Bold Nebraska Album Recording at the Build Our Energy Barn | Photo Essay

photos by Bridget McQuillan, Matt Masin and Mike Machian | words by Michael Todd

Even the cows seem to know. They gather close during the music, and though the stage is cordoned off by an electrified fence, sealed off by wooden walls, they seem to know: This barn isn’t built for animals, tractors or feed.

This weekend, Nebraska musicians including Dirty Talker, McCarthy Trenching, Jack Hotel and The Toasted Ponies traveled an hour or two to the Build Our Energy barn, or “solar barn” for short, just northwest of York, Neb. Built by Bold Nebraska in September, the barn runs on wind and solar power. Its placement is meaningful as the barn sits directly on the proposed route of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. And it’s meant to serve, Bold says, as a “gathering place for Pipeline Fighters, but also to show President Obama that we can build our own clean and local energy, and do not need to risk our land and water for a risky tarsands pipeline.”

That clean and local energy is endless. Waving wildly just outside the barn’s front door, the ragged edges of the Nebraska state flag showed evidence of country gusts; panels on the roof captured the sun overhead. That’s not to say it was cozy and warm inside, though. Led by project organizer Mike Semrad and audio engineer Mark Wolberg, the musicians and Hear Nebraska’s video crew often huddled close to the space heater in between sessions. During performances, we’d shut it off, preventing its hum from being recorded.

At night, the light from the second floor seeped through the cracks in the floor down to the first level. Outside, the porch lights illuminated dozens of names on the barn, names of folks who donated to the cause. And as the songs about windmills instead of oil spills, songs about the Ogallala Aquifer are now being mixed, as our videos of the performances are being edited, more names will undoubtedly add to the effort.

Give your support to the benefit album here. Proceeds from album sales will fund the fight against TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, and support more clean energy projects such as the Build Our Energy barn.

See photos from this weekend’s sessions below:







photos by Mike Machian

photo by Matt Masin

Dr. John Walker

from video by Michael Todd


from video by Nickolai Hammar

David Boye


from video by Nickolai Hammar

from video by Michael Todd

Southpaw Bluegrass Band



photos by Bridget McQuillan

McCarthy Trenching

photo by Bridget McQuillan




photos by Mike Machian



photos by Matt Masin

Dirty Talker





photos by Bridget McQuillan





photos by Matt Masin

Jack Hotel




photos by Bridget McQuillan

Matt Cox



photos by Bridget McQuillan

The Toasted Ponies









photos by Bridget McQuillan

Brad Hoshaw


photos by Bridget McQuillan

The Bottle Tops











photos by Bridget McQuillan

Michael Todd is Hear Nebraska’s managing editor. He cannot thank HN’s crew enough for helping to document this important album. Reach Michael at michaeltodd@hearnebraska.org.

 

 

Michael Todd (@michaelsedits) is a Hear Nebraska contributor. Reach him at michaeltodd@hearnebraska.org.