• MONTANI SEMPER LIBERI (featured APD Track)
  • THE HOLSTEIN WALTZ (instrumental)
  • LEAVIN' CHARLESTON (instrumental)
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COAL RECORDS / Nashville
UPC 884501496865




Liner Notes
First, you have to have a great song. Scott Holstein's got, not only one, but an album full! Then, you have to be able to SELL the song. This West Virginian definitely does that with these great performances from his lonesome-themed new CD, "Cold Coal Town". I hear Carter Stanley & Larry Sparks influences here. There's also an unmistakable Jamey Johnson, Waylon-esque quality to this stuff, and I believe either of those titans would have been right at home with these great songs. My personal favorites are "Roll Coal Roll," a lament that wonders how long the singer's truck will hold out & just where all that coal goes -that trucks, trains & boats haul, and the dark, brooding "Walls of Stone" that really gets the hair up on the back of my neck. Brilliant writing, great sounding tracks! Folks, there's a new singer/songwriter out there - his name is Scott Holstein and he is serving notice with this set of material that he's in here for the long haul. Buy this CD. You won't be sorry! .................- LARRY CORDLE

I have known Scott Holstein for 10 years or more and his soulful style of singing. I like every song on this album ! My favorite being Black Water about the Buffalo Creek flood. A Great singer , songwriter and musician, Scott can do it ! It all sounds good ! A great batch of musicians! Highly recommended ! He has heartfelt music and worked for me over the years and is one fine person and friend. You can't look for any more soulful singing not only in Bluegrass, but if you like Merle Haggard and George Jones' Country style of music, Scott has his own way of doing it too ! The first of many to come and lookng forward to the next one.
He sings from the heart !-DAVE EVANS

[West Virginia Music Hall of Fame nominee] Scott Holstein is currently booking shows for the upcoming (2017-18) season. Represented by Nashville Talent Group and backed by the ever popular Coal Records / Nashville label Holstein is looking forward to an exciting new year meeting with music promoters and fans. Radio programmers are encourage to contact us for interviews, station id's and general questions. We want to thank the Air Play Direct family for all of their resources and unparalleled professionalism.
For Booking information contact

SCOTT HOLSTEIN found himself, in the Spring of 2009, making a move to the "Music City" Nashville, Tn. After years of road gigs and paying his dues along side the "Legends" of the music business,He felt he had enough under his hat to focus on his own recording career. A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who's silent career had mostly consisted on others music endeavors kept busy as a "sideman" and "frontman" through the years but Holstein had his own bigger picture in mind! He was encouraged to make the move from industry professional and Grammy Award winning Producer/Engineer/Musician Randy Kohrs after the two met at a festival near Macon Ga. Randy Kohrs was producing great Bluegrass records and recording on hit sessions from Tom T. Hall, Dolly Parton and Dierks Bentley to Hank 3!

Holstein had several original albums to record and a sound all his own . He was looking for a producer with the same vision for the music as he had. Randy Kohrs would put together Nashville's Acoustic Elite to start the first recordings - Cold Coal Town -
The Bluegrass Sessions Vol.1 was born. These recordings would mark the beginning of a legacy for Scott Holstein and his "Original" music!

On Aug.17, 2010 at Kohrs' Slack Key Studio ,a session was scheduled. The evening session would include Randy Kohrs(dobro), Clay Hess(lead guitar), Scott Vestal(banjo), Aaron Ramsey(mandolin), Tim Crouch(fiddle) , Jay Weaver (bass) and Don Rigsby coming in for guest harmonies. It was an All-Star cast of musicians that's played on countless hit recordings and members of great bands including- but not limited to, Dolly Parton,Vern Gosdin,Dierks Bentley,Ricky Skaggs,Hank Williams 3, Sam Bush and Mountain Heart, to name a few! It was engineered by Mike latterell and all tracked in one rainy night session. An "Original" album was in the making and Holstein sure had some stories to tell!

Scott Holstein, who grew up in the back hollows and hills of Appalachia is no stranger to life in a "Cold Coal Town" and it mirrors in his music. Perhaps his lyrical visions come from family history. His Grandfather after serving in World War 1, came home to find another war to fight- in the coal fields. In 1921" The Battle of Blair Mountain" found nearly 10,000 miners taking up arms against the clutches of tyrant Coal Companies. The miners tied red bandannas around their necks to show solidarity -hence the true meaning of "Redneck".

The historic battle would soon bring in the Federal Government to drop bombs on it's own people! Federal troops many of whom fought in the same trenches along side other veteran miners- would now come to disarm them. Holstein's Grandfather hid his rifle among the many dead bodies that were hauled in the train car and returned to the family hollow.The U.M.W.A soon would come to West Virginia's Southern Coalfields!

These battles are still relevant in the mountains, although much of the history is distorted.. Songs like "Black Water" featuring Scott Holstein,Randy Kohrs and Don Rigsby singing a haunting acappella ,tells the story of Buffalo Creek. A coal mining community who's lives were stolen in 1972 ,by an unsafe coal sludge dam .Four days before the disaster , a federal mine inspector and the coal company safety engineer, declared the dam to be satisfactory. One hundred and twenty five people lost their lives!

Although these stories are in the past,Holstein brings them back lyrically! The songs on the album "Cold Coal Town" are timeless pieces that reflect true life. "Clinch Mountain Hills " featuring Scott Holstein and Don Rigsby is a tribute to the Stanley Brothers. Ralph and Carter Stanley were a huge influence in the development of Holstein's style.He penned the song while sitting by Carter's grave before performing at Ralph Stanley's annual "Hills of Home" festival.

Songs like "The Spell" and "Walls of Stone" tell of love lost and the consequences of jealousy."Leavin' Charleston" highlights the extraordinary musical talents of the band.From "Roll Coal Roll" and the family tribute "Holstein Waltz" to the reality of "Ain't No Higher Ground" this "Boone County Blues" boy tells it like it is!
The first Cd of many to come in the career of a truly great Artist!
" The Real Deal"! -Cold Coal Town- The Bluegrass Sessions Vol.1 includes 11 songs all "Original" Holstein. It's an audio ride through Coal Country.!



Musician Credits;
Randy Kohrs-Dobro
Scott Vestal-Banjo
Aaron Ramsey-Mandolin
Clay Hess-Lead Guitar
Tim Crouch-fiddles
Jay Weaver-Bass

Special Guest Vocals-Don Rigsby

"This is a great Americana record and that can't be denied"

Once again my friend and producer Randy Kohrs sent me an amazing project to master. Scott Holstein’s “Cold Coal Town” highlights Holstein’s fantastic vocal performances and killer song writing. The musicianship is stellar and Scott’s singing is off the hook. The Americana and Bluegrass communities are gonna eat this one up!

-RANDY LEROY Airshow Mastering

Singer/songwriter Scott Holstein lined up some of my favorite Nashville-based bluegrass session musicians to bring his original songs to life on an evocative album with a sharp edge. One can hardly go wrong with the likes of Randy Kohrs (Dobro, harmony vocals), Scott Vestal (banjo), Tim Crouch (fiddle), Aaron Ramsey (mandolin), Clay Hess (guitar), and Jay Weaver (bass). Special guest Don Rigsby adds vocal tracks to a cappella “Black Water” and “Clinch Mountain Hills.” The latter pays a respectful tribute to the Stanley Brothers. Holstein follows that track with another in ¾-time, “The Holstein Waltz,” a particularly elegant showcase for champion fiddler Crouch and mandolinist Ramsey. Originally from West Virginia, Holstein’s self-penned title cut has an impressionistic message that evolves melodically into an expanded jazzy improvisation. Mournful themes are similarly revisited in the “Boone County Blues” and “Roll Coal Roll.” Another stellar song is “Montani Semper Liberi” (West Virginia’s state motto meaning mountaineers are always free) that tells of a young West Virginia in 1863 who chooses neutrality during the Civil War rather than to allow the gray or blue to take his mountain. The bouncy instrumental “Leavin’ Charleston” could become a bluegrass standard. Holstein’s album has grit, largely as a result of his expressive baritone vocals and formidable rhythmically-enticing bluegrass accompaniment. Both are similar to Jim Lauderdale’s approach to bluegrass. Holstein’s direct, creative approach to writing and singing impart plenty of attitude, as well as a few honky tonk, country and rock & roll influences into a thoughtful bluegrass project. (Joe Ross)

