Portrait of Connye Florance

Jazz has long been on Nashville airwaves and in Nashville clubs and nightspots. North Carolina native Connye Florance is one of the most admired jazz artists in Music City. 

Pictured above: Pink Floyd, whose namesake has an interesting North Carolina tie

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.

NC Master Chorale members performing "You Do Not Walk Alone" via video conference call

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.

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sonic highways

From the first radio broadcast of musical notes to the childhood homes of internationally celebrated musicians like John Coltrane, many of North Carolina's music landmarks are noted by historical highway markers.

Portrait of Jim Lauderdale

Come Hear North Carolina

In an interview prior to his recent Music at the Mansion performance, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale spoke about what contributes to North Carolina's special music alchemy.

Portrait of Dennis Tolbert, Founding Member of Brotherhood of Peace

Jonathan Kirby

While Mount Airy is best known as the hometown of American actor Andy Griffith (and the prototype for the fictional town, Mayberry), it has always had an underground. Founded in 1948, hometown station WPAQ served as a sanctuary and tributary for the early bluegrass pickers that emerged from the surrounding hills and hollers.

N.C. Arts Council music director with WUNC music critic Eric Hodge and 97.5 FM radio personality Miriam Tolbert

Come Hear North Carolina

Carly Jones, N.C. Arts Council music director and Come Hear NC team member, joined music critics Eric Hodge and Miriam Tolbert for an hour-long conversation about the state of North Carolina music on WUNC 91.5 FM's daily talk show The State of Things.

Come Hear North Carolina

In the summer of 2019, the Come Hear NC team interviewed beloved North Carolina musician Ben Folds about his connection to the state. He applauded the our state's music history, but urged music and arts lovers to advocate for comprehensive arts education in order to preserve our legacy of excellence.