I had the great pleasure of sitting down with two of the members of BDL, the main song writing force Daniel Smith and banjo player Brian Swenk. The band is based in North Carolina and they have created a very unique sound. In fact they even have a name for the genre, Appalachian Rock.
BDL had been around for about four years and they have just released their second CD To The Mountain. I really enjoyed everything that I have heard from this band, but there was one track in particular that caught my attention American Sycamore. While it may not be the most musically complex song on the album, it is without doubt the most meaningful.
We spent a good deal of time discussing this one track, it deals with a type of coal mining that is pretty much unique to the Appalachian area, the slang term is ‘Mountain Top Removal’ and that sums it up very well. Rather than drill into the ground you literally remove the top of a mountain to get to the coal.
From the producers point of view, this is a cheap and efficient method of feeding the energy hungry country. For those living in the area it is nothing short of Armageddon. Once pristine rivers and streams are laid waste and barren with the run off from the mining. From the air the once beautiful mountains are now just scars. For more information check out this article from 2007.
BDL are firmly committed to try and save the Appalachians. While I am not sure that I would label them as rabid activists (they seem to have their feet firmly on the ground) Daniel Smith does admit that he has been known to throw in the odd rant about Mountain Top Removal in the middle of a concert.
BDL is also very active in assisting local charities. Sparta, North Carolina is not a large city, and the wives, girl friends and fans of the band have formed a loose association known as Ride The Love Bus, BDL have supported food drives, blood drives, and various other events to help the local community.
Not only do I like their music, I like the people involved, and I admire their ethics. I am based hundreds of miles from Sparta, but BDL has found a supporter in Simon Barrett and Blogger News Network.
The band is also tech savvy, and have taken the brave route of actually having a number of their songs available for free download. Among them is American Sycamore.
You can purchase your copy of To The Mountain from Amazon by using the link above. They also have several web sites:
In today’s ‘ME, ME, and more ME’ world it is wonderful to find a band like BDL. I do hope that our readers here at Blogger News Network will take some time out to listen to these fine musicians. You can listen to the entire interview here.