One hundred years ago famed folk-song collectors Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles visited North Carolina and documented hundreds of ballads and folk songs that had their roots in the British Isles. The epicenter of our state's ballad singing tradition is Madison County, NC. In the second installment of Director's Cut, a special mini-season of Arts Across NC, Wayne Martin shares a "Jack-A-Roe," a ballad performed by Doug Wallin.
Doug lived far up a holler in Madison County, and he learned how to sing ballads from his mother Berzilla. He once told Wayne Martin he sung all the time...even when he was falling asleep at night.
"Doug himself was an extraordinary ballad singer for two reasons. The texts of his tunes were very full and well developed...plus he was very musical and he was able to put beautiful tunes to the songs themselves," says Wayne.
The National Endowment or the Arts awarded Wallin the National Heritage Award in 1990. He passed away in 2000.
Director's Cut is a special music themed season of Arts Across NC, curated in celebration of Come Hear North Carolina, a campaign for the 2019 North Carolina Year of Music. In each episode NC Arts Council Director Wayne Martin will unearth a field recording from the archive he built during his 30+ year tenure with our agency. Each song represents a different region of North Carolina.
"These pieces that I've chosen are part of the fabric of who we are as a people," says Wayne. "They are pieces that tell the story of North Carolina.
Arts Across NC is a podcast by and about the North Carolina Arts Council.