Sunday, March 4, 2012

On Being Useful

Last night I had the opportunity to be useful-- a surprisingly rare occurrence for most artists and musicians. The act of creating art, despite what most may claim, is largely a selfish, navel-gazing pursuit. We sit in our respective ivory towers, basement rooms or garage studios doodling love letters to ourselves while some people feed the hungry, heal the sick, invent something that makes the planet better.

A fellow musician, Bill Kahler, invited me along with Jeff Silver and Pat Walsh to perform songs in the round at his house last night. There was a very specific goal for the evening: to raise enough money to purchase at least one bicycle for Rwandan coffee farmers. This simple thing, from what I've come to understand, is life changing for these people who must otherwise transport their harvest on their backs sometimes ten or fifteen miles. By the end of the night we raised enough to actually purchase two bikes.

I am increasingly moved by people who find ingenius ways to solve very real, specific problems with very real, specific solutions. I owe thanks to the kind folks who own Land of 1000 Hills Coffee in Roswell. Part of their business supports the non-profit group, Do Good Initiative and without them, I would not have had the chance be a small part of the solution. As an added bonus I got to sing with the lovely and talented Allison Adams who joined me on After All (see video below).

While I'm on the topic of wonderfully specific ideas to change the world, I'd like to shine a light on another recent venture that came to my attention a couple of weeks ago. The BioLite camp stove is a revolutionary invention that makes wood burning fires safer, more efficient and provides a means of generating power to charge USB devices. Another great example of smart people making a good product that people want and need but also makes a better life for people on the other side of the planet. Check out the video below to find out more.