Shoulda Been a Hit: Sara Evans’ “Coalmine” [Video]
They say timing is everything. And, in this particular case, timing was everything. In 2006, Sara Evans released “Coalmine,” the 3rd single from her Real Fine Place CD. That effort had already spawned two Top 10 hits, the #1 hit “A Real Fine Place to Start” and “Cheatin,” which peaked at #9. “Coalmine” was supposed to be Sara’s third big hit in a row. Only it didn’t happen. See, at that time, the nation just wasn’t ready for an upbeat, feel-good song about coal mines.
You will likely remember January 2nd, 2006. That day, in West Virginia, an explosion at Sago Mine trapped 13 miners for nearly two days. Those miners and the fight to get to and rescue them became a round-the-clock media spectacle. Everyone in this country was tuned in as experts speculated how long it would take to drill into the Earth to reach them and ponder if the miners had enough oxygen to sustain them in the meantime. Of course, you know the story. It ended tragically. Despite initial (errant) reports that the miners were alive, all but one were dead. It was a horrible tragedy and one of the worst mining tragedies in American history.
Consequently, Sara Evans’ new single release just didn’t seem very appropriate. Obviously no one intended any malice with “Coalmine,” but certain wounds take longer to heal. And I’m not sure the wounds from the Sago Mine explosion are healed even yet. For the families of the victim, they will never be.
As for “Coalmine,” it was (and still is) a really good song. It’s catchy. It’s fun. It’s the kind of song female country listeners love to sing about their rough and rugged country men. At any other time, Sara Evans would have scored a HUGE hit with this. But, as I said before, timing really is everything. The timing “Coalmine” was terrible and, consequently, the song stalled at #37 on the Billboard Country Chart.