Bluegrass

An image of North Carolina 'Welcome Sign'
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

 

North Carolina has much to offer newcomers. From the coast to mountains and everything in between, the state is a place for food, fun and plenty of adventure. Where is the best barbeque? What is that accent? Who are the stars of bluegrass?

 

Below find five stories that highlight the Tar Heel state’s distinguishing qualities. And even if you’ve lived in North Carolina your entire life, take a look at the list of some of your state’s gems.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Justin Johnson playing cigar box guitar
Justin Johnson Music

  

North Carolina Musician Justin Johnson has always been drawn to stringed instruments. Starting with the beat up, one-string Stella guitar his mother handed down to him, Justin has played music with any band that would take him.

So when he was handed a homemade cigar box guitar at a show a few years ago, he was instantly drawn to the sound and feel of the unique instrument. Ever since, he's been making and collecting homemade instruments to play on the road.

Guitarist and vocalist Russell Moore leads IIIrd Tyme Out at a WUNC Raleigh Concert
Carol Jackson

Russell Moore's bluegrass career has included a stretch as a member of Doyle Lawson's Quicksilver band and as the leader of IIIrd Tyme Out since 1991. Born in Texas, he moved to North Carolina and later Georgia to follow his bluegrass dreams. Moore has been named IBMA Vocalist of the Year five times and the band has claimed Vocal Group of the Year seven consecutive times.

WUNC Back Porch Music host Freddy Jenkins introduces Joe Mullins and The Radio Ramblers at the Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh
Carol Jackson

Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers' ramblings brought them to Raleigh during the IBMA World of Bluegrass in October. Just as the bluegrass gala was kicking off JMRR joined three other bands at a WUNC event at the Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.

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.

Nick Vandenberg is a Chapel Hill musician (posing outside the Durham studios).
Hady Mawajdeh (WUNC)

Nick Vandenberg  is a man of many talents. 

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.

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

  

The World of Bluegrass festival wraps up this weekend in Raleigh. One of the highlights of the five-day convention is the International Bluegrass Music Association awards ceremony which took place last night.

North Carolina band Balsam Range took home three statues, including the award for Entertainer of the Year.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Tim White, host of the bluegrass and roots music show “Song of the Mountains” on PBS, about the awards and final days of the World of Bluegrass festival.

Host Frank Stasio and Béla Fleck prepare for their conversation.
Hady Mawajdeh (WUNC)

  

 The relentless Béla Fleck is known for taking his banjo on a wide array of sonic journeys. 

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