She grew up near Montcalm, West Virginia, one of 11 children, and moved away in … WASHINGTON (AP) - Hazel Dickens, a folk singer and bluegrass musician who advocated for coal miners, has died at age 75. The cause was complications of pneumonia, said Ken Irwin, her longtime friend… Dickens was born liero July 23, 1900, tho daughter ot Mr. and Mre. During a graphic description of the ravages wrought by pneumoconiosis midway through the documentary, Hazel is heard singing her … Dickens was the first woman to receive the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Merit Award. She no doubt helped pave the way for other female musicians, whether in bluegrass, pop, punk, and beyond. Hazel Dickens (June 1, 1935, - April 22, 2011, born Mercer County, West Virginia) an American bluegrass singer. For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Hazel Dickens was an Appalachian singer and songwriter known for her superb musicianship, feminist country songs, union anthems, and blue-collar laments. From the Mike Seeger Collection (#20009) On Monday, May 11th, Reel South, a cooperative documentary series among the South’s PBS-member stations, will make the Alice Gerrard documentary You Gave Me A Song available to stream. Hazel Dickens was born in downstate West Virginia in coal country- her family members were coal miners. Hazel Dickens : a brief biography by Bill C. Malone --Songs and Memories by Hazel Dickens. From the coalfields of West Virginia to the factories of Baltimore, Hazel Dickens has lived the songs she sings. Featuring a haunting soundtrack, with legendary country and bluegrass artists Hazel Dickens, Merle Travis, Sarah Gunning, and Florence Reece, the film is a heartbreaking record of the thirteen-month struggle between a community fighting to survive and a corporation dedicated to the bottom line. In the same year her story was told in the documentary Hazel Dickens: It's Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song. The songs in the clip are the powerful and moving “Mannington Mines” and “They’ll Never Keep Us Down.” Hazel Jane Dickens (June 1, 1925[a] – April 22, 2011) was an American bluegrass singer, songwriter, double bassist and guitarist. She appeared in the documentary Harlan County USA in 1970- four of her songs including Mannington Mine Disaster are on that outstanding … Her songs of hard work, hard times, and hardy souls have bolstered working people at picket lines and union rallies throughout the land. She was the eighth child of an eleven-child mining family in West Virginia. BIOGRAPHY: Hazel Dickens grew up in the coal-mining country of West Virginia, and the harsh conditions in which her family lived and worked deeply affected her and her art. Biography During the early to mid-1960s, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, two friends living in the Baltimore/Washington DC area started to play bluegrass music together-a heretofore almost exclusively male bastion-creating a style, a repertoire, and a consciousness … Harlan County, USA is a 1976 American documentary film covering the "Brookside Strike" a 1973 effort of 180 coal miners and their wives against the Duke Power Company-owned Eastover Coal Company's Brookside Mine and Prep Plant in Harlan County, southeast Kentucky.It won the Oscar for Best Documentary at the 49th Academy Awards. Dickens was born in Montcalm, Mercer County, West Virginia on June 1, 1925, the eighth of eleven siblings born to a mining family. Earl Gilmore, The Rices and Hazel Dickens at Highlander's Coal Mining Music Workshop . Her music was characterized not only by her high, lonesome singing style, but also by her provocative pro-union, feminist songs. In 2011 Dickens died in a Washington DC hospice from complications of pneumonia. The singer and songwriter Hazel Dickens was one of the women who changed the face of American country music. solo career began with the soundtrack to an Academy Award-winning documentary film about a violent miner?s strike. . Alice is particularly known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s. The obituary was featured in Legacy on April 25, 2011. Her … She appeared in the Oscar winning documentary Harlan County, USA, about the struggle of the county's miners union against scab workers, wage rights, and health conditions; sung about on the picket line in her folk songs as well as contributing those four songs to the soundtrack of the film. Together, they recorded two additional albums on Rounder Records, but Hazel & Alice broke up in 1976 and Dickens pursued a solo career where her music and songwriting became more political. She was married to Joseph S. Cohen. She appeared in the films Matewan and The Songcatcher as well as in