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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2019

ETSU faculty and staff assist with "On Top of Old Smoky'

"This new album offers 23 never-before-released performances of the classic American folk music repertoire," says Dr. Ted Olson.

August 14, 2016

JOHNSON CITY — The Great Smoky Mountains Association will release a third album of traditional American music in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The first of the three GSMA albums, "Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music," was a Grammy Award nominee, while the second, "Old-Time Bluegrass from the Great Smoky Mountains," was nominated for an International Bluegrass Music Association Award.

Dr. Ted Olson, an East Tennessee State University faculty member in Appalachian Studies, served as producer for "On Top of Old Smoky," with Roy Andrade of the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies faculty as associate producer. Ben Bateson, recording lab manager in the ETSU Appalachian Studies program, was the tracking engineer and John Fleenor, media collections manager in ETSU's Archives of Appalachia, was the mastering engineer. Much of the recording for the album took place in the ETSU recording lab.

Two free concerts will launch the album. On Saturday, Aug. 20, the public is invited to the GSMNP Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, North Carolina, from 3-5 p.m., and on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 3-5 p.m. at the GSMNP Sugarland Visitor Center near Gatlinburg.

"This new album offers 23 never-before-released performances of the classic American folk music repertoire," says Olson. "These remarkable performances reinterpret field recordings collected in the Smokies by folklorist Joseph S. Hall, who documented the musical culture of the Smokies residents as they were leaving their homes and farms during the park's development."

Among the songs included in the album are "Little Rosewood Casket" performed by Dolly Parton, "Man of Constant Sorrow" by John Lilly, "The Dying Cowboy" by Norman and Nancy Blake, "I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home" by Bryan Sutton, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" by Dale Jett and Hello Stranger, and "Don't Forget Me Little Darling" by Ed Snodderly.

A Kithfolk magazine reviewer said of the album, "This is one of the most insightful, interesting, passionate and authentic compilations of American roots music that I've heard in a long time." And Rolling Stone Country added that this is "a beautifully crafted Appalachian tribute album."

For further information, contact Olson at 423-439-4379 or To learn more about the album, visit, then click on "What's New?"

A! ExtraTopics: Music