Announcing Official Album Release – June 4, 2021

April 30, 2021
Devil in the Hills album cover

We are excited to announce June 4, 2021 as the official full release date of the album “Devil In The Hills: Coal Country Reckoning” in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of The Battle of Blair Mountain, which signaled an end to West Virginia’s decades-long Mine Wars.

The Battle of Blair Mountain was the largest labor uprising in United States history and the largest armed civil uprising since the American Civil War.

The songs on Devil In The Hills: Coal Country Reckoning tell stories of the conditions in the early coal camps that eventually led the miners and their families to stand up for their rights and fight the corrupt forces under which they lived and worked.

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For those of you unfamiliar with West Virginia’s history, here is a very brief synopsis:

  • May 19, 1920 – the “Matewan Massacre” – a deadly shootout between a few union organizers and mine guard agents in the town of Matewan, WV. This led to retaliatory skirmishes on both sides along with arrests and trials well into the following year, 1921.
  • August 1, 1921 – Sheriff Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers, both union supporters and involved in the Matewan shooting of mine guard agents, were gunned down by coal company agents on the McDowell County courthouse steps in broad daylight in front of their wives. This sparked the miners into battle. (This is where the John Sayles movie “Matewan” ends.)
  • August 7, 1921 – rallies were staged, prompting the organizing of striking miners from all over the region, with over 10,000 eventually marching/riding toward Blair Mountain.
  • August 25, 1921 – considered the first actual skirmish of the conflict. By August 29 a full battle was in action.
  • September 1, 1921 – President Harding ordered US troops and air power into West Virginia. This incident remains the only time US military air power was used against its own citizens.
  • September 2, 1921 – surrender by the miners. It’s said many of the miners had worn their WWI uniforms into battle. They were a patriotic bunch, ready to fight corrupt company forces, but when they saw fellow US soldiers, they put down their arms and walked home.

Nearly 900 were arrested for treason, leading to several years of trials and no closure.  It wasn’t until 1935, a couple years into the New Deal (1933), that the federal government ordered labor unions for the miners and conditions began to finally change.


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Help Us Keep The Stories Alive

Your purchase of the Devil In The Hills album and booklet package helps keep this important history alive. Your support helps us continue writing more songs as more stories are discovered.

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