The Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars tour is about to enter it’s final leg here in the Pacific Northwest, having just finished up several dates in northern California. From Tahoe to San Francisco to Humboldt County, the band drew big crowds to hear both their important message and some Louisiana funk.
Traveling with the band, I’m surprised again every night at the caliber of musicians present. We’ve got Tab Benoit rocking the crowds, Cyril Neville singing some soulful Blues for New Orleans, and Johnny Sansone wailing on his harmonica like nothing I’ve ever heard. And if you want to learn the fine art of the slide guitar solo, you would do well to see Anders Osborne play live. These guys play so well off one another, and they sum it up perfectly with their song “We Make a Good Gumbo.”
But the music never overshadows the message. Most of the guys mention at one point or another during the night that the band came together for a reason. This is the first time the All-Stars have toured together, and telling the rest of the country the story of Louisiana’s wetlands is a big part of the reason they’re doing this. Every night, Tab Benoit gets up and urges the audience to call and meet with their Senators and Representatives, so we can do something about the troubles in south Louisiana.
The coast of Louisana loses an acre an hour to land subsidence. Not an acre a day, but one acre every hour. We’ve already lost land the size of Delaware and Rhode Island. That land used to be healthy wetlands that provided natural protection from storms like Katrina. New Orleans is the largest port in the country, and the third largest port system in the world. Like Tab says, “It doesn’t make any sense to me that we’re not talking about doing something big.”
Tonight’s show is in Portland, 8 pm at the Aladdin Theater. From here, we head into Washington to play Olympia, Tacoma, and Bothell. As always, I’ll be there at the merch table, selling CDs and telling people how they can become more involved and help save our wetlands.