Celebrating Olla Belle Reed at the Library of Congress

L-R: TJ Lundy, Ryan Paisley, Michael Paisley (bass fiddle, hidden), Danny Paisley, David Reed, Hugh Campbell

L-R: TJ Lundy, Ryan Paisley, Michael Paisley (bass fiddle, hidden), Danny Paisley, David Reed, Hugh Campbell

Library of Congress steps, Washington, D.C.

Library of Congress steps, Washington, D.C.

Last week was pretty fantastic. I spent Wednesday and Thursday at the Library of Congress celebrating the release of a project that I did the restoration and mastering for: Dust to Digital's "Ola Belle Reed - Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line".  Wednesday started out with an afternoon concert in the historic Coolidge Auditorium (where Alan Lomax recorded Jelly Roll Morton in 1938).  The band consisted of Reed’s son Dave Reed, her nephew Hugh Campbell, and members of the acclaimed bluegrass band Danny Paisley and Southern Grass.  They nailed it.  It was an hour of outstanding bluegrass in an amazing venue.

L-R: Betsy Peterson, Hugh Campbell, Henry Glassie, Clifford R. Murphy, Douglas Peach, and Lance Ledbetter

L-R: Betsy Peterson, Hugh Campbell, Henry Glassie, Clifford R. Murphy, Douglas Peach, and Lance Ledbetter

The next day we were treated to two engaging panel discussions.  The first one focused on Olla Belle Reed's musical legacy and the Appalachian Migration and featured Frances Mann Riale, Danny Paisley, David Reed, Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury and Rob McCoury.  The second panel was all about Dust-to-Digital's new CD/book.  Henry Glassie, Clifford R. Murphy, Douglas Peach, and Lance Ledbetter took the stage to talk about how "Ola Belle Reed - Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line" came to be.  Both panels were great and throughly enjoyable.

Why is Olla Belle Reed important? Douglas Peach says it well in his guest post on the LOC blog

Ola Belle Reed’s influence permeates both traditional and, increasingly, popular music in the United States. Her songs have appeared on albums by Marty Stuart, Tim O’Brien, and Del McCoury, and have inspired contemporary performers such as the Avett Brothers and Abigail Washburn. Her contributions were recognized in 1986, when she was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship–the nation’s highest honor for traditional artists–by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Folksongs of Another America: Field Recordings from the Upper Midwest, 1937-1946

Dust-to-Digital's new 5-CD set of field recordings,  all meticulously restored and mastered by Michael Graves, is teeming with African-American, Austrian, Belgian, Cornish, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French Canadian, German, Ho-Chunk, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Irish, Italian, Luxemburger, Norwegian, Ojibwe, Oneida, Polish, Scots Gaelic, Serbian, Swedish, Swiss, and Welsh performers.

Armed with bulky microphones, blank disks, spare needles, and cumbersome disk-cutting machines, several folklorists had the foresight to document and preserve a significant but overlooked part of the nation’s musical heritage, made by immigrant, Native American, rural and working-class performers. Almost all of these dance tunes, ballads, lyric songs, hymns, laments, versified taunts, political anthems, street cries, and recitations are being issued for the very first time.

Cambodian Rock

There's a movie headed your way soon that you should see.  "Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock & Roll" is a documentary about the music scene in Cambodia during the 1960's.  It's a story that sadly few of us know little about, but the film's director John Pirozzi does an excellent job of educating, entertaining and generally taking the viewer back to the heyday of rock music in Phnom Penh.  I was fortunate enough to be given the task to restore and master the music for the film's soundtrack that is being released by Dust-to-Digital, May 12th.  The music rocks.  You should add the album to your collection as soon as possible.  Here's the trailer:


The movie made its New York City premiere at the Film Forum immediately followed by a concert at the City Winery featuring some of the surviving Cambodian musicians.  

Pretty great, huh?  That's Kagnol Mol seated playing guitar, founding member of Cambodia’s first surf guitar band, Baksey Cham Krong.  

This is him playing guitar back in the 60's on one of my favorite tracks from the new DTIF soundtrack.

Best Historical Album round-up

The L.A. Times gives an excellent run-down of this year's GRAMMY nominees for Best Historical Album with some especially nice things to say about my work on the Hank Williams record:

"Equally exciting, it's a beautifully engineered recording seemingly rescued from oblivion. Using the only known copies, 16-inch records with lots of crackle and pop, Grammy-winning mastering engineer Michael Graves (also nominated for "Longing for the Past" -- see below) seems to have resurrected the spirit of Williams himself."

Double GRAMMY nomination for Michael Graves

Wow!  I'm extremely honored to announce that I've been nominated for two GRAMMYs this year!  Congratulations to fellow nominees Lance Ledbetter & Dave Murray at Dust-to-Digital for Longing For The Past: The 78 RPM Era In Southeast Asia AND Cheryl Pawelski & Colin Escott at Omnivore Recordings for Hank Williams: The Garden Spot Programs, 1950.  Both releases have been nominated for Best Historical Album.  I'm thrilled to be a part of these two projects.  Congratulations to the other nominees in Best Historical; I'm so proud to be in a category with such amazing work!  The 57th GRAMMY Awards will be held at 1:00 PM, February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA.  Thank you Recording Academy for recognizing these projects!

Longing For The Past

PopMatters takes a look at Dust-to-Digital's Longing For The Past.  Along with the review is a great interview with the compilation producer David Murray.

"My interest in these old recordings, at least partially, is that they hint at the way music sounded before the recording process was invented. Centuries of music have come and gone, unrecorded. Our whole recorded history is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s as if the only photo you had of your life was from yesterday."