Appalshop News

We're dropping a new album on our record label

1 year ago

From our record label June Appal Recordings, we are very proud to present a new album, "Whitesburg, KY" from none other than our radio station WMMT 88.7 FM's own Brett Ratliff.

"Whitesburg, KY" is Brett's third solo album, named for the magnetic arts town in Eastern Kentucky where Appalshop is based.

The record pays homage to Brett's teachers and influences, among them Sarah Ogan Gunning, subject of a 1988 Appalshop film; Si Kahn, who released his own album on June Appal in 1975; George Gibson, whose June Appal release followed in 2000; and Mike Seeger, whose numerous performances dot our Appalshop Archive collections.

With songs like the rarely performed "Harlan County Farewell," a surprising mash-up of "Cacklin' Hen" and "Morphine," and Brett's original "Glory Up Above," the album showcases Brett's trademark innovations in the Kentucky repertoire.

Haunting archives of neighborly gatherings are spliced in among the driving performances, remembering times once casually shared before COVID-19 isolated us from each other.

Recorded during the COVID quarantine, "Whitesburg, KY" explores that old lonesome sound, while asking new questions about how we heal each other through community. It's a tremendous effort from an artist who is — according to Dom Flemons — "probably the best banjo balladeer in the Eastern Kentucky style of old-time music."

Founded in 1974, June Appal Recordings has distributed mountain music over a period in which the very definition of what it means to be "mountain music" has grown and evolved.

We're very proud to still be supporting artists today — especially artists like Brett Ratliff. Get the new album on Bandcamp, and while you're there, explore the rest of our catalogue: nearly 100 albums all together, it represents the best of tradition bearers and innovators alike.

More information about Appalshop available at @appalshop on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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