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Ghosts of West Virginia
Steve Earle & The Dukes
New West Records
Catalogue Number
Release Date
May 22, 2020

Ghosts of West Virginia centers on the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion that killed twenty-nine men in that state in 2010, making it one of the worst mining disasters in American history. When asked about what drove him to craft his deeply evocative new album, Steve Earle says, “I thought that, given the way things are now, it was maybe my responsibility to make a record that spoke to and for people who didn’t vote the way that I did,” he says. “One of the dangers that we’re in is if people like me keep thinking that everybody who voted for Trump is a racist or an asshole, then we’re fucked, because it’s simply not true. So this is one move toward something that might take a generation to change. I wanted to do something where that dialogue could begin.”

In ten deftly drawn, roughly eloquent, powerfully conveyed sonic portraits, Earle and his long-time band the Dukes explore the historical role of coal in rural communities. More than merely a question of jobs and income, mining has provided a sense of unity and meaning, patriotic pride and purpose.

“I said I wanted to speak to people that didn’t necessarily vote the way that I did,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything in common. We need to learn how to communicate with each other. My involvement in this project is my little contribution to that effort. And the way to do that – and to do it impeccably – is simply to honor those guys who died at Upper Big Branch.”

Digital Track List

  1. 1 Heaven Ain't Goin' Nowhere 1:40 Buy

    Heaven Ain't Goin' Nowhere

  2. 2 Union, God and Country 2:23 Buy

    Union, God and Country

  3. 3 Devil Put the Coal in the Ground 2:53 Buy

    Devil Put the Coal in the Ground

  4. 4 John Henry was a Steel Drivin' Man 3:29 Buy

    John Henry was a Steel Drivin' Man

  5. 5 Time is Never on Our Side 2:55 Buy

    Time is Never on Our Side

  6. 6 It's About Blood 4:33 Buy

    It's About Blood

  7. 7 If I Could See Your Face Again 2:57 Buy

    If I Could See Your Face Again

  8. 8 Black Lung 3:19 Buy

    Black Lung

  9. 9 Fastest Man Alive 2:51 Buy

    Fastest Man Alive

  10. 10 The Mine 2:48 Buy

    The Mine

Steve Earle & The Dukes

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