Country legend Steve Earle and The Dukes have announced their new album Ghosts of West Virginia. The album, which is set to be released on May 22nd of this year, is Earle’s 20th studio album since the onset of his career in the mid 1980’s.
The album’s first single, “Devil Put the Coal in the Ground,” also dropped along with the announcement of the album. “Earle employs a heave-ho work-song rhythm to conjure the pride of working men as they descend into the mines,” writes Rolling Stone Country. “With a bluesy, hypnotic musical backdrop, droning fiddle, and pounding percussion, Earle drawls his lyrics in a way that almost sounds like a taunt: ‘The good lord gimme two hands/Says is you an animal or is you a man.’ It transforms into a psychedelic guitar odyssey, thrilling and anxiety-ridden all at once.”
Earle is a big believer in environmental sustainability and clean energy, and his message behind both his single and the new album will aim to resonate those messages with the people of West Virginia, who’s economy his primarily been driven by coal throughout the 20th century. “I said I wanted to speak to people that didn’t necessarily vote the way that I did, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything in common. We need to learn how to communicate with each other. My involvement in this project is my little contribution to that effort,” stated Earle about Ghosts of West Virginia.
Steve Earle and The Dukes recently made an appearance at Outlaw Country Cruise 5, which took place on the Norwegian Pearl from Miami to Key West and Falmouth, Jamaica on January 29. Ghosts of West Virginia will be the band’s first album since the release of Guy last year.
Check out the cover art and the track list for Ghosts of West Virginia below: