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New Album, Old Music: Kentucky Music Hall of Fame to celebrate ‘The Mountain Minor’ Nov. 7

For two centuries, the hills and hollers of Appalachia have reverberated with folk music brought by settlers from Europe and, later, slaves from Africa. “Old-time music,” as it came to be called, evolved into gospel, bluegrass and country, but the historic style lives on, thanks to dedicated artists who appreciate its beauty.

Some of those traditional tunes can be heard on The Mountain Minor Motion Picture Soundtrack, a new album featuring music from the movie, which was inspired by a true Eastern Kentucky story.

The Mountain Minor soundtrack cover

The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Mount Vernon will host The Mountain Minor Soundtrack Celebration on Saturday, November 7, at 6:30 p.m., featuring live music performed by some of the cast members of the movie. Writer-director Dale Farmer will also be present. Social distancing will be observed, including facemasks required in the performance area.

“It means a lot to have this event at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame because it’s such a highly regarded music museum, and it’s not far from where the movie takes place,” Farmer said.

The Mountain Minor tells the story of an Eastern Kentucky boy who moves with his parents to Ohio for financial reasons during the Great Depression, but never loses his passion for the old-time music he grew up listening to. Farmer based the film on the true story of his grandfather, who was born in Jackson County and moved to Ohio with his parents.

The movie is full of old-time string music, performed by Smithsonian Folkways recording artist Elizabeth LaPrelle (of the acclaimed folk duo Anna & Elizabeth), Dan Gellert, Mike Oberst and his band The Tillers, Asa Nelson, Hazel Pasley, Aaron Wolfe, Lucas Pasley, Susan Pepper, Warren Waldron, Judy Waldron and more. Northern Kentucky-based musician Ma Crow, who plays the fictional version of Farmer’s grandmother, performs two songs in the movie. She says that she can relate to the characters in the film because her own parents, who were musicians, moved to Cincinnati for financial reasons when she was young.

“Making the movie was such a creative process and was one of the most positive things I have ever been involved in,” Crow said. “It’s not just my story; it’s thousands of people’s stories of Appalachian migration.”

Kentucky-musician Ma Crow plays Ruth Abner, whose husband, Charlie, dreams of moving back to his boyhood home in the mountains. (Courtesy of Alt452 Productions)

“Ma is one of those people that lives and breathes the music,” Farmer said. “I’ve been drawn to her musical soul when she plays and sings as much as the music itself. When it came time to cast the part of Ruth Abner, there really was no one else I could imagine filling that role.”

The Mountain Minor won several awards at film festivals in 2018 and 2019 and enjoyed a limited theatrical release before the COVID-19 pandemic forced most theaters to close in March of 2020. The film is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, Vimeo on Demand and Amazon. It also has aired twice on Kentucky Educational Television (KET) and on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

“A soundtrack album was not part of the original plan, but every time the film is shown, people ask where they can find the music, so I decided to release an album,” Farmer said. “People love the music because it is so heartfelt and real.”

The Mountain Minor Motion Picture Soundtrack is available digitally through Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and most other outlets. CDs can be ordered through TheMountainMinorMovie.com.

The Mountain Minor Soundtrack Celebration will take place at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame & Museum, 2590 Richmond St in Mount Vernon on Saturday, November 7 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. Admission is free. COVID precautions will be observed, including facemasks required in the performance area. Food will be available for purchase. For information, visit KentuckyMusicHallOfFame.com or call 606-256-1000.

Ma Crow performs “Cripple Creek” with Dan Gellert in The Mountain Minor

From The Mountain Minor

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