Dr. Gregory Reish, Director of the Center for Popular Music and Professor of Musicology. A Fulbright award winner to Italy during his PhD studies, he went on to teach at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo, Buffalo State College, and Chicago’s Roosevelt University before coming to MTSU in 2014. In Spring 2023 he will be the Fulbright-García Robles U.S. Studies Chair at the University of Veracruz.
After establishing himself as an authority on twentieth-century Italian music, Dr. Reish now focuses on old-time country, bluegrass, South Texas conjunto, and other traditional musics of the American South. He has also spent time in Veracruz, Mexico, researching the regional genre called son jarocho. He has recently developed new courses in the MTSU curriculum on bluegrass music and Mexican/Tejano music.
An accomplished singer and a performer, Dr. Reish plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, fiddle, bajo sexto, jarana jarocha, guitarra de son, and other stringed instruments. He has given concerts, lecture-recitals, and workshops across much of the U.S., as well as in Mexico, Italy, Canada, Japan, and China. He performs on bajo sexto (Mexican 12-string bass guitar) as a member of Panfilo's Güera and Los Tremendos Bárbaros. He has also lectured widely on a broad range of topics, from early twentieth-century Italian modernism, to traditional Anglo American fiddling in the U.S. South, to archival practices and sound preservation strategies.
Dr. Reish released a duo album entitled Speed of the Plow with old-time fiddler Matt Brown, and produced albums for the Center for Popular Music’s Spring Fed Records, including Home Made Sugar and a Puncheon Floor (home recordings by Howdy Forrester and John Hartford), Old School Polkas del Ghost Town (Lorenzo Martinez and Rabbit Sanchez), Tennessee Breakdown (Austin Derryberry and Trenton Caruthers) and Stole from the Throat of a Bird: The Complete Recordings of Ed and Ella Haley. He has also engineered, mixed, and mastered various albums for Spring Fed Records.
His recent scholarship includes articles for The Grove Dictionary of American Music, chapters in the Oxford Handbook of Country Music and Honky Tonk on the Left collections, a co-edited book entitled Music and Tyranny, and a contextualized musical anthology entitled John Hartford’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes. He currently has two books forthcoming: a collection of recent scholarship on bluegrass music (co-edited with Lee Bidgood), and a compedium of interviews addressing "old-time" music in the twenty-first century (co-edited with Dan Margolies). He is also preparing book chapters on the Norteño-Tejano huapango (an indigenous form of music and dance) and contemporary jarocho fusion music.
Reish has been the recipient and primary investigator for numerous grants, from sources including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Grammy Foundation, and the Fulbright program. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy (Grammys) in the Producers and Engineers category, and is also the weekly host of Lost Sounds on Roots Radio WMOT, which showcases rare recordings from the Center's collection.
Rachel Morris, CA, Assistant Director/Archivist, holds an M.A. in Public History (archival management) from Middle Tennessee State University and a B.A. in History with a minor in Anthropology also from MTSU. Rachel joined the Center in August of 2010 as a graduate assistant and has since held numerous positions within the CPM. She is responsible for donations, collections management and administration, preservation of print materials, reference assistance, exhibitions, and more. Rachel has worked in various archival and museum agencies throughout her career and has training in numerous aspects of cultural heritage research, administration, and management. Her personal research interests include intellectual, cultural, and religious history related to the ancient, medieval, and pre-modern European time periods. Rachel is a Certified Archivist and member of The Academy of Certified Archivists, Society of American Archivists, and Society of Tennessee Archivists.
Martin Fisher, Curator of Recorded Media Collections, has a B.S. in Broadcast Communications with a minor in Music from the University of Tennessee at Martin. Martin joined the CPM staff in September of 2005 having accumulated and maintained a private collection of sound recordings for over 30 years and having 18 years experience in the field of television production with NewsChannel 5, WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Fisher also plays the trombone and is a self-taught fiddler who performs regularly with the Nashville Old Time String Band Association. His responsibilities include preserving, maintaining and augmenting the Center's sound recordings collection, assisting researchers in locating and obtaining copies of recordings, and conducting acoustical “wax” cylinder recording demonstrations as part of the Center's outreach program. Martin is also a member of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections and Tennessee Folklore Society.
Yvonne Elliott, Executive Aide, holds an A.S. Degree in Secretarial Science from Chattanooga State Community College. She joined the CPM staff in August 2010. Previously, she was secretary in the MTSU General Education Department and Confucius Institute. Her responsibilities at the Center include managing office operations and providing administrative support to the Director and other staff. Mrs. Elliott was awarded the IAAP Certified Professional Secretary rating in 2008 and received recognition for the MTSU Secretarial/Clerical Staff Quarterly Award for Exemplary Performance in 2014. She is very active with the Alzheimer's Association.
Olivia Beaudry,CA, (She/Her) Archivist, holds a M.A. in Public History (archival management) from Middle Tennessee State University and a B.A. in History with a minor in Communications from Worcester State University. Olivia first joined the Center for Popular Music as a graduate assistant in August 2013. Olivia assists with processing and maintenance of special collections and provides reference services to students and other researchers locally and remotely. Olivia is a Certified Archivist and a member of The Academy of Certified Archivists, Society of American Archivists, serves as a co-chair of the International Country Music Conference and a board member of the Inter-Museum Council of Nashville.
Her personal research interests include country music history, especially the mid- to late-twentieth century outlaw movement and southern rock, the red dirt music scene of Oklahoma and Texas, auto racing and music relationships, as well as fan’s interaction and experiences with music in general.
Outside of work Olivia enjoys watching local racing at the Historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and other local tracks. She loves shelter dogs and collects kitschy salt and pepper shakers and cookie jars.
Ashley Armstrong, Assistant Librarian, holds a Master of Library and Information Science from University at Buffalo and a B.S. in Media Studies & Creative Writing from SUNY College at Brockport. Prior to joining the staff at the Center for Popular Music in 2019, Ashley worked at many public libraries in Western New York and developed her skills in reference, technology instruction, and community programming. Her personal research interests include the relationship between popular music and feminism and the literary influences of punk and post-punk artists.
John Fabke, Spring Fed Records manager, holds a Masters of Library and Information Science from San
Jose State University and a BA in history/experiential education from Northland College. Fabke joined
the CPM staff as an intern in 2011 and had remained on staff since then working projects such
as the Charles K. Wolfe audio collection, the Marvin Hedrick Bean Blossom Collection
(both projects funded by the GRAMMY Foundation) and the My Homeland Tennessee songs
collection. Since the summer of 2014, Fabke has managed the CPM's in house record
label, Spring Fed Records. John also plays bluegrass and old time music in Nashville
and performs with his own band as well as with groups such as the Roland White Band.
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