Music

Raleigh, N.C. (September 17, 2019) — Grammy winning singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale released a new single today dedicated to his home state of North Carolina in celebration of 2019 as the Year of Music.

When Carolina Comes Home Again, written by Lauderdale and John Oates (one half of the bestselling duo, Hall & Oates) with support from Come Hear North Carolina, was recorded at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville.

"I grew up in the Carolinas - it’s where I wrote my first songs, made my first music, where my whole journey began, and to some part of me it still feels like home,” Lauderdale said. “This song brings out my feeling of longing about returning to Carolina from being far away. I’m so grateful to John Oates (who was a teen age Doc Watson fanatic) for letting me write this with him.”

The digital single is now available here.

Born in Statesville, N.C., Lauderdale has been the creative mind behind 32 albums over decades of recording. A new album, From Another World, was released this year on Yep Roc Records, a Hillsborough-based label.

“To have a musician of Jim’s talent create a special song for our Come Hear North Carolina campaign is remarkable and so meaningful for all of us who love North Carolina,” said Susi Hamilton, Secretary North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Jim wrote this as a love song to North Carolina, but it is also a gift.”

As an Americana icon and an A-list Nashville songwriter, Lauderdale has written songs that helped artists like George Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless, Lee Ann Womack, Blake Shelton, Solomon Burke, Gary Allan and Vince Gill sell millions of albums. Some of his classic songs include “Where the Sidewalk Ends”, “You Don’t Seem to Miss Me”, “Hole in My Head”, “Halfway Down” and “We Really Shouldn’t Be Doing This.”

You can watch Lauderdale perform the song at Echo Mountain Recordings in this video produced by Come Hear North Carolina.

When Carolina Comes Home Again is the latest in a long line of projects commissioned by the North Carolina Arts Council as part of the Come Hear NC initiative with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Previous projects include a series of documentaries on the recently-reunited Durham hip-hop legends Little Brother, and a Nina Simone Weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh (August 16-18). In partnership with the National Trust and the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, funds raised from Nina Simone Weekend's programming - which included a performance by Lisa Simone (daughter of Nina Simone) - are being used to restore the childhood home of Nina Simone in Tryon, NC.

Come Hear NC also has unveiled the In The Water video series, featuring performances by N.C. musicians filmed in iconic North Carolina locations. The debut episode features the avant-garde harpist Mary Lattimore performing at the historic Chapel of Rest in Happy Valley near Lenoir, N.C. and the second featured Vanessa Ferguson from NBC's The Voice performing at the Nina Simone house.

This year, The First Lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper and Come Hear NC launched Music at the Mansion, an unprecedented concert series filmed at the North Carolina Executive Mansion. Come Hear NC is also sponsoring programming with Americana Music Association, Yep Roc Records, Merge Records, MerleFest, Hopscotch Music Festival, the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival held in conjunction with the International Bluegrass Association’s annual event in Raleigh, N.C. and more.

For more information visit www.ComeHearNC.com.

Nashville, Tenn. (Aug. 12, 2019)  -- This year, the Americana Music Association® has selected the state of North Carolina as the regional music focus for its 20th annual AMERICANAFEST®, Sept. 10-15 in Nashville, Tenn. In partnership with the initiative Come Hear NC and Visit North Carolina, the destination music festival and conference event previews this special programming today, which will feature multiple panels and two music showcases over three days. Highlights include a keynote featuring roots aficionado Rhiannon Giddens; a musical book reading by singer-songwriter Chris Stamey; and a deep-dive discussion on the history of Americana music in North Carolina featuring American Aquarium’s BJ Barham. A full slate of programming can be found below.

“We’re beyond thrilled to partner with such a great initiative to celebrate North Carolina’s musical contributions,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. “From its  Piedmont blues to its Appalachian roots, we hope that our attendees can experience the many origins and sounds of what we know as Americana music today through this programming.”

“Realizing the full potential of Come Hear NC requires collaborations with strong partners that have the dedication and resources to effectively tell the story of North Carolina’s contributions to American music. AmericanaFest is an event with a national and international audience,” said Wayne Martin, Executive Director, N.C. Arts Council. “We are grateful to the Americana Music Association for providing such a strong platform to present and explore North Carolina roots music.”

The North Carolina spotlight begins at the three-day conference portion of AMERICANAFEST on Wednesday, September 11. Author David Menconi will moderate “A Brief History of North Carolina Music,” a discussion on the rich musical heritage of North Carolina, with panelists BJ Barham (American Aquarium), Sarah Shook (Sarah Shook & The Disarmers), Mitch Easter and N.C. Arts Council Executive Director Wayne Martin. The session will focus on the many threads of Americana that lead back to the great Appalachian state, expanding on sonic influences beyond its traditional old-time music.

On deck with a cello, violin and guitar, Chris Stamey will treat attendees to a musical book reading on Thursday, September 12, as he guides attendees through milestones from his memoir. “A Spy in the House of Loud” centers around his documented experience as a twenty-something North Carolina transplant living in NYC during the glory days of iconic punk clubs like CBGB. Stamey will provide musical accompaniment to chapters of a career that included being a founding member of the famed jangle-rock group the dB’s with Big Star’s Alex Chilton.

