WATCH LIVE: Mountain Stage This Sunday With Steve Earle & More
Mountain Stage will offer a free, one-time-only live stream of this Sunday’s show emanating from the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. There are tickets available to join us in person, or anyone with an internet connection will be able to watch the show as it happens at MountainStage.org and at LiveSessions.NPR.org. No ticket is required to watch the stream but a 'pay what you want' ticket option is available via Eventbrite for those who wish to support the show. Below are some details on our line-up, culled mostly from the artists’ promotional material.
Be sure to sign up for the Mountain Stage newsletter to receive periodic updates and event announcements.
Steve Earle is one of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters of his generation. A protege of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, he quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris, The Pretenders, and countless others. Earle wrote music for and appeared in Coal Country, a riveting public theater play that dives into the most-deadly mining disaster in U.S. history, for which he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. His 2020 album Ghosts of West Virginia was named as one of “The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far” by Rolling Stone. In Novembver 2020, Earle was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and released his 21st studio album J.T. on January 6th of this year as a tribute to his late son Justin Townes Earle.
Black Lung – Steve Earle
On the cusp of releasing his 13th studio album — Come Hell or High Water on Singular Recordings — singer-songwriter Malcolm Holcombe is both a part of and apart from those Blue Ridge hills, a Southern folk golem brought to life by the deeper mysteries that give these hills so much of their folklore.
His songs belong in the same Western North Carolina echelon of mysteries like the Brown Mountain Lights or the ghostly apparitions along Helen’s Bridge or the phantom choir of Roan Mountain — things that surpass conventional explanation but summon forth a combination of awe and primal longing, an ache to understand the great questions of the human condition. Malcolm may not have the answers to those questions, but his songs are drawn from the same waters that begin as a trickle in the deep woods: wild, untamed, filled with the whispers and roars of all the mysteries and wonders those hills contain.
New Damnation Alley- Malcolm Holcombe
West Virginia native John R. Miller is a true hyphenate artist: singer-songwriter-picker. Every song on his thrilling debut solo album, Depreciated, is lush with intricate wordplay and haunting imagery, as well as being backed by a band that is on fire. One of his biggest long-time fans is roots music favorite Tyler Childers, who says he's "a well-traveled wordsmith mapping out the world he's seen, three chords at a time." Miller is somehow able to transport us to a shadowy honkytonk and get existential all in the same line with his tightly written compositions. Miller's own guitar-playing is on fine display here along with vocals that evoke the white-waters of the Potomac River rumbling below the high ridges of his native Shenandoah Valley.
Faustina – John R. Miller
For two years, Rachel Baiman absorbed the cyclical nature of progress and regression through the lens of her personal experiences, family and society to create a record that candidly delves into the human experience in a way that is as intimate and personal as it is universal. Cycles is available everywhere via Signature Sounds.
"Growth, creation, destruction, renewal, rebirth — that’s what this record means to me,” says Baiman. "The belief that redemption and rebuilding is always possible, with greater wisdom, greater kindness, and greater empathy toward oneself and toward others.” Throughout ‘Cycles,’ Baiman finds optimism in the unique strength of women in her family and herself — and in our nation’s resilient spirit to re-build after a year of turmoil. On the title track, she empathizes with the emotional torture of miscarriage and the strength of a woman to try again. “Joke’s On Me” wrestles with career ambition and self-doubt.
Rachel Baiman – The Jokes On Me
Mary Hott’s music is informed by an interesting - and unusual mix - of influences that combine the intimacy of a small town with the perspective that comes when you live in some of the country’s urban centers. Hott was born and raised in Paw Paw, WV, where her high school graduating class consisted of 11 students. After 26 years of going to school, playing music, and working in New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C., she found herself ready to make that often-perilous and emotional journey home.
As often happens, her time away gave her a new interest, appreciation, and perspective on the plight of West Virginia and Appalachia. Hott immersed herself in the stories of life in the state’s ubiquitous coalfields. The result is her latest musical project titled “Devil in the Hills: Coal Country Reckoning.”
Annabelle Lee – Mary Hott