South of the Mountain tells the story of two generations of an Appalachian family as industrialization moves into the mountains and hillside farming yields to coalmining. There are a dozen original compositions ranging from rousing songs accompanied by guitar, fiddle, and banjo to plaintiff ballads sung in a cappella harmonies.
South of the Mountain is the second play in Roadside's Pine Mountain Trilogy, which also includes Pretty Polly and Leaving Egypt. The Trilogy takes its name from the setting of the three plays, the 110 mile-long Pine Mountain that divides east Kentucky from southwest Virginia. This once isolated area of the Appalachians was one of the last pockets of the U.S. frontier.
From the arrival of the first European settlers to the Vietnam War era, each play in the Trilogy looks at a distinct period of time through the eyes of an Appalachian family. Roadside often works with historical material to illuminate current circumstances. The Trilogy is part of the body of Roadside’s work that presents a radically different version of the region's history than that published under the auspices of the coal companies.