According to Steve Earle, his critically-acclaimed new album with his long time band The Dukes, Ghosts of West Virginia, which focuses on the 2010 Upper Big Branch mining disaster, is the record he had to make at this time. Although he has made political records in the past, those preached to the converted. This time around Steve wanted to reach out across the political divide to those that don’t vote like he does, in advance of the November US election. The Upper Big Branch Mine disaster took place in West Virginia in 2010, and killed twenty-nine miners – making it one of the worst mining disasters in American history. Seven songs on the new album are taken from the off-Broadway play Coal Country written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen. Jessica and Erik approached Steve to write and perform some original songs in the show – drawn from interviews and testimonials with surviving miners and the families of those who died. The new album also includes three more songs about West Virginia: “Black Lung”, “Fastest Man Alive” (about Chuck Yeager) and “The Mine”. For more information about the music of Steve Earle, visit steveearle.com. Image: Jacob Blickenstaff. Music: Steve Earle & The Dukes “Heaven Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, “Union God And Country”, “Time Is Never On Your Side” and “It’s About Blood” from “Ghosts of West Virginia” (New West, 2020).
About the author
Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.