Keith Weston

Web Producer & Back Porch Music Host @keithweston

Keith Weston was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He attended UNC-CH  where he earned a BA in English and Philosophy in 1984. His family (both sides) can trace roots in NC back to the 1770s and 80s.

Keith has always had an interest in radio. He built an AM transmitter from a Radio Shack kit when he was 7 and began broadcasting to his neighbors.  For more than 12 years, Keith also ran an alternative music on-line radio station, Deeper Into Music.

Keith Weston listening to a record player in his parents' living room circa late 1964/early 1965.
Credit Pat Weston

  Since then he's worked in both commercial and non-commercial radio - from classic rock to country music - landing at WUNC in 1987.

Keith hosted classical music and co-hosted the afternoon mix of jazz, classical, folk, and news on WUNC until 2001. Since then he's been a producer/director for The State of Things and currently is the station's web master and Back Porch Music host on Sunday evenings.

In his early teens he collected QSL cards by listening to shortwave stations broadcasting from Holland, Australia, USSR, South Africa, Canada, China, and dozens of other locations. He still dusts off his shortwave set from time to time to try to pull in a distant station.

Here's a video of Keith pulling in Radio Australia one morning in his home office:

Keith is interested in a wide range of music, from Gyorgi Legetti to Yo La Tengo and collects obscure 1960s psychedelic recordings. He owns a guitar - but hasn't yet fully captured the nuances of "Smoke on the Water."  He admits to being an Internet addict, reads too much E. A. Poe (his favorite) and likes watching movies by his distant relative, Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy fame).  

Keith's radio resume includes stints spinning adult contemporary hits at WCHL (Chapel Hill), playing hot country music at now-defunct WRBX (Durham), spinning "North Carolina's BEST rock" at WKZL (Winston-Salem), college radio DJing for WXYC (Chapel Hill). He also briefly played classical music at WFDD (Winston-Salem) and spun tunes at college radio station WXDU (Durham).

Personal website

The Spinney Brothers at the Museum of Natural Sciecnes
Carol Jackson

Allan and Rick Spinney were born in Ontario, Canada, in the mid 1960s. Even that far north, the sound of southern bluegrass and country music caught fire, especially with Allan, at an early age.

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper warming up prior to their performance.
Carol Jackson

It was a grand night for banjos and fiddles and song. On Wednesday October 1, 2014, during Raleigh's Wide Open Bluegrass event, WUNC hosted four bands on the Daily Planet stage at the Museum of Natural Sciences.

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper warming up prior to their performance.
Carol Jackson

Concurrently with the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) week-long World of Bluegrass, WUNC produced a special live broadcast with WAMU's Bluegrass Country in Washington, D.C. The program was hosted by Katy Daley of WAMU's Bluegrass Country and featured exclusive performances from three IBMA Award nominees:

Listen to WUNC via iTunes Radio
Apple Inc

There's a new way to listen to WUNC on your iPhone® or any computer or device with iTunes®. Introducing WUNC on iTunes Radio!

It's perfect for your commute, office listening, or when you're taking a long walk. You'll get news and information when and where you need it.

Chatham County Line
Michael Podrid / Yep Roc Records

It promises to be another fine evening for coolers, blankets, lawn chairs, and toe-tappin'.

The 2014 season of Back Porch Music On The Lawn closes with a free concert double bill, part of the 10th anniversary celebrations for American Tobacco

Michael Rank

MIpso performed to a packed house at American Tobacco, 8/27/2014
Taylor Sharp / via Twitter
Jody Stephens, host Eric Hodge, Skylar Gudasz, Brett Harris and Chris Stamey in the WUNC Studios
Al Wodarski / WUNC

What music critics have said for years about The Velvet Underground could easily apply to Big Star, too: they were much more influential on later bands than the sum total of all the records they sold. Bands ranging from R.E.M. to Wilco to Cheap Trick to Teenage Fanclub to Dum Dum Girls all cite the influence of and appreciation for Big Star. A cover version of Big Star's "In The Street" served as the theme song for the popular TV sitcom That '70s Show.

