The BP Oil Spill Has Folks Singin' the Blues (Video)
With the BP oil leak continuing to threaten the gulf states, undermining the fishing industry and impacting tourism, emotions are running understandably high. Amid news reports of the leak, promises from BP, and failed attempts to stop it, regular folks are beginning to vent their frustrations in classic southern style--by playing the blues. The blues are an expression of hardship, heartbreak, and hope, and with the oil leak growing worse by the day and livelihoods continuing to be threatened, such is the mood--and it's got folks singin'.Some folks, like the man singing in the clip above, mourn what impact the spill will have on their lives and the future of their children. In this song, from Dirty Cajuns, the singer warns "Brother even if they cap the well/ say it's just another oil spill/ way of life won't be around no more/ all I wanted was to go back home."
The woman in this next clip sings a song she wrote called "BP, You Really Suck"--a straightforward jab at the company responsible for the leak. Her song is cute, kind of funny, but has a serious message. "I'm sure it sucks to be you," she sings, strumming on a ukulele, "With all that oil on your hands."
In his song "BP Blues," songwriter Michael Hymel sings about boating through the oil slick and the impact it's having on the environment of the gulf coast. His frustration with BP is quite evident, especially near the end of the song where he suggests how they should be punished. "I'm not a superstar," he sings. "I'm just a lowly fisherman who ain't going very far."
Hymel, like the other singers above, represent real-life people whose lives are impacted by the oil leak--which is what makes their humble songs ring so true. With blues, as any old master would tell you, being a virtuoso on the guitar or possessing a great voice isn't as important as having heart. And with the oil continuing to leak unfettered, threatening the people and animals that live along the gulf coast, the heart may be all they can count on for now.
But it's not just everyday folks writing songs about BP and the oil leak. Mos Def was one of the first major artists to articulate their frustration in musical form. At a Gulf relief benifit in New Orleans a couple of weeks back, he lambasted BP with an adaptation of the song "It Ain't My Fault."
Eco-friendly band Pearl Jam is getting in on the action as well. On stage at a recent concert, Eddie Vedder encouraged the crowd to not buy from BP until they "clean up their act." Lyrically, it's not too complex, but it certainly gets the point across.