Thursday evening sees the first of two official AMERICANAFEST showcases at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley. Night one will offer a scope of the many sounds of North Carolina to audience members through an impressive display of bluegrass, folk and country with performances by Chatham County Line, Malcolm Holcombe, Jim Lauderdale, Rising Appalachia, Emily Scott Robinson and Sarah Siskind.

The last day of the AMERICANAFEST conference brings together Erin Scholze (Dreamspider Publicity) with panelists Martin Anderson (WNCW Radio), Stacy Claude (Mountain Song Productions), Robert Greer (Town Mountain) and more for an analysis on the burgeoning music scene of Asheville, N.C. Presented by Come Hear NC and Visit North Carolina, “Asheville Skyline and Black Mountain Rag: The Western North Carolina Music Phenomenon” will give attendees a firsthand look at the city’s story and key players in one of the state’s most prominent musical hotbeds.

As previously announced, on Friday, September 13, Rhiannon Giddens will sit down with writer John Jeremiah Sullivan for a conversation during “Erasure of American Music History.” Picking up where her recent New Yorker profile left off, the pair will take a magnifying glass to America’s folk traditions and share why they believe there is a lack of awareness on musical contributions by African Americans like Frank Johnson. Johnson, a formative American fiddle musician and brass band leader from the 19th century, is co-recipient of this year’s inaugural Legacy of Americana Award along with Giddens.

Friday evening will lead festivities into the weekend with a second music showcase at the Mercy Lounge. Americana musicians from the community with North Carolina ties will take the stage including American Aquarium; Liz Brasher; Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys; Dixon, Easter & Stamey; Sarah Shook & The Disarmers; and Travers Brothership.

In partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, the Americana Music Association will also present a North Carolina-focused songwriter session at the museum’s Ford Theater on Saturday, September 14. Singer-songwriters BJ Barham, Jonathan Byrd and Sarah Siskind will give attendees insight into their respective creative processes and how their N.C. origins inform their music today.

Come Hear NC and Visit North Carolina will be sponsoring a special day party on Saturday, bringing a full day of music and food to White Avenue Studio for attendees. The event’s lineup is curated by Yep Roc Records.

This year’s regional spotlight will come to a memorable close Saturday evening during “Amazing Grace: Celebrating Doc Watson,” a musical tribute dedicated to commemorating the life of the Deep Gap, NC native, who is largely responsible for the American folk music revival and the seminal MerleFest in his backyard. Bluegrass, folk and blues musicians will honor his incomparable legacy in song at The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville’s premier listening room.

Those interested in attending AMERICANAFEST panels can purchase a 2019 Conference Registration (currently priced at $449 / $349 for Americana Music Association members), giving access to over 60 industry panels, more than 300 nightly showcases and close to 100 special events across town in Nashville. Music fans who are just interested in the nightly music showcases can purchase a Festival Wristband at $90, which allows entry into official showcases and select special events.

The Americana Music Association first announced its partnership with Come Hear NC and Visit North Carolina at the state’s Executive Mansion last spring, beginning the celebration with a special edition of their Music at the Mansion series featuring Mandolin Orange.

More information on AMERICANAFEST as well as passes can be found at americanamusic.org.

To learn more about North Carolina’s Come Hear initiative, visit ncarts.org/comehearnc. For information about Visit North Carolina, you can go to visitnc.com.

 

North Carolina Programming at AMERICANAFEST 2019 - Nashville, Tenn.

Wednesday, Sept. 11
A Brief History of North Carolina Music
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. | Gulch III, The Westin Nashville

While North Carolina is known particularly for its tradition of old-time music, country, bluegrass, jazz, rock, folk and the Piedmont blues have also played a part in the cultivation of the state’s deep music heritage. Many of these influences have shaped what we call Americana music today. Join artists and music historians for a discussion of the historical and contemporary sounds that have shaped North Carolina’s musical legacy and its place in the Americana universe. Presented by Come Hear NC and Visit North Carolina.
Open to AMERICANAFEST Conference Registrants.

Thursday, Sept. 12
A Spy in the House of Loud: A Musical Book Reading by Chris Stamey
4 - 5 p.m. | SoBro III, The Westin Nashville

American popular music was in a creative upheaval in the late 1970s. As singer-songwriter and producer Chris Stamey remembers, “the old guard had become bloated, cartoonish ... we wanted none of it.” In a special "Musical Book Reading" (arranged for cello, violin & guitar) from his memoir A Spy in the House of Loud, Chris Stamey takes us back to the auteur explosion that happened in New York City clubs such as CBGB's, when Television, Talking Heads, R.E.M. and other innovative bands were rewriting the rules. Just 22-years-old and newly arrived in NYC from North Carolina, Stamey joined Alex Chilton's band and then started the dB’s. Revealing another side of the CBGB era, which has been stereotyped as punk rock, safety pins, and provocation, the book portrays a Southern artist’s coming-of-age in New York’s frontier abandon as he searched for new ways to break the rules and make some noise. Open to AMERICANAFEST Conference Registrants.
 

