Gerrard, Alice

The 2020 documentary about Alice Gerrard is now available to stream for free via PBS. You Gave Me a Song was released in April.

This description of her comes from the Floyd General Store webpage:

Simply put, Alice Gerrard is a talent of legendary status. In a career spanning some 40+ years, she has known, learned from, and performed with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats and has in turn earned worldwide respect for her own important contributions to the music.

Alice is particularly known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s-70s. The duo produced four classic LPs (recently reissued by Rounder on CD) and influenced scores of young women singers. Even the Judds acknowledge Hazel and Alice as an important early inspiration.

Alice’s first three solo albums, Pieces of My Heart (1995), Calling Me Home (2004), and Bittersweet (2013), were produced by Laurie Lewis. They were released to critical acclaim in Billboard, Bluegrass Unlimited, New Country, and other publications. These superb recordings showcase Alice’s many talents: her compelling, eclectic songwriting; her powerful, hard-edged vocals; and her instrumental mastery on rhythm guitar, banjo and old-time fiddle.

Gerrard’s fourth solo album, Follow the Music (Sept. 2014), produced by Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, is nominated for a 2015 Grammy in the Best Folk Album category. Many of the songs on the album are traditional folk and bluegrass tunes, while others are exquisite Gerrard originals that drift toward folk-rock. While many modern bluegrass records employ squeaky-clean production, polished instrumentation and historic obsequiousness, Follow the Music wields a deliberate edge, a progression of the past that proclaims Gerrard’s continued relevance as a singer.

Alice Gerrard has appeared on more than 20 other recordings, including projects with traditional musicians such as Tommy Jarrell, Enoch Rutherford, Otis Burris, Luther Davis & Matokie Slaughter; Tom Sauber & Brad Leftwich (as Tom, Brad & Alice), the Harmony Sisters, and The Herald Angels (with Gail Gillespie and Kay Justice). With her in-depth knowledge of mountain music, Alice Gerrard has produced or written liner notes for a dozen more recording artists, and she has also co-produced and appeared in two documentary films.

Gerrard has performed and taught extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and overseas. She is widely respected as a teacher of southern vocal style which emphasizes the nuances of that style and how to find your voice; old-time fiddle, emphasizing bowing styles and tunes, particularly those of Luther Davis, Tommy Jarrell, Roscoe Parish and other traditional fiddlers who taught her; and Carter Family-style guitar as well as old-time backup rhythm guitar, emphasizing the importance of rhythm, timing, chord choices, and the role of the guitar in the string-band context.

A tireless advocate of traditional music, Alice has won numerous honors, including an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award, a Virginia Arts Commission Award, the North Carolina Folklore Society’s Tommy Jarrell Award, and an Indy Award. She has performed at many well-known gatherings, such as Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week, Merlefest, Ozark Folk Center, Swannanoa Gathering, and Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camp.

In 1987 Alice founded the Old-Time Herald and the Old-Time Music Group, a non-profit organization that oversees publication of the Old-Time Herald. She served as editor-in-chief of the Old-Time Herald from 1987 till 2003.