Oh how I love finds like this. An Instagram buddy of mine tagged me in a post of a video by Union Sound Treaty, a band I have never heard of until that point. A positive impression was surely made because here I am sharing them with you. You’re not going to want to miss checking out this West Virgina based band and their fantastic song Coal Country.
To say I am blown away is an understatement with Union Sound Treaty. If you dig through their debut album, New Year you will hear the smooth vocals of Charles Wesley Godwin coming through your speakers loud and clear. It’s an album that contains some notable tunes such as: Hazelton, Need Fall Down, the humorous Peaked, and Low Down Bars. The takeaway from this aforementioned album is it’s a solid first release, but at times felt a little to monotone. Songs like Peaked really woke up the album and made me excited and instilled a yearning for further releases would have that same bit of spark. It felt like there was more personality and vocal range peppered into that song and I knew that was the style I wanted to hear from these guys.
Poking around on YouTube Saturday, I came across their latest song, Coal Country and this one sealed the deal for me. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where Union Sound Treaty has hit their mark. Leave out the topic for a second and just hear the style they chose for it. It’s sonically so well done, so effective in the delivery and as a result, I kept replaying it. The acoustic guitar and Godwin’s vocals take the lead before the rest of the band hits full stride. It gave me chills.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up researching coal country and watching nearly two hours of the Viper coal mine documentaries. Talk about a tough lifestyle that those workers endure to pay their bills. But your lights, your heat, and all that electricity you enjoy so much? Probably from coal plants. While there are efforts being made in renewable energy, coal is still incredibly prominent and so many communities in our country depend on it for their livelihood. When regulations begin to take that away (for better or worse) guess who suffers? Not the big politicians, not the rich. The everyman and women. The ones who are doing the work deep underground to make sure the rest of the country has the lights on.
Coal Country is a nod to those that chose this life and now find themselves without a job, struggling to make ends meet. Just listen to the lyrics and you hear the hardships of being on food-stamps and welfare because the government shut down their jobs. The only option left is to drive away, leaving the once bustling coal mining towns forever in ghostly silence. All those regulations murdered the industry which now lives buried forever in the mountains, right alongside the jobs of so many coal miners. It’s a powerful song that those with ties to the West Viginia mountain coal mining industry will appreciate. A little reading on the subject shows how hard it is for WV mining to compete with the strip mines of other parts of the country such as Wyoming and Montana. WV can’t produce the same amount of coal per person and the mines just aren’t as easily accessible than those that are farther out west.
I find that songs like these are worth far more than anything about beer and trucks ever could muster up. Coal Country is a song that not only sounds so good, but also has such a personal connection to the people that are fighting for their livelihoods. It’s songs like this that hit the right chords with people, you know, the everyman and woman who are going to be showing up at Union Sound Treaties next concert….Not some big business exec that’s set for life in his V12 Aston Martin.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!