Song writing and performing is not, Tiffany Williams reflects, the same as the harshest of manual labour. It’s a reflection that the Nashville based singer-songwriter came to when reflecting on her heritage as she introduced herself to her audiences as the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of eastern Kentucky coal miners. She felt guilty: “I hadn’t done anything to deserve claiming that,” she says. What she meant is that she didn’t have to make the same sacrifices or take part in the back-breaking labour that they did, and yet she was after all only proudly sharing and identifying with that part of her culture and heritage. Her path may have been more academic – Williams is a fiction writer and a self-described lexophile who’s taught high school English and studied Appalachian speech and sociolinguistics in graduate school – but she knows where she’s coming from.
The result of her musing over this seeming contradiction is the song ‘All Those Days of Drinking Dust‘ which is a tribute to the generations of her own and other Appalachian families working in the mines, and the wreck their work made of their lungs. It’s the title track of Tiffany Williams’ new album which is released on August 19th.
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