Thursday, Sept. 12
Regional Music Spotlight: North Carolina
7 p.m. - 12:45 a.m. | 3rd & Lindsley

Join AMERICANAFEST for an evening celebrating the musical legacy of North Carolina during this official showcase. Featuring performances by Chatham County Line, Malcolm Holcombe, Jim Lauderdale, Rising Appalachia, Emily Scott Robinson and Sarah Siskind. Open to AMERICANAFEST Conference Registrants and Festival Wristband holders or $20 at the door.

Friday, Sept. 13
Asheville Skyline and Black Mountain Rag: The Western North Carolina Music Phenomenon
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. | Vanderbilt III, The Westin Nashville

Its past has a solid foundation with Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs and Charlie Poole, but today's music scene in and around Asheville and Western NC is one of the nation's richest and coolest. What's the story? Who are the key players, from venues, festivals, record labels, radio to artists and more making up the ecosystem? This panel will survey a remarkable fountain of talent and tradition and share a panel of knowledge from the area. Presented by Come Hear NC and Visit North Carolina. Open to AMERICANAFEST Conference Registrants.

Friday, Sept. 13
Erasure of American Music History
4 - 5 p.m. | Vanderbilt III, The Westin Nashville

Research on old music, especially from the pre-recording era, always involves phantoms — forgotten singers and players whose lives, when lifted from the archives, enhance our understanding of how this country’s folk traditions evolved. But the question of “lostness” is more vexed when it comes to African-American musicians, whose stories often vanish not through simple obscurity or the passage of time but by systems of racial neglect. Not lostness, in other words, but erasure. John Jeremiah Sullivan’s recent New Yorker profile of Rhiannon Giddens brought to light an especially curious case of that phenomenon in the person of North Carolina fiddler Frank Johnson, who was one of the most prominent American musical figures of the 19th century, but had disappeared from the scholarly record almost to the point of non-existence. Sullivan and Giddens — who is the co-recipient (with Johnson himself) of the inaugural 2019 Legacy of Americana Award — will discuss his legacy. Open to AMERICANAFEST Conference Registrants.

Friday, Sept. 13
Regional Music Spotlight: North Carolina
7 p.m. - 12:45 a.m. | Mercy Lounge

Join AMERICANAFEST for an evening celebrating the musical legacy of North Carolina during this official showcase. Featuring performances by American Aquarium; Liz Brasher; Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys; Dixon, Easter & Stamey; Sarah Shook & The Disarmers; and Travers Brothership. Open to AMERICANAFEST Conference Registrants and Festival Wristband holders.

Saturday, Sept. 14
Songwriter Session: North Carolina Writers BJ Barham, Jonathan Byrd, and Sarah Siskind
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. | Ford Theater, Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum

BJ Barham is the frontman and primary songwriter of American Aquarium, who just released their seventh album, Things Change, produced by John Fullbright. In 2016, Barham released his solo debut, Rockingham, a collection of songs exploring small-town life and rural America, inspired by his hometown of Reidsville, N.C. Seventh generation Carolinian Jonathan Byrd uses his folk background to create songs—including those on his most recent project, Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys—that cross genre barriers. He is a winner of the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk songwriting competition. Sarah Siskind has written songs recorded by Alison Krauss, Molly Tuttle, Wynonna, and Country Music Hall of Fame member Randy Travis, as well as twenty-one songs recorded for the television show Nashville. She will release a new album in 2020.

Program admission is included with AMERICANAFEST Conference Registration. Limited seating. Conference Registrants may RSVP through an email sent to you from AMERICANAFEST in late August. If you are a Conference Registrant who did not RSVP, you are welcome to wait in the stand-by line.

Saturday, Sept. 14
North Carolina Day Party
11 a.m. - 5 p.m. | White Avenue Studio

Come Hear North Carolina and Visit North Carolina invite you to a full day of music, food and fun. Join WUNC's Songs We Love podcast host Eric Hodge for unforgettable performances curated by legendary North Carolina label, Yep Roc Records. Featuring performances by Jim Lauderdale, Michaela Anne, DADDY LONG LEGS, Mapache, Jack Klatt and many others.
Free public entry.

Saturday, Sept. 14
Amazing Grace: Celebrating Doc Watson
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. | The Bluebird Cafe

Doc Watson (1923-2012) personified the American folk music revival as a master of timeless songs and as a virtuoso and pioneering acoustic guitar picker. He was also a down-home gentleman who exhibited amazing grace in every part of his life, including presiding over the influential MerleFest near his home in Deep Gap, NC. At this special event, great guitarists and musicians from bluegrass, folk and blues join together to play Doc’s favorite songs and share stories about an icon.

Open to AMERICANAFEST Conference Registrants or $10 at the door. Seating is limited, please arrive before showtime or seat will be given up – no standing allowed. Reservations strongly suggested and may be made online for $3 at www.bluebirdcafe.com. Limited walk-up seating for conference registrants. There is a $10 food/drink minimum purchase per seat.

 

About the Americana Music Association®: The Americana Music Association® is a professional not-for-profit trade organization whose mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world. The Association produces events throughout the year; including AMERICANAFEST® and the critically acclaimed Americana Honors & Awards program. The Americana Music Association receives enormous support from the Tennessee Department of Tourism, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC.

