Reed, Ola Belle – “Rising Sun Melodies” [Smithsonian Folkways]
You’ll want to read the liner notes on this classic. Reed, who grew up in Rising Sun, Appalachia, picked up a banjo at an early age and learned to pick out tunes herself. Looking at herself in the mirror, she declared her theme song (“Look Down That Lonesome Road,” track 12) and fulfilled her goal of singing on the radio someday. Bully for her, I say! Her voice is as hearty as they come, and her music reflected her values and life–no hypocrisy in this woman’s blood. This selection of her music comes to us through time and allows Reed’s example to shine on for generations of women musicians to come.