Earle receives theatre award nomination
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Earle receives theatre award nomination

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 – Steve Earle was nominated for "Outstanding Music in a Play" category for the 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards on Wednesday.

Jessica Blank also received an "Outstanding Director" nomination as well. The Drama Desk Awards ceremony will take place virtually on Sunday, May 31.

The music will be released by Earle in his exploration of the historical role of coal in rural communities with "Ghosts of West Virginia," which comes out on May 22 on New West. The 10-song set is Earle's 20th studio album and was mixed entirely in mono.

"Ghosts of West Virginia" centers on the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion that killed 29 men in that state in 2010, making it one of the worst mining disasters in American history. Earle started working on the album after being approached by Blank and Erik Jensen, a playwright team that would create "Coal Country," a play with music about the disaster. They 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, they workshopped the songs and text for nearly four years. Earle was on stage for the entire play and performed seven of the songs that lead "Ghosts of West Virginia," providing personal, historical and social context for the testimony of the play's characters. The show opened on May 3, but the production was postponed after only two weeks due to COVID-19.

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