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Ted Olson

Ted Olson has written or edited a number of books exploring Southern and Appalachian folklore, literature, and music. He received nominations for two Grammy Awards in 2012 and one in 2013, and in 2010 he was the recipient of an International Bluegrass Music Association Award. He teaches at East Tennessee State University.

Articles by Ted Olson

REVIEW: Let Your Feet Do the Talkin’ Thumbnail

REVIEW: Let Your Feet Do the Talkin’

Buck dancing is not easy to categorize—it is simple, involving neither choreography nor costume, yet it is complex, with no set routines or rules. When you are buck dancing, though it is to someone else’s music, you are guided by your own sense of rhythm, in a manner encouraged in the mid-nineteenth century by Henry David Thoreau: "If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away."
Department: Reviews
The Sanctified Soul of Arizona Dranes Thumbnail

The Sanctified Soul of Arizona Dranes

“He Is My Story” is a magnificent, long-neglected 1928 gospel recording by Texas-born African-American Pentecostal singer and pianist Arizona Dranes, who was the first person to play piano on a gospel recording and whose prowess as a singer and performer has been acknowledged by such gospel musicians as Thomas A. Dorsey, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Mahalia Jackson.
Department: Reviews
 Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology Thumbnail

Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology

Ironically, but inevitably, the record company that took up the difficult task of chronicling jazz—which emerged just over a century ago, among a disenfranchised culture in one city in the American South (New Orleans, of course), but which soon served as the soundtrack for the modernizing Western world—was Smithsonian Folkways, overseen by one of America’s most elite cultural institutions
Department: MUSIC
Louis Armstrong: 10 Recordings of Consequence  Thumbnail

Louis Armstrong: 10 Recordings of Consequence

1. “Just Gone,” recorded by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, in Richmond, Indiana, on April 5, 1923 (Gennett Records). This is the first recording on which Armstrong appeared. Having worked in Joe “King” Oliver’s shadow since 1919, when he replaced the older musician in Kid Ory’s New Orleans-based band, Armstrong joined Oliver’s Chicago band in 1922, playing second cornet behind Oliver for much of 1923 and appearing with Oliver on recordings for four different record labels.
Department: MUSIC
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