Country Music

photo of Rissi Palmer
Rissi Palmer

Singer-songwriter Rissi Palmer exploded onto the country music scene in 2007 with a self-titled album. She sang alongside Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum, and her single "Country Girl" was the first song by an African-American woman artist to make the country Billboard charts in almost two decades.

Ray Benson is the leader of the country band 'Asleep at the Wheel' and has been touring for more than 40 years.
Bismeaux Productions

Asleep at the Wheel has toured as country swing band for more than 40 years. Along the way, they picked up nine Grammys and played alongside musicians like Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.

Jeanne Jolly is out with her second album, 'A Place To Run.'
Bruce Deboer

A lot has changed in the last three years for musician Jeanne Jolly. She finished a national tour of the album “Angels," got married, got a dog, and completed the new album, “A Place To Run.”

The new collection has a grittier country rock feel and looks at what it means to have ‘places to run.’ Jolly explores where people turn for refuge or why people run away to escape grief.

John Howie Jr.

The Back Porch Music on the Lawn concert series returns Thursday night at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham with a performance by honky-tonk musician John Howie Jr. The concert is free and will start at 6 p.m.

 

The Chapel Hill country singer will play with the Rosewood Bluff and will be joined by Tonk. But before he gets on stage Thursday evening, Howie Jr. decided to stop by WUNC to talk with Eric Hodge about his approach to writing country songs and life as a parent.

A picture of 6 String Drag.
Michael Traister / 6stringdrag.com

Raleigh-based roots rock quartet 6 String Drag is back after more than 16 years in hibernation. Front man Kenny Roby came into the WUNC studios recently to talk about getting the band back together, and their new album.

Before Roots Rock ‘N’ Roll was released last year, Steve Earle produced 6 String Drag's celebrated album, High Hat in 1997. After that, Roby says, the band drifted apart.

Mary Johnson Rockers and the Spark
Derek Anderson

  

Mary Johnson Rockers and the Spark recently released their second record, Remedy, that celebrates the many ways in which the band has found their niche in the Triangle music scene. 

Mandolin Orange
NPR Music

The music of Mandolin Orange is pure and beautiful.  Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz call North Carolina home, but they have spent the better part of a year on the road, most recently touring Europe with Chatham County Line. Now home, the duo is playing at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC this weekend. But first they stopped by the studio to talk with Eric Hodge, and play live:

The Lone Bellow dropped by WUNC to play The State of Things.
http://www.thelonebellow.com/

The Lone Bellow is a band is born from tragedy with songs told with heart and simplicity. 

A picture of Jason Isbell with a guitar.
Michael Wilson / Jason Isbell

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Jason Isbell has covered a lot of ground since leaving the Drive-By Truckers seven years ago. He's released several albums with his band The 400 Unit. He spent a lot of time on the road and last year put out his solo album Southeastern. Great reviews followed.

This fall, Isbell scooped up Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year at the 2014 Americana Music Awards.

George Hamilton IV
Opry.com

George Hamilton IV was a student at UNC Chapel Hill when a friend approached him and asked him to sing the song "A Rose And A Baby Ruth." Hamilton didn't like the song, but after some nudging from a local record executive, he relented. The song shot to number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and launched a career marked by a string of chart successes.

Folk Alley Presents: Dom Flemons

Sep 8, 2014

Many people know Dom Flemons as one-third of the original membership of groundbreaking revivalist stringband Carolina Chocolate Drops. Indeed, with the CCDs, Flemons achieved international acclaim and earned award nominations from organizations like the Americana Music Association and the Grammys. But, before the Chocolate Drops made their debut, he was a performing songster and songwriter, covering the entire scope of what constitutes American folk and roots music — not just the stringband, Carolina-based stuff that would eventually make him folk-famous.

From his vintage hat to his enormous 1920s banjo, Dom Flemons looks like he's time-traveled from a different era.

Jon Langford

Welsh musician Jon Langford is best known for his time with the British punk band, The Mekons. But Langford’s work is also deeply influenced by American country singers like Johnny Cash. Langford's new album, "Here Be Monsters", blends those interests. He'll be performing at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh on April 25th at 8 p.m. Host Frank Stasio talks with Jon Lanford and we get a taste of the new album. 

Soft Soap Purrings album cover, image of Bruce Piephoff
brucepiephoff.net

  

Bruce Piephoff's music draws inspiration from the Appalachian tradition of story and character-centered songs. The poet, guitarist and singer released a new album, "Soft Soap Purrings" earlier this year. 

Amy Ray on porch with guitar
Amy Ray

Amy Ray is likely best known as a member of the duo the Indigo Girls. She has a solo career as well and this week the Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter released her first country record.  It's called "Goodnight Tender" and it has tons of North Carolina connections. It was recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville.  There are local musicians involved, like the brothers from Megafaun.

Ricky Skaggs holding mandolin
rickyskaggs.com / Ricky Skaggs

Ricky Skaggs was just five years old when he first got his hands on a mandolin. Many boys in small town Kentucky were playing the guitar or the fiddle, but not the mandolin. With a rich and varied career in bluegrass and country, Skaggs is known for that masterful mandolin sound. 

Erin Nenni Band CD
Erin Nenni Band

Singer-songwriter Erin Nenni and guitarist Scotty Miller performed as an acoustic duo until late last year when they decided to form the Erin Nenni Band. They play tomorrow night at The Pour House in Raleigh, but first they talk with host Frank Stasio and perform live in studio.