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Coal, bluegrass and old time music and musicians

Posted by Bob Buckingham on Thursday, June 18, 2009

I have spent a fair amount of time in and around coal fields, singing and playing songs about coal mining.  The drive for ever more power does tough stuff to the environment.  Here is an interesting article that if you are close enough and care enough, you might want to add your voice/music to the fray.

I have known too many older fiddlers and pickers who lost too much to King Coal including their lives.  Our national approach is one of the great paradoxes of our lifetime.

Billly Ed Wheeler, Merle Travis, John Prine, Tom Paxton, have all written great songs about coal.  There is not such thing as "clean coal" and there no way around how is effects so many lives.  WV and KY are both having their mountain tops ripped off to get at coal cheaply.  This does not produce jobs or more health for the folks in that region.  It makes the rich richer and the streams polluted.

I pray for my many friends who take on the industry and may they see some recognition from we the people who use our energy so calluously.


3 comments on “Coal, bluegrass and old time music and musicians”

edavidt Says:
Thursday, June 18, 2009 @5:53:33 PM

 If I were there, I would be protesting, playing my banjo, and singing in protest.

We have become too complacent - and too self indulgent.  We have forgotten how to live well and live right.

Thanks for keeping the issue out in front.

Dave T. 

mgoers Says:
Friday, June 19, 2009 @12:50:10 AM

Thanks for speaking out, Bob.  I've seen a lot of the impacts of mining on the environment, being from Kentucky & being an environmental engineer.

chip arnold Says:
Sunday, June 21, 2009 @10:18:20 AM


How very true this is. We hear over and over again about how the emissions from coal burning powerplants and other applications can be cleansed of all the bad stuff and our skies will forever be a lovely shade of blue. Well I'll have to see that one to believe it. But even if it were so, the ugly truths of getting the coal out of the ground are never addressed. We Americans live lives so far removed from the sources of the things we use daily  that we've come to think our steaks come from shrink wrapped packeges, our milk from bottles and our gasoline from pumps in front of the convienience store. Likewise, I guess we think our coal comes from trucks and trains. But it doesn't. Our coal comes to us courtesy of the most beautiful lands on the face of this earth. Well, the land was beautiful. But thanks to our modern and efficient (for the big coal companies) methods, the mountains are actually being torn down, stripped for usable parts and then pushed off into the valleys and streams like an old time junkyard operation.

Please check out the link Bob provided:

And another provided by his lovely wife Amy:



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