Dave Matthews Believes Music Can Help Save Mountains

We're going to float / Through the criss cross of the mountains / Watch them fade to nothing / When the world ends / You know that's what's happening now

                - Dave Matthews, “When the World Ends”

I remember Dave Matthews before he was a big rock star.  Back in Richmond in the early 1990’s the Dave Matthews Band was on the cusp of stardom, yet I knew the group as the frequent opening act for the bigger bands passing through town.  I always enjoyed their music, of course -- so much so that “Ants Marching” was the tune my wife and I picked to kick-start our wedding reception -- but I didn’t realize the band was so popular until a few years later, when I moved to Missoula, Montana for graduate school and discovered that everyone was listening to DMB all the time.

Since 1994, the Dave Matthews Band has sold a 35 million records, is one of only two groups to have five consecutive studio albums debut at #1, and with over 15 million tickets sold, it is the highest grossing American act of all time -- and one of the most eco-friendly as well. 

The eponymous lead singer/guitarist is a multiple GRAMMY award winner whose work ethic is only surpassed by his commitment to many worthy causes.  A member of Farm Aid’s Board of Directors since 2001, Matthews has played numerous benefit concerts and the band’s Bama Works Fund has donated over $6 million dollars to humanitarian and environmental initiatives.

NRDC is truly honored to have Dave Matthews join our Music Saves Mountains initiative to raise national awareness about the plundering of Appalachia via mountaintop removal coal mining. 

“Appalachia is one of the most vibrant and beautiful areas in the country.  We cannot allow mountaintop mining to destroy it forever,” Matthews says.  “It’s not just the Appalachian Mountains as a natural resource that are at stake from this destructive strip mining, but all of those families who depend on clean water and a healthy environment.”

He’s exactly right.  The loss of one of these majestic mountains would be too much.  But to date, some 500 of America’s oldest peaks have been blasted and flattened.  This desecration has scarred more than a million acres, wiped out vast forests, polluted or destroyed nearly 2,000 miles of streams, poisoned drinking water for coalfield communities, and ravaged the lives of local residents.  This destruction must be stopped.

Along with legendary country chanteuse Emmylou Harris, Matthews is trying to help by headlining a star-studded benefit concert for our campaign to end mountaintop removal on May 19 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Will a concert fix this problem?  Of course not.  But as some have noted, "When we allow ourselves the opportunity to become fully enraptured by a song that we cherish deeply, it can in that moment feel as though music has the power to move mountains." 

NRDC believes that music just might have the power to help save them as well.  With that, here's a teaser for the upcoming special night when the stars will align to sing for the mountains.