Introducing Sepia Tones: Dr. William Turner and Dr. Ted Olson explore Black Appalachian music
Our guests Dr. William Turner and Dr. Ted Olson talk about an exciting new podcast mini-series they'll be co-hosting as part of Smoky Mountain Air called Sepia Tones: Exploring Black Appalachian Music. This mini-series can be found right here through this podcast, with new episodes every other month.
Dr. William Turner is a long-time African American studies scholar who first rose to prominence as co-editor of the groundbreaking Blacks in Appalachia (1985). He was also a research assistant to Roots author Alex Haley. Turner retired as distinguished professor of Appalachian Studies and regional ambassador at Berea College. His memoir called The Harlan Renaissance is forthcoming from West Virginia University Press in 2021.
Dr. Ted Olson is a professor of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University and the author of many books, articles, reviews, encyclopedia entries, and oral histories. Olson has produced and compiled a number of documentary albums of traditional Appalachian music including GSMA's On Top of Old Smoky and Big Bend Killing. He's received a number of awards in his work as a music historian, including seven Grammy nominations.
We spoke to Dr. William Turner and Dr. Ted Olson on an online video chat.
Music selections in this episode:
- "My Home's Across the Smoky Mountains" by Sparky Rucker from the Digital Library of Appalachia's Berea College collection (https://dla.acaweb.org/digital/collection/berea/id/2625/rec/11)
- "John Hardy" by Martin Simpson, featuring Dom Flemons on harmonica and bones, from On Top of Old Smoky: New Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music (https://www.smokiesinformation.org/on-top-of-old-smoky-new-old-time-smoky-mountain-music-cd)
- "Key to the Highway" by the Foddrell Brothers from the Berea Sound Archive (https://soundarchives.berea.edu/items/show/2652)
- "John Henry" by Amythyst Kiah and Roy Andrade from Big Bend Killing (https://www.smokiesinformation.org/big-bend-killing-the-appalachian-ballad-tradition-2-disk-cd)
- "Goin' Down this Road Feelin' Bad" by Amythyst Kiah and Roy Andrade from On Top of Old Smoky: New Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music (https://www.smokiesinformation.org/on-top-of-old-smoky-new-old-time-smoky-mountain-music-cd)