Coal / Mountaintop Removal

“The Hand of Man”: Powerful new music video captures Appalachia’s grief over mountaintop removal

CINCINNATI — “As millions of pounds of explosives from mountaintop removal strip mining operations continue to devastate historic mountain communities in central Appalachia, a powerful new music video released this week by the beloved American Roots band Magnolia Mountain captures the haunting grief and stories of stricken families in America’s cradle of roots and country music.

Driven by Mark Utley’s banjo licks and Magnolia Mountain’s effortlessly haunting and plaintive harmonies, ‘The Hand of Man’ joins the pantheon of classic mountain ballads and mining tunes, including Kentucky legend Jean Ritchie’s “Black Waters” and John Prine’s timeless paean to his family’s demise in western Kentucky to Peabody coal, ‘Paradise,’ and 2/3 Goat’s recent metrobilly hit, ‘Stream of Conscience.’

One of the most popular urban Appalachian bands today, the Cincinnati-based
Magnolia Mountain has won a dedicated and growing fan base across the nation as one of the hardest-working, bone-shaking and original bluegrass, folk and blues bands on the American Roots circuit.

Thanks to Utley and fellow artists like Melissa English, Magnolia Mountain is also one of the most committed bands in the Appalachian and Ohio River heartland: Joining the tireless work of Grammy star Kathy Mattea, among many others, ‘The Hand of Man’ is part of the compilation CD and music festival benefit, ‘Music for the Mountains,’ that Utley and Magnolia Mountain organized over the past year for various grassroots activists defending mining communities against mountaintop removal operations.”

— Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post

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