The Mountain Minor to make broadcast debut next week

Warren Waldren, Judy Waldren, Hazel Pasley, Amy Clay, Jonathan Bradshaw, Asa Nelson, and Elizabeth LaPrelle

Great news for fans of traditional mountain music!

The Mountain Minor, a new film project from writer/director Dale Farmer, is set to make its television broadcast debut next weekend on the Heartland network. We’ve written about this film in the past, especially noting Farmer’s decision to go against the grain, and hire actual old time musicians to play the main characters. He figured it would be easier to train these performers to act than to try to fake actors playing the music.

Dale explained a bit about his project and its goals.

“We’re part of a grassroots movement encouraging Appalachians, both in Appalachia and in the places their families migrated, to embrace their amazing heritage. We’re doing it though the music that has had a resurgence of popularity in recent years. Musicians and fans of traditional Appalachian music of all ages will experience the substance and special meaning of the music as it was passed down over the generations to today’sstages, porches and media devices. 

Our narrative feature film, The Mountain Minor, follows an old fiddle through five generations of the Abner Family from Eastern Kentucky in 1932 to a music stage in Cincinnati today. The journey of that old fiddle will give insights into the lives of many thousands of Appalachian families who either stayed or migrated to a land of many challenges to overcome. And, that they did!

Appalachians who migrated to urban centers for work in the 1930s-1960s became the heart of the working middle class. And they brought with them a most valuable resource: their music. Appalachians have long been misrepresented in film and popular culture; we hope our film will help shift this paradigm—revealing the great contributions Appalachians have made to society through their hard work and resourcefulness.”

Musicians who appear in the film include Elizabeth LaPrelle, The Tillers, Dan Gellert, Ma Crow, Trevor McKenzie, Lucas Pasley, Hazel Pasley, Asa Nelson, Warren Waldron, Judy Waldron, Aaron Wolfe, and Jean Dowell and Susan Pepper.

The Mountain Minor was produced by Susan Pepper, herself a singer-songwriter and old time musician, who has both practical and academic experience behind her. Her Master’s Degree in Appalachian Studies was received at Appalachian State University where she wrote a thesis on NC ballad singers. Pepper has done extensive field recording throughout western North Carolina, and produced a number of albums from what she captured there.

Farmer is a musician as well, raised in southern Ohio where he now lives after a sojourn in Nashville, and performs with a number of bands in the Cincinnati area.

He shot the project in somewhat drab and somber tones, reflecting the difficult life that mountain folk endured both at home in the Appalachians and once they moved into the cities.

The Heartland premiere of The Mountain Minor is set for June 6 at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT). Heartland is available on a great many cable and satellite networks in the US, and its signal is also streamed live online and through their ROKU app for smart TVs.

Should you miss the premiere, encore presentations are also scheduled for June 15, at 7:00 p.m., June 21, at 4:00 p.m., and June 27, at 10:00 p.m (ET/PT). 

The Mountain Minor is also available for rent or purchase through Amazon Prime.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.