Come Hear North Carolina premiered In The Water, a live session series featuring North Carolina musicians performing in unique, meaningful locations in the state, today as part of the Year of Music celebration.
In The Water kicks off with an episode featuring the renowned avant-garde harpist Mary Lattimore, who grew up between Asheville and Shelby before launching an impressive solo career that has included collaborations with indie rock luminaries like Arcade Fire, Kurt Vile, and Mac McCaughan. This debut episode sees Mary perform at the Chapel of Rest in Historic Happy Valley, near Lenoir, N.C. (located halfway between Asheville and Shelby) while discussing the impact of North Carolina on her music.
“North Carolina is always a place that I’ve come to,” says Lattimore who currently lives in Los Angeles. “No matter where I am, I always come home. I love living in big cities, but there’s also part of me that likes to be very quiet, and I think that comes from being around those kinds of environments growing up.”
Billboard has shared an excerpt from the first episode of In The Water, which features Mary performing “It Feels Like Floating” from her 2018 album Hundreds of Days mixed in with reflections on childhood summers at Atlantic Beach, N.C. that helped inform the song. This extended version also includes performances of her original compositions, “Otis Walks Into The Woods” and “For Scott Kelly, Returned To Earth.”
Wayne Martin, Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council, was on site for Lattimore’s performance.
“Happy Valley in western North Carolina is where the Yadkin River tumbles off of the Blue Ridge escarpment into the foothills of the western piedmont. The beauty of the valley is matched by the richness of local culture; in particular, residents express themselves through their music traditions, which range from fiddle tunes to chamber music, from folk ballads to church hymns and from piedmont blues to swing and jazz standards,” Martin said. “It seems fitting that Mary Lattimore, who first learned to play the harp in the North Carolina mountains and weaves diverse musical genres into her compositions, should perform an In the Water concert at the historic Chapel of Rest.”
The original Chapel of Rest was built in 1887 at the request of Samuel Patterson. The chapel was used by attendees of the Patterson School, a boarding school adjacent to the church. A fire destroyed the original building in 1916, but the church was rebuilt in 1917. In 1984 a group of passionate community members formed the Chapel of Rest Preservation Society and obtained the lease and later the rights to restore the church. In 2005 the Chapel of Rest was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and it is used today for arts programming and weddings. Learn more here.
Upcoming episodes of In The Water will feature performances from The Mountain Goats in Hamlet (John Coltrane’s hometown), Rhiannon Giddens in Wilmington (where she is currently writing a musical about the city’s insurrection of 1898), Snowhill, N.C. native Rapsody, and a special performance from Vanessa Ferguson (The Voice) at Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon. Each episode of In The Water will feature a three- to four-song performance, as well as environmental footage and narration from the artist. The goal is for these elements to collectively paint a picture of the spaces - both literal and metaphorical - that shape the sounds and souls of each musician.
In The Water is the latest addition to this year’s Come Hear North Carolina festivities, a statewide celebration of the state’s rich musical history from the North Carolina Arts Council and North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Come Hear North Carolina’s Nina Simone Weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh is scheduled for August 16 to 18 in partnership with the National Trust and the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission. Funds raised from the weekend’s programming, which will include a performance by Nina Simone’s daughter Lisa Simone, will be used to restore the childhood home of Nina Simone.
This year the First Lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper and Come Hear North Carolina also launched Music at the Mansion, an unprecedented concert series filmed at the North Carolina Executive Mansion. Throughout 2019 Come Hear North Carolina is also sponsoring various creative endeavors from local artists (most recently The Listening documentary on Durham hip-hop group Little Brother) and has formed partnerships with the Americana Music Association, Yep Roc Records, Merge Records, MerleFest, Hopscotch Music Festival, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival and more.
For more information visit www.ComeHearNC.com.
Videographers: Matt Zeher, Chris Meyer
Audio: Matt Zeher
Editing: Matt Zeher
Producers: Sandra Davidson, Samuel Gerweck
Script Editor: Sandra Davidson