Scott Holstein | Cold Coal Town

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Cold Coal Town

by Scott Holstein

COAL RECORDS / NASHVILLE FEATURES 5- STAR ALBUM SCOTT HOLSTEIN, RANDY KOHRS, CLAY HESS, SCOTT VESTAL, AARON RAMSEY, TIM CROUCH, JAY WEAVER and DON RIGSBY Liner Notes by Larry Cordle and Dave Evans
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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1. The Spell
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3:14 album only
2. Walls of Stone
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4:38 album only
3. Cold Coal Town
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4:15 album only
4. Black Water
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2:49 album only
5. Leavin' Charleston
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3:19 album only
6. Boone County Blues
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2:59 album only
7. Montani Semper Liberi
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2:54 album only
8. Roll Coal Roll
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2:49 album only
9. Clinch Mountain Hills
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3:36 album only
10. The Holstein Waltz
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3:51 album only
11. Ain't No Higher Ground
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2:45 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
This is a great Americana record and can't be denied! -Carl Jackson

First, you have to have a great song. Scott Holstein's got, not only one, but an album full! Then, you have to be able to SELL the song. This West Virginian definitely does that with these great performances from his lonesome-themed new CD, "Cold Coal Town". I hear Carter Stanley & Larry Sparks influences here. There's also an unmistakable Jamey Johnson, Waylon-esque quality to this stuff, and I believe either of those titans would have been right at home with these great songs. My personal favorites are "Roll Coal Roll," a lament that wonders how long the singer's truck will hold out & just where all that coal goes -that trucks, trains & boats haul, and the dark, brooding "Walls of Stone" that really gets the hair up on the back of my neck. Brilliant writing, great sounding tracks! Folks, there's a new singer/songwriter out there - his name is Scott Holstein and he is serving notice with this set of material that he's in here for the long haul. Buy this CD. You won't be sorry! .................
Larry Cordle

I have known Scott Holstein for 10 years or more and his soulful style of singing.I like every song on this album! .My favorite being Black Water about the Buffalo Creek flood. A Great singer , songwriter and musician, Scott can do it! It all sounds good! A great batch of musicians!Highly recommended !He has heartfelt music and worked for me over the years and is one fine person and friend. You can't look for any more soulful singing not only in Bluegrass, but if you like Merle Haggard and George Jones' Country style of music,Scott has his own way of doing it too! The first of many to come and lookng forward to the next one.He sings from the heart!
Legenday Dave Evans

COAL RECORDS
P.O. Box 22601
Nashville Tn. 37202-2601

-COLD COAL TOWN-2011'

LINER NOTES-

First, you have to have a great song. Scott Holstein's got, not only one, but an album full! Then, you have to be able to SELL the song. This West Virginian definitely does that with these great performances from his lonesome-themed new CD, "Cold Coal Town". I hear Carter Stanley & Larry Sparks influences here. There's also an unmistakable Jamey Johnson, Waylon-esque quality to this stuff, and I believe either of those titans would have been right at home with these great songs. My personal favorites are "Roll Coal Roll," a lament that wonders how long the singer's truck will hold out & just where all that coal goes -that trucks, trains & boats haul, and the dark, brooding "Walls of Stone" that really gets the hair up on the back of my neck. Brilliant writing, great sounding tracks! Folks, there's a new singer/songwriter out there - his name is Scott Holstein and he is serving notice with this set of material that he's in here for the long haul. Buy this CD. You won't be sorry! .................
Larry Cordle 2/23/2011

I have known Scott Holstein for 10 years or more and his soulful style of singing.I like every song on this album! .My favorite being Black Water about the Buffalo Creek flood. A Great singer , songwriter and musician, Scott can do it! It all sounds good! A great batch of musicians!Highly recommended !He has heartfelt music and worked for me over the years and is one fine person and friend. You can't look for any more soulful singing not only in Bluegrass, but if you like Merle Haggard and George Jones' Country style of music,Scott has his own way of doing it too! The first of many to come and lookng forward to the next one.He sings from the heart!
Dave Evans 2/25/011'


