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About Ted Olson

Ted Olson teaches courses in Appalachian music history. He is music section editor for The Encyclopedia of Appalachia; book series editor for the Charles K. Wolfe Music Series (University of Tennessee Press); co-editor of The Bristol Sessions: Writings About the Big Bang of Country Music; author of Blue Ridge Folklife; and producer of and album notes writer for several documentary collections of recordings from Appalachia, including boxed sets collecting the 1927-1928 Bristol Sessions, the 1928-1929 Johnson City Sessions, and the 1929-1930 Knoxville Sessions. For his work as a music historian, Olson has received six Grammy Award nominations, an International Bluegrass Music Association Award, an Independent Music Award, and two Jack Spadaro Documentary Awards.


Present Professor, East Tennessee State University Appalachian Studies, College of Arts and Sciences
Present Professor, East Tennessee State University College of Arts and Sciences


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Professional Service and Affiliations

Present Member, American Culture Association
Present Member, American Folklore Society
Present Member, American Studies Association
Present Board of Advisors Members, Appalachian Cultural Music Association
Present Member, Appalachian Studies Association
Present Member, Association for Recorded Sound Collections
Present Member, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment
Present Editorial Board Member, Journal of Appalachian Studies
Present Member, Mississippi Folklore Society
Present Member, Mississippi Philological Association
Present Member, Modern Language Association
Present Assistant Project Coordinator, Mountains of Music Homecoming - The Cooking Road
Present Grammy Awards Voting Member and National Nominating Committee Member, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
Present Member, Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association
Present Member, Society for American Music
Present Member, Society for Applied Anthropology
Present Member, Society for the Study of Southern Literature
Present Member, South Atlantic Modern Language Association
Present Member, Tennessee Folklore Society
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Honors and Awards

  • 2012 - Thomas D. Clark Memorial Foundation Book of the Year Award for The Hills Remember: The Complete Short Stories of James Still
  • 2012 - Regional Excellence in History Award of Distinction (East Tennessee Historical Society)
  • 2012 - Distinguished Friend of Appalachia Award, Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, ETSU
  • 2012 - Best Historical Research in Recorded Folk, Ethnic, or Country Music (Nominee)
  • 2012 - Best Historical Album Award (Nominee)
  • 2012 - Best Album Notes Award (Nominee)
  • 2013 - Selected as Subject of Entry in Reference Publication, The Writers Directory, Gale Cengage Learning
  • 2013 - Best Historical Album Award (Nominee)
  • 2014 - Golden Gear Award: Best Record Store Day 2014 Release for Co-Producing and Co-authoring Album Notes for The Folk Box
  • 2014 - Certificate of Merit, Best Historical Research in Country Music
  • 2015 - Recipient of Arts/Sciences Service Award [$500], ETSU
  • 2015 - Recipient, Arts/Sciences Basler Fellowship [$2,500], ETSU
  • 2015 - Jack Spadaro Appalachian Documentary Award
  • 2015 - Best Liner Notes for Recorded Project Award (Nominee)
  • 2016 - Best Album Notes Award (Nominee)
  • 2016 - Best Tribute Album Award
  • 2017 - Best Album Notes Award (Nominee)
  • 2017 - Innovative Product Award
  • 2017 - Official Resolution 265 Honoring, On Top of Old Smoky: New Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music
  • 2017 - Best Historical Research in Country Music Award (Nominee)
  • 2017 - Certificate of Merit, Best Historical Research in Country Music
  • 2017 - Best Liner Notes for Recorded Project Award (Nominee)
  • 2018 - Best Album Notes Award (Nominee, 60th Grammy Awards )
  • 2018 - Best Compilation Album Award (Nominee, 16th Annual Independent Music Awards)
  • 2018 - Jack Spadaro Appalachian Documentary Award (Appalachian Studies Association)
  • 2018 - Best Liner Notes for Recorded Project Award (Nominee, International Bluegrass Music Association)
  • 2019 - Best Album Notes Award for Authoring Album Notes (Nominee, 61st Annual Grammy Awards)
  • 2019 - Arts Achievement Award (Arts Alliance Mountain Empire)
  • 2019 - Best Compilation Album Award (Nominee, 17th Annual Independent Music Awards)
  • 2019 - Best Music Producer Award (Nominee)


  • Irish and Scottish Literature
  • World Literature
  • Native American Literature and Culture
  • African American Literature and Culture
  • Business Writing
  • English Composition, Parts One and Two
  • Introductory and Advanced Creative Writing
  • American Nonfiction
  • American Poetry
  • American Fiction
  • Multicultural Literature
  • Appalachian Literature
  • Southern Literature
  • Historical Surveys of American Literature
  • Film Studies
  • Appalachia and Film [Online]
  • Comparative Regional Studies
  • American Regional Studies
  • Sense of Place in Appalachia and the South
  • Appalachia and War [Traditional Classroom, Online]
  • The Hillbilly Stereotype: History and Cultural Impact
  • Religion in Appalachia [Undergraduate-Level/Graduate-Level]
  • History of Coal Mining [Traditional Classroom, Online]
  • American Environmental History
  • The Environment in Appalachia
  • A Social History of Rock and Roll
  • African American Vernacular Music
  • Country and Bluegrass Music History
  • American Roots Music [Traditional Classroom, Online]
  • Appalachian/Southern Folklore and Folklife
  • Appalachia and Film
  • Folklore and Literature
  • Introduction to Folklore
  • Folklore: History, Theory, and Methodology
  • Documenting Community Traditions
  • Introduction to American Studies
  • Globalism and Appalachia [Graduate-Level]
  • Current Issues in Appalachian Studies
  • Introduction to Appalachian Studies
  • Southern Cultural Studies
  • Spanish and American Cultural Connections
  • British-Irish-American Cultural Connections
  • Appalachia and Globalism
  • Religion in Appalachia
  • Appalachia and War
  • Reading in Appalachian Studies


1991 - 1997 Ph. D., English, University of Mississippi
1988 - 1991 M.A., English, University of Kentucky
1979 - 1982 B.A., English, University of Minnesota

Contact Information

PO Box 70556
Johnson City, TN 37614

Office: Brooks Gym 304
Phone: (423) 439-4379


Book (Sole Author or Editor) (3)

Album Production & Notes (11)

Album Notes (5)

Books (Contributing Author) (12)