Back Porch Music Saturday

Sat 8p-Mid

Freddy Jenkins hosts the Saturday edition of Back Porch Music.  Folk, blues, bluegrass, and more.

Current BPM Saturday playlist and  playlist archive

BPM Friday | BPM Sunday | Main BPM Page

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.

Fiddler Bobby Hicks
Eric Mennel / WUNC

Bobby Hicks had no intention of playing fiddle as a kid. He was playing mandolin in a band with his brothers when one of them asked for some help.

"My brother had a friend he wanted in the band, but he couldn't play anything," said Hicks. "So he talked me into teaching him to play the mandolin, and then they fired me."

It was to all our benefit.

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.

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

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

Gibson

Earl Scruggs was a North Carolina native, a banjo virtuoso who was instrumental in the development of the classic bluegrass banjo sound.  There's a new museum, the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, North Carolina, which honors his legacy. Annmarie Reiley-Kay is the curator. We asked Annmarie what she's most excited by in the new collection. She immediately told us about two of his instruments.

The Super Earl

Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founders Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemmings
Carolina Chocolate Drops

Dom Flemons, a co-founder of North Carolina-based Grammy award winning string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, will leave the band in mid-December following a series of concert dates. He will be starting a solo career. 

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

Doyle Lawson & 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'.

IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh
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

Elizabeth Cotten conducting a guitar workshop at the 1968 Newport Folk Festival
http://www.flickr.com/photos/63204614@N08/ / flickr

In the early 1900s in Carrboro, a young Elizabeth Cotten took her brother's handmade guitar from under his bed.

She started playing the instrument upside down - with her right hand on the fret and strumming with her left hand. The young woman went on to become a famous blues and folk musician. Next weekend, Carrboro will dedicate a historic marker to honor Cotton’s legacy and ties to the town.

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.

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

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

North Carolina-based Balsam Range raked in the second-most nominations for IBMA Awards Wednesday night.
Balsam Range

The International Bluegrass Music Association's 2013 award ceremony isn't coming to Raleigh until mid-September, but the excitement has already made it to town. Fans gathered at three viewing parties Wednesday night for live announcements of the IMBA Award nominees. 

Ricky Skaggs recently spoke with WUNC's Eric Hodge about his new album, 'Music to My Ears.'
Rex Hammock / Flickr Creative Commons

Ricky Skaggs is a musical icon in the state of North Carolina.  He's won multiple Grammys in country music and bluegrass.  He began his career with a TV appearance as a seven-year-old playing with Flatt and Scruggs.  He moved onto Ralph Stanley's band as a teenager before working with Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and many others.  He's widely considered to be one of the finest singers and players ever to pick up a banjo, mandolin, fiddle and guitar.

Tom Dooley sign, Blue Ridge Parkway
Jan Kronsell, 2002 / Wikipedia, Wikicommons

On June 18, 1866, the body of 21-year-old Laura Foster was found in a shallow grave in Wilkes County, NC. Thomas C. Dula (Tom Dooley), a veteran of the Civil War, was tried, convicted and hanged on May 1, 1868, in Statesville, NC, for the murder.  Dula had fled to Tennessee before the discovery of the body.

Controversy surrounded the trial and conviction. The trial was covered widely in national papers including The New York Times. Dula is reported to have said on the gallows, “Gentlemen, do you see this hand? I didn’t harm a hair on the girl’s head.” 

David Holt took this photo of Doc Watson's final Merlefest performance in 2012. Watson died a month later.
David Holt

If you’re searching for the who’s who among bluegrass, Americana, folk, and traditional country musicians, MerleFest is a good place to start. The annual four-day festival kicks off today in Wilkesboro, just as it has every April for the past 25 years. Headlining artists include The Avett Brothers, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Jerry Douglas, Steep Canyon Rangers, Matraca Berg, and others. But this year for the first time, the festival will lack a performance from its founder, Doc Watson, who died May 29, 2012.

Back Porch Music Center Stage Logo
American Tobacco / American Tobacco

The Celtic powerhouse band Solas will kick off the 2013 Back Porch Music concert series in Durham.  Bluegrass, local blues, and much more will be a part of the four Back Porch concerts scheduled between May and October.

The crowds at the annual Back Porch Music concerts On The Lawn at American Tobacco Campus in Durham have grown so much that "the lawn" can no longer contain the anticipated numbers. This spring and summer  the concerts will be in a much bigger space and have a more festival like feel.

In 1955, John R. Cash was a sometime auto mechanic, sometime appliance salesman who liked to play the guitar and sing, mostly gospel songs. The "R" in his name didn't stand for anything — and, in fact, he'd been named J.R. at birth and had to come up with "John" when he joined the Air Force. He'd spend the rest of his life reinventing himself.

Emmylou Harris' first solo album, "Pieces of the Sky," was released in 1975 after the death of her singing partner, Gram Parsons. The opening track on the album is a song called "Bluebird Wine," by a then-unknown songwriter named Rodney Crowell. She recorded two more of his songs on her next album, got him to join her band in the mid-'70s and now, after an almost 40-year friendship, the two musicians have recorded an album together called Old Yellow Moon. The two talk with Terry Gross about their long, enduring careers, their friendship, their influences and singing harmony.

You're about to watch one of the best fiddlers on the planet and a subtle guitar master work their magic. For too many of us, Irish music is something that merely gets trotted out around this time of year, associated with St. Patrick's Day and the coming of spring — and made a cliche by commercialism and whatever other shallow notions make cliches what they are.

Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle
annaandelizabeth.com

While many popular musicians today seek out the newest digital technology to enhance their performances, there’s a young musical duo from rural Virginia who are moving in the opposite direction. Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle call themselves simply “Anna and Elizabeth.”  Both accomplished traditional Appalachian musicians on a variety of instruments, together they have resurrected a storytelling tradition called the “crankie,” whose technology outdates their combined age (which is 50).

culturalequity.org

Alan Lomax dedicated seven decades of his life to recording and distributing the sound of as much of the globe as he could reach. Beginning as a 17-year-old from Austin, Texas, Alan traveled with his father, John Lomax, to plantations, farms and prisons in the deep South.

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