Philip Bowen Details a Harsh Reality In Powerful New Single “Vampire in Appalachia” [Exclusive Premiere]

Philip Bowen’s latest single “Vampire in Appalachia” paints a bleak portrait of modern-day Appalachia, a region that has for decades been exploited, stripped of its resource, and now faces a growing opioid epidemic. The bright cry of the fiddle and the crisp pluck of steel strings give life to what sounds like a cheery tune. However, there’s a Vampire in Appalachia, the song warns, and we’re runnin’ out of blood.

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“This song is about the darker side of living in Appalachia, and it centers around some of the biggest pain points of our region,” the singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and current America’s Got Talent contestant tells American Songwriter. In the song’s first verse, he details the harsh working conditions in the mines where he’s from. “My grandpa’s brother, who we all called ‘Uncle Bob,’ unfortunately died of black lung when I was in high school.”

The second verse touches on addiction and the damage the opioid epidemic has done to entire communities in his home state of West Virginia. “I was inspired to write this song shortly after receiving a particular bit of bad news about a close friend,” he shares. “I was angry and sad and depressed all at once, and so this image of a ‘Vampire in Appalachia’ popped into my head and wouldn’t leave.”

Featuring assistance from Josiah Leming of Josiah and the Bonnevilles, Bowen’s harrowing new song showcases an artist with a deep love and understanding for his home region who also possesses the ability to unveil the harsh realities that exist throughout its biggest of cities and within its deepest of hollers.

“This one is the hardest hit to my own life experience,” the artist explains. “Co-written with Ryan Lafferty (another native West Virginian), we wanted to convey the sense of desperation and urgency that you can’t help but swim in when you live in Appalachia. It’s a devastating lament for a home that we will never stop fighting for. … This song means everything to me because I want this healing so badly for my home state and region.”

“Vampire in Appalachia” will appear on Bowen’s debut album, Old Kanawha, which is set for release on August 18. His latest single he says “shows people the heart and soul of my writing,” more of which can be visited on his forthcoming release.

“It’s important to me that Appalachia and West Virginia are represented well through my work,” he adds. “I endeavored to do that as best as I could with these songs. I love talking about my journey as an artist and songwriter and the work and effort it takes to get from where I was a few years ago until now. I want people to feel that authenticity and know my heart when they hear these songs. I want people to know how much this all means to me.” 

Listen to “Vampire in Appalachia” below.

(Photo by Jordan Beck / Courtesy of Sweetheart PR)

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