Photos contributed by Megan Bee
As she walked onto what was barely a stage in Front Room Cafe at Ohio University, Megan Bee tuned her guitar, preparing for another show. After touring two years across the western states, she returns home to Athens to share the lessons she learned and what has inspired her to become the musician she is today.
Bee has made a name for herself as a solo artist who not only writes her own songs, but writes songs that capture the beauty of nature. As both an artist and an environmentalist, Bee both entertains and educates about the importance of protecting the planet.
As she played songs and shared her stories with the crowd, she dedicated her passion and inspiration for her writing and singing to none other than the beautiful landscapes and sublime, natural wonders she encountered on her tour of the West.
“I once took a cross-country trip and met a group of musicians in a desert wilderness playing music around a campfire,” Bee said. “The closeness and joy of sharing music in that intimate setting was so alluring.”
Megan camped for a month and began to learn the guitar from a friend she met on her journey. Many of her songs are about the people she experienced and the adventures they shared together while immersing themselves in the western mountains and deserts.
“The people and places I surround myself with hugely affect my writing. I hope people can see themselves in the places I write about, know the characters and take a little journey.”
However, Bee believes that one doesn’t have to journey far to experience and appreciate both nature and music, especially here in Athens.
“Athens is such a loving and supportive community. It’s a space where creativity is respected and ongoing,” Bee said. “There is easy access to peaceful outdoor spaces, many active people and live music every night of the week somewhere.”
Bee returns now to Athens as a solo artist who writes, sings and plays her own music. In the past, Bee was once the lead singer of a group called Worms and Decomposers, who together put out an album called Grow. This acoustic-folk group created songs that focussed on environmental issues and the group’s love for Appalachia. One song in particular, “Trash in the Water,” is an example of the group’s artistic work that also acts as satirical activism for protecting the planet’s limited clean water resources.
Megan Bee: Trash in the Water
“I wanted these negative behaviors to come across in an off-hand way that wasn’t necessarily blaming or shaming,” Bee said about the lyrics in “Trash in the Water.” “It’s kind of ironic. We do these things, we know it’s not good and we keep doing them.”
Bee continues to sing the group’s songs in her solo sets to continue her environmental activism and, “encourage people to get outside, slow down and don’t take this short life for granted.”
Bee truly practices what she preaches, or, in her case, sings. While on the road touring, it’s easy to pull over at the nearest fast food drive-thru; however, Bee makes a conscious effort to eat and live sustainably while touring.
“I live pretty simply on the road,” explained Bee. “I started my travels as a WWOOFer (Willing Worker on Organic Farms). Having farms to stop by and work-trade with has kept me supplied with good food. I travel with a small camp stove so I can cook up a quick meal at rest stops or parks, and I usually stay with friends or camp in my van.”
Bee proves through her songs and her lifestyle on the road that one does not need a degree in environmental studies to be an activist for environmental sustainability. Bee found a way to use her music to encourage others to protect the planet that she deeply cares about. Promoting and implementing eco-friendly norms in the workplace, like Bee has done with hers, will move the planet in the direction of a more healthy and sustainable future.
After wishing the small room a good night, she tucked her guitar in its case and ventured out into the Athens streets she longed to see while touring. This winter Bee begins writing and recording her first solo album. She also plans to tour Alaska, where more people will experience her creative songs, heart warming stories and her love for the planet.