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about

1851.
Coal deposits in Nanaimo create demand for experienced miners from Scotland and Ireland. Farming, salmon curing, lumbering and shipping have almost entirely replaced the trapping and trading economy in the Pacific Northwest. In late 1885, a mine explosion would claim 150 lives, the most tragic event in the region’s early history after the influenza and small pox pandemics.

lyrics

Underneath the breakers there lies a deep vast hole
It turns all the grass to dust and the sky it deftly shoals
It swallows up the sunlit hours and chews up a man’s soul
Underneath the breakers I want no more to go

Through the threshold of the slope, there lies a dark labyrinth
It reaches a winding trail through the stark coal plinths
It has no end for the miner’s pick nor the state in which he’s in
Through the threshold of the slope I will not enter in

Oh, in the colliery, the black is what I’m told
Oh, in the colliery, the black I dare not go
A hundred fifty men they lie in the caves of Wellington
A hundred fifty boys and men never see the light o’ day again

Down the levels of the shaft the garish cage descends
Into the depths of the earth where darkness never ends
On the feeble light of lanterns hung our frail steps depend
Down the levels of the shaft I will not further wend

Out from the gangway the coal seam roads run
Where the black dust covers all and settles in the lungs
No lye can purge the body of the pitch and what it duns
Out from the gangway I will not venture from

Deep in the broaden breasts the dynamite is laid
The weight of lives are held by pillars easily forayed
And the afterdamp will care not for the years your life outstayed
Deep in the broaden breasts I will not ever stray

credits

from The West Beyond The West, released November 9, 2012

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Great Lonely Wild Vancouver, British Columbia

Original roots and folk music about the 19th Century Pacific Northwest.

The sounds of mandolin, banjo, concertina, violin, guitar and vocal harmonies will expose you to the tales and stories of those who came before us in Canada's West. ... more

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