The Coal Men – on tour with Todd Snider (photos video)

The Coal Men backing up Todd for the end of his third set.

Escalator Album Release

The Coal Men

10.9 ~ Escalator Album Release, The Performance Artist Co-op, Nashville, TN (show at 7 p.m.) $10 with half proceeds going to East C.A.N., free Skeletons E.P. and free beer provided by YAZOO Brewing Company.

yazoo logo


Escalator “promo” from the release party, video by Ron Coons


TOUR with Todd Snider

10.10 ~ The Warehouse, Bowling Green, KY

10.11 ~ The Canopy Club, Urbana, IL

10.12 ~ Woolies, Des Moines, IA

10.13 ~ The Englert Theater, IA

10.15 ~ The Waiting Room, Omaha, NE

10.16 ~ Knucklehead’s, Kansas City, MO

Todd awards the coal men “band of the tour”


Nashville Scene CRITIC’s PICK

The Coal Men

Album Release

nashville scene log

Nashville Scene Critic’s Pick …

I’ve seen the episode of ABC’s Nashville wherein Avery Barkley achieves an “East Nashville-meets-dubstep” sound, and I’ve read a reality show casting call for bands with “East Nashville attitude,” so I’m well aware of how ridiculously stylized and self-conscious characterizations of East Side music has gotten. Which makes me appreciate neighborhood stalwarts like The Coal Men all the more. Led by singer-guitarist Dave Coleman, the roots-rock trio put a few years of sweat and smarts into its fourth album, Escalator, released in conjunction with Todd Snider’s Aimless Records imprint. The power-pop songcraft sparkles, the guitar licks pack a jangly, melodic punch — and at no point do the guys sound the least bit hung up on, say, exuding arty urban indie-ness, or whatever the hell East Nashville attitude is supposed to be. And wouldn’t you know it, their album’s actually fun to listen to. This show celebrates both Escalator and brand-new tour EP Skeletons, the latter of which comes with the price you pay at the door. Plus part of the proceeds will go to animal welfare organization East C.A.N. 7 p.m. at The Performance Artist Co-op


—Jewly Hight

Jimbo Mathus guests on Skeletons E.P.

Back in May, The Coal Men were in Key West and got a chance to hang out and see Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition.  Jimbo was so kind to guest on the new Skeletons E.P. and play some mandolin, guitar, and harp on a couple songs.  Be sure to check out Jimbo and the Coalition’s new album White Buffalo.  It’s an incredible album.

Jimbo has this to say about The Coal Men’s new album Escalator:

“Wow, I must say my man I absolutely love it! Truly superb”

Jimbo & DC at the Green Parrot

Jimbo & DC at the Green Parrot


The Daily Times – Blount County

The Coal Men stand proud as Nashville alt-country outsiders

By Steve Wildsmith | (

When the staccato guitar kicks off “Last Goodbye,” the lead-off track on the new album by The Coal Men, the alarm bells start going off.

This is a product of Nashville? This rollicking foot-stomping barn-burner of a record came out of Music City? Where have these guys been?

 Making music for more than a decade, it turns out. The Coal Men may not be household names, but they’ve been marrying country and rock ‘n’ roll in a way that’s about as far removed from pop-country as you can get with a deft hand, and for the band’s most recent effort, they decided to step it up enough, founder Dave Coleman told The Daily Times this week.

“We’re kind of a roots rock band, but after all these years, we wanted to try and do something different and stretch the boundaries a little bit with the format,” Coleman said. “I think a lot of it comes down to guitar playing. We really wanted to make a record that’s more like a live show, that has a lot of energy and aggressiveness to it.

“I like to play guitar, and I pride myself on trying to be tasteful. My friend Duane Jarvis years ago taught me that, and this record is a way for me to stretch out and play harder and go for it.”

Growing up in Jamestown on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau, Coleman knew from the moment he saw Pete Anderson — Dwight Yoakam’s guitar player — cut loose with a six-string that country-pop wasn’t the direction in which he wanted to go.

“He was a great bridge between rock ‘n’ roll and country, so roots music or Americana or whatever the term is right now, that’s what I was drawn to,” he said. “I never really wanted to play pop-country. That was never really anything I saw as a career path for me. Somebody like Pete or Duane, they were just as much Clash as they were Hank Williams, and that’s what I was kind of drawn to.”

In Nashville, he attended Belmont University; he and drummer Dave Ray started The Coal Men in 1999 and two years later were playing six-month residencies at various Nashville venues. Coleman landed a publishing deal with a Music Row company and got some experience in how the industry works; even though he wanted no part of mainstream country as a player and musician, it helped having the insight into the business, and he took what he learned with him to keep the band rolling down the road.

