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Steve Earle - Ghosts Of West Virginia - LP -

Price per Unit (stuk): €25.95

Alongstanding supporter of green and leftwing causes, Steve Earle describes his 20th studio album as “a record that speaks to and for people who didn’t vote the way I did”. He means working-class Trump voters, though The Ghosts of West Virginia doesn’t delve far into the psyche of the president’s “base”, being principally a salute to the coal-mining communities of the mountain state, specifically those affected by a 2010 explosion that left 29 miners dead. That event and its aftermath are the subject of a new play, Coal Country, first performed in March, during which Earle delivered onstage commentary as “a Greek chorus with a guitar”.

The songs offer a powerful testimony to the tragedy, and are here delivered with Earle’s full band in a deft blend of Appalachian bluegrass and guitar twang on numbers such as Devil Put the Coal in the Ground, fronted by Earle’s gravelly vocals. There are more reflective moments, like Time Is Never on Our Side and If I Could See Your Face Again, where fiddler Eleanor Whitmore sings a widow’s part. Numbers such as Black Lung complete the evocation of thankless blue-collar toil, though Earle has done as much before on 1999’s The Mountain, when no one was voting for Trump.

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