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.
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.