Reviewed By: JOE ROSS / Roots Music Report

​Scott Holstein was born in Boone County, in the heart of the coalfields of West Virginia, and he has chosen that imagery for the title of his album, Cold Coal Town. His mother and father both played bluegrass Gospel music as far back as he can remember and he began performing at the age of five with fiddler Senator Robert Byrd. Holstein started writing songs as a young boy. His biggest influences in song writing are Merle Haggard and, in performance style, Keith Whitley, although it is apparent that the likes of Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams and Dave Evans have left their mark on Holstein’s psyche. Almost all of his kin are in the mining industry and have been for more than a century. His grandfather was in the historic battle of Blair Mountain, 1921; one of the largest civil uprisings in United States history and the largest armed insurrection since the American Civil War. During the five-day confrontation between 10,000 and 15,000 coal miners fought an army of police and strikebreakers backed by coal operators, in an attempt by the miners to join a union in the southwestern West Virginia coalfields. Holstein moved to Nashville in the spring of 2009… “I was doing road gigs with Dave Evans and several other known acts and was ‘itching’ to record my own music. Randy Kohrs encouraged the move to Nashville to record my original music after we met at a festival around Macon, Georgia.” .Kohrs followed that by setting up the session at his own Slack Key Studio for August 17, 2010. All the songs on Cold Coal Town were penned by Holstein, who says, “These songs have been in my head for a while now and I made a point to debut my original music to honor where I came from (so they won’t forget me – and I don’t forget where I came from!). The songs on the album never had to be written down – they were just there.” .Now from whom have I heard that before? Holstein [guitar and vocals] is joined in the studio by co-producer Randy Kohrs [Dobro and vocals], Clay Hess [lead guitar], Scott Vestal [banjo], Aaron Ramsey [mandolin], Tim Crouch [fiddle] and Jay Weaver [bass], with Don Rigsby providing harmony vocals on two tracks. I would describe Cold Coal Town as mood music, dark moody blues; bluesy bluegrass-country that barely changes except for the bouncy banjo-led Leavin’ Charleston and the other instrumental on this disc, The Holstein Waltz. On these and throughout the ‘band’ is exemplary. The sombre tone is set with the opening bars of the Dobro intro to The Spell followed by Holstein’s husky baritone telling a tale of lost love. The second track, Walls of Stone, bemoans the consequences of jealous love. Holstein uses his voice very well, bringing a softness to the haunting tribute to another of Holstein’s influences, the Stanley Brothers, in Clinch Mountain Hills, a superb duet with Don Rigsby, Boone County Blues, another lament to lost love, and Montani Semper Liberi (Latin for “Mountaineers are Always Free”), the West Virginia state motto. The a cappella trio Black Water and Cold Coal Town are both top quality additions to the coal-mining song repertoire. The former relates the devastating events in Buffalo Creek in 1972 when 125 lost their lives; the title track is an expression of the desire to get away from coal mining and all that it brings. Both merit favourable comparison with similar songs penned by Hazel Dickens and Merle Travis. Along with Ain’t No Higher Ground and Roll Coal Roll Holstein shows that he is a great spokesman for the coal miner in the 21st century. Sadly, nothing much changes in the industry, or the way of life for many in West Virginia. On the back page of the notebook there is a legend “The bluegrass sessions Vol. 1”; on the basis of what Holstein has produced in Cold Coal Town I can’t wait for Vol. 2.


