I was born in Upshur County, West Virginia, an area where mountaintop removal and strip mining are an unfortunate way of life. I learned that even if the coal companies put the land back to something resembling its orginal contour, and planted it with trees and grass, the damage could not be undone. Where beautiful brook and rainbow trout once thrived, many watersheds are permanently ruined, creating acidic streams no longer capable of supporting fish or people. The acid main drainage will go on and on–long after the coal, the fish, and the people are gone. Other problems follow the coal industry as well, such as pollution, flooding, and the erosion of long-standing social communities.
Coal Country Music is a compilation CD produced by Andy Mahler and Jason Wilber for Heartwood®. Coal Country Music is a companion to the film Coal Country, which documents the devastation wrought by mountaintop removal and the cycle of coal mining and combustion. 100% of the net proceeds from the sale of the CD go to the Alliance for Appalachia to help stop mountaintop removal.
This collection is a real gem. It runs the gamut from heart-wrenching folk songs to ancient gospel and indie rock. From the opening number by Ralph Stanley to the final chorus by Willie Nelson, you will hear the likes of Gillan Welch, John Prine, Justin Townes Earle, Natalie Merchant, Jean Ritchie, and the Klezmatics–19 songs in all, and all for a good cause. Coal Country may be previewed and purchased on Amazon com. Here is a trailer for the movie.
WATCH: Coal Country
“Mountaintop removal is the most devastating peacetime activity in human history — in fact, if the destruction to our nation’s natural and
cultural heritage were being perpetrated by a foreign power, it would be considered an act of war — because in a very real sense, it is — it
is a war against the Earth. Every week, mountaintop removal coal mining detonates more explosive force on the land and the communities
of Appalachia than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, to extract the coal that is warming the planet and poisoning the water, air and land.
We should all be dedicated to ending this unsustainable, and ultimately suicidal practice. And to promoting renewable energy alternatives and the green jobs they will create.” – Woody Harrelson