In our humble opinion, no song better tells the story about the devastation of strip mining and mountaintop removal than John Prine‘s haunting “Paradise,” an ode to the Kentucky community wiped off the map by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) through both strip mining and health hazards from the a coal-burning electrical power plant.
This fitting tribute to Prine’s song was performed by Bernie Coveney & Friends at a concert a few years ago at Oak Grove Pavilion at Zion Luthern Church with Mike Mitchell (fiddle) and Abe Goorskey (mandolin) handling the vocals, Coveney on guitar and Chris Luster on bass.
I put together a version of this back when it was shot in 2007 but didn’t really like it so I dug through my collection of coal mining photos and recut it from original footage shot at the time and will be part of a longer documentary on Floyd’s music culture. Some of the photos are mine, others are stock images. I hope they help tell a story that needs to be told over and over.