Today we feature a song by Hot Tamale, “Crystal Gulf Waters.” In lamenting what we may lose if oil inundates our coast, Craig Reeder and Adrian Fogelin evoke some of the areas in which we are interested. And while the song tackles a heavy topic, it does manage to end on a hopeful note. The video was created by Craig:
The following is a short essay by Craig where he explains a little about why he was compelled to write “Crystal Gulf Waters”.
Craig Reeder Singer/ Songwriter
When the oil spill occurred, I wanted to write a song that would give voice to the feelings and emotions of everyone affected. And even though the song is about the Gulf of Mexico, it took me back to memories of sailing Biscayne Bay when I was a teenager in a tiny little boat. The water was so crystalline, I could see every plant and creature on the bottom, and I’ll always remember the beauty of the gently swaying grasses growing by the edge of the salt marshes. As the waves rolled by, they swayed with an almost musical rhythm, a rhythm I still feel in my dreams and memories.
Now we are all learning how critical those salt marshes are to the entire ecology of the Gulf, and it is sad to think how the damage will spread from one ecological niche to another, eventually affecting nearly all the life of the Gulf, including not only the creatures like oysters, pelicans and crabs, but extending also to the human beings that depend on the fishing industry, people who are likewise a piece of the fabric of the Gulf. When I think back to visiting places along the Gulf like Alligator Harbor and St. Joe Bay, places of pristine nature and crystal clear water, I feel like we are now saying a farewell to all these scenes as we once knew them.
I thought people’s feelings of helplessness needed someplace to go, and I know music is a powerful, cathartic vehicle. The melody came to me quickly, probably an echo of early folk songs from people like Woody Guthrie and Stan Rogers, songs that delivered simple human emotions and socially conscious messages. When the first draft was complete, I turned it over to my singing partner, Adrian Fogelin, who happens to be an award-winning author, and she completely transformed the song by bringing it home on a soaring note of optimism for the future. That’s the kind of hope we all need now.