On Top Of Old Smoky, the twenty-three-song compilation released by the Great Smoky Mountains Association, pays tribute to the more than the 4000 people who had to give up their ancestral homes to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The album features never before released performances of timeless Appalachian classics interpreted by such artists as Dolly Parton, Norman Blake, Courtney Hartman, and David Holt, among many others.
Based upon the field recordings collected in the Smoky Mountains by folklorist Joseph S. Hall who documented the musical culture of the residents as they left their homes, the album begins with Carol Elizabeth Jones singing “On Top Of Old Smoky” and takes you through the journey of the ancestors via the melodies and lyrics of “Man of Constant Sorrow” (John Lilly), “Come, All You Young Ladies” (Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin), “Ground Hog” (Alice Gerrard) and “John Hardy” (Martin Simpson with Dom Flemons) before closing with Dale Jett and Hello Stranger performing the beloved “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”
The songs filling On Top Of Old Smoky honor and celebrate not only the musical history of a specific region, but the people as well, who unselfishly left a legacy in one of the most popular and beautiful national parks we have today.
Since 1953, Great Smoky Mountains Association has supported the preservation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park by promoting greater public understanding and appreciation through education, interpretation, and research. The project, the third album of traditional American music released by the organization, will be available August 21st.