A train whistle and the sound of Merle Haggardâ€™s voice could be the soundtrack for a film set in the Midwest dealing with the concerns of ordinary people. Both his classic voice and the train have served as beacons of hope and sources of comfort. Now they are joined together as the essential components of an ambitious and unique tour in 2009.
Merle Haggard has made a career out of singing plain truths. He joins with friend and musician Bob Wolf to form the Green Train, a union of music and message promoting global environmental awareness and to bring together communities faced with the common threat of an endangered planet. The vehicle intended to convey that message is an actual train with more than 20 cars and hitting both major cities and small towns.
Wolf is no stranger to the merger of idealism and music. He had been the main force behind the â€œWe Are the Worldâ€ radio simulcast, personally calling hundreds of radio stations to play the song.
â€œPeople do really want to make a difference,â€ says Wolf, â€œThey just need to know how. The Hag and I came up with an old-fashioned way to deliver a new and simple message: A worldâ€™s fair-themed train carrying exhibits and simple solutions to living green in a modern world.â€
The six-week tour will cover 28 states beginning in Portland, Oregon in April 2009 and finishing in Washington, D.C. Every major region will be covered. Musical performances will take place in nine large venues and 21 smaller acoustic venues in whistle stops. As part of the Green Train experience, top non-profit and educational organizations will have booths demonstrating sustainable products and ways to live green.
Musical artists who are supporting the Green Train include Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill, The Dave Matthews Band, Cher, Jewel, Alana Grace, John Flynn, as well as Olympic Gold Medal Snowboarder Hannah Teter. More acts from a wide selection of musical genres will be added as the tour dates approach, along with actors, artists and writers.
Nothing is more deeply embedded in the American mythos than the train. American ingenuity transformed the English steam train into something on a much larger scale, using it to transport goods and people in opening up the American West. It was the representation of beneficent and democratic American enterprise, helping all people, young and old, wealthy or poor; from small towns to big cities.
The train is a commanding symbol for the green revolution. As a mode of transportation used by nearly every country in the world, it has consistently been in the foreground for exploring alternative energy resources with Sir Richard Bransonâ€™s Virgin rail system, run on pure vegetable oil, leading the industry.
Indeed, the Green Train itself will be powered by both biodiesel fuel and solar energy and the main stage will be powered by solar, wind and biodiesel fuel.
At a time when the deterioration of the environment has become an irrefutable fact, brought on by human wastefulness and irresponsibility, Haggard and Wolfâ€™s Green Train carries a sense of urgency.
â€œThe Green Train is the real deal â€“ the one thatâ€™s headed for the answers,â€ says Haggard. â€œWe all need to take stock, step on and get moving toward a clean and safe destination.â€
Itinerary to be announced soonâ€¦
For more information:
The Green Train
533 Church St.
Nashville, Tenn. 37219