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Moving Mountains CD Responds to an Appalachian Environmental Nightmare
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by Jen Osha | 2004

The CD features artists inspired by the people and places of rural southern Appalachia being devastated by mountaintop removal coal mining.

Falling Mountain is pleased to announce the release of an important new compilation CD called Moving Mountains: Voices of Appalachia Rise Up Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. The CD features artists inspired by the people and places of rural southern Appalachia being devastated by mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, including singer/songwriter Andrew McKnight, songwriter and occasional West Virginia Public Radio host Kate Long, guitarist and songwriter Mike Morningstar, and venerable fiddler Vasser Clements.

A growing coal industry practice in the remote hills and hollows of West Virginia, Kentucky and southwest Virginia, MTR permanently destroys mountains, river and stream valleys, and small communities in mined areas. Entire mountaintops and ridgelines are literally sliced off to allow easy access to the underlying coal seam. The resulting "overburden," consisting of dirt, topsoil, vegetation, rocks and destroyed trees, is then dumped into the valleys and streams nearby. These "valley fills" have buried forever nearly 1,000 miles of rivers and streams in West Virginia alone. As a result, catastrophic flooding has become all too familiar downstream of mined areas.

Moving Mountains: Voices of Appalachia Rise Up Against Mountaintop Removal Compilation CD featuring 13 different artists and 6 interviews with local residents. Available at www.fallingmountain.com/mtr.html Moving Mountains was compiled by lifelong musician and activist Jen Osha, who first heard coalfield residents speak about the impact of MTR in their communities during her graduate work in Forestry at Yale. A Mountain State resident, Osha has devoted much of her time to harnessing the healing and storytelling power of music to help coalfield communities end the legal practice of MTR. "My family is very proud of its mining heritage. The men in my family have been miners back through to the early 1800s when my ancestors came from Germany. I am the first generation to be raised outside of the coalfields."

It inspires me to see that so many musicians donated their work, so that they could use music as activists used it during the depression, during the Civil Rights Movement, during Vietnam. Not just to pay the bills...to inspire and create change," says Osha. "In the last year and a half, there have been a lot of difficult events in the coalfields: the closing of the last school in Coal River, the increase of the limits on coal trucks. Judge Haden's ruling being overturned...again. But what I saw was that people hung on to this music. It was something hopeful in a pretty dark time."

Falling Mountain is proud to stand with these families and communities, and we are particularly honored to have tracks from two of our artists included on the CD. Singer/songwriter, poet and activist Andrew McKnight contributes the lead track "Company Town" from his latest CD Turning Pages, while West Virginians Keith & Joan Pitzer from the Cheat River Valley penned "Underneath a Blackened Moon" especially for this project.

Most of the proceeds from sales of Moving Mountains will go to non-profit organizations helping mining communities threatened or destroyed by MTR, including the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and Coal River Mountain Watch. If you would like to help promote the CD contact Jen Osha at jen_osha@yahoo.com.

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