Airing: March 6, 2020

Coming Up: Mountains in Harmony

An ex-miner at an abandoned coal mine in Romania. Image credit: Flore de Préneuf / World Bank

Frank Newsome is an Old Regular Baptist preacher, singer of lined-out hymnody, and former coal miner in Appalachia. This remarkable singer released an album in 2018. Folklorist Jon Lohman (Virginia Humanities) describes Newsome’s musical tradition and its influence on bluegrass, gospel, and oldtime music.  And: Central Appalachia is unique for its music, mountain landscape, and coal mining industry. But travel to the Carpathian Mountains in Romania and you’ll find a place that’s not unlike southwest Virginia and Kentucky. Theresa Burris (Radford University) says the parallels of these two regions are striking.

Later in the show: Turns out, former coal mines can yield important biological discoveries. Wally Smith (University of Virginia College at Wise) recently found a type of green salamander that lives in this habitat of vertical cliffs, bluffs, and rock crevices. Smith was named Outstanding Faculty of 2018 by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.  And: A study in Appalachia is taking a very close look at roadkill. James Vance (University of Virginia College at Wise) hopes to find ways to help animals avoid crossing a particularly high-traffic area.

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