Earthworks Music Offers Concert for Clean Water Campaign in Downtown EL

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Thursday, August 16, 2018, 10:11 am
Sarah Spohn

This Friday, the City of East Lansing’s Summer Concert Series offers “Earthwork Music Presents: The Clean Water Campaign for Michigan Featuring Seth Bernard, Gifts or Creatures, Libby DeCamp, Will See and Spirits Rising.” The concert is free, and will take place in downtown East Lansing’s Ann Street Plaza at 7 p.m.

The Earthwork Music Collective has become widely recognized for its close-knit community of varying musicians, scattered all over the state.

Kalamazoo Americana outfit Gifts or Creatures is originally from the Lansing area, and looks forward to performing in East Lansing every year. Brandon Foote, member of the band, spoke about the Earthwork Music collective.

“At its core, Earthwork is a group of friends who desire to build community and make positive change through the arts,” Foote said. “We have been blessed to be a part of the collective over the last decade, as it’s allowed us to collaborate with talented individuals and grow in a way we couldn’t have on our own.”

The husband-and-wife pair has performed as a duo, and with a full band. According to Foote, at their core, Gifts or Creatures signature sound is a mix of vocal harmonies, electric guitar, and Wurlitzer electric piano.

Fans of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and The Beatles will likely notice an ode to the classic, timeless storytelling elements of those musicians in the sound of Gifts or Creatures. Foote says it’s a common thread among many of the Earthwork Music artists all over the state.

“We also deeply admire, love and respect our fellow Michigan songwriters. The art they produce has a similar caliber to many of the well-loved musicians of yesteryear - we often say the music scene here in the Mitten is perhaps the best-kept secret of the Midwest,” Foote said.

The mission of The Clean Water Campaign spoke especially to the band, given the themes often woven throughout their music.

“Historical accounts pertaining to the Great Lakes Basin have been a central focus of our music over the last few years,” Foote said. “We love Michigan and find daily inspiration in the northern forests, streams and lakes.”

While many Michiganders are aware of the #puremichigan summers, in popular locales like Traverse City, and Petoskey, Foote believes the dark possibilities for Great Lakes aren’t as evident.

“The more you learn about the incredible resources we have here in Michigan, the more you desire to see it protected. When we think about the places that have inspired our musical storytelling, we cannot ignore the impact and necessity of water,” Foote said. “It is our hope that we can play a small role in encouraging others to be informed and take action to protect our region’s water.”

Clean Water Campaign founder and Director and singer-songwriter Seth Bernard is a household name for musicians all over the Midwest, but his Michigan roots run deep. His care for the Great Lakes and Michigan’s pure resources run even deeper. He is an activist for social justice issues, including community empowerment and fresh water rights with multiple organizations, and nonprofits. His family farm serves as the grounds for popular Michigan music festival Harvest Gathering. In March, Bernard traveled to Austin, TX to discuss the clean water issues in Michigan at South by Southwest.

“Seth is not only a brilliant songwriter, producer and activist, he’s an incredible public speaker and spokesperson,” Foote said. “He understands the power of music and art, and its ability to bring people together on important issues, such as clean water for all. We are proud supporters of the work Seth is spearheading with the Clean Water Campaign.”

Foote concludes: “By nature, musicians have the opportunity to rub shoulders with lots of people,” Foote said. “This provides a platform to shed light on important topics, such as equal access to clean water. We are grateful to have so many friends and fellow artists creatively sparking positive change, both locally and statewide... It is our hope that we can play a small role in encouraging others to be informed and take action to protect our region’s water.”
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