SONG PREMIERE: Alt-Country Outfit Drift Mouth Tackle Coal Industry Failures in Title Track Off New LP ‘Loveridge Is Burning’

Alt-country band Drift Mouth is made up of drummer David Murphy, who was the long time beat keeper for Two Cow Garage, bassist Jess Kauffman, who is the former singer of Nashville’s Duke Jr. & the Smokey Boots and currently fronts the band Mobile Home with her husband Kyle Martin. The band is lead by Lou Poster, who was the frontman in Grafton before starting Drift Mouth. On November 20th the band will release their new album Loveridge Is Burning (PRE-ORDER)
via Wild Frontier Recording Company.

Measure twice, cut once. 

Its a rule as old as craftsmanship itself. At its core it speaks to preparation, planning, and careful execution. Its the way that good homes are built, brilliant architecture is created, and masterpieces are made. You see it at work in a smooth tabletop, a wellturned piece of leather, an old quilt.This simple rule gives the maker as much control as possible over the outcome of a vast undertaking in a chaotic world.  

As in any art, the markers that set really great records apart are in the details, and the years of planning and months of recording thatwentintothis project allowed for ample attention to them here. Basic tracks were put down in January, and the pandemic slowed the process until new protocols could be put in place to finish thework,drawing it out untilAugust. But this delay seems small compared to the length of time it has taken to bring some songs to fruition.  The title track, for example, was written in 2005 as a gift for frontman Lou Poster’s father upon his retirement from the West Virginia coalfields after 37 years of labor underground.  During the intervening years it has taken several forms and undergone many revisions, and has finally emerged as a finished, wellcrafted song. Measure twice, cut once. 

The album has many moods and several sonic approaches, defying the easy tags of Alt Country or Americana that are often placed on the group. Yes, it has that gravelly twang ,those sugary harmonies, and the occasional fiddle or organ rounding out the sound. But it also has a Rock nRoll heart that thumps along throughout, marries the traditional elements to a more modern sound, and lets you shake your hips while the lyrical imagery takes you deep into the stories of the folk heroes, B league touring musicians, vengeful wives (“Myra”), and landowners who refuse to sell out to Big Coal. Bolstered by the incredible production of Joe Viers (Lydia Loveless, Blues Traveler, 21 Pilots) Loveridge Is Burning is the result of a lifetime of measurements, calculations, reflections and growth.

Today Glide is excited to premiere the album’s title track, which is a work of lyrical history that centers around an incident in 1968 when the Number 9 Mine exploded in Farmington WV, killing 78 men. The song is a somber and soulful look at what happens when corporations put profit over lives, and Poster lays it out in raw and vivid terms with the kind of literary song craftmanship of fellow troubadours like Steve Earle and Son Volt’s Jay Farrar. In doing so, he joins a long and storied list of songwriters who have made the plight of the coal miners a focus of their music. In this case it’s personal, as Poster’s own family has worked those coalfields and that seam for generations, losing family and friends for over a hundred years in those hollers, coming out alive but not unscathed. His grandfather suffered from depression after being involved in both Number 9 explosions, and his father worked 37 years in those mines only to emerge in retirement with chronic lung issues. The resulting song brings to mind the alt-country of the early 90s when bands took it upon themselves to explore social issues that impacted rural communities, and the band amplifies the emotion of these feelings with layering in of rich organ and tasteful guitar work to complement Poster’s deep road-weary vocals. 

Poster describes the inspiration behind the song:

“Loveridge mine stands as a metaphor for all of the failures of the coal industry to deliver on its promises of prosperity and stability for the people of Appalachia. The first of the revolutionary “longwall” mines in the region, it rocketed to prominence as one of the top producing mines in the world in just the first few years of operation in the ’80s, generating vast wealth for the owners and shareholders out of state. The miners working there, however, were subjected to long hours in dangerous conditions for comparatively little pay, just as they have always been.

Unfortunately the seam of coal being mined there, the Pittsburgh #8 seam, is notoriously high in methane gas. This contributed to the deadly explosions at the nearby Number 9 mine in 1954 and in 1968. Loveridge mine caught fire several times, and has had sections burning for years. A jet engine was used to push exhaust into the mine to help extinguish it at one point.

Once again, after all is said and done, and all the coal is gone, the company moves on, pockets full and conscience clear, leaving poverty, addiction, and despair in their wake, while the people of Appalachia are left to pick up the pieces of the broken promises.

Also, this is the song that I wrote as a retirement gift for my father when he left the mines after 37 years.” 


Photo credit: Chris Casella Photography

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