the documentary Harlan County USA. Documentary by Mimi Pickering. Dickens died Friday morning at a Washington hospice of complications from pn Folksinger Hazel Dickens, a pioneer for women in bluegrass music, died Friday. From this petite, wiry frame came an unexpectedly powerful voice. MUS. The biography of Hazel Dickens would appear to follow the typical trajectory of many young rural Appalachian women from rural West Virginia raised in coal-mining communities in the 1950s. Fresh Air remembers the feminist role model with excerpts from a 1987 interview. Well, in this documentary there is a ton of really great rural music and raw, from-the-soul singing throughout. Dickens was the eighth of 11 children in a family that struggled hard to make a living in an area where coalmining was the sole industry. Anna Johnson, Darlington rond. Harlan County, USA is a 1976 American documentary film covering the "Brookside Strike" a ... "They'll Never Keep Us Down", written and sung by Hazel Dickens, accompanied by Lamar Grier, John Katarakis, John Otsuka, and Gary Henderson; Reception Critical response. Hazel Dickens’s compelling voice and eloquent songs first reached a large American public in the soundtrack ofHarlan County, USA,a 1976 Academy Award–winning documentary film that told of a protracted and dramatic strike in the eastern Kentucky coalfields. From the coalfields of West Virginia to the factories of Baltimore, Hazel Dickens has lived the songs she sings. Bishop.Hcr malden name was Misa Hazel … Interviews with Hazel and fellow musicians such as Alison Krauss, Naomi Judd, and Dudley Connell are interwoven with archival footage, recent performances, and 16 songs including “Mama’s Hand,” “ Working Girl Blues,” and “Black Lung.” Hazel Dickens discography and songs: Music profile for Hazel Dickens, born 1 June 1935. Remembering Hazel Dickens Born in West Virginia, Hazel Dickens recorded twice for Folkways Records and was a frequent participant of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, appearing some fifteen times. Reel South -You Gave Me A Song Protest and folksinger Hazel Dickens grew up the eighth of 11 children in a large, poor mining family in West Virginia, and she used elements of country and bluegrass to spread truth about two causes close to her heart: the plight of non-unionized mineworkers and feminism, born not of the '60s movement but traditional values. Dickens died Friday morning at a Washington hospice of complications from pn Albums include Classic Bluegrass From Smithsonian Folkways, Songcatcher, and Classic Labor Songs. "Hazel Dickens is an icon, and it is about time a book-length biography was published about her. Hazel Jane Dickens (June 1, 1925 – April 22, 2011) was an American bluegrass singer, songwriter, double bassist and guitarist. Hazel Dickens. The New York Times extolled her as "a clarion-voiced advocate for coal miners and working people and a pioneer among women in bluegrass music." Many of Hazels's relatives were miners, including her brothers, cousins, and, eventually, her brothers-in-law.[1][2]. Protest and folksinger Hazel Dickens grew up the eighth of 11 children in a large, poor mining family in West Virginia, and she used elements of country and bluegrass to spread truth about two causes close to her heart: the plight of non-unionized mineworkers and feminism, born not of the '60s movement but traditional values. She was herself the subject of a documentary, Hazel Dickens: It’s Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song (2001). Starting in the early 1960s with singing partner Hazel Dickens, she helped open the doors for a host of up-and-coming women performers and entrepreneurs in the fields of bluegrass and old-time music. This is an excerpt from the documentary Hazel Dickens: It’s Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song directed by Mimi Pickering. This page was last edited on 9 January 2021, at 14:40. 1998 A Few Old Memories. Her music is characterized by not only her "high lonesome" singing style, but also by … 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. Biography of Hazel Dickens on OLDIES.com. Other outlets for Hazel’s music were found in the 1986 film Matewan; a 2002 documentary about her life titled for her most recent Rounder release, It’s Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song; and a 1996 trio recording, Heart of a Singer, that paired her with tradition-based performers Carol Elizabeth Jones and … Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, 1975. Her … [18][2], a. Protest and folksinger Hazel Dickens grew up the eighth of 11 children in a large, poor mining family in West Virginia, and she used elements of country and bluegrass to