The sons and daughters of Appalachia are sometimes born into lives of despair and destitution due to the economic malaise of the region brought on by the implosion of the coal industry and other economic and social calamities. One of the few glimmers of hope for the region has been the rise of authentic songwriters singing about their experiences, and taking those experiences to the very top of country charts, creating heroes of local stock, and inspiring hopes and dreams of similar stardom in the upcoming generation as a way out and up.
Logan Halstad is one of those hopefuls. Born in Kentucky and raised in West Virginia, at just 19 years old he’s getting ready to release his debut album Dark Black Coal on May 5th via Thirty Tigers. Just over two years ago Logan was featured in a now viral video singing his song “Dark Black Coal” for Radio West Virginia (see below), and the comparisons to Tyler Childers started pouring in.
Along with Tyler Childers, others such as Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Charles Wesley Godwin, Sierra Ferrell, and so many more from the region that have risen meteorically in country music recently. Logan also specifically names Nicholas Jamerson and Cole Chaney as inspirations. “All these folks mentioned have laid a path and shown that it’s okay to be from these parts; we’re not so looked down on anymore,” Logan says.
Halstead has already proven himself to be wise beyond his age, and has been welcomed into the cadre of songwriters from coal country and beyond, including Arlo McKinley who featured Logan on the song “Back Home” last year. The question about Halstead is the same one for so many of the songwriting hopefuls pouring out of the region: Do they have the originality to grow out of the shadows of folks like Tyler Childers? Meanwhile, songs about coal are starting to become so prevalent, some may say they’re becoming their own cliché.
Halstead will put his writing skills to the test with nine original songs on the new album, along with covering his close friend Cole Chaney’s “The Flood,” which was one of the standouts from Chaney’s 2021 album Mercy. Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” also makes it onto Dark Black Coal.
The album was produced by Lawrence Rothman at The Sound Emporium, and utilized artists such as Kristin Weber on fiddle, the legendary Dennis Crouch on bass, and Ethan Ballinger on mandolin. Logan Halstead played much of the guitar on the album himself. Ahead of the new album, Halstead has released the studio version of the viral song “Dark Black Coal.”
The album is now available for presale/preorder.
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Dark Black Coal Track List:
1. Good ol’ Boys with Bad Names (Logan Halstead)
2. The Flood (Cole Chaney)
3. Man’s Gotta Eat (Logan Halstead)
4. Dark Black Coal (Logan Halstead)
5. Mountain Queen (Logan Halstead)
6. Kentucky Sky (Logan Halstead)
7. Coal River (Logan Halstead)
8. Far From Here (Logan Halstead)
9. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning (Richard Thompson)
10. Uneven Ground (Logan Halstead)
11. Bluefoot (Logan Halstead)