Arts Across NC podcast

North Carolina Arts Council

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Arts Across NC Podcast is back with a new season. Join us as we look back on the pandemic and its impact on North Carolina’s arts sector over the last two years. With the help of artists, arts organizations, and arts leaders from all across North Carolina, we are telling the stories of mental struggles, canceled performances, and difficult decisions. The past two years also include stories about innovation, hope, and moments of profound connection.

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Arts Across NC launched in March 2017 to celebrate the rich history of the arts across North Carolina during the North Carolina Arts Council’s fiftieth anniversary celebration. In the first three seasons, the podcast’s host, Sandra Davidson, talked with artists and arts leaders about the public value of the arts across the state. We were honored to have engaging conversations with a wide array of artists, including the best-selling author David Sedaris, the renowned architect Philip Freelon, and the musicians M. C. Taylor and Phil Cook. Listen to past episodes HERE.

The newest season of Arts Across NC is hosted by the Arts Council’s content director, Kyesha Jennings. Our special projects coordinator, Sam Gerweck, is the production editor. Theme music is by Millie Vaughn. Check out the promo trailer below. 


Songs We Love: Merge Records Co-Founder and Superchunk Bassist Laura Ballance on "Good and Dead" by Angels of Epistemology

November 17, 2019

Songs We Love is a weekly podcast series partnership between Come Hear NC and WUNC that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. Back in July, leading up to the  MRG 30 Festival, Merge Records co-founder and Superchunk bassist Laura Ballance stopped in to talk about one of the label’s first singles – “Good and Dead” by the Raleigh based band Angels of Epistemology.

Give the full conversation a listen at WUNC.org and check out the song below!


New Podcast About Dolly Parton Features North Carolina Voices

November 12, 2019

Last month WNYC Studios premiered Dolly Parton’s America: The story of a legend at the crossroads of America’s culture wars. Produced by the audio geniuses behind Radiolab, the nine-part series weaves together interviews, archival clips from her career, and stories from her biggest fans to explore the universal appeal of Dolly Parton. Several episodes feature appearances from North Carolinians.

In “I Will Always Leave You,” UNC-Chapel Hill Music Professor Jocelyn Neal discusses how Dolly Parton’s recording of “Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel No. 8),” marked a pivot from the sad songs of her early career and a symbolic step towards professional independence from Porter Wagoner. “Neon Moss,” the fourth episode of the show, explores the international appeal of Dolly Parton’s nostalgia for Tennessee, and features Rhiannon Giddens discussing her recording of the Appalachian ballad “Little Margaret.” Giddens learned “Little Margaret” from N.C. Heritage Awardee Sheila Kay Adams and recorded a version of it for her new album featuring the daf, an Iranian frame drum, to draw attention to the global roots of what people commonly think of as traditional European music. 

Take a listen to Dolly Parton’s America wherever you get your podcasts! 


Songs We Love: N.C. Arts Council Executive Director Wayne Martin on "Pretty Fair Miss In A Garden" by Doug Wallin

November 8, 2019

Songs We Love is a weekly podcast series partnership between Come Hear NC and WUNC that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. Last week, for the 40th episode of the series, Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council Wayne Martin talks about a recording of the song "Pretty Fair Miss In A Garden" he made with fiddler Doug Wallin. He also talks about how the traditional music of North Carolina has resonated not only in our home state, but worldwide.

Give the conversation a listen at WUNC.org and check out the song below!


WUNC's Songs We Love: Kamara Thomas on Jonathan Wilson's "Can We Really Party Today?"

October 25, 2019

Songs We Love is a weekly podcast series partnership between Come Hear NC and WUNC that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. Last week, Kamara Thomas joined Eric Hodge to talk about Jonathan Wilson's song "Can We Really Party Today?"

Check out the whole episode here and listen to the song below.

Jonathan Wilson plays The Arts Center in Carrboro on Friday, October 25th.


