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Volume 24, Number 10 — October 2017

ETSU's Dr. Ted Olson and John Fleenor nominated for Grammy Awards

Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music CD is nominated for a Grammy Award.
Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music CD is nominated for a Grammy Award.
Additional photos below »

January 01, 2013

JOHNSON CITY East Tennessee State University's Dr. Ted Olson, a professor in ETSU's Department of Appalachian Studies, and John Fleenor, media collections manager in the school's Archives of Appalachia, are among those nominated in the "Best Historical Album" category of the Grammy Awards for "Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music."

Olson was co-producer and liner notes writer on the project, while Fleenor served as mastering engineer.

In 1939, when the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was being created, Joseph Hall, a graduate student from California, recorded the speech and music of the area before the people of the Great Smoky Mountains were relocated to create the park. More than 70 years later, the GSMNP's nonprofit educational organization, the Great Smoky Mountains Association, finally released some of those recordings on a CD entitled "Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music," which contained 34 songs, ballads and instrumentals recorded by Hall in the Smokies in 1939. All proceeds from the sale of the CD benefit the GSMNP.

Among the selections in the collection are two ballads found only in the Smokies, "Up on Big Pigeon" and "The Big Bend Killing," as well as widely known material, including "Sourwood Mountain," "Don't Forget Me Little Darling," "On Top of Old Smoky," "John Henry" and "Mule Skinner Blues."

After the CD was initially released, the GSMA heard from two of the original musicians from the 1939 field recording sessions and from 18 relatives of deceased musicians who recorded for Hall, and the CD was reissued to incorporate new information and photographs contributed by those people.

For his work as a music historian, Olson has received the East Tennessee Historical Society's Regional Excellence in History Award of Distinction as well as an award from the International Bluegrass Music Association and two previous Grammy Award nominations.

This is Fleenor's first Grammy nomination. He has worked on other ETSU Center for Appalachian Studies and Services projects, including the DVD "Ray Hicks and Other Beech Mountain Folk" with Dr. Thomas Burton and the kiosk of the B. Carroll Reece Museum exhibit The History of Country Music in the Tri-Cities with Roy Andrade. In addition, he did the narration for the ETSU DVD "The George L. Carter Legacy."

Nominated with Olson and Fleenor for their work on "Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music" are co-producers Dr. Michael Montgomery, who also contributed liner notes, Kent Cave and Steve Kemp.

For more information, contact Olson at 423-439-4379 or olson@etsu.edu or Fleenor at 423-439-6993 or fleenoran@etsu.edu.




Joseph Hall shown collecting music in 1939.