“Lies somewhere between the worlds of folk and bluegrass and the disc is brimming with the righteous anger of classical American protest songs,” – WAMU Metro Connection, Washington, DC.
Moving Mountains is a compilation of songs and interviews directly related to the fight against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining (MTR) in Southern West Virginia. Inspired by the struggle of the hard-working people MTR negatively impacts, producer and founder of Aurora Lights, Jen Osha, gathered songs and interviews and put together this CD, subtitled Rise Up Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. Described as “a moving and well-done musical concoction that successfully bottles the verbal rage against the machines gobbling up Appalachia’s mountaintops in search of coal,” (The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, WV), the music brings a light to the permanent destruction of mountains, rivers, streams, and communities.
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. Interviews highlight local residents who are speaking out against MTR. One of those citizen activists, housewife, mother, and coal miner’s daughter, Judy Bonds, has led the efforts to stop MTR in Southern West Virginia where her family has lived for generations; for her tireless efforts to save her community and others, she was awarded the prestigious 2003 Goldman Environmental Prize.
Michael DeLalla, president of Falling Mountain Music, was more than happy to release the album on his label: “I was immediately intrigued. Here was a group of people motivated to produce music that could have a positive effect on a dire situation, instead of music that was produced only to fit a marketable formula. These are the projects that Falling Mountain loves to support.” Moving Mountains has proven to be the fastest selling CD under the Falling Mountain label. Over $6,000 has been raised so far to support grassroots activism and local residents. For example, funds have supported Coal River Mountain Watch, Mountain Justice Summer, relocating Marsh Fork Elementary School, Kayford Mountain defender Larry Gibson, and other local residents. Falling Mountain Music states that “the success and impact of the Moving Mountains: Voices of Appalachia Rise Up Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining CD shows us what is possible when artists pooling their talents and resources partner with their fans and customers.” As a result, in 2004 Falling Mountain Music started a program entitled Making Music Matter, which dedicates $1 from each online CD to a non-profit organization.
About the CD Project
On July 6, 2002, ten bands from across the East Coast gathered on Kayford Mountain in Southern West Virginia to play music for the hills and experience first-hand the consequences of a form of coal mining called mountain top removal. Moving Mountains was manifested that weekend by the collective belief that through our music, we can share the plight of a deep-rooted culture that is being destroyed by short-term greed. It is said that great faith can move mountains. In the hills of Appalachia, our faith and action are needed now to keep the mountains where they are.
This compilation is dedicated to Laura Forman, an organizer at the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC). Laura helped to start the “Stop Mountaintop Removal” movement in West Virginia. She tragically died at the mountaintop removal protest she had organized. Laura’s love, passion, and enthusiasm got hundreds of people involved–people who now carry on the struggle. We also dedicate this music to another devoted friend of the earth, Ben Morningstar, who was taken from us before he could finish his song.
For articles relating to the CD visit: Aurora Lights and Osha on Blue Ridge Country and “Song Warrier” Jen Osha & Moving Mountains CD story in Virginia Imprints.