By Josephine Moore, The Register-Herald
May 10, 2023 - An award-winning country musician, born in West Virginia's northern panhandle, will feature southern West Virginia in a new music video for his upcoming album.
Glen Dale native Brad Paisley spent last week at several sites in Fayette and Raleigh counties, including the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine where he recorded a music video inside the mine.
Beckley Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Baker said she was asked to keep Paisley's appearance under wraps while filming took place Thursday after the attraction closed for the night.
For everyone on his crew, including Paisley who also brought his father, Baker said this was the first time any of them had been inside a West Virginia coal mine.
"It's so gratifying to see that happen more and more, that people are so interested in what we do," Baker said. "They are open to the new information that they're going to receive because we truly find out, just like with Brad, who's a native son, had never been underground before. Did not know what to expect and then, when the miners talked to him, was just awestruck by the effort that West Virginia miners and other Appalachian miners have made over the years to the prosperity of this country."
Paisley's new album is expected to be released this year. In a video posted to Instagram in February, Paisley said he's been working on the album for the past year, and it would be called "Sons of the Mountains."
"It's the perspective from a kid from West Virginia looking at the world today ... There's a lot of big themes on this record, a lot of surprises yet to come," Paisley said in the Instagram video.
Baker said Paisley's new music video will give people a chance to see what Beckley as well as southern West Virginia has to offer.
"I think he really wanted to present the beauty of the state and the (New River Gorge) National Park in all its glory," she said. "He's a really positive spokesperson, which he always has been, for West Virginia."
Baker said she was impressed by how curious Paisley and his crew were about the exhibition coal mine and the history it had on display.
"I love it when my miners are — because they're miners first and foremost, they're coal miners, they just happen to also be our tour guides," she said. "But they worked in the mines. They loved the mines. They're West Virginians, true mountaineers all the way, and to be able for somebody to look at them with true interest, and really want to hear that voice and are just genuinely asking, 'Tell us your story.' And then when it's over and done, all they can say is, 'This is amazing.' I love this place."
Baker said she also made sure the entire crew was able to enjoy another West Virginia staple, pepperoni rolls, which they also seemed to enjoy.