wildlife and wide lush and green banks, even a source of transportation for people living in the San Joaquin River valley, now was unrecognizable. The thought of further exploiting this valuable resource, the San Joaquin River, sparked me to write the song, as I think awareness needs to be brought to such issues.
Forest Sun – Drops in the Ocean
Home Watershed: Arroyo Corte Madera del Presidio
This song was written in Austin, Texas, the day after South by Southwest. The line “I need a jump in the springs” refers to Barton Springs, a beautiful sanctuary and swimming hole in the middle of Austin.
The title can be taken many ways. Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically. We are all made of water and there is no life here on earth without it. So let’s take care of our water! I’m glad that this music can help support awareness of our watersheds and honored to be a part of this project.
Jeff Norman – Old Creek
Home Watershed: Temescal Creek
The inspiration behind my song is Temescal Creek, which passes—now in an underground culvert—not far from my home in Oakland, California. Over the years, I have heard stories from long-time residents about having grown up playing in the creek, when it still meandered in its natural stream bed through the various neighborhoods of north Oakland, and of their disbelief when the local flood control agency began to straighten and bury stretches of the creek in the 1960s.
Despite what is now a massive concrete infrastructure—mostly invisible to us in Oakland’s flatlands—Temescal Creek still flows from high up in the Oakland hills to San Francisco Bay, carrying not only runoff when it rains but the potential to elicit in us the same deep connection to life and nature’s mystery that it has aroused in those living here throughout the millennia.
Evie Ladin – Float Downstream
Home Watershed: Temescal Creek
I was walking through the woods in the eastern US, feeling nostalgic amongst long-familiar trees and smells we do not have on the west coast. The way the sunlight filtered through the leaves made me feel as if I were floating, and the song Float Downstream came to me all at once. I started singing it as I walked, then brought it to my banjo when I got back inside. It was a summer of swimming holes in rivers and natural spaces, scenes I cherish so much.
Robin Flower & Libby McLaren – Mouth of Dillon Creek
Home Watershed: Sausal Creek
Dillon Creek runs into the Klamath River, a wonderful, long coastal river that runs through Oregon and Northern California. It is the second largest river in California. There has been a push for years to take down the dams to allow the salmon to return all the way up to the Klamath Lakes.
Don Murphy – Daylight My Culverted Soul
Home Watershed: Cerrito Creek
The sight of the beautifully restored Cerrito Creek never ceases to illuminate my notoriously culverted soul. This is especially so when I observe migrating warblers, kinglets or vireos along the pretty little stream, that had at one time deteriorated into a neglected drainage ditch at the southern end of the El Cerrito Plaza parking lot.
I am very grateful to Friends of Five Creeks for its vision and persistence in the transformation of this historically important waterway that in the early 19th century marked the border between the Peralta family’s Rancho San Antonio to the south, and the Castro family’s Rancho San Pablo.
Cerrito Creek still serves as the border between Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
David Huebner – Walkin’ River
Home Watershed: Owens River
In the summer I live not far from a river that runs out into the Great Basin. At the time I wrote this song, I was working up in the town of Coleville, Nevada, and camping along the Walker River. The river and its terminal lake used to support an incredible Lahontan cutthroat trout fishery, but due to the dramatically dropping lake level and overfishing of the river, the big Lahontan cutthroat trout are gone.
Congress approved a bill appropriating $200 million to restore the Walker Basin and other desert lakes in Nevada several years ago, and hopefully someday there will once again be Lahontan trout in Walker Lake.
The Littlest Birds
Watershed CD producer Carla Koop was thrilled to enjoy a live performance by Sharon Martinson and David Huebner of The Littlest Birds at the SF Free Folk Festival on June 21st, 2014.
At the festival, listeners were treated to a beautiful rendition of their song, “Elk River Blues,” and many others.
Littlest Birds’ song “Walkin’ River is featured on our GWC WATERSHED CD.
Alice’s song TAKE ME OUT ON THE WATER is featured on our WATERSHED CD. For more water-inspired music you can also pre-order Alice’s album “Swim” which comes out in 2015.
It takes time to get familiar with an album, especially with an anthology in which unless one pays attention one doesn’t always follow which song is which. Right off the bat, however, Amber Cross’s keen voice and piercing lyrics stood out in the crowd. I went to her website and ordered her CD, which I think is outstanding. I’m sure I will enjoy many of the other cuts on the CD very much as well. Thanks for the work of putting this together!!!
It’s so hard to choose a favorite on this album! I love Daylight My Culverted Soul as we seek to restore our own culverted Gallinas Creek. I played this CD in my car over and over in the summer; fit the mood perfectly.