Friday, April 3, 2020
– Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster that killed 29 men in West Virginia, Steve Earle will perform a special live stream this Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern on Facebook
and the Sirius XM Outlaw Country Facebook
The audio from the live stream will also air via Earle's weekly Hardcore Troubadour radio show on SiriusXM Outlaw Country, Channel 60, next week (premiering April 11th at 9 p.m. Eastern).
Earle's live stream performance will feature the songs he wrote for and performed in "Coal Country," a new play with music based on the disaster written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jenson and directed by Blank. Opening on March 3 at The Public Theater in New York City, the production was postponed after two weeks due to COVID-19.
Jensen and Blank interviewed the surviving West Virginia miners, along with the families of the miners who died, and created monologues for their characters using those words. Working closely with Oskar Eustis, The Public Theater's Artistic Director, Jensen, Blank, and Earle workshopped the songs and text for nearly four years. Earle functioned as "a Greek chorus with a guitar," and was on stage for the entire play with the songs providing personal, historical and social context for the testimony of the characters.
An hour before the live stream performance is set to begin, the creative team members of "Coal Country" will release a special tribute video on Facebook at 2 p.m. Eastern.
The seven songs Earle wrote specifically for "Coal Country" lead his forthcoming studio album "Ghosts of West Virginia" to be released on May 22 on New West Records