Moab singer-songwriter Gigi Love has released a new album, “National Parks Centennial Songs.” [Courtesy image]

Moab musician Gigi Love sought to send a message to President-elect Donald Trump when she played guitar and sang songs in front of Trump Tower in New York City on Nov. 14. The songs were from her new CD “National Parks Centennial Songs.”

Love said she was motivated to sing about our national parks in front of Trump’s residence to “bring awareness to the fragile beauty of our national parks,” and to urge the president-elect to acknowledge that climate change – which he has called a “hoax” – is real.

With Secret Service men hovering nearby, Love sang and talked to passersby for an hour. Then she crossed the street and performed for another hour.

After growing up in the “concrete jungle” of Arlington, Texas, Love said she discovered southeastern Utah at age 18, when she moved to St. George to attend college.

“That was my first taste of the real beauty of earth,” Love said. “It changed me from a materialistic self-absorbed person to wanting to spend my money and time going into wilderness.”

Southeastern Utah’s national parks are where she said she “grew up and became a person who knows how to live with the land.”

Part of her message to Trump, she said, was, “Please, you value your views on your golf courses so much you won’t allow wind power – I value views of Grand Canyon and you can understand this.”

National parks like Canyonlands, Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde have reported increased haze, airborne mercury deposits, ozone concentrations and other pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants in the Four Corners region.

The impetus for Love’s new CD of songs about national parks began 10 years ago, she said, during a stop at Yosemite National Park on a tour the West. She was inspired to write a song about Yosemite, while playing the mandolin in El Capitan meadow, she said.

With the approach of the National Park Service’s 100-year anniversary this year, Love began writing songs honoring other parks, beginning with “Blueberry Kisses” about Acadia National Park in Maine.

Love recently performed in Hawaii at a CD release party at the Volcano Art Center, followed by a performance at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

The new CD includes songs about Yosemite, Crater Lake, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Acadia, Zion, Hawai’i Volcanoes, Grand Teton and Shenandoah national parks. Her song “Yosemite Gold” ranked number nine on the Folk DJ chart in June.

Recorded in Nashville, the CD includes saxophonist Spencer Kellogg, Rick Gerber on mandolin, Josh Matheny on dobro and lap steel, bass player Byron House, and Steve Brewster on drums. Lead guitarist is Brian Ashley Jones. Love’s husband Peter Nicholson plays lead ukulele and bass, and provides backup vocals. Love plays guitar, mandolin and ukulele and is lead vocalist.

“National Parks Centennial Songs” is available locally at Back of Beyond Books, 83 N. Main St., and Moab Made, 82 N. Main St.

In August, Love was performing at the Bright Angel Lodge at Grand Canyon National Park, where park service and Amtrak employees happened to be in the audience.

Jim Miculka, who manages the Trails & Rails partnership between Amtrak and the park service, said he was at the Canyon for a National Park Service Centennial event, along with Amtrak West’s route director.

“We were both really impressed with her music,” said Miculka, speaking from his office at Texas A&M University. “We thought she’d fit perfectly into our program on the train,” where volunteers educate Amtrak passengers about the nation’s national parks.

Love performed in August aboard Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train, from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon. The performance was so successful, Miculka said, that he invited Love to be the park service’s “Trails & Rails Troubadour” on other, upcoming train routes in 2017.

Moab troubadour Gigi Love releases new CD of songs about national parks

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