Front Porch Blog

Kathy Mattea visits Kayford Mountain

If it hadn’t been for the swarm of video cameras and news station personel, you would not have known that there was a celebrity up on Kayford Mountain Tuesday afternoon. As country music star Kathy Mattea bounced up Kayford’s gravel road in a gold minivan, it was obvious that she wasn’t looking to stand out. In fact, she blended into the crowd quite well, perched on a wooden bench and listening intently as people shared their stories about mountaintop removal.

Mattea’s journey to Kayford began while working on her upcoming album, Coal, which will feature appropriations of old mining tunes (to learn more about the album visit ). At the time, she was also presenting Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” slide show; she stumbled across in hopes of finding a picture of strip mining from her native West Virginia to include in the show.

On Tuesday, Mattea saw mountaintop removal first hand, as she flew over West Virginia mines with Southwings and hiked up Kayford Mountain with Larry Gibson. Then, after an emotive whirlwind of sights and stories, Mattea spoke about what she had seen and heard. “What I saw today shocked me,” she recalled.

Ultimately, her message was not divisive but instead pinned mountaintop removal as a part of the larger issue of energy independence. For Mattea, it seemed that finding a solution to mountaintop removal was about solving the energy crisis holistically, with coal supporters, anti-MTR activists and politicians working together.

You can read the Charleston Gazette’s front page article about Mattea’s visit here.





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