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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Xavier Rudd’s Music with a Message

Apr 29, 2015 05:28PM ● By Meredith Montgomery

Australian singer-songwriter and activist Xavier Rudd recently released his ninth studio album and will be playing the Hangout Music Fest, in Gulf Shores, on May 16. Known for his progressive politics and championing of environmental and Aboriginal issues, Rudd’s environmentalism is deeply rooted. He says, “I come from a fairly carbon-neutral existence in a small town in the bush. Over time as my music became popular, it lent itself to supporting environmental issues and organizations.”

His live shows host information tables for conservation societies and he’s played myriad performances in support of environmental causes such as marine wildlife conservation, anti-fracking and land preservation for wilderness, culture and heritage.

Rudd’s passion for the environment is evident in his folk- and reggae-infused music that often features socially charged lyrics. He says, “The spirit of the land is hugely influential all the time. The natural world is in all of my music and it has a place in all of my songs. Music has been connecting cultures and people to land since the beginning of time and the way we use music to spread the message of environmental protection to the world now is a modern version of that.”

In the past, Rudd’s onstage one-man-band setup included a half-dozen guitar choices, three didgeridoos and different styles of native drum. For Nanna, his latest album, he is joined by The United Nations, a band of international musicians with diverse musical influence. The band is symbolic of the message that all people of the world can come together and return to spirit, respect the ancient ways, and protect the Earth and the very essence of creation.

As they set out on tour in support of their new album, Rudd notes the challenges of being on the road. “The touring industry—diesel tour buses and power-sucking PA systems—is not very sustainable, and to leave my sustainable home to go on tour… it can feel a little toxic.” Having previously worked with Clif Bar’s GreenNotes program to reduce the environmental impact of his tours, he seeks out green options when possible, citing the use of recycled stock; choosing sustainable, eco-friendly merchandise; and requesting reusable dishes for use backstage.

Rudd’s eco-consciousness is evident in his personal life, as well. As an avid surfer, Rudd feels particularly connected to the Earth when he’s on the water. “There’s not another way to get as close to dancing with mother nature as you do when surfing. It’s like you’re the only human being that will connect with that pulse of energy of the Earth at that moment. You just move with it and do a dance with it,” he reflects. His family built a self-sufficient home that features a standalone solar system, worm farm sewage and grey water system, rainwater collection and a hydronic heating system.

Voted PETA’s World’s Sexiest Vegan in 2007, Rudd chose a vegetarian lifestyle early on, because “it’s what has always felt good for my system.” But he was inspired to advocate against factory farming, animal testing and animals in the entertainment industry after his first trip to America. “I remember a horrible stink for 20 miles between San Francisco and L.A. and seeing cows just stacked upon each other, eating out of each other’s waste, with no green grass in sight.” When he arrived at his destination and inquired about the scene, he was told it was the main beef supplier in California.

Rudd is an advocate for change, saying that while there is a lot of devastation in the world, a slow awakening is taking place. “There is a lot of positive stuff happening, but it needs to be increased. It needs to gather momentum and people need to do whatever they can every day.”

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Meredith Montgomery publishes Natural Awakenings in Mobile/Baldwin, Alabama (

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