The Mountain Times

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Rockin’ the Region with Gatsby’s Green Light

Make sure you head to Slopeside Bar & Grille on Saturday for the first ever Vermont appearance of Gatsby's Green Light. The band is a perfect fit for us because they are a Green band and we are the Green Mountain state!

The band was formed in 2010 in Connecticut by Ken Coulson and was started as an experiment. He wanted to see if he could mix music with a message of building a stronger community. They regularly play NY, PA and CT and they pair events with their message.

What is the Gatsby's Green Light project? GGL is a fusion of Americana, Theatre, and Funk in what they like to call EarthFunk. The music is designed to bring people together and open theirs hearts and minds to closer community and good ideas.

Musical influences for Coulson was the music of the 60's and 70's. That music spoke to him about social perspective. Neil Young, Paul Simon and Crosby, Stills and Nash were all major influences. Old way music was about bringing people together, having them get down and have a good time. It was good music with a meaning. Today, he's a big fan of the Avett Brothers who he says play "Organic Acoustic."

Coulson "feels blessed" to be making music with these guys. He says he is the rookie of the group musically. These guys have been playing together for years. He first picked up a guitar 15 years ago but it wasn't until 2005 that he became really obsessed with playing and writing music. He did a lot of searching with various projects before setting on this one. He is really excited about GGL and has a lot of love and respect for what they are trying to accomplish.

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The band has their first release, 'Annalee,' dropping next week. It is especially unique because it will be available on plantable seed cards made from fully recycled junk mail among other formats. It will be a mix of live and studio material from the band.

Who is Annalee? She is the main character in a book Coulson is writing called 'Annalee and the Forever Smile' which is a fantasy story with sustainability at its core. Annalee, the protagonist, is a young queen deeply in touch with nature, who must overcome dark forces plotting to destroy her people's harmony with their environment. The Forever Smile will be the title of a full length CD which they hope to release when the book is ready, mid- to late-2013. Their goal is to translate the story into as many formats as they can.

What is playing for sustainability all about? Their music is about a world where people have established a prosperous way of life with a clean connection to their natural environment. The challenges they face are similar to ones we can all relate to and the music channels the emotions of that harmony and discord. In a tangible way, the project is linked to organizations like the Working Lands Alliance (WLA) and Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA). 30% of the proceeds from their music sales go to these groups and others. They try to pair the music often with events designed to raise awareness and stimulate action on sustainable living practices.

The best way people can improve their lives and the environment for future generations is by understanding where their food and energy comes from and voting everyday with their dollars for clean and local sources. Changing ways towards sustainable living won't happen overnight but they are confident that it will happen and that, in the process, it will raise the standard of living for everyone on the planet.

They have some big plans for 2013. They'll be doing a local and regional tour in and around the northeast. It will include a mixture of festivals, traditional venues and green events. They hope to build a bigger team to bring the project to the next level. If successful in their goals they hope to be touring the country in a rolling sustainability center, a tour van that showcases renewable power, grey water more natural renewable technologies. If they're really successful, they'll invest in building renewable power plants themselves and help communities do the same.

So if you care about the planet and care about good music, then go see their show, you're sure to love it on many levels.