We (Still) Owe Our Souls…

…to the Company Store. Read Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Coal’s True Cost

“Last evening’s GOP CNN/YouTube debate and the Democratic presidential debate on November 15 were jointly sponsored by a coal industry coalition (read this link!-ff) comprised of mining, railroad and utility interests.

Their high profile civic involvement is designed to further confuse American voters about coal’s true cost to our society. Many of the Republican candidates have endorsed massive new subsidies for King Coal and dutifully parrot industry talking points including earnest promises of cheap “clean coal.” Given that climate change is the most urgent threat to our collective survival, it is shocking that no debate moderator has pressed the candidates to clearly state their positions on “clean coal.”

In fact, there is no such thing as “clean coal.”

Coal mining’s legacy is long, dirty and sad. And yet coal has been a way of life for many Appalachian families in this short burst. With them, we’ve exploited 100 million years of summer’s sunshine and turned it into electricity that powers our computers this very moment. It generates atmospheric CO2 and smog, warm winter mornings and black lung.

For all its ills, coal, coal mining and coal-based communities and miners have produced some powerful music over the past decades. So even though our species will hopefully outlive the memories of coal and move on, we should remember those who have sacrificed lives and health to bring it to the surface.

If there is a way to celebrate this black rock, it is through music. Jack Wright, a fellow writer I met at the Hindman Appalchian Workshop this summer, has compiled a marvelous 2-CD collection of songs from and about coal. Hearing the words from real lives touched by coal gives the current situation of mountaintop removal a whole ‘nuther twist.

Giving a lump of coal has a long tradition this season–for bad little boys and girls. Thinking about giving the gift of coal–in the form of the Music of Coal this Christmas–for naughty and nice alike.

A Gem of a Day

Whitetop Mountain Band

A good crowd turned out last night at Oak Grove Pavilion to hear the Whitetop Mountain Band–one more cultural event in town where there is definitely more to do than the one trafffic light would suggest. The sidewalks do NOT roll up at 6 o’clock, but you have to know where to look for the entertainment.

More Oak Grove pix, Abby and Tsuga pix and more–at the SUMMER ’07 Smugmug gallery.

Beautiful Weather: in July?

Floyd County Jamboree — July 2007

I have often tagged July as my least favorite month. The heat. The humidity. The general torpor and boringnesss of our traditionally hottest month I can live without.

And at least so far, I’ve really not had much to complain about.

Last night in town, the backdrop of sunset changed every minute. Town was abuzz with Jamboree goers–and those who preferred to enjoy their music from under that wonderful sky in the late afternoon.

dancers2.jpg

All seemed well with the world–even in dreaded July–and we’re enjoying more clear, crisp mid-summer weather that we deserve.

Uptown, Downtown

traynhams4.jpg

If you’re headed to Floyd this weekend, be prepared to not be the only one.This may well be the buzziest couple of days all summer long–or at least the first of what promises to be a lot of summer days when cars pile up behind the one traffic light in town.

Ann’s scooping ice cream from two til five for the Partnership for Floyd, so I know I’ll be wandering around with my camera slung across my neck. Looks like fun.

If you’re wondering what’s coming up in the weeks ahead in Floyd County and the Greater Floyd area, there’s good news: Check out this CALENDAR OF EVENTS which I will certainly put in my sidebar, once the new WordPress blog is ready to go. But here’s what appears on the near horizon.


