fish-tree-water blues
'Fish-Tree-Water Blues' benefits the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund.

Blues CD enriches listener and environment
By Jessica Turco

A combination of great blues and jazz tunes performed by a rainbow of artists and their common vision to work for a greater cause, has birthed an extra value meal in record sales. "Fish-Tree-Water Blues" features artists from Ani DiFranco, a folky, free-flowing poet, to John Lee Hooker, a legendary bluesman. For the environmentally conscious blues lover, they've really done it your way.

The artists have banded together in a supportive effort for the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund. They are at the forefront of a debate over the most important long-term decisions affecting clean water, ancient forests and endangered salmon of the Great Pacific Northwest. These vital elements are being threatened by logging and related road building that destroys the forests and pollutes the waters.

Ani DiFranco
Ani DiFranco adds a punk-folk twist.

One track after another tells a melodic, mellowing story of 14 diverse blues singers. DiFranco adds a different twist with her inspiring song "Fuel" in a punk folk genre that expresses her honest, lyrical magic and contagiously self-empowering viewpoints. She sings of the energy that people have to add to a cause. So many people, so many issues, so what do you choose to add your fuel to?

"Am I headed for the same brick wall? Is their anything I can do about anything at all except go back to that corner in Manhattan and dig deeper this time. ... Beneath the good and the kind and the stupid and the cruel, there's a fire just waiting for fuel."

Keb' Mo', who won this year's Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for "Slow Down," contributed the mesmerizing track "Victims of Comfort." He uses a soothing approach to communicate a deep message about a basic human tendency. It's human nature to become comfortably apathetic in one's surroundings despite the obvious need to do one's part to improve them.

"I'd like to see a change, but I'm a little busy right now, I'm just a victim of comfort, I got no one else to blame. ... We poison up the water, we're chokin' on the air there's no escaping, the enemy is you and me."

This track and other soft-strumming rhythms with uncomplicated tunes and compelling words, parallel the artists' passion for protecting the basic earthly elements. No sooner do you feel relaxed and as one with the earth, when the next track begins and your senses are seduced by the soul-shaking vocals of Tracy Nelson's "Mother Earth." Nelson is well known for uniquely integrating rock and roll, rhythm and blues, gospel and contemporary folk.

Mavis Staples spreads the contagious spirit of gospel, infused with blues and jazz, in "I'll Fly Away."

The whole CD is a collage of musical style, no two alike. Big players from all styles come together in a great tribute.

"We are so honored by the participation of all these musical icons in support of America's environment," said Buck Parker, president of Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, in a press release.

Buying "Fish-Tree-Water Blues" is buying legal clout for the trees and water to put up a strong fight in the political arena against harmful industrial businesses.

"It's really sickening the way some politicians and big business have such a disregard for the future. Clean water and healthy forests are the natural state of things and should be preserved for posterity," said blues great Charlie Musselwhite, who contributed a track with Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead.

The funding also protects endangered salmon, as well as the salmon industry, which supports 62,750 families and generates $1.25 billion in personal income per year.

For more information on the Earthjustice campaign, the CD includes an interactive CD-ROM that displays a complete multi-media presentation, including artwork and dialogue, and a link to a regularly updated web site, www.earthjustice.org.

Enjoy this unique, eclectic mix of jazz, blues and folk while supporting the preservation of the natural elements and precious pieces of earth and life.