This is an outstanding recording in every way. With a rich baritone voice reminiscent of country singer Josh Turner and a talent for writing straight-to-the-gut lyrics wrapped up in strong melodies, Scott Holstein has hit one out of the park with Cold Coal Town. These great songs draw from life in coal country and build a consistent theme throughout the entire recording, resulting in a cohesive work that may very well stand with the likes of Jimmy Arnold’s Southern Soul or Marty Stuart’s The Pilgrim.
Propelled by Holstein’s powerful vocals, Cold Coal Town is a trip through the highs and lows of Appalachian mountain life and the coal mining which has, throughout the history of the region, been both a blessing and a curse. Holstein’s well-crafted, compelling songs hit the themes believably, from the prisoner’s lament in “Walls Of Stone” and the civil war tale ‘Montani Semper Liberi” to “Roll Coal Roll” and the hard-driving “Boone County Blues.” Although lacking the high part of the high-lonesome sound, Holstein evokes the sound and influence of the Stanley Brothers with two songs of particular note. “Clinch Mountain Hills” is as close to something Ralph and Carter might have done as any song that actually mentions the Stanleys. And the chilling a cappella dirge “Black Water” reflects back to the folk tradition, when true songs of tragedy and loss would pass news from community to community, much like the Stanleys’ songs did with “No Schoolbus In Heaven” and “The Flood.”
None of this is to suggest that Cold Coal Town is a depressing recording. It isn’t. It’s too refined and gutsy. It’s dark, but with driving instrumental work from a crackerjack supporting cast including Randy Kohrs, Scott Vestal, Aaron Ramsey, Clay Hess, and others, Cold Coal Town has an emotional impact that’s almost visual, as great music can do. Holstein has not only created a great recording, but also a fine work of art and a recording not to be missed. One of the best in a very long time. (Coal Records, P.O. Box 22601 Nashville TN 37202 ,


​ Holstein has roots in West Virginia, but his latest release — easily one of the year’s finest country albums — is hiding in the dark corners of the internet. With a few clicks on Holstein’s Web site, you can order a CD copy of ”Cold Coal Town,” 11 bluegrass-tinted songs penned by Holstein and sung in a commanding baritone that practically stops time during the somber a cappella of “Black Water.” For fans who like to whine about the death of “real” country music, it’s time to put your PayPal password where your mouth is.


The last musical recommendation I got from the late lamented 9513 was Scott Holstein, who Brody Vercher pointed out a few weeks ago. His independent CD Cold Coal Town has been produced by Scott himself alongside dobro player extraordinaire Randy Kohrs. Impressively, the entire album was recorded in one night (in Kohrs’ studio in Nashville), and great credit goes to the very accomplished band. Bluegrass backings and a soulful fusion of bluegrass-country-blues in Scott’s passionately smoky voice set this record apart. The songs, all written by Scott, are mainly rooted in his West Virginia coalmining family background, and the quality is exceptionally high. ‘The Spell’ opens the set with the protagonist railing against the woman he loves despite her “wicked ways”. It seems quite appropriate for it to lead into ‘Walls Of Stone’, the blues-infused lament of a prisoner sentenced to 99 years in gaol after killing his unfaithful wife. The sprightly instrumental ‘Leavin Charleston’ showcases the band’s tight, sparkling musicianship. Their more lyrical playing comes to the fore in another instrumental cut, the stately ’The Holstein Waltz’, which is lovely. Scott does not play an instrument on the album, but composed the tunes. ‘Boone County Blues’ is one of those cheerful sounding expressions of deep sadness which are common in bluegrass, again with really great picking. It is, perhaps, the least exceptional song here, but is still very good. The charming ‘Clinch Mountain Hills’ is a tribute to the Stanley brothers, written by Carter Stanley’s graveside and channelling his voice. Don Rigsby provides the high tenor harmony counterpoint to Scott’s gravelly baritone. I don’t remember ever seeing a country song with a Latin title before. ‘Montani Semper Liberi’ is the official motto of Scott’s home state of West Virginia (meaning “mountaineers [are] always free”), and the song tells a dramatic story, with a young man choosing not to take sides in the Civil War, just as the state was formed in June 1863, declaring: Mama stitched my uniform But no colors do I choose They’ll never take this mountain The gray nor the blue Cause mountaineers are always free And almost heaven’s good enough for me Upon this land I’ll state my creed Mountaineers are always free The grim reality of life in the coal towns fuels much of Scott’s best work. The title track has the protagonist leaving his childhood home for a better future, and reminiscing about the hardworking miner father who “left one day and came back dead”, having advised his son not to follow him into the mines. In ‘Roll, Coal, Roll’, meanwhile, the protagonist is a weary trucker moving coal down from the mountain mines. The acappella Black Water quietly and compellingly tells the true story of a fatal flood caused by a coal company’s unsafe practices in the 70s, when several communities were destroyed and over 100 people were killed at Buffalo Creek, West Virginia by coal slurry after a dam broke. Perhaps the highlight of a very fine record, this sounds like a traditional folk song, and has Don Rigsby and Randy Kohrs on harmony: Coal company said “God is to blame” They built the dam “but He brought the rain” Truth was known throughout the land Never do trust a company man Black water, black water So black and so deep And under black water forever I’ll sleep Death angels are calling out to me Black water is rolling down Buffalo Creek Death was the scene even high in the tree Fathers and children and mothers to be Nowhere to run as black water comes down And so is the lie of a coal mining town A similar flood seen from the first person, this time caused by a coal company’s reckless clearance of tree cover on the mountain, sees locals seeking refuge, but there ‘Ain’t No Higher Ground’ to run to. This is a fantastic record, and definitely my favourite of the year so far. I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t make my end of year top 10. Grade: A +

