Keith Weston

Web Producer & Back Porch Music Host @keithweston

Keith listening to his parent's hi-fi circa late 1963
Credit Pat Weston

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. 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.

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.

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). A North Carolina native, his family can trace roots in NC back to the 1780s.  For more than 12 years, Keith also ran an alternative music on-line radio station, Deeper Into Music.

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).

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WUNC Fund Drive
1:41 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Best Of Back Porch Music Vol 16

30 second samples of all the tunes on the Best of BPM Vol 16 - new for Fall 2013 and our thank-you for supporting WUNC Radio! Pledge Now. See more of our thank-you gifts.

1 Tift Merritt—Traveling Alone . . . . . . 4:45

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WUNC Updates
5:05 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Goodbye To The Story & Hello To Two New Programs

Rachel McCarthy (left) & Carol Jackson with Dick Gordon plan for the very special last show of The Story - Friday at 1p
Credit Jorge Valencia / The Story

New evening time for State of Things, debut of On Being and Q as The Story broadcasts end on WUNC 

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WUNC Updates
3:28 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

An Evening Of Bluegrass Live From Raleigh

Doyle Lawson (holding mandolin, left center) and Quicksilver
Keith Weston WUNC

Last night a few hours after the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences had closed for the evening, a series of banjos, fiddles and mandolins paraded past the smiling security officers into an area set aside as a sort of "green room." Musicians from the World of Bluegrass festival put on by the IBMA dropped by WUNC's newly opened studios in the museum for an evening of pickin' and singin'.

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WUNC Updates
10:06 am
Tue September 24, 2013

WUNC Coverage Of "World Of Bluegrass" In Raleigh

IBMA World of Bluegrass is September 24-28 in Raleigh.
Credit IBMA

The number of banjos, mandolins and fiddles has skyrocketed in Raleigh this week as the IBMA bluegrass conference and musical event comes to town. 

The "World of Bluegrass" is an annual business conference, awards show, and multi-day concert series put on by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Raleigh hosts this year's event, and will be the host city through 2015. Last year's gathering in Nashville drew more than 13,000 attendees.

WUNC Updates During IBMA

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WUNC Updates
10:08 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Aoife O'Donovan & Dave Alvin At Next BPM Concert

Dave Alvin
Beth Herzhaft Yep Roc

Friday night WUNC, Yep Roc Records, and American Tobacco present the next Back Porch Music Center Stage Concert at Diamond View Park in Durham.  The free event starts at 6 p.m. and runs for three hours with music from The Aoife O'Donovan Band and Dave Alvin with the Guilty Ones. Both performers record for Yep Roc Records based in  Hillsborough, North Carolina.

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WUNC Updates
2:14 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Bluegrass Broadcast From IBMA On WUNC

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will perform live on WUNC during the IBMA in Raleigh.
Credit Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Update: Hear the broadcast Wednesday night, September 25, 8-10 p.m. on WUNC and WAMU Bluegrass Country.

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NC Symphony Broadcast
7:15 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

"Fireworks" And A Piece That Incited A Riot - Stravinsky & NC Symphony For Aug 26

A 'Rite of Spring' ballet performance
Credit drama_huddersfield / flickr

At its premiere in Paris in 1913 Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" caused a near-riot. There's debate over whether it was the unconventional ballet score or the avant-garde choreography (or the two combined) that enraged the audience. That first audience witnessed surprisingly modern music and evocative, provocative dance. Conductor Grant Llewellyn explains:

Grant Llewellyn, in an interview with series host David Hartman, talks about the 'riot' that occurred at the first performance of 'The Rite of Spring' and goes on to explain the basic concept of the ballet.

Today, the piece is considered a masterpiece and to mark its 100th anniversary, the North Carolina Symphony presents it with Grant Llewellyn conducting as part of the August 26 broadcast concert here on WUNC. The program airs Monday night at 10 p.m. It was recorded in Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh.

"Vibrant" and "virtuosic" are two of the words used by series host David Hartman to introduce the explosive "Fireworks" by Stravinsky that opens this program.  It's a short orchestral piece that prefigures a later work by Stravinksy, "The Firebird."

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NC Symphony Broadcast
6:07 pm
Sun August 18, 2013

A Musical Mystery, "The Enigma Variations" - NC Symphony Broadcast For Aug 19

Sir Edward Elgar
Credit P.D.

"A musical mystery. Sir Edward Elgar's 'Enigma Variations' have confounded music scholars and music fans since its premiere. Elgar tells us that the theme is never actually played during the piece.  So, just what is the theme and where did it come from?"

