JEWELL RIDGE COAL
Jewell Ridge Coal chronicles the changing fortunes of the Southwest Virginia coal mining community of Jewell Ridge. Though the subject is regional, the songs are meant to present universal themes -- earth & heaven, rich & poor, love & loss, work & rest. Local 6167, named after the UMWA Local in Jewell Ridge follows a laid-off miner as he rambles and reminisces among the places that boomed in big coal’s heyday. In Oxycodone, a song based on a January 2008 Washington Post feature story by Nick Miroff, a miner contemplates the advice of his estranged father after a prescription drug addiction has left his home in shambles. Middle Creek is sung from the perspective of grandchildren trying to braid together the strands of their moonshining grandfather’s life and to understand his hardness and his outsider status in their community.
Though many of the tracks on Jewell Ridge Coal feature Jeni & Billy only, they couldn’t resist inviting a few friends to take part. Grammy award winning artist Jim Lauderdale and his Grammy award winning producer Randy Kohrs sing harmony. Virtuoso fiddler Shad Cobb of the John Cowan Band lends his soulful strokes to a couple of tunes. And singer-songwriter Kim Peery Sherman lends a gorgeous alto harmony and twinkling guitar to the ballad Tazewell Beauty Queen.