Electronic Press Kit

Artist’s BioMary Hott

Press Release: 6/4/2021 – Mary Hott Reveals ‘Devil in the Hills: Coal Country Reckoning’

 

Devil in the Hills Collage w/Title                      

                       

 

Press Reviews

“This is grim history beautifully told…. She has a first-rate supporting cast in the Carpenter Ants, with indie rock veteran Don Dixon and Mountain Stage house band guitarist Michael Lipton co-producing. The music is rootsy rock with echoes of Appalachia … “ – Steven Wine, Associated Press

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“Every once in a while, an under-the-radar artist with a new album sneaks up on me and so it is with Mary Hott with Her Carpenter Ants… a musical and historical adventure… “  – David Bowling, Cashbox Music Reviews

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“With her beautiful and impassioned voice, Hott makes no apologies for her defense of workers, claiming the hills of West Virginia know stories the rest of the nation doesn’t.”  –  Tom Henry, The Blade

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“Hott is a West Virginian, one brave enough to seek the truth about her state and the industry that shaped it during previous decades… It is a brilliant collection of music, story, and song.”  –  Donald Teplyske @FervorCoulee

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“…stunning forthcoming album…  covers the long hidden stories of the men, women, and children who labored in the West Virginia mines. The album features seven original songs, plus interpretations of a miner’s march, a Southern gospel hymn and this reinvention of the John Denver classic ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ ”  Joe Wolfe-Mazares, Ear 2 The Ground

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“…singer/songwriter Mary Hott is not messing around. Her songs deal with the harsh and nasty legacy of corporate coal mining practices in West Virginia. While generations of songwriters have addressed the issues of environmental damage, union-busting, and poverty-perpetuating corporate practices on the part of these companies, Hott shines light on an even more disturbing legacy…  The music is bluesy and dark, and benefits from outstanding production by Don Dixon (R.E.M., the Smithereens) and Michael Lipton; the program includes not only only songs by Hott but also a traditional ballad from the region, …and, somewhat startlingly but not at all inappropriately, a dynamite voice-and-piano cover of John Denver’s hit ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads.’ “ – Rick Anderson, CD HotList: New Releases for Libraries

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“… a living, breathing indictment about the hardships and cruelty of life in and around the mines. A good for you record that’s good for you in more than one way.  Check it out.”  – Chris Spector, Midwest Record

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“I love history and if songwriters work that into their songs I’m just about in heaven. Mary Hott with The Carpenter Ants do that with Devil in the Hills… “  –  Jim Clark, Lee County Courier

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“Powerful stuff indeed…The emotion in Mary Hott’s voice, as she sings her songs is a genuine 8th Wonder of the World; as she has the capacity to go from passionate Honky-Tonker/Murder Ballad one minute, ‘The Spot’ then grab your heart the next; … A rather fabulous album… and then, there is ‘Room of Lost Souls’ which …  sounds like a long lost Bobbie Gentry song; and if it was it would be heralded from the Rolling Stone rafters…  wonderfully created and constructed, you also get a booklet that details the background (and more) to each and every story …  and this alone should be available in every school across America…”  – The Rocking Magpie

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“Singer/songwriter Mary Hott mixes everything from Celtic-style ballads to full-on blues and gospel as she delivers a compelling, bittersweet tribute to the coal miners of her native West Virginia that juggles tragedy and suffering with hope…” – Marty Gunther, Chicago Blues Guide

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“…Hott, with seven original songs among 10 and an information-filled, 24-page booklet, sheds light upon the long-hidden stories of the men, women and children who labored in the West Virginia mining country during the early 20th Century. …’They Built a Railroad’ is a rolling, country-tinged song written by Hott and Lipton that sets the scene for the coal industry’s domination in West Virginia…In ‘Annabelle Lee,’ a Celtic-style ballad, an impoverished family rents a 12-year-old daughter to coal company agents who seek ‘comfort girls’ for company managers in remote coal camps. The driving ‘Take the Esau’ alludes to the terrible price women paid just to keep their families fed when a husband was injured or died in the mines…  The title track has a slinky blues sound, while ‘Rise Up, WV’ is very upbeat.”  – Tom von Malder, Courier Publications

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“On ‘Devil in the Hills’, it’s smart/intelligent how Mary Hott (with the help of historical data) digs into the history of her native region. Also very successful is the musical support she receives from the fantastic band, The Carpenter Ants. A release with a heart for the working person…“  – Eric Schuurmans, Rootstime!

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“Coal gave rise to industry—and air pollution and misery for anyone who went underground in search of that black gold. Singer Mary Hott returned to West Virginia coal country for the inspiration that congealed into Devil in the Hills …she ventures toward Americana country in songs drawn from the oral history collection at a West Virginia museum. The stories she collected are as dire as the songs she sings, telling them matter of factly in a folk-rock setting often influenced by the balladeering transplanted to Appalachia centuries ago. Eight-year-olds working in the mines? It happened. Devil in the Hills concludes with a weary rendition of John Denver’s lone claim to writing a classic, ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads.’ ” – Dave Luhrssen, Shepherd Express

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“Drawing on oral history accounts by former coal camp residents in West Virginia about exploitation, sexual assault, and anti-union violence, a 7th generation resident of the state wrote story songs about the region’s often ignored history.” – Matt Witt, World Wide Work

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Recorded Interviews

 

 

“Mesmerizing…  do yourselves a favor and buy the CD with the booklet and don’t just download.”      – Vinny Marini, host of MusicOnTheCouch.com

 

 

WOWD Radio

“This is really an amazing album. In a way it’s the way we learned about the underground railroad, which nobody really knew about until many years later.  This is an expose…  really well done.”                   – David Eisner, WOWD, Takoma Park Radio

 

 


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