About AMERICANAFEST®: The 20th annual AMERICANAFEST® will take place on Sept. 10-15, 2019 in Nashville, Tenn. The event brings together fans and music industry professionals alike, offering six days of celebration through seminars, panels and networking opportunities by day and raw, battery recharging showcases each night. The Americana Honors & Awards Show is the featured performance of the festivities, taking place at the historic Ryman Auditorium. For more information, please visit www.americanamusic.org.

About Come Hear NC: Come Hear NC is a year-long mission designed to celebrate, support, and sustain North Carolinians’ groundbreaking contributions to American music. From banjo and guitar innovators Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, to Nina Simone, George Clinton, Etta Baker, James Taylor, J. Cole, the Avett Brothers, and everywhere in between, North Carolina musicians have made an impact on audiences across the globe. Over 40,000 North Carolinians work in the music industry today. You can learn more about the state’s musical history and thriving presence on the Come Hear NC website with daily posts highlighting these achievements on the “365 Days of Music” blog at www.ComeHearNC.com.

 

 

Phonte Coleman

COME HEAR NC UNVEILS HOMECOMING - PART TWO OF HOLLAND RANDOLPH GALLAGHER’S DOCUMENTARY SERIES ON DURHAM HIP-HOP LEGENDS LITTLE BROTHER

Raleigh, N.C. (August 12, 2019) – Today, Come Hear North Carolina, shared Homecoming, the second installment of director Holland Randolph Gallagher’s documentary series on North Carolina hip hop pioneers Little Brother. Homecoming picks up with the legendary trio - 9th Wonder, Big Pooh, and Phonte – after their initial split in 2010, charting the path that led to their surprise last-minute reunion at the 2018 Art of Cool Festival in their hometown Durham, N.C.

Watch Homecoming via HipHopDX.

Holland Randolph Gallagher traverses’ sensitive subject matter in the film, including years when the members of Little Brother were not speaking. He explains: “creating an interview setting where everyone felt comfortable was important to this documentary, especially when we start getting into the more personal parts of the story. How we accomplished that for these interviews were by keeping the crew small, two people, and by using almost exclusively natural lighting.”

Homecoming later delves into Little Brother’s triumphant return, their first performance together in a decade – and how it came together in a matter of hours. Thanks in part to some sage advice from Questlove (who appears in the doc) and a last-minute opening at their beloved hometown Durham Bulls Athletic Park (the site where they took their first press photos together in the early 2000s) for the 2018 Art of Cool Festival.

Over the course of their illustrious careers, Little Brother’s three members have worked with the biggest names in music: Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and many more. The group’s first performance since Art of Cool 2018 is scheduled for next month (September 5-7) at Raleigh’s Hopscotch Festival supported by Come Hear NC. The band has also announced plans to release new music in the future.

Homecoming follows the release of Gallagher’s first Little Brother film, The Listening, which chronicled the group’s formation at North Carolina Central University in 2001 and their landmark debut album (also called “The Listening”) two years later. The Listening documentary was released last month and received wide acclaim from fans and music sites alike. 

The documentary is the latest in a long line of projects commissioned by the North Carolina Arts Council as part of their Come Hear NC initiative with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. This Friday through Sunday, Come Hear NC will host a Nina Simone Weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh (August 16-18) 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 Lisa Simone, daughter of Nina Simone, will be used to restore the childhood home of Nina Simone in Tryon, NC.

Come Hear NC also just unveiled the first episode of their In The Water video series, featuring performances by N.C. musicians filmed in iconic North Carolina locations. The debut episode features the avant-garde harpist Mary Lattimore performing at the historic Chapel of Rest in Historic Happy Valley near Lenoir, N.C.

This year, The First Lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper and Come Hear NC launched Music at the Mansion, an unprecedented concert series filmed at the North Carolina Executive Mansion. Come Hear NC is also sponsoring programming with Americana Music Association, Yep Roc Records, Merge Records, MerleFest, Hopscotch Music Festival, the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival held in conjunction with the International Bluegrass Associations annual vent in Raleigh, N.C. and more.

FEATURING INTERVIEWS WITH QUESTLOVE, 9TH WONDER, PHONTE, BIG POOH & MANY MORE. DIRECTED BY HOLLAND RANDOLPH GALLAGHER

WATCH THE LISTENING VIA OKAYPLAYER

Raleigh, N.C. (July 12, 2019) — As part of a yearlong celebration of North Carolina’s rich musical history, Come Hear North Carolina has unveiled The Listening, a Holland Randolph Gallagher-directed documentary about the first golden age of North Carolina hip-hop at the turn of the millennium.

Started in a college dorm room by a group of North Carolina Central students in 2001, the Justus League collective and offshoot trio Little Brother defined the sound of Durham hip-hop for years to come, constructing a style altogether distinct from everything to the north and south. This level of innovation turned heads with some of hip-hop’s biggest names, and the members of Little Brother (9th Wonder, Big Pooh, and Phonte) have gone on to work with superstars like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and Questlove, who appears in the documentary. The group will reunite for a rare performance at this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, N.C. (September 5-7).

Watch the story of this remarkable rise from Durham dorm room to hip-hop royalty in The Listening via Okayplayer.

