Eric Hodge Interviews

singer and songwriter BJ Barham embarks on a tour to promote his solo-recording "Rockingham."
Courtesy of All Eyes Media / http://alleyesmedia.com/clients/bj-barham/

Fans of Raleigh-based American Aquarium are in for a treat as lead singer and songwriter BJ Barham embarks on a tour to promote his solo-recording "Rockingham."

John Paul White
Allister Ann / Sacks and Co.

John Paul White was one half of the four-time Grammy winning duo The Civil Wars.  Since finishing with that band, he has founded a record label, built a studio and collaborated with artists including Jason Isbell, Roseanne Cash and Emmylou Harris. 

When he paused long enough to write some songs, his new solo recording Beulah was born.

John Paul White
Allister Ann / Sacks and Co.

John Paul White was one half of the four-time Grammy winning duo The Civil Wars. Since finishing with that band, he has founded a record label, built a studio and collaborated with artists including Jason Isbell, Roseanne Cash and Emmylou Harris.

Sarah Jarosz
Scott Simontacchi / All Eyes Media

Virtuoso Sarah Jarosz, 25, has released her latest project, "Undercurrent."  It's her fourth album, despite only just recently graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Matthew Ryan
Sarah Kay

Matthew Ryan has been releasing albums for almost two-decades. In that time, he's been compared to everyone from Bruce Springsteen to U2's Bono and Tom Waits and fans of his work include Lucinda Williams.

William Tyler
Angelina Castillo / Merge Records

Whether you think he sounds country or not, William Tyler has just been named by Rolling Stone as one of the 10 Country Artists You Need to Know. The magazine described him as a Ry Cooder playing Kraftwerk.

The Jayhawks
All Eyes Media

The Jayhawks' tour for their new album Paging Mr. Proust brings them to Carrboro today. With more than a few Americana classics under their collective belt, the Minneapolis natives sound energized and excited 30 years into their career.

Through that time, lead singer-songwriter and guitarist Gary Louris has been a driving force behind the band's success. He stopped into WUNC's Chapel Hill studio this week.

Members of the Minnesota based band, Trampled by Turtles
Trampled by Turtles

Trampled By Turtles hails from way up north in Duluth, Minnesota. The band got its start in 2003 bringing a unique spin to Americana instrumentation with lyrics inspired by a sense of reverence for the countryside just outside their town.

The band is playing in Raleigh at the Red Hat Amphitheater Saturday as part of the Band Together event that helps raise money for various non-profits around the Triangle.

Morning Edition Host Eric Hodge spoke with the band's fiddle player and singer Ryan Young:

Songs In The Key Of Animals album cover
Merge Records

Charlotte native Benji Hughes has a fun, funky new album from Merge Records called Songs in the Key of Animals.

Author John Claude Bemis.
Jen Bauldree

Author John Claude Bemis may live in Hillsborough, but he spends much of his time in an imaginary world where myths and legends come alive. 

Bemis created the Clockwork Dark Trilogy, which weaves American folklore with the fantasy genre.  In his new book, "The Wooden Prince" Bemis has completely overhauled the classic story of Pinocchio, and introduces us to a magical place called Abaton.  

Author John Claude Bemis.
Jen Bauldree

Author John Claude Bemis may live in Hillsborough, but he spends much of his time in an imaginary world where myths and legends come alive. 

Bemis created the Clockwork Dark Trilogy, which weaves American folklore with the fantasy genre.  In his new book, "The Wooden Prince" Bemis has completely overhauled the classic story of Pinocchio, and introduces us to a magical place called Abaton.  

Caleb Caudle
Justin Reich / Baby Robot Media

North Carolina native Caleb Caudle has been on the road for almost ten years playing shows with everyone from Jason Isbell to Justin Townes Earle. 

Recently, he gave up alcohol and headed back to the Tar Heel State to record his newest collection Carolina Ghost.  There are hints of classic Merle Haggard and Graham Parsons, but Caleb makes it all his own on songs steeped in the Piedmont, hot summers, the smell of tobacco and driving down highways and back roads.

Carolina Ghost is out now.

