Songs about riding the rails have proven to be worth their weight in solid country gold for scores of singers-songwriters over the years. Just ask David Allen Coe. And Cash. And Doc Watson. And The Hag. And Vernon Dalhart, whose 1924 version of â€œThe Wreck Of The Old 97â€ holds claim to being the first million-selling country song in American music history.
Now, that haze of lonesome coal smoke has worked its magic for Russell Lawson of Richmond, Virginia, whose train-catastrophe-inspired lyrics for â€œChurch Hill Tunnelâ€ landed him a runner-up accolade in the Sept./Oct. Lyric Contest.