The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music

The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music Movie Poster
User rating: 2

1h 30m | Documentary, Musical


Artist, avant garde filmmaker, friend of the Beats, musicologist: Harry Smith liked to collect things. Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Paper airplanes. And music, lots of music.

Harry Smith's compilation of 78s of 1920s and 30s folk music was released on Folkways Records in 1952. This Anthology of American Folk Music was instrumental in helping inspire the urban folk revival of the 1960s, influencing Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez among others. Its influence has never gone away.

Rani Singh was Harry's assistant until his death in 1991 and her wonderful documentary captures Harry's eccentric personality, his passion for experimental filmmaking, and charts the impact his Anthology continues to have on modern music. With interviews and performances from the likes of Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Philip Glass, Sonic Youth, Beck and Lou Reed.

Change Location