“Dark Black Coal” – Logan Halstead (2023) [english]

When you are born in certain places you know that you will have little chance to make it, little chance of not ending up working in the mine or being sucked into the spiral of drugs and everything that follows.

As I said in some of my previous articles, West Virginia is a country like this: rural, with the only “wealth” that was given by coal mines and so much poverty. Many.

It’s also a state where musical talent is very present, where young musicians are looking for a hope of living a different life, telling their land and all its problems, but also its beauty.

Some time ago, thanks to a social connection, I discovered this very young boy born in Kentucky, but raised in Boone County, West Virginia.

I don’t say this very young to say: he is 19 years old! Despite his voice and his artistic maturity make think of a singer-songwriter.

Well, Logan Halstead is one of those songwriters who sing this state so beautiful and so hard to live in a poetic and powerful, he sings the experiences of those young people who feel trapped in an existence that does not give easy outlets.

This is a debut, but you will not find the uncertainties of a young career just begun. You will not find a boy doubtful about the direction of his music or his beautiful lyrics.

Logan appeared on the map of artists to keep an eye on, about 2 years ago when he sang on a radio in his state the song that gives the title and direction to the album, Dark Black Coal.

An unexpected boom of listenings and visualizations that made him immediately approach the other “sons of the Appalachians” recently become legends of independent country music: Tyler Childers, Chris Stapleton and Charles Wesley Godwin to name just three.

The title track that made him famous is a poem that hits hard, a melancholy and intense song that the beautiful voice of Logan makes us enter under the skin. You get lost imagining yourself in this land of dark coal mines. A darkness that takes souls and doesn’t leave them so easily.

The album begins with Good ‘Ol Boys with Bad Names, a powerful country folk song enriched by the fantastic violin of Kristin Weber.

The style and expressive incisiveness of Halstead have the same character as those of another young talent of this region, namely Cole Chaney, from whom he borrows the wonderful The Flood (from the wonderful Chaney record of 2021: Mercy, of which I spoke here: https://www.trexroads.com/mercy-cole-chaney-2021-english/.)

A version that will surely have made Chaney proud, as well as the knowledge of having inspired a young talent to follow in his footsteps. Not that Chaney’s old, but he’s so talented, it’s normal to inspire someone who’s just starting out.

An almost bluegrass start to the beautiful Man’s Gotta Eat, where the violin embroiders a beautiful rhythm with the acoustic guitar. Logan’s voice is expressive and intense and guides this song with confidence to sing and dance gently in the shade of a bonfire.

Lawrence Rothman’s production leaves Halstead’s poetry flowing without imposing or changing anything, a retro, but damned current folk country album.

They are paintings of this land, stories that will touch the souls of the inhabitants of these areas.

Songs like Kentucky Sky or the melancholy Coal River. The violin, I’ve always said, is pure magic. It gives that character impossible to get with other tools and the work of Kristin Weber is really great.

The arrangements are not sought after, they do not seek novelty, but they hit the mark.

Fantastic duet with another talented artist that I already told in my articles (https://www.trexroads.com/this-mess-were-in-arlo-mckinley-2022-english/) and that is the great Arlo McKinley. The piece Uneven Ground is a goosebumps ballad for the expressiveness and intensity of his poetry: violin, acoustics, mandolin and two great voices. Beautiful.

A debut that leaves grooves in the soul as on a vinyl. Songs that know ancient, but that tell us a land where young people do not want to surrender to this harsh reality of work that kills and addictions that do even worse.

It’s true that it seems now a cliché to tie songs about coal mines to these artists, but when we tell stories in the manner of Logan Halstead, we can only sit and listen to these “old poems” that move us and make us think.

The question of whether we have found a new Tyler Childers or not, let’s leave it for the next works, for now let’s enjoy a great American songwriting record of a very young artist, but already mature and worthy of being heard and listened to.

Good listening,

Trex Willer by http://www.ticinonotizie.it

(in Ticino Notizie web site you can find original italian version of this article)

Pubblicato da Trex

Sono un blogger e scrittore appassionato di musica indipendente americana. Scrivo gialli polizieschi e ho inventato il personaggio del detective texano Cody Myers.

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