spread truth about two causes close to her heart: the plight of non-unionized mineworkers and feminism, born not of the '60s movement but traditional values. Her three solo … Hazel Dickens, a troubadour of hard times whose raw, heartfelt songs about coal miners and the life of the downtrodden made her a revered figure in country and bluegrass music, died April 22 at the Washington Home hospice in the District. Albums include Classic Mountain Songs From Smithsonian Folkways, Classic Bluegrass From Smithsonian Folkways, and Hand-Picked: 25 Years of Bluegrass Music on Rounder Records. Hazel Dickens was born on June 1, 1935 in Montcalm, West Virginia, USA as Hazel Jane Dickens. The Washington Post described her as "a living legend of American music, a national treasure," and in 2001, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a National Heritage Fellowship. Remembering Hazel Dickens Born in West Virginia, Hazel Dickens recorded twice for Folkways Records and was a frequent participant of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, appearing some fifteen times. Dickens and Gerrard discovered they harmonized well together, and they started playing shows together, quickly developing a loyal following in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. [5] She wrote a song titled "Coal Mining Women" about the hardships women faced in the coal mining world. ... USA," Barbara Kopple's 1976 Oscar-winning documentary about Kentucky coal miners. Hansell, Tom; Beaver, Patricia & Wiley, Angela, (2015). Dickens and Gerrard were bluegrass bandleaders at a time when the vast majority of bluegrass bands were led by men. Hazel Dickens grew up the eighth of 11 children in a poor mining family in West Virginia. Cultural blogger John Pietaro noted that "Dickens didn’t just sing the anthems of labor, she lived them and her place on many a picket line, staring down gunfire and goon squads, embedded her into the cause." ^ Sources vary on birth date; see talk page discussion, American bluegrass musician, singer, and activist, Films in which Dickens contributes to the soundtrack, Hazel Dickens: It's Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song, International Bluegrass Music Association, "Remembering Hazel Dickens: A Feminist Bluegrass Voice", "Hazel Dickens Inspires New Generation of Musicians", "Harlan County, USA | Big Sky Documentary Film Festival", "Hazel Dickens dies at 75; bluegrass pioneer and social activist", "Strange Creek Singers: Get Aquatinted Waltz - Strange Creek Singers - Songs, Reviews, Credits", "57 Champions of Queer Feminism, All Name-Dropped in One Impossibly Catchy Song", Dickens Discography at Smithsonian Folkways, Criterion Films Collection Harlan County, USA, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hazel_Dickens&oldid=999307128, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, "They'll Never Keep Us Down" (Rounder Records, 1976) – for the film, "Busted" / "Old Calloused Hands" (Rounder Records, 1980) – from the album. She had 1 sister and 9 brothers, all of whom were miners. I have sat in music jams with Hazel at local fiddler's conventions hereabouts and always found her to be modest and generous, though naturally her voice dominates where her personality does not. From the coalfields of West Virginia to the factories of Baltimore, Hazel Dickens has lived the songs she sings. HAZEL DICKENS John Dickens, aged 24, died last evening at her honie on Vino Bt., following two years' Illness of complications.Mrs. She was 75. WASHINGTON (AP) - Hazel Dickens, a folk singer and bluegrass musician who advocated for coal miners, has died at age 75. Protest and folksinger Hazel Dickens grew up the eighth of 11 children in a large, poor mining family in West Virginia, and she used elements of country and bluegrass to spread truth about two causes close to her heart: the plight of non-unionized mineworkers and feminism, born not of the '60s movement but traditional values. Earl Gilmore, The Rices and Hazel Dickens at Highlander's Coal Mining Music Workshop A pioneering woman in Bluegrass and hardcore country music, Hazel has influenced generations of songwriters and musicians. Genres: Bluegrass, Appalachian Folk Music. Hazel Jane Dickens, 1 June 1935, Mercer County, West Virginia, USA. 1987 By the Sweat of My Brow. Hazel Dickens’s compelling voice and eloquent songs first reached a large American public in the soundtrack ofHarlan County, USA,a 1976 Academy Award–winning documentary film that told of a protracted and dramatic strike in the eastern Kentucky coalfields.During a graphic description of the ravages wrought by pneumoconiosis midway through the documentary, Hazel is heard singing her … She died on April 22, 2011 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. [8][9] She also appeared in the films Matewan and Songcatcher. In the 1960s, Dickens teamed up with another singer, Alice Gerrard, and together they brought a strong feminist viewpoint to traditional music. Hazel Dickens, Soundtrack: Gifted. Hazel Jane Dickens (June 1, 1925 – April 22, 2011) was an American bluegrass singer, songwriter, double bassist and guitarist. In this intimate portrait, interviews with Hazel and fellow musicians such as Alison Krauss, Naomi Judd, and Dudley Connell are interwoven with archival footage, recent performances, and 16 powerful songs including “Mama’s Hand,” “ Working Girl Blues,” and “Black Lung.”