Marine veteran, Jimmy Rose, hit the stage last week for a performance on the hit show America’s Got Talent, belting out an original country tune that eloquently humanized an industry that has been a way of life for his family and friends.
The song was titled, Coal Keeps the Lights On.
By singing about keeping the lights on, Rose cast a spotlight on the Obama administration’s War on Coal, and by extension, a war on the very types of people Rose is singing about.
Rose explains that in his hometown of Pineville, Kentucky, most people choose one of three career paths – the coal mines, the military, or college.
“I was 18-years-old when I graduated high school and went straight underground four days after I graduated”, he says. “It’s such a hard life, and it’s dangerous.”
The hard life career for residents of Kentucky is growing ever-harder under the Obama administration’s onslaught of regulations designed to put coal powered plants out of business. The result of which would leave scores of jobs lost in coal rich states such as Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and of course, Kentucky.
Mitch McConnell recently referred to the President’s energy plan as “an open declaration of war on the coal industry, but on residents, jobs and businesses across the commonwealth”.
Perhaps more than any statistics or political opining could ever do however, Rose’s song spoke of the coal industry from a very personal experience, through the eyes of one man, one father, one coal worker, and one family.
Rose, in very riveting, country-rich tones, talks about a man being able to come home from work when his family is fast asleep, and not regretting it a bit because his job “keeps the bills paid”, “a sun dress on my baby girl”, and “keeps the food on the spoon in my youngins mouth.”
For all of those things and much more, he thanks God.
And of course, he sings about coal keeping the lights on, in a state where 90% of its electricity comes from coal-burning power plants.
Howard Stern, one of the America’s Got Talent judges said, “That was a damn good song.” The other judges clearly agreed, sending Rose on in the competition, live this week in Las Vegas.
Rose may have cast a spotlight on the coal industry, but his talent and value clearly shines brightest by showing the human and family toll that the Obama administration will have in their efforts to bankrupt a key industry.