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Friday
Mar092012

Profile: 2/3 Goat Makes "Metrobilly" Music for a Cause

2/3 Goat | Metrobilly Musicians | Stated Magazine Profile

 
     
        (Photo: Mike Bradley, Visualanties)  
       

2/3 Goat, a New York-based “metrobilly” combo that mixes bluegrass, folk, rockabilly, and country, makes music with a mission. Lead singer Annalyse McCoy, who hails from the small Appalachian town of Inez, Kentucky, is a descendant of the McCoy’s who famously feuded with the Hatfield’s. Growing up in Appalachia gave her an appreciation for its indigenous music and an awareness of the serious issue of mountaintop removal coal mining, which 2/3 Goat have made their personal cause.

As reported in The Huffington Post, “mountaintop removal coal mining is a particularly environmentally destructive type of resource extraction that involves using explosives to blow the tops off of mountains to expose coal underneath the soil and rock.” The practice is responsible for the removal of “more than 300 mountains and 600,000 acres of forests,” significant rates of cancer and birth defects in surrounding communities, and “the largest forced removal of American citizens since the 19th century.”

McCoy, co-writer Ryan Dunn, and the rest of 2/3 Goat hope to raise awareness of the issue with their single, “Stream of Conscience,” and have found growing support in affected Appalachian communities and their adopted home in Astoria, Queens.

Annalyse and Ryan joined us to discuss the cause they hold so dear, their music, influences, inspirations, and what keeps them up at night.

 
           
 
   
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Annalyse: Being an artist is observing the world around you and interpreting it. This leads to a new world that’s created, which in turn influences the world around the artist. When you study a population or a historical era, you study its art, because art is both a cause and a result. Being an artist is usually not a comfortable lifestyle—on the contrary. To me, it’s service. Much like when you say a prayer or you help someone, it’s digging a little deeper and getting your hands dirty for the greater good—including your own. I think people who create or practice an art of some kind are much happier, calmer people. Art is both a necessity and a byproduct of human existence.

 
        (“Stream of Conscience”)  
           
 
   
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Ryan: We are working on booking shows for 2012. We want to try and reach a similar year like 2011, where we played 75 shows in over 15 states. We also plan to launch another fundraiser, this time on RocketHub, to help us with a touring opportunity in Holland and Germany. We are also always trying to write and get better. We feel you have to always keep getting better, not just so you can grow in your field and be more successful, but also so you can grow as an artist and have a larger bag of tricks to pull from.

 
 
        (Photo: Mike Bradley, Visualanties)  
                 
 
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Ryan: I am inspired by the world around me, from revolution to budding flowers to a guy selling watches on the street. I am a very visual learner and I feel I get inspired by the things I see, big or small. I like to experience music, not just listen to it. So often my favorite songs are ones that lead me to visual cues. I can get lost in a daydream very easily while riding the subway and listening to music. Also, songs that remind me of an experience or inspire me to want to go out and experience something new. This is what I also like to portray in my music, and so that’s why the world around me is so inspiring.

Annalyse: I’m inspired by beautiful sounds, ironies, religion, science, the universe; people who aren’t afraid to be who they are… Those folks inspire me to go further in trusting myself to dig deeper into my own work. I also feel that the idea of “place” comes into play a lot with me, how I live my life and how I work. I have a strong sense of where I’m from and of where I am usually.

 
 

(Photo: Mike Bradley, Visualanties)
                 
 
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Annalyse: I would have to say our music video for “Stream of Conscience.” [see above] The song itself came out of a very passionate place for both me and Ryan—coming from our extreme opposition to mountaintop removal coal mining, as well as our strong belief in human rights and environmental justice. We see the strong connection between our existence as humans and the earth that bore us. It’s like the Kenyan proverb, “Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents; it was loaned to you by your children.”

So when we were approached by Mike Bradley of Visualanties to do a music video, we knew exactly what song we wanted to do. And we pretty much had it scripted out since we had such strong images in our heads when writing the song. We then set out to raise the funds. We launched a Kickstarter project and we were successful in raising $5000. We had so much support from the anti-mountaintop removal community as well as from family and friends. It warmed my heart to see a little bit here, a little bit there being offered to make this project happen. People gave what they could. We found this amazing farm belonging to a good friend in southwestern Virginia where we ended up filming for 3 days, and the cast and crew we assembled were stellar: hardworking, talented folks so willing to do whatever was needed. The music video debuted on AOL Music’s homepage this past November and has been well received so far. I think that’s because this project was put together with love and with so much faith. Throughout the process, we would visualize what we wanted, we would voice it, and in some form or fashion through hard work and just putting it out there, it would come to us. It was an amazing journey.

