In celebration of our move to Colorado, this Songscape is as Colorado as you can get.
We're sending Greeley, CO-based soul band, The Burroughs, to Roosevelt National Forest. There they will create a song and music video inspired by the peaks and valleys of this 1,271 square mile public resource.From June 30th through July 4th, The Burroughs will be immersed in all the national forest has to offer. The nine piece soul band hails from the plains east of Boulder, and are one of the top acts in the state. Known for their “sweaty soul music” and penchant for getting people up and dancing, they’ll be using their talents to create a song inspired by their stay at Roosevelt National Forest.
As part of our Songscape program, we partner bands with public land areas to create new music inspired by American landscapes. It’s an effort to generate new audiences for our public lands while bringing awareness to the mounting issues they face. National forests are increasingly pressured by wildfire budget woes, backlogs in maintenance, and staff shortages. Songscapes aim to use the emotional power of music to highlight public lands to audiences that might not otherwise be aware of the beautiful places they own as citizens.
Roosevelt National Forest is managed by the US Forest Service alongside Arapaho National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland (collectively known as the ARP). Running from the Wyoming border down to Rocky Mountain National Park, the forest experiences some of the highest recreation visitation rates in the country. It was originally part of the Medicine Bow Forest Reserve, established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 but was renamed by President Herbert Hoover to honor its founder in 1932. Sustain is happy to highlight the Roosevelt story, as TR’s great-great-grandson, Simon Roosevelt, is an advisory board member.
Colorado State University’s Mountain Campus will act as basecamp for The Burroughs during their retreat. Located at 9,000 feet and surrounded by Roosevelt National Forest, it’s a gorgeous spot to venture out from for daily hikes, fly fishing, and master naturalist-led educational trips. Band members will be fully immersed in the beauty of the national forest, which will be documented by a videographer and showcased in a music video. Once The Burroughs have created their song, it will be recorded at a Front Range recording studio, and released alongside the music video this fall. Proceeds from song sales will support the band, Sustain and the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, a group which provides citizen ranger volunteers for Roosevelt National Forest.
In the spirit of Northern Colorado collaboration, Fort Collins-based luthier and Green Roster Member, Cloverlick Banjo Shop, is creating a drum out of local wood for The Burroughs to play in their National Forest song. In May, luthier Mark “Rooster” Austin accompanied Kelley Branson and Billy Riley of the local Boy Scouts council to Ben Delatour Scout Ranch over near Red Feather, CO. They found a perfect piece of beetle-killed ponderosa pine harvested and milled at the ranch, which will be turned into a snare drum.
“We just recently relocated Sustain to Fort Collins and we’ve been amazed by how the community has come together to support this Songscape project. Roosevelt National Forest is so loved by folks here, and we’re excited to shine light on this public land area to our national audiences,” says Sustain co-founder, Betsy Mortensen. “I fell in love with Roosevelt National Forest while I was a Warner College of Natural Resources student at Colorado State University, and I hope this Songscape will help others appreciate this public gem and pay attention to the issues facing National Forests.”
This Songscape was made possible in large part by a Muse grant awarded by Bohemian Foundation. Bohemian Foundation is based in Fort Collins, CO as a private family foundation that supports local, national and global efforts to build strong communities. Muse supports music-related organizations and activities in Northern Colorado in order to strengthen community through music.
Songscape: Roosevelt National Forest is the sixth Songscape project following an April retreat at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, with Americana cellist, Ben Sollee. A Fort Collins release show for Songscape: Roosevelt National Forest is scheduled for National Public Lands Day on September 29, 2018.
To learn more about the project visit the Sustain website: https://www.sustainmusicandnature.org/songscape-roosevelt-national-forest