and then there were three…

daniel martin moore. photo by jonathan willis.

daniel martin moore. photo by jonathan willis.

When last we checked in, Kentucky song stylists Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore were touring the country behind an exquisite folk-based recording called Dear Companion. Its music came from a heavy Appalachian heart with themes designed to inform audiences outside of the region of the environmental devastation triggered by mountaintop removal coal mining.

This summer, the duo enlists My Morning Jacket chieftain Jim James – or, as he prefers to bill himself on non-MMJ projects, Yim Yames – for the Appalachian Voices Tour, which opens tonight at the Opera House. Yames produced Dear Companion and served as a co-architect for many of its songs.

“It’s kind of like a homecoming having Jim back in the mix,” Moore said. “In addition to being one of the founding fathers of the album, he’s also such a dynamic and generous performer.”

Moore hopes the eight city tour, which will also feature drummer/percussionist Dan Dorff, will help further the awareness Dear Companion helped ignite last winter regarding mountaintop removal mining.

“We’ve had a lot of great conversations with people in kind of far flung places who didn’t even know mountaintop removal existed. One of the reasons we wanted to make a record was that this issue would perhaps find its way into places that it otherwise wouldn’t go. So to have mountaintop removal talked about now in places like indie music blogs means this music has served its purpose.”

Yim Yames, Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore perform at 8 tonight at the Lexington Opera House. Tickets are $25. Call (859) 233-3535.

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