The singing of former Appalachian coal miner and preacher Frank Newsome exemplifies the oldest, English-language religious music passed down orally in America. And there’s a mountain range in Romania where coal mining communities share a lot in common with Appalachia.

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Frank Newsome and the Hymns of the Old Regular Baptists

John Lohman (Virginia Humanities)

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 describes Newsome’s musical tradition and its influence on bluegrass, gospel, and oldtime music.

18 mins

Coal Miners of the Carpathian Mountains

Theresa Burris (Radford University)

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 says the parallels of these two regions are striking.

10 mins

The Surprising Inhabitants of Former Coal Mines

Wally Smith (University of Virginia College at Wise)

Turns out, former coal mines can yield important biological discoveries. Wally Smith 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.

12 mins

Decoding the Problem of Roadkill

James Vance (University of Virginia College at Wise)

A study in Appalachia is taking a very close look at roadkill. James Vance hopes to find ways to help animals avoid crossing a particularly high-traffic area.

12 mins

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