We've got some great high-definition footage from Andrew's performance on the WDVX "Blue Plate Special" April 28th in downtown Knoxville TN. First up is this performance of "Made by Hand", which he wrote with current bandmate/founding NGDB member Les Thompson and past WV Fiddle Champion Chance McCoy from Old Crow Medicine Show. We'll have more videos in the next couple of weeks - be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you'll be the first to know!
The show happened the week after the CEO of now-defunct Massey Energy company Don Blankenship was sentenced to one year in jail for a felony misdemeanor for his role in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 miners in West Virginia's Coal River Valley. This area, south of Charleston and west of Beckley, has lost many of its mountains through Massey's enthusiastic practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.
Dedicated to the people of the Coal River Valley, and those working to bring a more sustainable way of life and opportunities to Appalachian communities trying to move beyond with the consequences of a century as a resource colony. Thanks to Mark Murray and the good people at WDVX for having Andrew join a long list of fabulous performers that have been on the Blue Plate Special - tune it in at noon any weekday.
Below is a view of the Coal River Valley in 2006 from the late Larry Gibson's property on Kayford Mountain, near Whitesville WV. Mountaintop removal essentially is the explosive removal of the top 1000 feet or so of half-billion year old mountain ranges to get at the coal seams beneath with surface mining equipment like a dragline. The rubble is pushed into the adjacent valleys and hollers, and often giant reservoirs of coal dust slurry are left behind earthen dams. Kayford was the only mountain in that immediate area that was not mountaintopped. Larry was a passionate advocate for the mountains and land that had been in his family over 200 years. He hosted more than 14,000 visitors to his property to see the devastation up close and personally.