. I enjoyed reading it, but was left wanting more background, analysis, and comparisons with other musicians similar to her, either historical or contemporary. [4] Dickens started to write more about the lives of miners and wrote a song titled "Black Lung" about her brother, Thurman, who died from the disease. Protest and folksinger Hazel Dickens grew up the eighth of 11 children in a large, poor mining family in West Virginia, and she used elements of country and bluegrass to spread truth about two causes close to her heart: the plight of non-unionized mineworkers and feminism, born not of the '60s movement but traditional values. Hazel Dickens was known for her activism on behalf of non-unionized mineworkers. • Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976). In this rare video from 1978, she sings one of her most treasured songs. Known for her high, piercing vocal quality and poignant, topical songwriting, she first gained recognition as one half of the pioneering female bluegrass duo, Hazel and Alice. Directed by Barbara Kopple. . Please help us preserve films on American folklife. I was watching the documentary "Harlan County, USA" last night with my in-laws because my wifes mother lived in Harlan County and remembers the strike in the '30's. Hazel Dickens (June 1, 1935, - April 22, 2011, born Mercer County, West Virginia) an American bluegrass singer. [5] In 1978, Dickens performed at the Vandalia Gathering in Charleston, West Virginia, both solo and then with the former coal-miner turned musician, Carl Rutherford. In 2001 she was presented with a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States' highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. [12][13], Stating that "music saves mountains," fans and supporters of Dickens' activism announced a special memorial, Tribute to West Virginia Music Legend Hazel Dickens at the Charleston, West Virginia Cultural Center on June 5, 2011. She was the eighth child of an eleven-child mining family in West Virginia. Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard discography and songs: Music profile for Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard. The singer and songwriter Hazel Dickens was one of the women who changed the face of American country music. She didn’t just have a great singing voice or natural talent: she was incredibly observant and intelligent, and it showed. In the early 1950s she moved to Baltimore. Her piercing vocals power the soundtracks for Harlan County USA and Matewan. [2] She met Mike Seeger, younger half-brother of Pete Seeger and founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers and became active in the Baltimore-Washington area bluegrass and folk music scene during the 1960s. Hazel Dickens was a musical pioneer for women and the working class. Biography. [14], Her name appears in the lyrics of the Le Tigre song "Hot Topic. Her music is characterized by not only her "high lonesome" singing style, but also by … In the same year her story was told in the documentary Hazel Dickens: It's Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song. The documentary film Hazel Dickens: It’s hard to tell the singer from the song (Appalshop, 1987), and Dickens recent autobiography, co-written with country music scholar Bill Malone, Working Girl Blues: the life and music of Hazel Dickens (University of Illinois Press, 2008), provide remarkable insight into the creative life of an artist as Hazel reflects on her own career. Hazel Dickens: It's Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song, 2001. Interviews with Hazel and fellow musicians such as Alison Krauss, Naomi Judd, and Dudley Connell are interwoven with archival footage, recent performances, and 16 songs including “Mama’s Hand,” “ Working Girl Blues,” and “Black Lung.” Hazel Dickens passed away. 1987 It's Hard to Tell the Singer From the Song. [6] Dickens began to be seen as an activist and a voice for the working people.