22 Special Grand Re-Opening Weekend of Concerts
The newly renovated Floyd Country Store will celebrate with a spectacular Friday Night Jamboree with Special Guests Olen Gardner & Friends at 6:30 p.m., Wayne Henderson and Friends at 7:30 p.m. and The Looping Brothers at 8 p.m. It’s a night not to miss! The Floyd Country Store is just south of the stoplight on State Road 8 near the crossroads with Route 221.
For more information: www.floydcountrystore.com or23 Ice Cream Social
Citizens of Floyd are invited to a free Ice Cream Social to Discuss Developments in Downtown Floyd. From 2:00-5:00 PM at the Sun Music Hall Floyd’s Town Manager and members of the Partnership for Floyd will be available with information about Community Development seeking input from our Floyd County residents. See our web site for more details http://partnershipforfloyd.blogspot.com/23 Saturday Night Re-Opening Concert at the Floyd Country Store
The newly renovated Floyd Country Store will celebrate with a Grand Re-Opening Concert featuring Jimmy Costa, Tina Liza Jones and Rounder Recording Artists, King Wilkie. 7:30 p.m. The Floyd Country Store is just south of the stoplight on State Road 8 near the crossroads with Route 221.
For more information: www.floydcountrystore.com or Learn more about the performers at www.dipconcerts.com.

23 A Play Called “Cotton Patch”
The Greatest Story ever Retold is a musical of the Gospel of Matthew and is set in contemporary Georgia. The music and lyrics are the final works of Harry Chapin and the storyline is based on the book by Tom Key and Russ Treyz. Sponsored by Friends of the Oak Grove Pavilion. 7:30 p.m. Rain or shine. Admission is free but a freewill donation is encouraged at intermission. More than $40,000 has been raised for local charities over the years. Oak Grove Pavilion is a gorgeous, covered pavilion in back of Zion Lutheran Church at 635 Needmore Lane NE, Floyd.
For more information: www.floydlutherans.org

This picture of Mac and Jenny Traynham came from Saturday’s Oak Grove Pavilion event.

Floyd Virginia : Musical Horizon

There’s been some discussion of late over at Blue Ridge Muse in which a false distinction has been made between the washed and the unwashed of Floyd County. Who goes in which camp can be biased by a prejudice against “outsiders” who weren’t born here.

If you’ll come to the Oak Grove Pavilion performances this summer, any perceived barriers between these two populations of Floyd County residents will crumble. The long-time locals and the recently-arrived locals sit side by side, enjoying each other’s company, the music, and the summer darkness under giant oaks, punctuated by the amber flash of fireflies.

This week, our buddies, Mac and Jenny Traynham, perform. They’re sure to do quite a few cuts from the newly-released CD compilation of some of their way-back tunes, gospel and otherwise, that have become favorites of ours.

There’s plenty of seating under the pavilion, more out under the stars. Bring a folding chair and a picnic dinner if you want, and get to know your neighbors–in tie-dye or bibbed overalls, good folk. See you there.

Click here for directions to Oak Grove Pavilion behind Zion Lutheran Church.

Good Time Had by All

guitars mandolins banjos music bluegrass fiddles jamboree Floyd
We had just enough chairs (thanks to Haven’s Chapel Methodist for the loan!) and just enough parking places for the 40 or so that showed up for the First Ever Goose Creek ANNex House Concert Saturday night.

Performing, Mac and Jenny Traynham (Southern Mountain Melodies) on what was almost the date of the issue of their new CD (coming early next week!) In attendance, ambassadors from the New Roanoke Jug Band, Beggars Circus and the Hoorah Cloggers, as well as a cast of music listeners.

If you’d care to (and even though it does not do justice to the evening’s music, here’s a short clip of a number that recruited Jay on the washboard and Shay on the fiddle. (Towards the end, you can hear Tsuga barking forlornly, wanting to join the fun.)

More Mountain Melodies

We worked on Southern Mountain Melodies home page a bit more yesterday, and now there are four of the Traynhams songs available to generously sample. See the bottom of the sidebar for the links. And pardon our dust. For now, you can REFRESH the page by hitting F5 to make the player disappear when you’re through listening. We’ll fix this the next run through.

And for those few of you who might enjoy “Old Time, All the Time”, Mac told me about Sugar in the Gourd. Click on the LISTEN button up top on the program’s page, and well, listen. Discover some old favorites, and some NEW old favorites.