Canary in the Code Mine

J. Paul Gorman, one of Appalachia’s newest coders. Photo by Philip Scott Andrews.

Coal is dead. There, I said it. It’s a tough pill for Appalachia to swallow—where coal has underpinned local economies for more than a century, where it’s given folks who hold nothing but high…

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The Mine Wars, Rewriting History

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I’m such a slacker. On Wednesday night, The Mine Wars premiered on the PBS series American Experience, and I have to admit I missed it. (If it’s any comfort, PBS, I was binge…

One Song: Ain’t Nobody

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—pound for pound, Galax, Virginia is home to more musical talent than just about any place on Earth. This video goes to…

Humans of Biltmore

Photo used with permission from Deborah Scannell.

On the shuttle ride from Biltmore’s parking lot, I knew I should have been paying more attention. The estate’s legendary grounds, designed by the father of landscape architecture Frederick Law…

The Hills are Alive

Writer Anna Lea Jancewicz and her grandmother in the mining town of McAdoo, Pennsylvania, 1979.

There is another Appalachia, just as gritty as ours but across of the Mason-Dixon line. Anna Lea Jancewicz was born and half-raised there. With this stirring essay, she describes a landscape that might…

16 Tons of Prizes

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By the time Tennessee Ernie Ford released the tune “16 Tons” in 1955, he was already successful. He’d recorded a few hits, hosted an NBC quiz series, appeared in a reoccurring role on I…

One Song: North Idaho Zombie Rag

Hillfolk Noir

No, this blog isn’t about Idaho, but neither is the band behind today’s tune—Hillfolk Noir. While the trio hails from Boise, they mash up a dizzying array of musical styles. “Hillfolk Noir’s peculiar take on traditional…

Appalachian Drag

Appalachian drag

James Napier wears a lot of hats. Monday through Friday, he’s a sociology professor at Mountwest Community & Technical College, where he helps students look beyond their own experiences and see larger social patterns.…

The Appalachian Martini

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Thursday took a turn when my neighbor Kat showed, hauling a basket full of liqueurs and cocktail-making devices, a bar kit so heavy she’d reinforced the handle with gaffer tape. Sure, I knew…

A Pawpaw Confession

Photo courtesy of WFIU Public Radio.

I’ve written about my childhood diet, a steady stream of Little Debbie snack cakes and 7-Eleven frozen burritos. Sure, my family ate pinto beans with corn bread some nights, but we didn’t…

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