Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Diggin' Coal from the Bottom of Your Grave"

In the last year, I've read several books about the Appalachian coal, one set close to the modern era, another in the late 1800s, when a Civil War veteran trekked out of South Carolina to cut timber only to uncover a coal seam.

My people are from Appalachia, albeit the southern portion of eastern Tennessee, a place where the same subsistence farms—like those in Kentucky—sat on limestone instead of coal.

Coal was stripped from the land owned by the Anglo-Celt people that settled the land in the wake of pioneers like Boone. Of course, others came to die in the mines too—Italians, eastern Europeans, and more. But most of the heritage of Appalachia traces back to those English, Irish, and Scots people who escaped poverty, or imprisonment, or the hangman to settle in the colonies. And the music reflects that.

I came across this song as a I was researching information to write a review. I think I've listened to it ten or more times. For some subconscious reason, it makes me want to know the first Presley who stumbled onto these shores. I do think, in some fundamental measure, we all have traces of our blood within us.


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