documentary traces the history of American music.
By Blurt Staff
Old Weird America,
Rani Singh’s (director of the Harry Smith Archives) documentary film tracking
the history of Harry Smith’s Anthology of
American Folk Music is aired three times today on the Ovation channel as
part of Ovation’s “American Revolutionaries” series – see BLURT’s daily channel
guide elsewhere in this news section for the times. It was shown last year on
Ovation and also made the rounds of the film festival screening circuit in America and Europe;
it initially was available on DVD as part of the Harry Smith Project Revisited 2-CD/2-DVD box set.
The acclaimed film follows the Anthology from its initial compilation of 78 records from rural Americana to its release
on Folkways Records in 1952. Instrumental in helping inspire the urban folk
revival of the 1960s, the Anthology continues to influence modern music. Testifying to the lasting impact of the
Anthology and the remarkable personality of Harry Smith are interviewees Elvis
Costello, Beck, Sonic Youth, Beth Orton, Philip Glass, David Johansen, John
Cohen and Greil Marcus. Meanwhile, concert footage featuring Beck, Nick Cave,
Beth Orton and others brings the music itself to life. (One of the DVDs in the HSPR box went even further, offering
complete performances by those artists along with David Johansen, Elvis
Costello, Nick Cave, Lou Reed, David Glass, Richard Thompson, Ed Sanders and
the Folksmen (!).