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Dr. Ted Olson to edit the Charles K. Wolfe American Music Series

Wednesday, December 10, 2008JOHNSON CITY— Dr. Ted Olson, an associate professor in East Tennessee State University’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, has been named editor of the Charles K. Wolfe American Music Series to be published by the University of Tennessee Press.

Until his recent death, Dr. Charles K. Wolfe (1943-¬2006) was at the forefront of a generation of scholars who helped transform the study of American popular and folk music into an academic discipline. The author or editor of over 20 books, ranging from a biography of Leadbelly and several volumes on gospel, folk and bluegrass music, to monographs on the Grand Ole Opry and several other topics in country music history, Wolfe employed a broadly interdisciplinary approach that incorporated folklore, popular culture, deep reading in history, sociology, anthropology, and the craft of collecting oral material. Wolfe‘s work in a variety of genres of American vernacular music made him one of a handful of leaders in a field that has emphasized the centrality of vernacular music to the nation‘s cultural life.

Scott Danforth, director of the University of Tennessee Press, said “We are pleased that Ted Olson, with his interest in all facets of American vernacular music, will be our series editor for the Charles K. Wolfe Series. The first prospective manuscripts for this series range from a Hank Williams Reader and a biography of a leading Nashville record producer to a study of the Nashville jazz scene and a multi-author volume on Bruce Springsteen’s music. And, we have plans to add good books on blues and multicultural folk music as well as other subjects that Olson is in a unique position to investigate. His eclectic grasp of music and of the ways music affects the broader culture is a direct inheritance of his work with the late Charles K. Wolfe on several projects, especially the book they co-edited on the Bristol Sessions. Olson’s previous work serves as an indicator of our high hopes for the series.”

The book series will help commemorate Wolfe‘s work and build upon it. Olson invites book proposals that constitute cutting-edge scholarship as well as more popular works that reflect Wolfe‘s range of interests while expanding beyond them.

Last spring, Olson served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. He lectured and conducted research at the University of Barcelona and the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain. Currently, he is producing and writing interpretive notes for a CD of historic music recordings of the Smoky Mountains, to be released in early 2009 in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

For more information, contact Olson at (423) 439-4379 or


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