Gyan Riley, described by The New Yorker as a “one-man American-music machine,” hosts the release party of his fifth album, Sprig, where he will perform from the record. The album will be released on National Sawdust Tracks, the in-house record label formerly known as VIA Records that presents a carefully curated selection of new music from bold voices.
Album Notes from Gyan Riley:
Sprig is a solo acoustic guitar record about growth and transformation. As an artist, most of my ideas begin as small cells, little snippets that sometimes develop and transform into something greater than their original embryonic forms. By extension of that concept, what started out as the release of a guitar album has become an opportunity for me to help raise awareness about deforestation and help fund reforestation efforts across the country and worldwide. Through AmericanForests.org, I will plant a tree for each physical album sold, helping them to reach their goal to plant 3 million trees in 2018!
I grew up in the rural Sierra Foothills of Northern California, surrounded by the beautiful pine, madrone, oak, and manzanita trees of Tahoe National Forest. It is an area rich in beauty and teeming with life. But each year these trees are seriously threatened by the hundreds of perilous fires that sweep through California’s forests. In 2017 alone, 9,133 CA fires burned a whopping 1,248,606 acres of land. I now live in NYC, but each year travel to CA several times to reconnect with my roots, and each dry season I am reminded of the devastation fire can bring. But fire is far from being the sole culprit in the deforestation equation. Illegal and unsustainable logging, fuelwood harvesting, mining, climate change, and forest conversion are all posing an enormous threat toward the global health of our forests. With 80% of the world’s forests are already destroyed, the depletion of our forests is rapidly leading to massive species extinction and is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions after fossil fuel burning. Our forests protect our watersheds, absorb harmful greenhouse gases, and provide habitat, clean drinking water, food, and medicine for all of us. Quite simply, their preservation is absolutely essential.
Sprig is dedicated to my mother Ann. She was an avid supporter of conservationist movements, and lost her life to cancer a little over 2 years ago. My mom lived out her last painful weeks with great strength and grace, setting an indelible example of great courage for all her surrounding family and friends. Amidst these trying political times that greatly threaten our planet, it is increasingly important to maintain conviction and double our efforts in supporting our conservation organizations and those individuals who devote their lives toward the betterment of the planet and its inhabitants. For me this endeavor is just one small way to help, which happens to be personally significant. But if the music and message can reach enough people, I’m hoping that my small sprig of effort could turn into a profound positive impact on our global environment.
Recorded in-residence at the Harrison House in Joshua Tree, CA.