Hayden Everett is an artist who combines his passions for music and nature into his songs with the goal of connecting his listeners to the outdoors as well as inspiring reflection and growth. Inspired by the feelings he experienced during nights painted by the Milky Way as a camp counselor just outside of Yosemite National Park, he strives to make music that sounds like how he felt – more alive, more aware of how precious the world is, and more gracious for the time we have in this universe. He uses music to make the urgency of environmentalism, equality, mental health awareness, and social justice more tangible.
His latest single, “Kennecott,” is a wonderous indie-pop track that highlights the story of a now-abandoned mining town in Alaska. During the early 1900s, the town’s abundance of copper was exploited in a few decades with no regard for the natural world that existed in the town. Hayden was inspired by photos and journal entries by Ethel LeCount, a nurse who lived and worked in Kennecott in the 1930s and documented the beauty of the wilderness, which is something the miners took for granted. An article detailing the story of the town and the lessons it taught us can be found here, along with the photos that inspired this single.
“Kennecott” is written from the perspective of the town, as a letter to those who failed to appreciate and protect its beauty. Quaint guitar strums and quiet piano keys flutter underneath Hayden’s soothing tones during the opening lines. The instrumental backing picks up, laced with electric guitar runs, ever so slightly as Hayden continues his exploration of the depletion that the town experienced. His tone remains even and steady, even over the unrequited words. A breezy piano composition takes the forefront right before the final refrain, ending the song on a note that leaves listeners with a feeling of strange solace.
Especially now, when the world is in the midst of a climate crisis, the words of this song ring everlasting truth. We cannot continue to put profit over planet. We cannot take the natural world for granted.
You can watch the music video, which was shot in the Cascade Mountains and directed and edited by Ben Weiland and Brian Davis, below. The quiet ambiance and snow-filled shots create the perfect setting for this touching and important message.