Truth & Salvage Co. watch as a small town changes with the times in “Appalachian Hilltop,” a track from the band’s second full-length album, Pick Me Up.
“It was important to me because it’s real to me,” said the band’s Bill “Smitty” Smith. “‘Appalachian Hilltop’ was written while visiting the little dairy farm that I was raised on in Wellston, Ohio.”
During the trip, Smith found a quiet hillside and spent some time in thought. He felt like his hometown had fallen on hard times but that people still made the best of what they had.
“I started writing this song there reflecting on my years in this little community,” he said. “Seeing it really come alive in the ‘80s into the ‘90s and then seeing it struggle through the economic change in the past 20 years. … I saw people move away to find better jobs. Coalminers were forced to go back to trade school to learn another trade at the age of 40, 50, 60 years old. That’s hard to do.”
In the video, you can even see what happened to an important landmark in Smith’s childhood.
“Going around to all of these locations brought back a lot of memories,” he admitted. “One specifically powerful is the old Louvee where I spent every weekend as an adolescent going to see movies for $1. Now it’s empty and shut down.”
In the video, a young boy on a bike rides by the old theater with his cape flapping in the wind.
“That particular block was bustling every weekend with teenagers in their cars cruising the strip, bumper to bumper, looking for girls and looking for boys to flirt with, getting in fights, drinking Boone’s Farm at the tracks. Good old small town stuff. That’s not there anymore.”
Still, though, Smith found smiles on people’s faces and music in the air.
“Through all this struggle, people grew stronger and even formed a tighter community in many cases,” he said. “We are a very resilient people.”
Check out the hopeful video for Truth & Salvage Co.’s “Appalachian Hilltop,” shot in Smith’s hometown during a community music festival.