So begins series host David Hartman's introduction to the broadcast concert of the North Carolina Symphony for Monday August 19. The program airs on WUNC at 10 p.m. and will be available for on-line listening for the week following.

During the course of the broadcast conductor Grant Llewellyn presents some of the theories that try to get to the bottom of the Elgar enigma. The piece itself is a series of fourteen variations.  The missing part is the theme. Generally, when a composer presents a series of variations, either the theme is a well known and obvious tune (like, say, "Yankee Doodle") or the theme is clearly stated at the beginning of the piece. In the "Enigma Variations" that foundation is missing.

Conductor Grant Llewellyn puts on his sleuthing cap and joins the audience in the search for the answer to Elgar's Enigma Variations. (Short excerpt from this NC Symphony broadcast of Aug 19)

For Elgar's own first performance of the piece the composer wrote: "The Enigma I will not explain - its 'dark saying' must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the connection between the Variations and the Theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme 'goes', but is not played." Additionally, Elgar dedicated the piece to "my friends pictured within" as each variation is presented as an affectionate portrayal of someone Elgar knew.

See if you can solve the heretofore unsolved musical mystery as you join Grant Llewellyn in search of the answer to Elgar's "Enigma Variations."

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Last Motel
5:47 pm
Sun August 18, 2013

Mandolin Orange On Last Motel

L-R: Jeff Crawford, host Eric Hodge, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz. Mandolin Orange appear on 'Last Motel' on Sunday Aug 18 at 6 p.m.
Credit Al Wodarski / WUNC

Mandolin Orange is a Chapel Hill-based duo combining the talents of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz. Mixing elements of folk and traditional elements with rock n roll and country music, their music is predominantly acoustic-based featuring guitars, mandolins, fiddles mixed in with various other instruments. Both Emily and Andrew grew up in North Carolina and their roots show in their songs.

Mandolin Orange have just released their latest.  It's called "This Side of Jordan." 

Andrew and Emily along with bassist Jeff Crawford dropped by the WUNC studios, checked into Last Motel, and chatted with Eric Hodge for Sunday's broadcast. They play some tunes in-studio from their new album.  You can hear the full interview and conversation Sunday night August 18 at 6 p.m. Here's a highlight:

Mandolin Orange chat with Eric Hodge during 'Last Motel' about their new album 'This Side of Jordan.' They play a song from that new release just out.

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NC Symphony Broadcast
7:37 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

Abraham Lincoln And "Hair-Raising" Music - NC Symphony Broadcast For Aug 12

Conductor William Henry Curry
Credit NC Symphony

The second in the series of August broadcast concerts by the North Carolina Symphony features two works by American composers, Aaron Copland and Charles Ives. The program airs at 10 p.m. on Monday, August 12.

Copland's Lincoln Portrait

During the Second World War Aaron Copland was asked to write a patriotic work. After first considering Walt Whitman, Copland then settled upon Abraham Lincoln for the work's subject.  Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" is for speaker and orchestra, combining a biographic sketch with texts from letters and speeches.  It also features melodic nods to popular tunes of the day, such as "Camptown Races" and other popular folk songs. The work was completed and first performed in 1942.

The North Carolina Symphony performed the work in honor of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln' Emancipation Proclamation of 1 January 1863.  David Hartman, who is also the host of the North Carolina Symphony broadcast series, is the narrator. The Symphony is lead by its resident conductor, William Henry Curry.

Ives's Second Symphony - A "Hair-Raising" Finish

American composer Charles Ives learned much about music from his father. Charles was born in October 1874 in Danbury, Connecticut. The elder Ives taught his son popular tunes from the age of the Civil War, as well as other music and hymns. In fact, "Camptown Races" and other popular tunes serve as an underpinning of the Symphony No. 2, but are not directly quoted musically as in the "Lincoln Portrait."

"He's a visionary and a Yankee contrarian with a great sense of humor," conductor William Henry Curry tells host David Hartman. These qualities show through in the ending of Ives's Symphony No. 2 in a jarring cluster of notes. This is  meant to replicate the sour notes from a barn dance where amateur  musicians would intentionally play something "off" at the end of the night to signal the end of the dance. "It was a way of saying good night folks, time to go home now," continued Curry.  "Ives caps this symphony with a completely crazy cluster of sounds. It really is hair-raising."

The symphony was premiered in 1951, some fifty years after it was completed, by The New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Some commentators referred to the closing discord as a sort of "Bronx cheer."

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