“For this project to be selected as a Come Hear NC commission was really poetic for me. I couldn't think of a better, more fitting outlet to tell our story as musicians who continue to live and work in North Carolina,” says Phonte Coleman, a founding member of Little Brother. “I wanted to work with Holland on this story because he understands how to tell a story using minimal resources, which was always a part of the Little Brother ethos – making the most out of what you have. Also, he's much younger than Pooh and I. His age gives him enough distance from the Little Brother story to truly be objective in telling it.”

Like the members of Little Brother, director Holland Randolph Gallagher is a North Carolina artist and active member of its thriving hip-hop community.

“Telling the story about Little Brother, a group so central to North Carolina rap history and the hip-hop world was obviously meaningful to me as a Durham filmmaker,” Gallagher said. “Their resonance is obvious in the community, their influence permeates today, and their story speaks to the endurance of a relationship between artists that refuse to compromise on reflecting the unfiltered, street-level truth of their lives.” 

Holland and Little Brother founder Phonte previously worked together on the web series “Hype,” which tracks the intersection of rap culture and startups in the Durham scene. Season two of “Hype” begins filming this fall, and the duo plans to release a feature-length documentary about Little Brother in 2020.

The Listening is the latest in a long line of projects commissioned by the North Carolina Arts Council as part of their Come Hear NC initiative with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Last month, Come Hear NC announced a Nina Simone Weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh (August 16-18) 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 Lisa Simone, daughter of Nina Simone, will be used to restore the childhood home of Nina Simone in Tryon, N.C.

Later this summer, In The Water, a Come Hear NC produced video series of intimate performances by N.C. musicians filmed in iconic North Carolina locations, is scheduled for release.

This year the First Lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper and Come Hear NC also launched Music at the Mansion, an unprecedented concert series filmed at the North Carolina Executive Mansion.  Throughout 2019 Come Hear NC is sponsoring programming with Americana Music Association, Yep Roc Records, Merge Records, MerleFest, Hopscotch Music Festival, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival and more.  

Find out more about the Little Brother documentary collaboration here.  

More information on Come Hear NC here: www.ComeHearNC.com

Watch Governor Cooper Talk About Why Public Funding of the Arts Matter on Tuesday, May 28.

 

Raleigh, N.C. (May 28, 2019) - Come Hear North Carolina and the Americana Music Association announced today that music showcases at the 20th annual AMERICANAFEST® will highlight North Carolina musicians. Multiple showcases are scheduled Sept. 10 to 15 in Nashville, allowing audiences to experience what North Carolina sounds like.

Come Hear North Carolina is an initiative of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Arts Council, and the presence at AMERICANAFEST will build awareness about the state’s influence on American music.

The Americana Music Association® has over 3,000 members from around the world and the organization has strong ties to North Carolina’s music heritage that includes many sounds in the Americana umbrella from folk, country, bluegrass and more. Musicians in this genre include

Emmylou Harris, The Avett Brothers, Jim Lauderdale, Carolina Chocolate Drops & Rhiannon Giddens, Tift Merritt, Dom Flemons and Mandolin Orange, who performed during the event.

North Carolina has an important place in the Americana genre, including being the home state of forefathers like Del McCoury, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, as well as 2019 Artist of The Year nominee Rhiannon Giddens, explained Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association.

Hilly also announced that AMERICANAFEST will feature a regional spotlight on North Carolina via panels on the state's musical history and showcases focused on the state's artists.

North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper hosted Chapel Hill's Mandolin Orange for the latest in a series of Music at the Mansion events taking place this year, speaking on the beauty and power that music has in reflecting the state's own diversity and creativity.

Following First Lady Kristin Cooper’s remarks, Governor Roy Cooper made a surprise appearance at the event to applaud his wife for her deep appreciation and love of music and the arts. He then spoke about the importance of music education in the lives of North Carolina’s children, while also discussing the role of public funding of the arts for the state's overall growth – especially in regards to business and industry recruitment.

Mandolin Orange performed songs including “Golden Embers,” “The Wolves” and “Mother Deer” from their new album Tides of A Teardrop, which debuted at #1 on four Billboard charts - Heatseekers, Folk/Americana, Current Country Albums and Bluegrass – after its February release on Hillsborough, N.C.-based Yep Roc Records. They also brought out another surprise guest, fellow North Carolina musician John Teer of Chatham County Line, for their final song “Wildfire.”

Come Hear North Carolina celebrates 2019 as The Year of Music with stages at major music festivals, livestreaming performances, filming concerts in extraordinary community venues and educating citizens about North Carolina’s music by 365 Days of Music stories and educational programs.

 

Photos from the event here: https://bit.ly/2WqtLzr

Video b-roll from the event here: https://bit.ly/2JLf0RP

 

More information on Come Hear NC here: www.ComeHearNC.com

Raleigh, N.C. (May 21, 2019) — As North Carolina continues to celebrate 2019 as the Year of Music, a first-time collaboration with the Americana Music Association and the state will be announced Tuesday, May 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Executive Mansion.

First Lady Kristin Cooper, Susi H. Hamilton, secretary for the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Wayne Martin, executive director of the N.C. Arts Council and the executive director of the Americana Music Association will unveil plans for a North Carolina presence at AMERICANAFEST, scheduled in Nashville in September.

