Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Music of Coal: Mining Songs from the Appalachian Coalfields

After I had completed yesterday’s post I realized that I had neglected to mention some sources for the music that had inspired my post.

The coalfields of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee are as rich with traditional music as they are with the dirty black rock that is both a blessing and a curse. As with most rural areas, the coalfields have been experiencing a migration of its youth to the bigger cities. The Lonesome Pine Office on Youth, of Lee, Scott, and Wise counties Virginia has put together an amazing collection of traditional music from the mining region to help support their youth progams in this mining region.

Music of Coal: Mining Songs from the Appalachian Coalfields is an extremely well produced 2 CD set accompanied by 74 pages of liner notes. Producer Jack Wright calls the music "industrial- and working-class poetry." Cheryl Truman, of the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader says “the first time listening to the CDs can be draining. But the second time you're listening for the music and artistry and lyrics. It’s Appalachian history set to music. And it's mesmerizing.”

I couldn’t have said it better. The collection of music includes painstakingly re-mastered classics from the Carter Family, Aunt Molly Jackson, Dock Boggs, Jean Ritchie, Carter Stanley, Hazel Dickens, and a host of rare and wonderful old recordings. Joining these old classics are new recordings made especially for this collection. Randall Hylton, the Reel World String Band, Blue Highway, and others donated there time and talents to this project. All of the tracks are exceptional; picking out a few favorites is a difficult task. A few that come to mind are Ralph Stanley & Dwight Yoakam’s duet on “Miner’s Prayer”, Robin & Linda Williams – “Blue Diamond Mines”, Rev. Joe Freeman – “There Will Be No Black Lung (Up In Heaven)”, The Reel World String Band – “Come All You Coal Miners”, Jim Ringer – “Black Waters”... Jeez, I could go on until I have listed them all. This is truly a great collection.

Read more about Music of Coal and listen to a few clips at NPR.

Music of Coal: Mining Songs from the Appalachian Coalfields can only be ordered from The Lonesome Pine Office on Youth. Proceeds help support the youth oriented programs of the organization.

Click here to order a copy.


Anonymous Skippy said...

Great blog! I'll try to hitch a ride on the bus when time allows!

Skippy (Rick J. at work)

November 07, 2007 10:14 AM  

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