Nissan Leaf gives new meaning to "BlueGrass Underground" (Video)
Del McCoury and his band were shuttled by Nissan Leafs for a new season of “Bluegrass Underground,” which airs on PBS and is sponsored by Nissan. The location of the performance was Cumberland Caverns of Warren County, TN.
The stage for McCoury and the band, Cumberland Caverns, is more than 300 feet underground with a full TV production crew and a dozen other musical acts and 500 of his closest friends. So this is truly and literally “Bluegrass Underground!”
The video, lighting and sound gear required for this production can’t be carried by-hand into the cave. Vehicles are needed to carry equipment down into the caverns. For traveling into the constricted dirt passageway with steep inclines off-road four-wheelers would be ideal, but pollute the air of this unique environment and could do harm in the caves.
“Bringing combustible engines into the cave to get the gear and our artists into the cave has been a problem,” said “Bluegrass Underground” producer Todd Mayo. “Now we have a solution.”
That solution was obviously an all-electric car like the Nissan Leaf.
Mayo reminds us that it took 3 million years for nature to form the Cumberland Caverns, and now that it is being filled with music, it is important to be in harmony with the world down there.
The 100% all-electric Nissan Leaf is an answer because it emits no emissions for the cave or the performers to absorb, and for the crew and audience to inhale. Carrying McCoury into the cave for his performance, the Leaf traverses the rock passageways with only inches of clearance on each side and, in spots, above. With an incredulous smile, McCoury describes his trip underground as the strangest ride of his life and praised the Leaf's handling.
Sara Schaffer, a bassist for the David Mayfield Parade, had not ridden in an electric car before, not to mention underground.
“It makes it a lot easier for all of us to breath which is cool, and I like it better than the four wheelers because of the (lack of) noise,” said Schaffer. “You could be slipping in and out with people not even noticing. It’s really neat.”
McCoury has been performing since the 1960s and has sung countless times before, but the Caverns provide a truly interesting experience for everyone involved. Violet lights bathe the rock walls all around as the Del McCoury Band performs its American roots style of music in a truly beautiful setting.
“If you don’t want me,” sings McCoury, banjo and fiddle galloping in pace with his old guitar, “I’ll dry my tears and move on.”
Cumberland Caverns once stored civil war gunpowder. Moonshiners have used it, and now an electric car moves musicians and equipment in and out of this historic monument.
And, earlier, as McCoury stepped out of the Nissan Leaf and marveled at the ancient environment into which it brought him to perform, he had mused about this unexpected experience, “Guess only my music stays the same.” However, car and vehicle technologies do not!