Some thirty musicians (including Mike Mills of R.E.M. fame) are banding together Friday night in Carrboro, NC, to pay tribute to this seminal band by staging orchestrated versions of two of their albums.

  • Where: Cat’s Cradle, 300 E. Main St. Carrboro, NC.
  • When: Friday August 22 Doors at 8 p.m. Show at 9 p.m.
  • Tickets: via Cat's Cradle

Bombadil's On The Lawn

Aug 14, 2014
Bombadil
http://bombadilmusic.com/

Bombadil, a trio from Durham, NC, are tonight's headliners for Back Porch Music On The Lawn.  The band, whose name comes from a character in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," is kicking-off a late summer East Coast and Midwest tour in their "hometown."

Back Porch Music on the Lawn Logo
WUNC / American Tobacco

WUNC's Back Porch Music on the Lawn series back on the lawn under the Lucky Strike tower in the heart of the American Tobacco CampusThe free concerts are on Thursday nights from May to September.  The series is part of the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the American Tobacco Campus.

Interactive county map with Wake County highlighted
Keith Weston

Even the most informed citizens sometimes lose track of all the chatter that’s going on in the General Assembly. Fights between Republicans and Democrats, the Governor and fellow Republicans, teachers and legislators – at some point, for even the most insatiable news junkie, it devolves into just so much noise.

Conductor Grant Llewellyn with the North Carolina Symphony - Logo for 2014 Broadcast Concerts
WUNC / North Carolina Symphony

It's a command performance by the North Carolina Symphony at your house.  Well, sort of.

Beginning Monday evening, June 30, and for the next three nights following, you have the opportunity to enjoy an evening of classical music at home when you tune in for the North Carolina Symphony broadcast concerts series. The hour-long concerts, hosted by David Hartman, begin each evening at 9 p.m.

DJ A-Khan and DJ Bounce kicking it in the studio.
Ryan Levin / Beat Making Lab

This week WUNC is partnering with The Beat Making Lab in Chapel Hill on a free summer camp for high schoolers where students take existing WUNC news stories, remix them, and set them to a hip-hop beat.  Called Re-Mixing The News, the camp runs through June 20.

John Howie Jr. and The Rosewood Bluff performing at a Back Porch Music On The Lawn concert in 2013
Kathryn Walbert / www.kathrynwalbert.com

John Howie, Jr. started off playing drums, but it wasn't long before he switched to guitar and began making some hard-core honky-tonk music, first in the Chapel Hill-based Two Dollar Pistols and now in his current band, The Rosewood Bluff.

The latest album is called "Everything Except Goodbye."  It's chock full of heartbreak, pedal steel, upright bass and John's baritone voice.

Mad Men Mondays: Episode 6, “The Strategy”

May 19, 2014

In partnership with Duke University's Hartman Center, we continue the Mad Men Mondays series with images from the University's advertising archive that relate to Sunday night's episode.

Last night’s episode featured references to loafers, Buick, Barbie, Fondue pots, among other things.  Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.

Episode Synopsis

Back Porch Music on the Lawn Logo
WUNC / American Tobacco

Update: 12:28 p.m. Southern Culture on the Skids to has been rescheduled for  Thursday May 22 at 6 p.m.

Update: 12:06 p.m. Due to the weather, the concert tonight with Southern Culture on the Skids and the Letter Jackets has been canceled.  We're hope to reschedule -- stay tuned for details. We'll post updates on the main Back Porch On The Lawn Concerts page.

Mad Men Mondays: Xerox, Golf Clubs And Runaways

May 12, 2014

Episode 5 from the final season of AMC's "Mad Men" has aired and as we have done over the last several Mondays, in partnership with Duke University's Hartman Center For Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, we present the next in the "Mad Men Mondays" series.

The Steep Canyon Rangers 'Tell The Ones I Love'
Rounder

Our series of Back Porch Music album reviews continues this week with three new releases reviewed by the hosts of Back Porch Music.

