From the coalfields of West Virginia to the factories of Baltimore, Hazel Dickens has lived the songs she sings. A pioneering woman in bluegrass and country music, Hazel influenced generations of songwriters and musicians with songs of hard work, hard times, and hardy souls. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a National Heritage Fellowship in 2001, and the Washington Post has described her as “a living legend of American music, a national treasure," one who has bolstered working people at picket lines and union rallies throughout the land with piercing vocals that powered the soundtracks for films Harlan County USA and Matewan. The film features interviews with Hazel and fellow musicians such as Alison Krauss, Naomi Judd, and Dudley Connell, interwoven with archival footage, recent performances, and 16 powerful songs including Mama’s Hand, Working Girl Blues, and Black Lung. Hard To Tell The Singer From The Song profiles a modern woman dealing with contemporary issues from a feminist perspective that is the product of her 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.
Screenings & Festivals
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Chicago Art Institute
Nashville Independent Film Festival
Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley