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Public Outcry brings musical environmental message to campus Nov. 20

Public_Outcry_t.jpgBOONE—Public Outcry, a band comprising six of Kentucky’s most talented writers and musicians, will perform Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in Broyhill Inn and Conference Center’s Helen Powers Hall at Appalachian State University. The program is free and open to the public.

The program is sponsored by Appalachian’s University College, Center for Appalachian Studies, Appalachian Journal, Sustainable Development Program, Department of English, and Appalachian Voices, a Boone-based environmental advocacy group.

The band Public Outcry performs Nov. 20 at Appalachian State University. The six-member group uses music to raise awareness of environmental issues related to coal mining and mountaintop removal mining. Band members are Kate Larkin, left, Jason Howard, Silas House, Anne Shelby, George Ella Lyon and Jessie Lynne Keltner. (Photo submitted)

The band is devoted to fighting mountaintop removal mining through music. The members are Silas House, Jason Howard, Kate Larken, George Ella Lyon, Jessie Lynne Keltner and Anne Shelby.

The artists are united by a deep love and respect for their homeland. The band, which identifies itself not as anti-coal but rather pro-mountains, has been together less than two years, but has quickly garnered a devoted following as it stands up for the mountains through music. Combining country, blues, rockabilly, old-time, and even an occasional bit of calypso, Public Outcry plays what is best described as acoustic folk music.

Public Outcry has performed on mountaintops overlooking mining sites, in universities throughout the region, and in the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C. The band’s goal is to visit as many schools and communities as possible to inform people informed about this form of coal-mining and its effects on the land and its people.

Public Outcry’s hour-long program on mountaintop removal is educational, entertaining and enjoyable. The quick-paced program focuses mostly on singing, with very little talk. There is a 12-minute slide show that delivers profound images to better educate the audiences on the devastating effects of mountaintop removal.

About the band members:

Silas House is the author of the novels “Clay’s Quilt,” “A Parchment of Leaves,” “The Coal Tattoo” and the play “The Hurting Part.” His latest novel, “Eli the Good and Something’s Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal,” co-edited with Jason Howard, focuses on mountaintop removal mining. It will be released in 2009.

Jason Howard is a writer, editor and musician from Eastern Kentucky. His works have appeared in such publications as Paste, Equal Justice Magazine and Kentucky Living, among others. He is the editor of the forthcoming anthology “We All Live Downstream.” He sings and plays piano, autoharp, bass and other instruments.

Jessie Lynne Keltner works as a nursing home social worker. She sings and plays autoharp, fiddle and other instruments. In addition to Public Outcry, she performs with the Gabbard Sisters and the Cosmic Mamaws, and plays violin in the community orchestra. Her sister is writer Anne Shelby, also a member of Public Outcry.

Kate Larken is a singer, songwriter, playwright, author, producer, publisher (founder of &, former teacher and journalist.

George Ella Lyon is the author of 36 books for children and adults. Recent titles include “My Friend,” “The Starfinder” and “Don’t You Remember? A Memoir.” Among her earlier books are Appalachian favorites “Come A Tide” and “Mama Is a Miner.”

Anne Shelby is the author of “The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales,” “Appalachian Studies” and “Can a Democrat Get into Heaven? Politics, Religion and Other Things You Ain’t Supposed to Talk About.” A children’s book, “The Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree,” will be published in 2009.

For more information about the group, visit