This week’s Music Monday post celebrates the fact that this week American singer-songwriter Steve Earle turns 64. Born January 17, 1955, Earle grew up in Texas, but may be best known for his Appalachian anthem Copperhead Road. In 1998, Steve Earle collaborated with the Del McCoury band on a bluegrass album titled The Mountain. The title track of this album can be interpreted as referring to Black Mountain in Harlan County, Kentucky. We hope you enjoy this live recording from the eTown radio show. The Mountain, Steve Earle
For 2019, We are starting a new weekly feature to share films about coal mining and life after coal in mining communities. Over the coming months, we have selected a mix of documentary and feature films from coal communities around the world to share with you. We will start with one of our favorite films: Harlan County USA. The film, which documents the 1973 – 1974 Brookside strike, won the Academy Award for best documentary in 1976, and launched legendary director Barbara Kopple’s career. We hope you enjoy the film, and our new weekly feature. Harlan County USA
This Music Monday we pay tribute to American coal miners who are in danger of losing their black lung benefits. West Virginia singer Hazel Dickens penned this song after losing her brother to black lung in the 1970s. Last month Congress failed to extend the tax that supports the federal black lung disability trust fund, leaving many former miners uncertain about how to pay future medical bills. For more information on the black lung disability trust fund, check out this story from National Public Radio . Hazel Dickens, Black Lung – From the Appalshop documentary Hazel Dickens: It’s Hard To Tell The Singer From the Song directed by Mimi Pickering.