Over the years, he’s cut back on penning songs for other artists, choosing instead — aside from the occasional guitar-playing gig for other artists — to focus on The Coal Men. He’s found a few allies along the way, people like musician Tony Furtado and studio guy Bob Delevante, and now The Coal Men are signed to Todd Snider’s Aimless Records, which released “Escalator” — the band’s fourth CD — last month. Next week, he and the boys will return to Knoxville, a town they’ve played plenty of times before and will likely do so again soon.

“With this thing, you can be a lifer or not, and I think I’ve had to consciously decide that this is what I want to do, and I’ll do whatever work I have to,” he said. “I’ll mop floors if I need to to make it happen.”

THE COAL MEN on tour Fall 2013

Lots of shows coming up.  Please come on out to support!

(check the show page for details)

9/26 – Billsborough Music Hall, Hillsborough, NC

9/27 – The Green Bean Coffee House, Greensboro, NC

9/28 – Kirk Avenue Music Hall, Roanoke, VA

9/29 – Music on the Streets (East Main St.),  Carrboro, NC


10-2 – The Well, Knoxville, TN

10-3 – The Empty Glass, Charleston, WV

10-4 – 620 State Street, Bristol, TN

10-5 – The Double Door, Charlotte, NC


10-9 – The Performing Artist Co-Op, Nashville, TN (Escalator CD Release show)


10-10 – The Warehouse, Bowling Green, KY

10-11 – The Canopy Club, Urbana, IL

10-12 – Wooly’s, Des Moines, IA

10-13 – The Englert Theater, Iowa City, IA

10-15 – The Waiting Room, Omaha, NE

10-16 – Knucklehead’s, Kansas City, MO

Blurt Online “review”

THE COAL MEN – Escalator

Dave Coleman and his band’s fifth album is a hodge podge of stripped-down rock and roll that ricochets around a pinball machine of pop punk, bluesy stomp and straight-ahead classic rock. “Last Goodbye” and the title cut take their cue from the late 70s groove of Elvis Costello and Graham Parker while “Stuck” and “Better Than” trample afoot with more than a passing nod to Cream and Zep. There’s some bashing and banging about in the spirit of Waits and Lanois (“Sanity”) that adds some charm. [Coleman is a] “fiercely talented guitarist.”


Maverick – UK’s leading Independent Country Music Magazine | Review

Review by: Alan Cackett
Record Label: Aimless Records
Star Rating:


Dave Coleman and his band, The Coal Men have been playing their vibrant roots-fused rock music for close on 15 years and this fourth album mixes full-throttle Americana music with an introspective singer-songwriter approach. It sounds like the South. It sounds like Tennessee. In fact they’ve even included a song titled “Tennessee” a folk-rock homage to his home state in which the

Jamestown, Tennessee native sings: ‘Put my Wings to the wind/Leave the rest to the sky/Keep on painting on my pictures/Until the day I die/in Tennessee.’ There is a whole lot more to this stripped-down rock and roll affair. He paints glimpses of small-town life, economic struggle, and the complexities of romantic relationships in straight-ahead rockers like “Role Model” and “Broken Heartland.” Then there’s the atmospheric “Lonoke, Arknasa” a pedal steel and electric guitar mood piece that closes the album and dares you not to immediately press the repeat button. I couldn’t resist several times over. So take a deep breath and enjoy the Coalmen’s ESCALATOR … I guarantee it will take you up, up and up.

American Songwriter | Album Premiere: The Coal Men, Escalator

Thanks to American Songwriter for this great spotlight:

Album Premiere: The Coal Men, Escalator

The Coal Men’s fourth album, Escalator, was released yesterday, and things are looking up. There’s the fall tour with Todd Snider, who runs the band’s label. There’s the support of top-shelf Americana vets like Will Kimbrough, Jen Gunderman, and Audley Freed, all of whom make guest appearances on the album. Most importantly, there’s the band’s rootsy rock & roll, full of steady pulses and wild guitar breaks that point to a half-century’s worth of influences, from Skynyrd’s backyard boogie to Springsteen’s road anthems.

“We took time to make this album a little strange,” says frontman Dave Coleman. “After 13 years in a band, it’s easy to read each other and play as one, so we all felt comfortable going out over the cliff and playing with intensity and dynamics. The basic tracks are all single takes and [producer] Joe Garcia pushed us to get the best collective performances. The songs, I think, are a bit of a spiritual accounting; at 34, I’m taking stock in my life.  ‘Stuck’ is accepting were you are from, rather than running away from it. ‘Tennessee’ is a look at the committed path ahead. ‘Sanity’ is a song about the temp job hustle, and how you have to have a since of humor if you are down in the mud.”