After a stint fiddling with Bill Monroe, Wilkes County native Jim Shumate joined fellow North Carolinian Earl Scruggs in time to record on the Foggy Mountain Boys’ first recording session. During that inaugural session, Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys cut “Cabin in Caroline,” a song penned by fellow Wilkes County native Ralph Pennington. A talented luthier, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter, Pennington wrote songs and tunes that later became bluegrass standards recorded by the likes of the Stanley Brothers and the Church Brothers.
Did you know: North Carolina-born composer, conductor, and flutist Lamar Stringfield won a Pulitzer Prize for composition in 1928 for his orchestral suite "From the Southern Mountains." He went on to found the North Carolina Symphony and was known thereafter as an authority on southern ballads and folklore.
Did you know: North Carolina jazz legends Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane played together? During the later part of 1957 Coltrane worked with Thelonious Monk at New York's Five Spot Café, and played in Monk's quartet (July–December 1957), but, owing to contractual conflicts, took part in only one official studio recording session with this group, which was released in 1961.
103 years ago today, a tragic flood wreaked havoc on Western North Carolina. Prolific songwriter, David Childers, recounted that event in his song "Belmont Ford", and we captured him performing it earlier this year at the Magnolia Roots Music Lounge in Wake Forest.
Watch the video below and read about the historic flood on Our State's website.
Acclaimed country musician Emmylou Harris, who attended UNC-Greensboro, won her first Grammy award in 1977 for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. Elite Hotel, the album that won her the award, features a cover of fellow NC country great Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams."
The following essay is courtesy of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resource's blog.
On June 13, 1905, old-time musician Lesley Riddle was born in the Silvers Gap community north of Burnsville. Riddle learned to play blues and gospel songs on the guitar after losing most of a leg in an accident at a cement plant. He had to adjust his picking techniques to use only his thumb, index finger and little finger after losing two fingers in a shotgun accident.
A.P. Carter, patriarch of the famous Carter family, first heard Riddle play and sing in Kingsport, Tennessee, in 1927, and quicky recruited him to help advance the Carter family’s fame. Carter and Riddle visited African American communities and churches throughout Appalachian Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina to find new songs for the Carter Family band. Riddle would memorize the tunes and words before returning to teach the songs to Sara and Maybelle Carter.
“Mother Maybelle” learned her trademark guitar techniques from Riddle, including using a pocketknife for slide guitar work.
Riddle never made a living at music, working as a shine boy, presser and school crossing guard. In the 1960s, he accompanied Mike Seeger and the New Lost City Ramblers on the folk festival circuit.
Riddle is celebrated by an annual festival, Riddlefest. This year's Riddlefest takes place on June 22. Get all the details including performers, schedule, and ticketing on their website.
Winston-Salem native Margaret Vardell Sandresky, now 97, continues to play and compose music, following in the footsteps of her grandmother Linda Rumple Vardell, who founded the Conservatory of Music at Flora MacDonald College in Robeson County.
The Blue Sky Boys, made up by brothers Earl and Bill Bolick, were two of the most popular duet singers in country music in the 1930s. Raised in Hickory N.C., the brothers made nearly 100 recordings, and their music would influence groups like the Everly Brothers and the Louvin Brothers. The Blue Sky Boys left a vast repertoire of recordings and radio performances that continue to fuel country and folk musicians’ catalog of songs.
WBT, broadcasted out of Charlotte, was the first commercial radio station in North Carolina and the second in the South after Atlanta’s WSB. With a first air date of March 22, 1992, WBT long boasted that it could be heard from “Maine to Miami” after sundown.
Growing up in Concord, NC, Scott and Seth Avett have played music together since they were kids, getting the love of music from their grandmother who was a concert pianist and their father, songwriter Jim Avett.
See both Jim Avett and the Avett Brothers this weekend at MerleFest!