-Occasonal Hope via Brody Vercher
c/o My Kind of Country / The 9513

I'm not certain when Scott Holstein's "Cold Coal Town" was released (I think it was an early 2011 issue), but I do know I listened to it in the truck almost continually for a couple weeks late last winter after receiving early in 2012. I have since encountered it as the bonus disc within an inessential but more-comprehensive-than-most bluegrass sampler, "Rough Guide to Bluegrass." Since it made its way to me this year, and I feel that it is freakin' masterful, I am going to feature it in this year-end wrap up.

Scott Holstein knows bluegrass. I've been thinking a lot about authenticity lately, its importance and its folly. For a bluegrass artist to be truly authentic, he (because he would have to be a he, wouldn't he?) would have to be a double-timing, murdering, bootlegging boozer, rounder and Christian with severe mama issues. However, when I listen to Scott Holstein sing, authentic is-rightly or wrongly- the word what keeps coming to mind- he sings like he has experienced every emotion and event tied to his songs.

These sounds wrap the listener in the spell of mountain music that could have been recorded in the early 70s by Ralph and Roy Lee. The album begins with a few notes of reso from Randy Kohrs, launching into a bass-driven rhythm of the torment caused by a wicked woman and continues for another ten songs, singing of the mysteries of love and land.

Coal-mining and its impact on the people of the Appalachian region is examined in several places. The impact of the Stanley sound on Holstein and bluegrass is captured within Clinch Mountain Hills. Haunting just begins to describe Black Water, a song that explores- in a very different manner than James Reams and Tina Aridas did within Buffalo Creek Flood- the 1972 disaster that occurred when a slurry dam gave way.

Holstein hired on great pickers including Clay Hess, Scott Vestal, Aaron Ramsey, and Tim Crouch, as well as a bass player I hadn't previously been aware of, Jay Weaver. Don Rigsby sings on a pair of tracks.

Well worth placing at the top of your 'saved for later' or 'wish list


The best records so often come from artists who sing and write about what they truly know best. They let the rest of the world in on their ex- periences,

surroundings, and the tribu- lations of their environment. When it’s done right, everyone can relate to situations that they may have never experienced

themselves. Such is the case with Scott Holstein’s debut album, “Cold Coal Town.” Holstein is able to sing with authority on the subject matter of his new

record; he grew up in the back hollows and hills of Appalachia, and his family’s history in coal mining provides him the inspiration for many of these songs

that shine with authenticity. “Cold Coal Town” tackles subjects like the disaster experienced by coal- mining community Buffalo Creek in which many victims

lost their lives due to an unsafe coal sludge dam. With the track “Clinch Mountain Hills,” he tips his hat to The Stanley Brothers who were major influences on

his own music. Throughout the album, Holstein sings from the heart with integrity and sincerity. After backing up other musicians for years, it’s high time for

Scott Hol- stein to find an audience all his own!

