River Rock Star Award
The River Rock Star Award honors a company, group, or individual that has used their creative gifts and/or innovative methods to benefit Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and raise awareness about the importance of protecting the Chattahoochee River, drinking water source for 3.5 million Georgians.
This year, we're honoring three individuals who've made it their own personal mission to make a difference.
JOHNNY COLT – The original bassist for Georgia Hall of Fame inductee the Black Crowes, Johnny Colt also formed the Brand New Immortals and played bass for the Train as well as the supergroup Rock Star Supernova. While he has enjoyed a wide range of work including running his own backline company, co-hosting WMLB’s “Politely Disruptive” with Cartoon Network’s Michael Ouwleen and hosting his own Travel Channel show, Colt has been a passionate citizen journalist – mostly working on environmental issues.
He’s gained lots of exposure for his award-winning CNN iReports, most notably on the Haitian earthquake and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, and, more recently, reports on the island of Nauru. Learn more about Johnny Colt here.
BEN SOLLEE – An artist on a mission, Sollee can often be seen bicycling the country, cello strapped on his back, hoping he can show people how to connect the dots between music, art, film, dance, their community, and personal relationships. A passionate steward of the land, the Kentucky native often partners with such regional nonprofits as Appalachian Voices and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.
One of his key causes is raising awareness about destruction caused by mountaintop removal coal mining in central Appalachia. Read about his bicycle trip to the 2009 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival here.
GARETH ASHER – West Georgia native and Atlanta singer-songwriter has developed a growing fan pain, and a growing passion for the Chattahoochee River, for years now. Citing influences as acoustic as Jackson Browne and as soulful as Otis Redding, Asher’s music evokes contemporary artist Amos Lee in its blending of folk and R&B. “Gareth Asher is an exceptional songwriter and truly unique vocalist,” says legendary Georgia keyboardist Chuck Leavell of the Allman Brothers and Rolling Stones fame, and also the co-founder of the Mother Nature Network. It was the Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee Leavell who was so impressed with Asher’s demos that he helped supply keyboard tracks for Asher’s scheduled 2012 CD.
Asher is also a major supporter of CRK and has been found performing at many of our events, but his passionate commitment to causes also fills his music. His latest single, "Get It Right," is a siren call for social change in the world. "I support organizations like CRK because of the work they do to make our world a better, safer, healthier planet for us all," Asher said. "The Chattahoochee River is the main water source for much of the South, and protecting it's environmental condition for our health, as well as it's visual beauty is important to me. Anything I can do to help bring awareness to the project is an honor, and a goal."
Learn more about Gareth Asher here.
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In 2011, we presented our River Rock Star Award to Rhett Turner and Jonatham Wickham for their hour-long documentary released in 2010, Chattahoochee: From Water War to Water Vision, which has brought much needed attention to the plight of our river and the complexities surrounding the Tri-State Water War .
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In 2010, we honored Ed Roland of Collective Soul for his generous contribution of time and talent to raise visibility and funds for the cause of ensuring that the Chattahoochee River remains a source of clean, abundant water for now and for generations to come.
In addition to turning our River Revival two years ago into a sell-out event and bringing new members to the cause, his benefit concert at Eddie’s Attic at the end of 2009 was a tremendous help in bringing in much needed funds during a very lean year for all nonprofits.
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In 2009 CRK presented its first River Rock Star Award to RIOT Atlanta, a high-end local design and broadcast studio which created exceptional videos – a PSA and two short films about CRK and the Chattahoochee - pro bono.
RIOT employees participated in a river cleanup last year and undertook an art project turning river trash and eco-friendly materials into a 5x10 Water is Life mural with 200 free-standing sections (pictured right). Of these, 180 were sent to Riot’s clients as holiday gifts along with a message about CRK and the Chattahoochee. The 20 remaining sections were auctioned off on eBay this spring, raising more than $1500 for CRK.