Story telling is an old art form in Appalachia. One West Virginia story teller’s newest project, a CD of music and stories entitled The Mountain Came Alive, attempts to modernize this tradition by addressing today’s concerns.
The CD combines Booth’s interest in music and storytelling with 20 tracks that follow the year in the life of a southern West Virginia mountain that is slated for strip mining.
Booth said he wanted to use traditional methods to tell a story to young people about Appalachia and events in the region that are happening now.
“I found that there were a lot of young folks who didn’t know quite know what Appalachia was or who they were and so I tried to put a lot of folk elements into this and also a lot of contemporary elements into it,” Booth said.
The mountain’s story starts in the winter and takes listeners through the seasons of life including the communities of people, animals, water and plants.
“As I have been telling stories around the country, particularly in Appalachia, one of the themes that comes up is mountain top mining and environmental issues,” he said.
“It tries show that all of these things are very closely related to a sense of place, which is what I believe is one of the strongest aspects of Appalachia, that we’re really related to a sense of place,” Booth said. “And forever and ever that place has been the mountains.”