RYAN SMITH / Direct Buzz Magazine


cott Holstein made his move to Nashville Tennessee in 2009 from his home State of West Virginia. The son of a coal miner, Holstein surely came armed and ready with his explosive vocals and haunting lyrics. He seemed to be a virtually unknown artist in town but was soon discovered after his epic debut all original album "Cold Coal Town" was first released in spring 2011'. His popularity on radio stations worldwide resulted in a steady rise in the music charts and his album soon became a Top 50 "All Time" Americana album on Airplay Direct. He was the Nashville insiders' "talk of the town" and received critically acclaimed attention from Nashville's most prominent elite including "Hit" songwriter veterans Carl Jackson and Larry Cordle.

Scott Holstein was certainly no rookie by any means ! His past 20 years in the music business as an under the radar sideman gave Holstein a certain unmistakable crafty style and an experienced edge to his music. It was his time to finally step into the spotlight as a recording artist and we are sure glad he did ! A devoted road warrior since his early teens, Scott Holstein knows hard work and dedication. He learned the traits from traveling and performing at Bluegrass shows with legendary iconic figures such as Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin and Dave Evans to name a few. Keith Whitley most certainly left an indelible mark on Holstein's psyche although he never had the opportunity to meet Keith. He named his "Old Back 40 Band " from an early 1980's "My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame" album featuring J .D. Crowe and the late Whitley .

Learning the blueprint of tradition from such Bluegrass icons gave Scott Holstein a confidence in his stage presence not seen in today's new Country or Bluegrass artists. He seems to already be legend. Holstein's savvy and uncanny style has to be influenced by many genres and legends of the past. The caliber of the band and music is unsurpassed in any style genre. Scott Holstein gives new meaning to singing from the heart ! Even while doing impersonations of some his favorite country singers, Holstein adds an element or feel to the music almost as if those spirits are within him.

Holstein found his way through all the clutter in Nashville Tennessee. His music is found on every TouchTunes & AMI Jukebox in the Country it's sold thru retail giants K-mart, Barnes n' Noble, f.y.e and Best Buy, featured on, available in all digital retail including iTunes and Amazon and heard on digital and terrestrial radio outlets worldwide. He has music licensed and published around the globe with recent TV placements coming in 2014. Scott Holstein came to Nashville take the bull by the horns and that he did !

The Americana music scene in recent years has evolved to be it's own genre of music. The acceptance of songwriters, original stylists, bluegrass with drums, blues , acoustic rock and even Jazz music can be deemed Americana music today. The music of Scott Holstein and Old Back 40 Band stay on the cutting edge of this industry. The records produced are nothing short of Grammy award winning material. It doesn't matter if this band does traditional bluegrass or contemporary, traditional or modern country or if their home is in Americana music without boundaries? All we know is Scott Holstein and Old Back 40 Band has proven to be a world-class act and one not to be missed. Book this artist you won't be sorry! (NOW ACCEPTING DATES 2014-15' ) -Nashville Talent Group


High on a mountain Black Water stood still
and the story I'll tell you will give you a chill
about a valley of people men children and wives
and how the rich man's greed stole their lives

Black Water-Black Water so black and so deep
and under Black Water forever I'll sleep
death angels are callin' out to me
Black Water is rollin' down Buffalo Creek

Coal company said God is to blame
they built the dam but He brought the rain
but truth was known throughout the land
never to trust a company man


Death was the scene even high in the trees
fathers and children and mothers to be
nowhere to run as Black Water comes down
and so is the life of a coal minin' town

  • Members:
  • Sounds Like:
    Merle Haggard, George Jones, Keith Whitley
  • Influences:
    Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Dave Evans, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks,
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
  • Profile Last Updated:
    10/25/21 15:56:57

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