[7]. Popular Hazel Dickens albums Heart of a Singer. The book reads like an extended series of conversations with Hazel Dickens herself. Hazel Dickens grew up in a West Virginia coal-mining community and had a successful career as a bluegrass singer and songwriter. During this time she also established a collaborative relationship with Mike Seeger's wife, Alice Gerrard, and as "Hazel & Alice" recorded two albums for the Folkways label:[3] Who's That Knocking (And Other Bluegrass Country Music) (1965) and Won't You Come & Sing for Me (1973). Her songs on coal mining caught the attention of producer-director Barbara Kopple, who asked her to provide material for HARLAN COUNTY USA’s … Dickens was featured in a number of films, including Songcatcher; Matewan, about the West Virginia mine wars; and the Oscar-winning Harlan County, U.S.A., for which she wrote original music. "[17], Dickens received the Merit Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association in 1994 and was the first woman to do so. Seeger introduced Gerrard to Hazel Dickens, a West Virginia-born singer living in Baltimore, Maryland who had a passion for classic Appalachian folk songs. Hazel Dickens passed away. Hazel Dickens : a brief biography by Bill C. Malone --Songs and Memories by Hazel Dickens. With Alice Gerrard, Dickens was one of the first women to record a bluegrass album. ?Harlan County USA? Hazel Dickens? A treat for friends and fans." Courtesy of Appalshop. Genres: Bluegrass, Appalachian Folk Music. She recorded four songs for the soundtrack to the Academy Award-winning documentary about coal mining, Harlan County, USA. [2], Dickens used her music to try and make a difference in the lives of non-unionized mine workers and feminists. The two separated in 1973 -- two later albums were compiled from previous recordings -- and Dickens began her solo career with a flourish. In her 20’s she moved to the Baltimore area and became very active in the folk- bluegrass music scene in the Baltimore -Washington, D.C. area. The obituary was featured in Legacy on April 25, 2011. Her music was characterized not only by her high, lonesome singing style, but also by her provocative pro-union, feminist songs. --Goldenseal "All fans of traditional music and students of feminism, southern culture, and labor movements, should read and revel in Working Girl Blues.--PopMatters Hazel Dickens was born in Montcalm, Mercer County, West Virginia on June 1, 1925, the eighth of eleven siblings in a mining family of 6 boys and 5 girls. [10][11] After her death, it was reported in major media that she had been born on June 1, 1935, but her relatives and public records confirmed the earlier date of June 1, 1925. There is a short biography, followed by the lyrics of many of Hazel's songs with brief comments from Hazel herself. Hard To Tell The Singer From The Song profiles a "modern" woman dealing with contemporary issues from a feminist perspective which has evolved from her own experiences, being Appalachian, being displaced physically and culturally, being poor and working class, being a woman artist in a man's world, and being a bearer of tradition. Three years later, she contributed to the soundtrack for With Babies and Banners and began a solo career five years later. In this rare video from 1978, she sings one of her most treasured songs. From this petite, wiry frame came an unexpectedly powerful voice. True to form, Appalshop has produced quite a line-up for the series—Sunny Side of Life, Sourwood Mountain Dulcimers, From Wood to Singing Guitar, Hazel Dickens: It’s Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song, Quilting Women, The Ralph Stanley Story, Strangers and Kin: A History of the Hillbilly Image, and His Eye is on the Sparrow. New York Times April 22, 2011 Hazel Dickens, Folk Singer, Dies at 75 By BILL FRISKICS-WARREN Hazel Dickens, a clarion-voiced advocate for coal miners and working people and a pioneer among women in bluegrass music, died on Friday in Washington. She was 75 and had complications from pneumonia. Hazel Dickens, a troubadour of hard ... received a National Heritage fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and was the subject of a documentary. the filmmaker the distributor Appalshop, Inc., or Folkstreams. She was 75. Her music was characterized not only by her high, lonesome singing style, but also by her provocative pro-union, feminist songs. In the early 1950s she moved to Baltimore. Hazel Dickens performing in 2009. Alice Gerrard looms as a towering female figure in a world that was once the domain of male musicians and business leaders. View their obituary at Legacy.com Her strong, distinctive voice holds within it the suffering and the life force of her people. 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