Art With Impact: Hurricane Katrina and “Over the Under”

With Harvey coming ashore, I’ve been thinking about this album a lot. Art can reflect life beautifully (even in sludge metal) and this album connected me with this band and the city of New Orleans in a way I couldn’t have imagined. Katrina hit these guys hard, and through their experience, I’ve come to think quite a bit about the people in the path of Harvey and its broken wake.

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I love how art can connect us with something so much bigger than ourselves. It’s been ten years since Hurricane Katrina; I can vaguely remember following the news, especially in the aftermath, and feeling so disconnected from what the people of New Orleans were feeling and going through. I was in Austin at the time, in the middle of a scorching hot, dry summer, and had never been touched by natural disaster in any meaningful way. It was easy to sympathize, of course, but much harder to empathize, which I think is far more important.

One of my favorite bands changed that for me in a pretty unexpected way. Down started in 1995 as a bunch of dudes who had grown up around each other in New Orleans and now each had their own self-sustaining metal bands. Pepper Keenan had been the face and chief songwriter for Corrosion of Conformity…

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