 
 
         
         
        (Annalyse and Ryan at the March at Blair Mountain to protest mountaintop removal coal mining)  
                 
 
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Ryan: Dream gig would be playing in Central Park with the greatest musicians alive at a concert to raise awareness and money to lobby to stop mountaintop removal coal mining. Who’s in?

Annalyse: I agree with Ryan, although this is a tough question because once we achieved our dream gig, and once mountaintop removal has ended, our career as a band won’t be over and the passion won’t be gone. We will keep going from there, because the dream is to play, to sing, and to write; and with the best of them. So in a huge way, we’re experiencing our dream gig every time we play!

 
 
         
        (Photo: Mike Bradley, Visualanties)  
           
 
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Annalyse:

  • Lyle Lovett: He writes about everyday people so much and his delivery of their stories is so real and down-to-earth. “The Ballad of the Snow Leopard and the Tanqueray Cowboy” is one of my favorite songs of all time.
  • Pink Floyd: “Us and Them” is one of those songs that encapsulates everything to me, almost the meaning of the universe.
  • Kathy Mattea: A country singer out of West Virginia, she is involved in the fight against mountaintop removal and wants to see the people in her home state thrive. She sacrifices her popularity with some people from her own area because she believes in something.
  • The Dixie Chicks: They are smart ladies and so talented. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and because Natalie Maines had one, she was (and still is) hated for it by many. I mean, she got death threats. But instead of apologizing for her statement, they made beautiful art out of it. I love the album Taking the Long Way and I relate to it a lot.
  • Diane Keaton: She is such a great actress, and although I’ve heard that if you give her a compliment, she never knows how to take it and starts stumbling over her words, she doesn’t apologize for who she is. Things like plastic surgery and the like are not for her, because she wants to just be who she is.

Ryan:

  • John Lennon, because of his amazing ability to write music and inspire the world around him.
  • Jordan Freeman, a filmmaker friend who filmed Coal Country and Low Coal. He captures so many real moments.
  • Ansel Adams, a photographer was an adventurer and artist who would go to any limits to get the shot.
  • Sean Penn, a brilliant actor who uses his fame and fortune for the greater good.
 
       
        (Photo: Mike Bradley, Visualanties)        
                 
 
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Ryan: I would love to live anywhere on the west coast where the mountains meet the beach. I feel equal love for the beach, where I grew up, and the mountains I have grown to love. If I had to end up at one or the other, I would move to Asheville, NC or the Outer Banks of NC tomorrow. I feel that the ocean and the mountains are daily reminders of how small we are and how amazing our planet and life is. It helps keep me humble and focused, because when even things see to be going wrong, or I feel lost, I can just turn and look at these massive amazing pieces of the earth filled with life and harmony and I know that my little daily BS is pretty worthless and meaningless and I am reminded how fulfilling and content I can become by just enjoying what is already around me.

 
 

Stream of Conscience EP - iTunes

        (Photo: Mike Bradley, Visualanties)  
                 
 
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Ryan: I started washing dishes at the local breakfast joint called Wally Mitchell’s on Long Beach Island, NJ when I was 15 or 16.

Annalyse: When I first moved to New York, I joined up with a catering company. I was lucky throughout college with scholarships and all, that I didn’t have to have a “survival job” during that time and could focus on artistic endeavors both in school and apart from it.

 
 

        (Photo: Mike Bradley, Visualanties)        
                 
 
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Annalyse: Right now, it’s the stuff that Rick Santorum is saying. I do believe in the inherent goodness of people, but the fact that someone can say such outlandish, horrible things that are driven by hate and greed, and be LEADING in the polls, is really very unnerving to me. Covering a broad spectrum and contradicting himself left and right as he goes, his stances and statements are absolutely appalling. Everything from questioning the competency of women in combat because they could be incapable of controlling their feminine emotions, homosexual relationships being likened to being in love with your mother-in-law or even bestiality, free pre-natal testing being bad because it leads to “higher abortion rates,” his hatred of environmental regulation even though he claims to be “pro-life,” and so much more. Hate can so easily consume you, and so can fear. And that’s what people like Santorum are banking on with an uninformed faction of the American public. I’m with FDR, my greatest fear is…Fear.

 
 
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2/3 Goat is:

Annalyse McCoy - Vocals, Mandolin
Ryan Dunn - Vocals, Guitar
Ryan Guerra - Fiddle
Jon Cavendish - Bass
Andy Wilmoth – Drums

Visit 2/3 Goat…

Get the Stream of Conscience EP on iTunes
www.twothirdsgoat.com
@twothirdsgoat
Facebook


       
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