Great Lakes Blues
"Great Lakes Blues"
Music & Lyrics by Scott Cooley.
The water levels are at an all-time low
Boats are running aground, calling for a tow
Some say we haven’t had enough snow and rain
But I say there’s underworld activity to blame
It’s a shame but it’s true, we’ve got the great lakes blues
It’s got to be diversion, then it’s pumped into trucks
And shipped off to places with drought and big bucks
It could be going to the middle east, across the sea and far away
Or maybe closer to home in Vegas, Texas or LA
There’s gonna be hell to pay, for these great lakes blues
Some say it’s just a cycle, the same in decades past
Climate change brings evaporation, but there’s too much too fast
We look to science and history, instead of criminal acts
There’s gotta be something else going on behind our backs
I guess no one’s sure what to do, so we’ve got the great lakes blues
The beaches are bigger, which you might think is a good thing
Except for the simple fact that the water’s disappearing
Waterfront property’s not the same anymore
It’s a chore to reach the water from what used to be the shore
It’s so much different than before, and it gives you the great lakes blues
At the new water’s edge, you can’t help but wonder what’s the deal?
Who would’ve thought fresh water was something you could steal?
Went away for a few years, when I got back it was so strange
The lakes weren’t so great anymore, things had changed
Makes you wonder how many others have ‘em too, the great lakes blues
The lakes it would seem, are somehow getting wrecked
And when the water goes away, there’s a trickle-down effect
From boating to shipping to wetlands and fish
With numbers all declining, is it time to make a wish?
Makes you wish there was more you could do, to lose these great lakes blues
The Chinese fill their tankers, and tow their bags behind
They take our water home and bottle it, then sell it back to us online
Corporate brands like Nestle, Ice Mountain and Perrier
Hide pumps in our woods to drain aquifers that feed the lakes
It’s not too late to regulate it, but ‘till then, we’ll have these great lakes blues
They call it blue gold, and we’ve got pirates from all around
Politicians in bed with corporations, who buy the rights underground
They siphon it in secrecy, faster than nature can replace it
Millions of gallons a year, stockpiled for privatization
It’s time we take a stand and make demands, to lose these great lakes blues
Water’s everywhere in Michigan, just like cars
But the auto industry’s gone now, they took what was ours
Now they’re takin’ our water, and I say it’s time to raise the stakes
Before we have to rename them all the Good Lakes
It’s time we take control of our fate, and lose these great lakes blues
We’ve always thought of it as free, never thought we’d run out
But as the world gets more thirsty, it’s time to raise a doubt
It’s not deep enough for keelboats, no docks are long enough
I never thought smooth sailing would become so rough
We’re getting’ stuck in the muck, with the great lakes blues
Now I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but there must be more to it
Some say water’s the world’s next oil, and there’s shortages to prove it
I say we start charging for it, and when the last drop is drawn
We can afford desalinization, ‘till our oceans are all gone
It won’t take very long, but ‘till then, we’ll have the great lakes blues
Copyright © ℗ 2014 by Scott Cooley. All rights reserved.
This song was possibly released a little late to be relevant enough for maximum impact. In the 15 or more years prior to its release, the water levels in the great lakes had declined to the point where it was noticeable and causing problems and concern among lovers of the lakes like me. There were theories as to why this had occurred. My song explores some of them, and was written mainly to bring more attention to the problem with the hope of increased resulting action to help reverse the trend.
Although it was written in 2013, the winter of 2013-2014 was one of the harshest on record, and resulted in a large amount of ice cover on the lakes. At the time I'm writing this (May, 2014), there is still a lot of ice floating in Huron and Superior in particular, which is unusual and may result in water levels increasing this spring and summer.
Part of the inspiration behind the song, aside from my personal observations and a minor amount of personal internet research, was me watching a video online of a TV show episode by the former governor of Minnesota, who also happens be a former professional wrestler named Jesse Ventura, which I think was actually called Conspiracy Theory. It was sort of a documentary delivered in an aggressive, intentionally scary manner where they talked about the issues and theories related to the drop in great lakes water levels. If you google it, you'll probably find it on a site like YouTube. Anyway, I ran across it, and didn't necessarily believe all of it, but found it to be eye-opening and thought-provoking.
I also was inspired by the unique brand of long blues songs by Bob Dylan, and wanted to have a song in that type of style because I thought it would be appropriate in form and structure to go well with the many verses I was writing, but also because of the fact that the blues genre generally lent itself well to a song with depressing subject matter.
So, these were the things that served as the inspiration behind me writing this song.