Coal Country Music
Topic Film

Posted by Soulman on May 02, 2010 7:17 pm GMT + 1

Coal Country Music: Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Natalie Merchant, and Friends Lend Their Voices To Document The Leveling of Appalachia

Money from Coal Country Music's Heartland Project works to halt the devastation surrounding mountaintop removal coal-mining.
By Sara Novak
Columbia, SC, USA | Feb 24, 2010

Margie Van Auken /

The Appalachian Mountains spring with life, both natural and cultural. Not only do the Appalachian Mountains constitute one of the most advanced eco-systems in the world, the mountains are also the source of one of America's unique cultural music traditions. That musical tradition is now playing a new role in raising awareness about the tragedy of mountaintop removal coal-mining.

I have written about the devastation surrounding mountaintop removal coal-mining in the past. It seems common sense that blowing up a mountain would have consequences for the eco-system, but even still what is referred to as the "rape of Appalachia" continues. Already about 2,000 miles of spring channels have been filled with the debris left over after mountains are blown up. The coal mining industry is currently setting off 3.5 million pounds of dynamite a day, according to the documentary, the Leveling of Appalachia.

Musical Greats Come Together For Coal Country Music
Heartwood, a regional network of individuals and organizations that seeks to protect heartland hardwood forests by supporting community activism, recently teamed up with singer-songwriter Jason Wilber to produce Coal Country Music, a compilation CD of music by nationally known recording artists who are lending their voices in an effort to save the roots of their music.

Coal Country Music is a collection of songs from a region devastated by mountaintop removal and the cycle of coal mining and combustion, and features performances by Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley, John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, Natalie Merchant, and Willie Nelson. Each song reflects the cultural traditions of the Appalachian Mountains.

The CD accompanies the award winning film Coal Country, which documents the devastation wrought by mountaintop removal. Intimately involved in the project are Woody Harrelson and Ashley Judd, who have actively campaigned for the Alliance for Appalachia--an organization dedicated to stopping mountaintop removal coal mining. In fact, 100 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of Coal Country Music will go to the Alliance for Appalachia.

"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," explains Harrelson. "The artists on this musical compilation are dedicated, as I am, to ending this unsustainable, and ultimately suicidal practice and to promoting renewable energy alternatives and the green jobs they will create."

Are You Contributing To The Leveling of Appalachia?
The Coal Country Music Web site also has valuable information to help individuals fight against the effects of mountaintop removal coal mining, including a link to a web tool that allows you to determine whether you are using mountaintop removal coal. All you have to do is enter your zip code.

Source: Planet Green

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