From the September-October 2021 issue of News & Letters
by Gerry Emmett
The late country music singer-songwriter Tom T. Hall, who passed away Aug. 20, wrote a lot of famous songs. One of his best is a plainspoken tale of a rural community where a mining disaster had recently taken place.
It captures the stoicism, the pain beneath it, and the thinking of a working-class person that cuts even deeper than the pain.
On the way we talked about the 40 miners
Of the 39 who died and one who lived to tell the tale
…Some lady said, “They worth more money now than when they’s a livin’”
And I’ll leave it there ’cause I suppose she told it pretty well
—Tom T. Hall, storyteller (1936-2021)