(Update 2018 – TROUBLE MAN featured in a BLOG on the Entergy website, the company the guys I first met in 2011 work for.)
(Update 11/26/12 – See below for the story behind the song Trouble Man)
I’m a “born and raised” New Yorker who transplanted to Pennsylvania 30+ years ago. My grandparents survived Hurricane Andrew in 1992 at ages 96 and 90. Many of us have friends and family who have weathered too many a storm and in the wake of Superstorm Hurricane Sandy, the outpouring of help and support to those in affected areas has been extraordinary. It never ceases to amaze me how people come together in a crisis and it’s that spirit that can help people get through. My friend Gretchen Gunn and I joined hundreds if not thousands of volunteers and went down the shore to rip drywall and lift hearts over several weekends. (Thanksgiving update, two more photo albums of volunteering at the shore in Manahawkin and Manasquan.)
Last year during Hurricane Irene, I wrote a song as a tribute to electrical crews who work in dangerous post storm conditions. It’s called TROUBLE MAN and in the post Hurricane Sandy recovery, it’s been making a difference for people as I’ve received notes from linemen, their families, and those affected in the storm zone. The song has been providing some comfort while honoring those who risk their lives to get the power back on.
I made a video of the song and I’m asking people to help get the word out by forwarding/sharing/posting, etc. to your community, and anyone you know that could help the song be heard. (See below for a cool part of the story!!)
I’m also happy to report that I was interviewed by Kris LaGrange on UNION RADIO at ucommradio.com (11/25/12 episode).
Here’s a recent article and here are some messages I’ve received:
“I love your song. It made my cry because it means so much to me that you wanted to write a song about our linemen. A lot of people just don’t know all the danger that goes with being a lineman and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.” — Joyce S., West Virginia
“Great job on this tribute song LisaBeth. My husband is a lineman and we aren’t far from you in PA. It’s been amazing what these lineman go through to restore power after a storm such as Sandy, and your tribute touched my heart! Thanks!” — A proud lineman’s wife in PA
“My 4 year old son begs to watch this video every night. He swears he sees his daddy in the video. He isn’t, but since he thinks he is getting to see him, and that makes him happy, I agree with him. I’m sure it’s because he recognizes the Entergy symbol. He is even starting to sing the song. We are extremely proud of our Entergy linemen and all others who are working so hard to help restore power. We can’t wait for them to return home. Thanks for taking the time to show your appreciation, it means a lot to the families of these linemen to know their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.” — Jennifer B., Louisiana
I’m humbled by the feedback and have realized what the power of song can do. It’s not that I haven’t known that before, but this time it’s really hit home as I’ve gotten to know the community of linemen and their families. Not long after Hurricane Sandy, I was driving in my little burg of Carversville, PA and stopped to say hi and thank you to an electric crew, and hopefully share my song with them. The crew was from Louisiana, and little did I know it would turn into a friendship. Mike was the first guy I talked to, and when I told him about my song and video project, he said that I should talk to “the guy in the bucket” and proceeded to tell me about Christian and the business he started after Hurricane Katrina called GULF COAST LINEMAN. When Christian came down from the cherry picker, we met and had a great chat. GULF COAST LINEMAN designs and sells really cool t-shirts, (they’ll soon have a Frankenstorm shirt) and provides support for the community of linemen and their families through their website and Facebook presence, including honoring those that have gone to the big power line beyond the sky.
I took lots of pictures of the guys working over the next few days, and shared images, stories, and comments on Facebook. Christian sent me a bunch of great photos for the video, and shared it with the lineman community when it was finished. I also received photos from colleagues, friends and strangers, including meeting with a colleague who works in Senior Communications at PPL in eastern PA who really helped get the ball rolling with images when I first wrote the song. Friends Maggie and Eric performed with me on the song, which was great, and many others were so supportive in the project. I feel like I have new friends for life, and feel privileged to be welcomed into the lineman family. Making new friends in this situation is just one of the many uplifting tales to tell after the storm’s wrath, and one of the reasons that I knew holding off on finishing the video was meant to be. I originally started it last year after I wrote Trouble Man, but it just wasn’t feeling like it was finished. Now I know why. Her name is Sandy, she was mighty, but when all is said and done, it’s the human spirit that will prevail. Mother Nature is a powerful creature, but the power of human nature strikes an equal balance.
Wishing everyone calm after the storm.
New Hope, PA
LisaBeth Weber – writer. musician. artist. thinker.