America’s Got Talent is watched by around 10 million people a week. On Tuesday, Jimmy Rose, a former coal miner and Iraq War vet, appeared on the show to sing an original song, “Coal Keeps the Lights On”:

This is an extraordinary cultural artifact, for all sorts of reasons. There are lessons in here for social change agents in general and climate hawks in particular.

First off: It is genuinely affecting! Not least because Jimmy Rose has the kind of deep Appalachian accent and adenoidal, high-lonesome voice you don’t hear much in country music these days. It brings to mind lots of other amazing music out of that tradition. And of course lyrics about a hard-working man watching over his family can hardly fail to tug the heartstrings, even if “clothes on their back and shoes on their feet” might not be the most original turn of phrase. He sells it.