Arts & Culture Corner

Cherishing the Mountains with a Cello

Roots musicians Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore raise awareness about mountaintop removal through song

Folk artists Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore share a Kentucky heritage, a love of roots music, and an affinity for Appalachian culture. They also share a deep concern about the effects of mountaintop removal coal mining, an environmentally damaging practice that is destroying their beloved Appalachian mountains.

Sollee and Martin Moore collaborated in 2009 to create the album Dear Companion, released in 2010 with the help of My Morning Jacket producer Yim Yames. While the album deserves recognition for its melodious sound alone, the true beauty of the project lies in the artists’ effort to draw attention to mountaintop removal. All profits from the album go directly to, an organization seeking to end the practice in Appalachia forever.

While the duo acknowledges through the album’s single, Only a Song, that music alone “cannot save the world,” the album’s attempts are certainly admirable. Sollee and Martin Moore remain committed spokespeople for the cause while on tour and never fail to bring more individuals into the movement. With an album complete with soaring cellos, rustic Appalachian tradition, poetic soul, and a worthy cause, Moore and Martin Moore have created a delightful folk album, certainly worth a listen.

Check out their song “Something, Somewhere, Sometime” from Dear Companion. It's a personal favorite that’s sure to get your feet stomping and hands clapping!

Amy Curtis

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