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.
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.
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.
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.
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.