Sheryl Crow, Big Kenny, Emmylou Harris Unite To Save Appalachian Mountains

From the press release:

Videos by American Songwriter

Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Kathy Mattea, and Big Kenny Alphin are working to enlist fellow artists to join them in a new campaign, Music Saves Mountains, to help protect the mountains of Appalachia by ending the world’s most destructive method of coal mining: mountaintop removal. This extreme strip mining extracts coal by using explosives to literally blow up ridgelines to provide easy access to thin coal seams below, with the leftover rock, rubble and mining waste dumped into valley streams below. To date some 500 Appalachian peaks have been flattened, leaving behind scarred moonscapes, polluted water and shell-shocked communities.

“This particularly bad form of mining literally uses dynamite to blow the tops off of mountains,” said Crow. “They call this mountain top removal and it is destroying some of the most beautiful places in the United States, including here in Tennessee where I live. I think it is a crime against nature that this practice is allowed, period.”

On the campaign website,, visitors can learn more about mountaintop removal, see what participating musicians are doing to protect the Appalachians and find out what concerned citizens can do to help end the devastating practice of high-elevation surface coal mining.

“The beauty of the Appalachian Mountains has inspired countless songs in country, bluegrass, gospel and folk music, and we must do everything possible to protect them,” said Big Kenny Alphin of Big and Rich. “This campaign was founded out of the respect musicians, and especially people from Appalachia have for our beloved mountains. We’re calling on everyone to help keep the ‘country’ in country music.”

Currently in Tennessee, legislators are debating an important bill – the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act – that will prohibit mountaintop coal mining within 100 feet of streams and rivers and will protect mountains over 2,000 feet high in Tennessee from being leveled. Musicians are asking fans to contact Governor Phil Bredesen and ask him to support the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act to ensure the safety of the state’s mountaintops.

On a federal level, Congress is considering legislation to curtail mountaintop mining. The bi-partisan Clean Water Protection Act has over 150 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and last week Tennessee’s senior U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander joined Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) to introduce the Appalachia Restoration Act, which would effectively ban mountaintop removal.

To date, more that a million acres of Appalachia have been flattened – from eastern Tennessee and eastern Kentucky to southern West Virginia and western Virginia — and over 1,000 miles of streams have been  polluted or destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. Tennessee currently has at least four active and 13 proposed mountaintop removal sites in Anderson, Claiborne, Campbell, Fentress, Morgan and Scott Counties.

For more information about the Music Saves Mountains campaign, visit


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  1. Big Kenny, Emmy Lou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Music Saves Mountains, Sheryl Crow,

    This kind of stuff just torques me off. I think you individuals should be the first ones to turn off your electricity, not purchase any materials/devices made out of steel or other mined metals (no cars, bikes, or other transportation), not purchase any plastic products, gasoline or any other petroleum based products. Then at that point you could say all of this stuff and not be hypocritical about it. Believe me, you have taken advantage of it as much or more (as musicians), in most cases, than the other folks that you sell your music to.

    I wonder where you people think all of the stuff you use every day comes from (buses, planes and limousines you use for transportation)? We should turn off all coal production for a couple of weeks and see if you and the general public might see things a bit differently. Folks cry when they lose their power for just a few hours. You obviously have no idea how many industies (and their products) are tied to coal production.

    Don’t kid yourselves…you also are a big part of the problems we have. What are you really ready to give up and sacrifice? Easy to give someone else’s job away. You people obviously don’t know where most of your power comes from. And by the way…aren’t there quite a few folks that make their livings in coal…in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, West Virginia, etc? Did anyone bother to ask them? These folks work their butts off for you and me to have steel, heat, electricity, etc. What are you going to attack next…steel and copper mines?

    You musicians could, I guess, make all of your stuff out of wooden material (heat, housing and all) and then you could then be bashed by the tree huggers for cutting down all of the trees and the EPA when you polute too much (you would need to add separators to your wood burning stoves).

    And by the way, I didn’t read about any suggestions and solutions for any of this…wonderful! Where do you all think your power is going to come from…windmills, hydrogen and solar? I wish it were that simple…I’d be right there with you. It is easy to bash…it is very difficult to fix. If you want to help, come up with real solutions as you cry about the problems.


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