The announcement is part of the Music at the Mansion series hosted by Mrs. Cooper. Performing will be Mandolin Orange, a Chapel Hill-based folk and Americana duo. The music series and the collaboration with AMERICANAFEST are part of Come Hear North Carolina, a project of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the N.C. Arts Council to spotlight our state’s deep roots in the development of American music.

WHAT: 

AMERICANAFEST Announcement/Music at the Mansion

WHEN:
Tuesday, May 28
5:30 p.m. Reception
6 p.m. Comments
6:30 p.m. Mandolin Orange Performance
 
WHERE:
North Carolina State Capitol
1 East Edenton St., Raleigh
 
WHO:
First Lady Kristin Cooper
Susi H. Hamilton, Secretary, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Wayne Martin, Executive Director, N.C. Arts Council
Jedd Hilly, Executive Director, Americana Music Association

Media representatives should RSVP in advance to Rebecca Moore at Rebecca.Moore@ncdcr.gov or 919-814-6530.

 

About the North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. NCArts.org

 

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development. NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

 

Come Hear NC Sponsors stage at Merlefest featuring Mando mania with Tony Williamson, Molly Tuttle, Mile Twelve, Jim Avett, Watson family tribute, + more

North Carolina’s groundbreaking contributions to American music stretch across bluegrass, gospel, jazz, blues, R&B, and beyond -- and this year at MerleFest, the state’s rich musical history will be on full display with over 35 N.C.-based acts set to grace the stages in Wilkesboro, N.C and several special North Carolina moments planned throughout the weekend.

Come Hear North Carolina, a program of the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Arts Council, has sponsored the festival’s Creekside Stage to celebrate the state’s Year of Music in 2019. MerleFest, which started in 1988 as a tribute to Doc Watson’s son and famed guitarist, Merle, is the largest Americana festival in the country, and Come Hear NC’s Creekside Stage will spotlight a long list of North Carolina musicians influenced by the rich traditions and sounds of the Blue Ridge landscape.

The lineup for the Creekside Stage includes two-time International Bluegrass Music Association “Guitar Player of the Year” Molly Tuttle, a Mando Mania performance hosted by renowned mandolinist Tony Williamson, IBMA band winners Mile Twelve, chart-topping local string champions Cane Mill Road, David LaMotte, longtime local fixture Mark Bumgarner, the Jeff Little Trio, the Harris Brothers, and more. Saturday Creekside festivities will pay homage to the festival’s namesake Merle and Doc Watson, with “Memories of the Watson Family” -- to be hosted by T. Michael Coleman, their longtime collaborator who toured with Doc during the final years of his life.

Bluegrass champions and North Carolina Music Hall of Famers, Steep Canyon Rangers, will also feature a special “North Carolina Songbook” set on the Watson Stage on Sunday afternoon. Longtime Asheville and Brevard, N.C. residents, the GRAMMY-winning sextet -- who have landed #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts a whopping five times and collaborated with everyone from Steve Martin to the Dixie Chicks to Paul McCartney -- will perform their own renditions of songs from some of the state’s most celebrated artists, ranging from Doc Watson, James Taylor, Elizabeth Cotten and beyond.

“The influence of North Carolinians can be heard in almost every genre of popular music: from Earl Scruggs to John Coltrane,” says the band’s banjoist Graham Sharp. “Many of them worked in the textile mills by day and played music with friends and family on the weekends. Some were virtuosos who packed up their influences and took the world by storm. All were a product of the music and people they grew up with in Carrboro, Jacksonville, Eden, Tyron….every corner East to West.”

“We are honored to be a small part of the Year of Music campaign, ‘Come Hear NC’,” says guitarist Woody Platt. “Our state has such an incredible musical history and paying tribute to this legacy at MerleFest will be a career milestone for Steep Canyon Rangers.”

MerleFest is a signature festival featured in the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina one of the country’s first cultural trails dedicated solely to music with more than 150 venues and festivals participating in the 28-county program. Look for representatives of Come Hear NC and the Blue Ridge Music Trails at Merlefest for more information.

Come Hear NC is a year-long mission designed to celebrate, support, and sustain North Carolinians’ groundbreaking contributions to American music. From banjo and guitar innovators Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, to Nina Simone, George Clinton, Etta Baker, James Taylor, J. Cole, the Avett Brothers, and everywhere in between, North Carolina musicians have made an impact on audiences across the globe. Nearly 25,000 North Carolinians work in the music industry today.

You can learn more about the state’s musical history and thriving presence on the Come Hear NC website with daily posts highlighting these achievements on the 365 Days of Music blog.


About The North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. www.NCArts.org

 

Raleigh, N.C. (February 1, 2019) – The Come Hear NC campaign salutes the many African American musicians from North Carolina that made groundbreaking contributions to America’s most important musical genres as we celebrate Black History Month.

Internationally renowned jazz pianists and composers Thelonious Monk and Billy Taylor were from Rocky Mount and Greenville, respectively. There’s also John Coltrane from Hamlet, Nina Simone from Tryon, and Max Roach from Newland.

