The Spine of the Mother: Seeking Harmony & Common Ground in the Colorado River Basin
In the fall of 2016, the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, the four members of the indie folk band The Infamous Flapjack Affair (IFA) set out on a journey through the public lands of the Colorado River Basin. Their goal: to meet people who have crafted their lives in the Basin; to hear their stories about the places they love and the challenges that face those places; and to write music inspired by those encounters.
Ben Barron, banjoist and lead vocalist for IFA, will tell the story of this journey, and the making of the award-winning film Confluence that documents it. From the rim of the Grand Canyon to a ranch in Northwest Colorado, from the contended lands of Bears Ears National Monument and the awe-inspiring vistas of Canyonlands to the sweeping alpine forests of Rocky Mountain National Park, from the banks of the free-flowing Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument to the imposing Glen Canyon Dam, Confluence explores one of the world’s most important, most spectacular, and most endangered river systems.
The film paints the Colorado River as a metaphorical confluence of ecological regions, diverse human cultures, and intense controversy over the use of land and resources. The people the band met — an NPS ranger, a Havasupai medicine woman, a Navajo musician, a Colorado rancher, and a USGS scientist — all leave their mark on what becomes a profound and moving story of human connection to place. Music may be just the tool we need to inspire a new conversation, to let our public lands unite us instead of dividing us.
Join Ben for behind-the-scenes storytelling, excerpts from the film, and live performances of songs composed during the Confluence journey!
Potbelly Perspectives are held at ACES at Hallam Lake, 100 Puppy Smith Street, in Aspen.