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Dr. Ted Olson to Present Grammy-Nominated Work During Lees-McRae Stephenson Lecture Series

By Ethan Woodhouse

July 19, 2012. Dr. Ted Olson, professor of Appalachian Studies and an American Folk Music instructor at East Tennessee State University, will present a program on early recordings of traditional mountain music at Lees-McRae on July 25 as part of the Stephenson Summer Lecture Series.

This past year, Olson was nominated for a Grammy Award in the categories of Best Historical Album and Best Liner Notes for his work on The Bristol Sessions, 1927-1928: The Big Bang of Country Music, a five-CD box set accompanied by a 120-page hardcover book.

“He was beaten by Paul McCartney, so he lost to some pretty stout competition,” Dr. Michael Joslin of the Appalachian Studies Department at Lees-McRae said. “He’s truly a musician and a scholar.”

Olson’s discussion will center on his Grammy-nominated work. He and Dr. Michael Montgomery of the University of South Carolina compiled the work together, which features some of the earliest recordings of mountain music known. The majority of the work was created prior to the 1920’s in the Great Smoky Mountains.

He has also written and edited several books on Appalachian music and literature, serves as Editor of the Journal of Appalachian Studies and has produced and compiled two documentary albums of traditional folk music.

The Stephenson Lecture Series is free and open to the public. Each program begins at 7 p.m. in Evans Auditorium in the Canon Student Center at Lees-McRae. Dr. Pat Beaver of Appalachian State University and local turned national legend Orville Hicks have already performed in this year’s series.

Olson says his talk will look into a variety of his works, including his annotating of the music section in the Encyclopedia of Appalachia, a project currently in progress to follow-up his Grammy nominated work entitled, involving the Johnson City, Tenn. musical sessions and all of other efforts to preserve Appalachian musical heritage.

For more information contact Meghan Wright at (828) 898-8729.