Other famous music greats include Piedmont blues musicians Elizabeth Cotten, Blind Boy Fuller, and Etta Baker; gospel titans Reverend Faircloth Barnes and Shirley Caesar; funk architects Maceo and Melvin Parker, Nat Jones, and George Clinton; pop artist Roberta Flack and American idol alum Fantasia Barrino, just to name a few. All have made outstanding contributions to our state and the nation’s musical legacy.

Here are some fun facts to help us celebrate music and Black History Month:

  • Kinston is often referred to as the birthplace of funk as five members of the legendary James Brown Band were from there including brothers Maceo and Melvin Parker. Saxophone legend Maceo Parker, Dick Knight, Nat Jones and Levi Raspberry are credited with putting the funk in James Brown’s bands. Little Eva, who performed the number one hit song “Loco-Motion,” is also from Kinston.
  • Nina Simone, “High Priestess of Soul,” learned to play piano in her birthplace of Tryon. Her childhood home was recently designated a National Treasure.
  • Eleven-time Grammy Award-winner Shirley Caesar, the “First Lady of Gospel Music,” was born in Durham.
  • Elizabeth Cotton wrote the famous American folk song Freight Train in Carrboro and helped spark the national folk revival movement. Her finger style guitar playing remains a staple of guitar players today. 
  • The Menhaden Chanteymen, a group of retired African American commercial fishermen, gained acclaim for the maritime work songs they performed while hauling nets, leading them to New York’s Carnegie Hall.
  • Fayetteville’s J. Cole was the first hip-hop artist in 25 years to go double platinum without any guest features with his Grammy-nominated album “2014 Forest Hills Drive.”
  • Black Mountain native soul-star Roberta Flack began her career teaching music in Wilson and singing with the jazz band The Monitors, an Eastern N.C. band that has performed for more than 50 years.
  • Reverend F.C. Barnes was inspired to compose the hit gospel song “Rough Side of the Mountain” while driving on eastern North Carolina roads.
  • Max Roach, one of the most important drummers in jazz history, is from Newland. He helped define the bebop era.
  • Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning album “Damn” features the song “Duckworth,” produced by Winston-Salem hip-hop native, 9th Wonder.
  • William Thomas (“Billy”) Strayhorn, Duke Ellington’s longtime collaborator, was among the most influential figures in American jazz. A versatile composer, arranger, and pianist, Strayhorn joined Ellington’s orchestra at age 22 in 1939 and worked with the bandleader the rest of his life. He spent summers in Hillsborough with his grandparents.
  • John Coltrane, born in Hamlet, was a jazz saxophonist legend. He released 25 albums as a band leader during his lifetime, some attaining five-star, classic status: “Blue Train,” “Giant Steps,” “My Favorite Things,” and “A Love Supreme,” which was Grammy-nominated.  
  • Thelonious Monk was born in Rocky Mount but left when he was five years old to start a new life as part of the Great Migration of African Americans who left the south. He is one of jazz’s most important pianists and composers.   
  • Durham’s Betty Davis and Kannapolis’ George Clinton of Parliament are two of the most important funk musicians in American history.
  • The N.C. Arts Council produced the guidebook, “African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina” in 2013 to celebrate the legacy of African American musicians in eight eastern counties of N.C. www.AfricanAmericanMusicNC.com.

 

 

 

 

Celebration includes Daily Posts of Music, Exclusive Streaming & Music Events

Contact: Michele Walker, (919) 814-7429  ||  Rebecca Moore, (919) 814-6530

Raleigh, N.C. (November 27, 2018) — Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed 2019 The Year of Music to recognize North Carolina’s influence on America’s most important musical genres and to celebrate, support and sustain the state’s strong music heritage.     

“From bluegrass to the blues, from gospel to funk, from beach music to indie and hip hop, North Carolina is the birthplace of many musical styles and iconic performers,” said Gov. Cooper. “The Year of Music celebration not only recognizes North Carolina musicians that are now cultural icons but the nearly 25,000 North Carolinians who work in music occupations.”

The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) in partnership with the North Carolina Arts Council have developed The Year of Music to create greater visibility for the music and the musicians of the state and for the unique people that are important to understanding, preserving and promoting the state’s music story.

The proclamation was announced yesterday by First Lady Kristin Cooper at the North Carolina Executive Mansion in conjunction with the release of the Oxford American’s annual Southern music issue on North Carolina.

Throughout 2019, DNCR will celebrate all aspects of our state’s music industry from the composers, the musicians, the venues, listeners, and the communities that nurture and preserve our richest music traditions.

“Music is universal in North Carolina, regardless of where you live in the state,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary for the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. “North Carolinians are the heroes of many musical genres in America, reflecting our rich cultural heritage, our innovative spirit and the collaborative nature of our musical communities.”

The year-long celebration features:

  • Daily posts of North Carolina multimedia music stories at ComeHearNC.com.
  • Exclusive monthly live streams of performances.
  • Commissioned North Carolina artist pairings.
  • Curated “Tiny” concert films.
  • North Carolina musician stages at MerleFest, Wide Open Bluegrass, NC Folk Festival, and other major festivals around the state.
  • Educational programming and performances. 

North Carolina is home to the first state-supported orchestra in the nation, the North Carolina Symphony, and the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina and the African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina are among the first cultural tourism projects that focus on music in the country. 

North Carolina has long been an innovator of musical institutions.

