Let the Music Be Heard: Creating New Appalachian Music Compilations for a New Generation

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As a performer, teacher, and scholar, I have interpreted Appalachian music in a range of venues (classrooms, festivals, restaurants, and National Park Service campgrounds) and via a variety of media (books and periodicals, websites, films, and documentary recordings). In my presentation, I'll discuss how my efforts to interpret the music (and other aspects of culture) of Appalachia in multiple roles over twenty-five years evolved into my recent work as a producer and album notes writer on several historical albums containing neglected archival recordings or forgotten commercial records of Appalachian music. What compelled me to begin to work on such documentary releases of recordings was my sense that Appalachia's music has been stigmatized or romanticized over the years because it has not been effectively listened to or deeply understood (that is, interpreted in sufficiently informed contexts). I felt that if no one else was releasing the sort of illuminating, contextualized compilations of Appalachian music that I yearned to hear, then I could help create such releases. And, happily, the releases I've worked on thus far have had an impact both within and outside the classroom, both within and outside Appalachia.


Chapel Hill, NC

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