Throwback Thursday: The Avett Brothers on Armchair Expert

October 10, 2019

Last week Scott and Seth Avett spoke on family, career evolution, and North Carolina on Dax Sheppard’s podcast Armchair Expert.  Take a listen here:


Scott Avett’s exhibit “I N V I S I B L E” opens Saturday, October 12th at the North Carolina Music of Art in Raleigh, N.C. Tickets and information available here.

Call and Response: How The Push To Preserve Grassroots Music Communities in Western North Carolina Led to the Traditional Arts Programs For Students

October 4, 2019

Story by Sandra Davidson and Scott Stegall

Today marks the return of a new season of Arts Across NC, a podcast by and about the North Carolina Arts Council. The three-episode season highlights the story of the Traditional Arts Programs for Students (TAPS), a statewide network of afterschool programs, created by the North Carolina Arts Council in response to community requests for traditional arts education taught locally, knee-to-knee, and across generations.

TAPS is a story about place, community, and pride, and it's a story that somewhat begins with a man named Arvill Scott.

Arvill grew up in Surry County, North Carolina. Part piedmont-part mountain, Surry County has been a nucleus of traditional string band music for well over a century. As a young boy Arvill grew up listening to bluegrass and old-time music over the radio waves of Mt. Airy's WPAQ station, and in the early 1980s he began to take lessons on banjo and guitar form celebrated traditional musicians of the region. Within a few years, he was playing in local bands for square dances, but he was growing concerned about the future of traditional music. 

"I was kind of offended by individuals coming into the area on grants that were attempting to show us how to play our music," said Arvill. "There were a couple of individuals from New England that would come, and got very interested in the music, as I remember, and learned from Tommy Jarrell in the Surry County area, and then they lived basically off of grants playing music here. And I thought, that’s just not the way it’s done traditionally. The music tradition is that, particularly in this area, the way I had come about playing music, is that you learn from the people who are here."

At a community meeting about the future of traditional mountain music held over twenty years ago by the North Carolina Arts Council Arvill made his voice heard. 

"What I said at that meeting was that it would be better to be taught by someone who is here, who knows the culture, who is the culture, rather than bringing in people to teach us what they interpret what we do and what our tradition is," recalled Arvill.

His concerns did not fall on deaf ears. Get that story today in Call and Response the first installment of the new Arts Across NC season. 

Listen below.

Arts Across NC is available for download and streaming on Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Soundcloud. Previous seasons have explored archival North Carolina music field recordings, the 2018 N.C. Heritage Award recipients and more.



Songs We Love: Wayne Martin on Etta Baker's "Crow Jane"

September 26, 2019

We are throwing things back to 1991 with a performance of the song "Crow Jane" by Etta Baker and her friend and fellow guitarist John Dee Holeman. Listen to North Carolina Arts Council Executive Director Wayne Martin talk about the history of the recording on WUNC’s “Songs We Love:” 



Songs We Love: Phil Cook on The Sensational Nightingale's "My Sisters and Brothers"

September 12, 2019

Songs We Love is a weekly podcast series partnership between Come Hear NC and WUNC that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. On this episode Phil Cook throws things back to 1974 to discuss The Sensational Nightingales'  classic gospel song “My Sisters and Brothers,” which you can listen to here


WUNC's Songs We Love: Jacob Sharp of Mipso on Doc Watson & David Grisman

August 28, 2019

Songs We Love is a weekly podcast series partnership between Come Hear NC and WUNC that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This week, Jacob Sharp of Mipso tells us why he loves Doc Watson & David Grisman's version of the Gershwin classic "Summertime."

"I was reflecting on childhood memories of what a joyous and freeing time summertime was. Though written by people who had very few relationships with the south its been brought to life by people who do and I think it really speaks to the North Carolina summer freedom," says Sharp.

Mipso plays a homecoming show at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh on Saturday, August 31st.

Listen to the whole episode here and check out Doc Watson & David Grisman's cover of "Summertime" below.



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