-RECENT REVIEWS-

-Holstein has roots in West Virginia, but his latest release — easily one of the year’s finest country albums — is hiding in the dark corners of the internet. With a few clicks on Holstein’s Web site, you can order a CD copy of ”Cold Coal Town,” 11 bluegrass-tinted songs penned by Holstein and sung in a commanding baritone that practically stops time during the somber a cappella of “Black Water.” For fans who like to whine about the death of “real” country music, it’s time to put your PayPal password where your mouth is.-Washington Post

SCOTT HOLSTEIN
COLD COAL TOWN
Coal Records, No Number
This is an outstanding recording in every way. With a rich baritone voice reminiscent of country singer Josh Turner and a talent for writing straight-to-the-gut lyrics wrapped up in strong melodies, Scott Holstein has hit one out of the park with Cold Coal Town. These great songs draw from life in coal country and build a consistent theme throughout the entire recording, resulting in a cohesive work that may very well stand with the likes of Jimmy Arnold’s Southern Soul or Marty Stuart’s The Pilgrim.
Propelled by Holstein’s powerful vocals, Cold Coal Town is a trip through the highs and lows of Appalachian mountain life and the coal mining which has, throughout the history of the region, been both a blessing and a curse. Holstein’s well-crafted, compelling songs hit the themes believably, from the prisoner’s lament in “Walls Of Stone” and the civil war tale ‘Montani Semper Liberi” to “Roll Coal Roll” and the hard-driving “Boone County Blues.”
Although lacking the high part of the high-lonesome sound, Holstein evokes the sound and influence of the Stanley Brothers with two songs of particular note. “Clinch Mountain Hills” is as close to something Ralph and Carter might have done as any song that actually mentions the Stanleys. And the chilling a cappella dirge “Black Water” reflects back to the folk tradition, when true songs of tragedy and loss would pass news from community to community, much like the Stanleys’ songs did with “No Schoolbus In Heaven” and “The Flood.”
None of this is to suggest that Cold Coal Town is a depressing recording. It isn’t. It’s too refined and gutsy. It’s dark, but with driving instrumental work from a crackerjack supporting cast including Randy Kohrs, Scott Vestal, Aaron Ramsey, Clay Hess, and others, Cold Coal Town has an emotional impact that’s almost visual, as great music can do. Holstein has not only created a great recording, but also a fine work of art and a recording not to be missed. One of the best in a very long time. (Coal Records) www.scottholsteinmusic.com.) AWIII-BLUEGRASS UNLIMITED

