North Carolina is among the most celebrated musical states in America — a place that gave the world Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Nina Simone, Superchunk, the Piedmont blues, beach music, and more. Beyond the obvious headliners, however, the Old North State has also contributed more than its fair share of mysteries and legends to the wider story of popular music. Here are seven such tales.
In a typical choral performance, singers file onto a stage, climb risers, and arrange themselves by sections; soprano, tenor, bass, and alto singers stand shoulder to shoulder, primed to create collectively a big, beautiful sound known and loved by many. But it’s a tradition that requires two elements that are non-negotiable during the coronavirus pandemic: large gatherings and close proximity to other people. Following a trend directly related to performance cancellations these days, the North Carolina Master Chorale is going virtual.
Presented by Come Hear North Carolina, “Under One Roof,” a three-day, three-hour virtual music festival, raised $50,000 to support artists across North Carolina whose work has been disrupted by COVID-19.
To varying degrees, everyone involved in North Carolina’s music community is trying to figure out what to do to deal with life coming to a full stop. Stages are dark; clubs and record stores are closed; tours are canceled.
There’s an old joke in western North Carolina: if you get five folks together in Madison County, a concert is likely to break out; three of the group will play, and the other two will dance. And it’s pretty much a lead-pipe cinch that one of those musicians will be playing a fiddle.
The Come Hear North Carolina campaign gives artists a chance to celebrate the state in song. And few have embraced that opportunity like Steep Canyon Rangers. The Grammy-winning bluegrass quintet from Brevard —inducted in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, in Kannapolis, in 2017 — covers many of the state’s musical traditions on their latest album, “North Carolina Songbook” (Yep Roc Records).
Brooke Simpson, a Haliwa-Saponi vocalist, songwriter, and finalist on NBC’s hit talent-competition show “The Voice,” is the latest North Carolina musician to take part in Come Hear North Carolina’s series “In the Water.”