Kentucky-born, West Virginia-raised country singer Logan Halstead released his first song "Dark Black Coal" to YouTube in 2020 at just 17 years old, and at the time that I'm writing this, it's now got nearly six-million views. The instant breakthrough led him to appear on an Arlo McKinley song and open for Zach Bryan, and he since signed to Thirty Tigers who will release his debut album, also titled Dark Black Coal, on May 5 (pre-order). The album was produced by Lawrence Rothman (Angel Olsen, Amanda Shires, Margo Price, etc), and it features nine original songs, plus covers of Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" and Cole Chaney's "The Flood." Three of those songs (including the Richard Thompson cover) were also on a live-session EP released last year, and two of the proper studio singles--"Kentucky Sky" and "Good Ol' Boys with Bad Names"--were recently released. Today, Logan releases the album's third single "Coal River," along with a solo acoustic live performance video of the song.
"'Coal River' is a sort of ballad I came up with about where I grew up in Boone County, West Virginia," Logan tells us. "The idea for this one really sparked when I first wrote the lyrics 'there ain’t no more mountains for Coal River to bend around.' I had recently been back in town and rode a trail with a few friends we all had been on since kids. We discovered the mines had blasted the mountain, which was a crucial part of that trail. A place where I had learned to ride a dirt bike, grew up on, and enjoyed many holler kid memories was now gone."
You can hear a little of fellow Kentucky native Tyler Childers on this one (an admitted influence), but Logan clearly has a style of his own and an approach to storytelling that's wise beyond his years. It's a great song, and you can check out both the live video and the studio recording below.