“Musicians from North Carolina, both past and present, have made brilliant, often groundbreaking, contributions to many of America’s most important musical genres,” said Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council. “It is now time to embrace our music for its key role in the creative economy and for its importance in shaping the cultural identity of the people and communities of our state.”

To read the proclamation click here.

For more information on the Year of Music visit ComeHearNC.com


About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.

 

About the North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. www.NCArts.org 

Contact: Rebecca Moore
(919) 814-6430

Raleigh, N.C. (November 1, 2018) — The Oxford American Magazine’s 20th annual Southern Music Issue celebrates the musical legacy of North Carolina and features an artistic portrait of North Carolina native Nina Simone, the High Priestess of Soul, by Jim Blanchard on the cover.

Simone, born and raised in Tryon, N.C., is celebrated as an icon of American music in a feature essay about artistic influence and identity written by poet Tiana Clark.

The North Carolina issue was made possible by the support of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the North Carolina Arts Council, Visit North Carolina, Arts Greensboro and the North Carolina Humanities Council.

“The roots of so many genres of American music started right here in North Carolina,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “We are delighted that the Oxford American will bring these stories to life to celebrate our musical heritage.”

An essay on the state’s musical heritage written by Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council, is included in the issue as well as a map featuring North Carolina music trivia and illustrations of our iconic North Carolina musicians.

Other featured authors include Benjamin Hedin examines the spiritual milieu of John Coltrane’s High Point upbringing; Lauren Du Graf unpacks the gospel roots of Charlotte’s R&B superstars Jodeci; L. Lamar Wilson spends a day with Rapsody in the rapper’s hometown of Snow Hill; and Will Blythe pays tribute to fellow Chapel Hill-native James Taylor. Also, Lumbee historian Malinda Maynor Lowery recounts her parents’ baptisms in Robeson County; Sarah Bryan chronicles the town of Kinston’s immense legacy; Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas examines Charlotte’s Latinx music scene; and Oxford American deputy editor Maxwell George compares Ryan Adams and Thomas Wolfe. The issue also contains North Carolina poems by Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley, Nickole Brown, Tyree Daye, C. L. White, and Zachary Lunn. In addition to writing and music, the issue features photography and artworks by North Carolinians, including Romare Bearden, Minnie Evans, Sandlin Gaither, David Holt, Scott Hazard, and Hatty Ruth Miller. The CD sleeve art is by Charlotte-based muralist Nico Amortegui.

The issue also includes a 24-song CD sampler of recordings from North Carolinians from 1924 to 2018, plus accompanying digital download with four bonus tracks) highlighting music from N.C. legends such as Simone, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, James Taylor and Elizabeth Cotten. This CD includes a new recording of Ella May Wiggins’s 1929 protest song “Mill Mother’s Lament” by Shannon Whitworth made exclusively for the Oxford American at the iconic Asheville studio Echo Mountain in September. Detailed liner notes and essays on the songs were written by Rhiannon Giddens, Wiley Cash, Ron Rash, Michael Parker, David Joy, David Menconi, and Randall Kenan, among others.

Other literary luminaires from North Carolina contributed essays and profiles about music, including Jill McCorkle on Beach Music; Dasan Ahanu on 9th Wonder; Dave Tompkins on George Clinton and Abigail Covington on Liquid Pleasure.

The North Carolina issue was a catalyst for a proclamation by Governor Roy Cooper of 2019 as the Year of Music to recognize North Carolina’s influence on America’s most important musical genres and to celebrate, support and sustain the state’s strong music heritage. The year-long celebration features:

-Daily posts of North Carolina multimedia music stories at ComeHearNC.com.

-Exclusive monthly live streams of performances.

-Commissioned North Carolina artist pairings.

-Curated “Tiny” concert films. North Carolina musician stages at MerleFest, Wide Open Bluegrass, NC Folk Festival, and other major festivals around the state.

ABOUT NINA SIMONE

Born Eunice Kathleen Wayman in Tryon (Polk County), her range of material included jazz, spirituals, folk songs, blues, pop and classical. The nation’s first African American concert pianist, Simone died at age 70 in 2003 after a long career that made her a soul legend and civil rights icon.

At the time the BBC declared: “Nina Simone was one of the last divas of jazz and was considered one of the finest songwriters and musicians of her day.”

In June 2018, the childhood home of Nina Simone in Tryon was designated a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Four African American artists joined forces to purchase the house in order to preserve Simone’s legacy. The artists included conceptual artist Adam Pendleton, sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher and abstract painter Julie Mehretu.

The purchase caught the interest of the National Trust, which had recently started a $25 million campaign to preserve historical sites related to African-American history. The state’s African American Heritage Commission is working with state and national partners to create awareness about the home through various fundraising efforts.

Much of Simone’s best-remembered songs. Including “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” and “Blackash Blues” were civil rights anthems on topics ranging from the condemnation of Jim Crow laws to addressing the assassination of Medgar Evers and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Alabama.  

In 2010, Rolling Stone named Simone to its list of the 100 greatest singers of all time, clocking in a No. 29 ahead of Neil Young, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen.

 

To order copies of the Oxford American North Carolina Music issue and CD sampler click here.

Subscribe to Music