The last musical recommendation I got from the late lamented 9513 was Scott Holstein, who Brody Vercher pointed out a few weeks ago. His independent CD Cold Coal Town has been produced by Scott himself alongside dobro player extraordinaire Randy Kohrs. Impressively, the entire album was recorded in one night (in Kohrs’ studio in Nashville), and great credit goes to the very accomplished band. Bluegrass backings and a soulful fusion of bluegrass-country-blues in Scott’s passionately smoky voice set this record apart. The songs, all written by Scott, are mainly rooted in his West Virginia coalmining family background, and the quality is exceptionally high.
‘The Spell’ opens the set with the protagonist railing against the woman he loves despite her “wicked ways”. It seems quite appropriate for it to lead into ‘Walls Of Stone’, the blues-infused lament of a prisoner sentenced to 99 years in gaol after killing his unfaithful wife. The sprightly instrumental ‘Leavin Charleston’ showcases the band’s tight, sparkling musicianship. Their more lyrical playing comes to the fore in another instrumental cut, the stately ’The Holstein Waltz’, which is lovely. Scott does not play an instrument on the album, but composed the tunes.
‘Boone County Blues’ is one of those cheerful sounding expressions of deep sadness which are common in bluegrass, again with really great picking. It is, perhaps, the least exceptional song here, but is still very good. The charming ‘Clinch Mountain Hills’ is a tribute to the Stanley brothers, written by Carter Stanley’s graveside and channelling his voice. Don Rigsby provides the high tenor harmony counterpoint to Scott’s gravelly baritone.
I don’t remember ever seeing a country song with a Latin title before. ‘Montani Semper Liberi’ is the official motto of Scott’s home state of West Virginia (meaning “mountaineers [are] always free”), and the song tells a dramatic story, with a young man choosing not to take sides in the Civil War, just as the state was formed in June 1863, declaring:
Mama stitched my uniform
But no colors do I choose
They’ll never take this mountain
The gray nor the blue
Cause mountaineers are always free
And almost heaven’s good enough for me
Upon this land I’ll state my creed
Mountaineers are always free
The grim reality of life in the coal towns fuels much of Scott’s best work. The title track has the protagonist leaving his childhood home for a better future, and reminiscing about the hardworking miner father who “left one day and came back dead”, having advised his son not to follow him into the mines. In ‘Roll, Coal, Roll’, meanwhile, the protagonist is a weary trucker moving coal down from the mountain mines.
The acappella Black Water quietly and compellingly tells the true story of a fatal flood caused by a coal company’s unsafe practices in the 70s, when several communities were destroyed and over 100 people were killed at Buffalo Creek, West Virginia by coal slurry after a dam broke. Perhaps the highlight of a very fine record, this sounds like a traditional folk song, and has Don Rigsby and Randy Kohrs on harmony:
Coal company said “God is to blame”
They built the dam “but He brought the rain”
Truth was known throughout the land
Never do trust a company man
Black water, black water
So black and so deep
And under black water forever I’ll sleep
Death angels are calling out to me
Black water is rolling down Buffalo Creek
Death was the scene even high in the tree
Fathers and children and mothers to be
Nowhere to run as black water comes down
And so is the lie of a coal mining town
A similar flood seen from the first person, this time caused by a coal company’s reckless clearance of tree cover on the mountain, sees locals seeking refuge, but there ‘Ain’t No Higher Ground’ to run to.
This is a fantastic record, and definitely my favourite of the year so far. I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t make my end of year top 10.
Grade: A+
You can currently purchase the CD from Scott’s website, although I understand wider distribution is being sought.-The 9513 / MyKindofCountry

Once again my friend and producer Randy Kohrs sent me an amazing project to master. Scott Holstein’s “Cold Coal Town” highlights Holstein’s fantastic vocal performances and killer song writing. The musicianship is stellar and Scott’s singing is off the hook. The Americana and Bluegrass communities are gonna eat this one up!-
Randy Leroy -Airshow


Reviews


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Joe Ross

Direct, creative approach to bluegrass writing and singing
Singer/songwriter Scott Holstein lined up some of my favorite Nashville-based bluegrass session musicians to bring his original songs to life on an evocative album with a sharp edge. One can hardly go wrong with the likes of Randy Kohrs (Dobro, harmony vocals), Scott Vestal (banjo), Tim Crouch (fiddle), Aaron Ramsey (mandolin), Clay Hess (guitar), and Jay Weaver (bass). Special guest Don Rigsby adds vocal tracks to a cappella “Black Water” and “Clinch Mountain Hills.” The latter pays a respectful tribute to the Stanley Brothers. Holstein follows that track with another in ¾-time, “The Holstein Waltz,” a particularly elegant showcase for champion fiddler Crouch and mandolinist Ramsey. Originally from West Virginia, Holstein’s self-penned title cut has an impressionistic message that evolves melodically into an expanded jazzy improvisation. Mournful themes are similarly revisited in the “Boone County Blues” and “Roll Coal Roll.” Another stellar song is “Montani Semper Liberi” (West Virginia’s state motto meaning mountaineers are always free) that tells of a young West Virginia in 1863 who chooses neutrality during the Civil War rather than to allow the gray or blue to take his mountain. The bouncy instrumental “Leavin’ Charleston” could become a bluegrass standard. Holstein’s album has grit, largely as a result of his expressive baritone vocals and formidable rhythmically-enticing bluegrass accompaniment. Both are similar to Jim Lauderdale’s approach to bluegrass. Holstein’s direct, creative approach to writing and singing impart plenty of attitude, as well as a few honky tonk, country and rock & roll influences into a thoughtful bluegrass project. (Joe Ross)