Steep Canyon Rangers - Tell The Ones I Love
review by Freddy Jenkins

North Carolina-based bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers follow up their 2013 Grammy Award-winning Nobody Knows You with their second recording for Rounder Records, Tell The Ones I Love. The group’s profile has been raised in recent years by their collaborations with Steve Martin and this new recording showcases their many strengths.

Working with producer Larry Campbell at Levon Helm’s Studio in Woodstock, NY, the band continues with their blend of bluegrass, country and folk-pop, adding just a bit more percussion on this outing. They are fine instrumentalists and have a great vocal blend. And the songwriting of Graham Sharp and Charles Humphrey is first rate as well.  A train song, “Tell The Ones I Love,” kicks off this collection of a dozen original compositions and is a highlight. Other notable selections include “Camellia,” which brings to mind Helm’s group, The Band, the shuffling “Mendocino County Blue,” and the somewhat melancholic “Boomtown.” 

Ralph Epperson, founder of WPAQ. Photographed 07/20/05.
Megan Morr / Winston-Salem Journal

This weekend people in Surry County remember a radio pioneer and North Carolina broadcasting legend, Ralph Epperson. A special WPAQ broadcast of the long-running "Merry Go-Round" program and a screening of "Broadcast - A Man and A Dream" documentary are scheduled for Saturday morning and afternoon at The Earle Theater in Mount Airy, NC.

WPAQ - "The Voice of the Blue Ridge"

Here's another installment of Back Porch Music album reviews. We're posting these periodically here with two or three CD reviews each week and we hope you enjoy them. Leave your comments below. 

Lucinda Williams - self titled

Alert Carolina sirens sounded on the UNC Chapel Hill campus following reports of an armed and dangerous person on or near the campus. Additional email and texts were sent to campus staff, students and faculty encouraging area residents to remain inside.  According to reports, a man displayed a knife or knives near the campus area known as "The Pit."

CD 'Southern Comfort' by Regina Carter
Sony Music Masterworks

This is the first in a series of Back Porch Music album reviews that Freddy Jenkins and I will be writing periodically. We'll feature new and significant historical releases worth mentioning. You'll hear some of these and hundreds of other CDs every week on the program. Leave your comments below.

One of the best parts of working at Back Porch Music is sampling all the music that comes our way from remarkable artists and sharing these artists with you. Here's a look at three that are well worth your time.

Regina Carter: Southern Comfort

Pierce Freelon (left) and Apple Juice Kid with students from the community
Beat Making Lab

In an after-school project called "Re-Mixing the News" a group of middle and high school students from Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC, take WUNC news reports and add inspiration: beats, sound effects, and music. They create a fresh, new take on traditional journalism in the Beat Making Lab.

Q: What would happen if you put WUNC News stories in the hands of youth armed with laptops and infectious hip hop beats?  

A: You'd get Re-Mixing the News -- it's a new project WUNC launched in 2014 as a part of its American Graduate Project.  
 
WUNC is teaming up with renowned beatmakers and educators Pierce Freelon and Stephen Levitin (aka Apple Juice Kid) for this special project that will engage young people in Chapel Hill over the next several months. 

From 'The Road Home', a StoryCorps animated special
StoryCorps

No doubt you've heard StoryCorps on Friday mornings during Morning Edition. Intimate one-on-one conversations are recorded in the traveling StoryCorps booth and played back on the radio. Some years back the booth came to Durham sponsored by WUNC. One of the conversations from that Durham visit is now part of an animated series from StoryCorps.

Christmas music. It's nearly inescapable at this time of year - on the radio, in shops, in cafes, everywhere. When Phoebe Judge sat down to talk about "Christmas" with jazz double bassist John Brown, the question arose: Why would musicians want to add to the large catalog of existing Christmas songs and recordings?

"It comes from a place of joy," said the double bassist. "We wanted to take this material that's tested, tried and true and say something different about it."

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