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C&O tunnel collapse inspires winning lyrics

August 25, 2009 7:56 pm by

Richmonder Russell Lawson scored 2nd place in a recent Americans Songwriter lyric contest with a song about the 1925 Church Hill Tunnel collapse (MP3):

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 “The Wreck Of The Old 97” 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 “Church Hill Tunnel” landed him a runner-up accolade in the Sept./Oct. Lyric Contest.


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