An image of musician Ryan Gustafson
Josh Coyle

For Asheville musician Ryan Gustafson, The Dead Tongues is a "musical and writing practice." That can mean bringing a group of kindred souls with him to perform on stage, or channeling his folk-rock songs as a solo artist with a handful of stringed instruments. In his new album, Montana, Gustafson polishes The Dead Tongue's mosaic of folk influences.

Image of Brett Harris
Jeremy M. Lange

Durham-based singer and songwriter Brett Harris could have played nearly every instrument on his new solo album, Up In The Air. Instead, he gathered friends in the music community to bring his songs to life.

Harris is a touring member of the dB's and a core member of the band that brought the iconic Big Star's Third to the stage over the past two years.

A picture of Tift Merritt
Tony Nelson

Tift Merritt is revisiting her 2002 solo debut Bramble Rose.  It made many year-end best-of lists at the time and has been covered by Eagle Don Henley.  Now Yep Roc records is re-releasing it on special limited edition vinyl and Tift will be playing all the songs from Bramble Rose at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro tonight.

Skylar Gudasz
Colby Katz

Skyar Gudasz has spent the last few years singing, performing, writing songs and appearing on other people's albums.  She was one of the voices of the touring show for Big Star's Third, playing from Barcelona, to Australia, to the Cat's Cradle.  After putting out a handful of singles and EPs, Skylar is releasing her album Oleander.

A picture of Sun Studio in Memphis, TN.
JeremyA / Wikipedia

Writer Peter Guralnick has spent his career interviewing and writing about some of the biggest names who were there at the very beginning of Rock 'n' Roll. 

Underhill Rose
Lynne Harty / UnderhillRose.com

You may have heard the music of Underhill Rose on WUNC's Back Porch Music.  The trio of Eleanor Underhill, Molly Rose and Salley Williamson has been singing and playing together since 2011 from their base in western North Carolina.

Their latest recording is called The Great Tomorrow

A picture of Sarah Shook
disarmers.com

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers' debut album, Sidelong, tells the story of someone who wants to be left alone, but can't quite resist the glance of an admirer. That might, or might not, prove to be a bad move.  Broken relationships and broken bottles inspire many of the songs on this collection.

An image of musician Noah Gundersen
Philip Harder

Noah Gundersen grapples with some big topics on his latest album Carry the Ghost. The Seattle-based songwriter's introspective excavations range from understanding the meaning of life and letting go of faith.

A photo of Clyde Edgerton
Brent Clark

 

Author Clyde Edgerton has written 10 novels, a book of advice, and a memoir.  Three have been made into movies, and several have made it to the stage.

 

The North Carolina native has written about small-town bigotry, religious hypocrisy and greed but in a darkly comic vein with a focus on characters.  Edgerton is also a musician and a professor of Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington.

An image of Langhorne Slim & The Law
All Eyes Media

Langhorne Slim has come a long way since his last album three years ago. He left behind booze, drugs, Brooklyn and a longtime relationship on his way to recording his latest record The Spirit Moves with his band The Law.  

 

 

An image of musician Phil Cook
Middle West Management

 

Wisconsin native Phil Cook headed south for a new home in North Carolina 10 years ago.  Since then, he has been in a band with Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, formed Megafaun with his brother Brad Cook and drummer Joe Westerlund, and has played on or produced records by everybody from Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls to Hiss Golden Messenger.

Along the way, Phil got married, had a son and settled himself deep in North Carolina's red clay.  Now he's releasing his first solo record called Southland Mission.  Fans of Megafaun will find Cook’s new music to be groovier with a more rootsy vibe than some of that band's work, but there are hints of the past in some of the vocal harmonies and instrumentation. On the whole, the album reflects a passion for southern music that’s been growing in Cook for decades.

"I had the title of the record before I had the songs written. I liked the idea that a title for a record is a theme for your life, a theme for your music, and seems to be the title of the chapter for wherever you’re at," Cook said. "To me, Southland Mission seemed like a great way to sum up being in the South for 10 years now, and longed to be in the South 10 years before that. I had built up quite a mission in my mind about, 'What was I coming down here for?' Well, it was the music."

An image of young kids learning to play the harmonica
National Council for the Traditional Arts / NCTA

Musicians and dancers across the country are converging in Greensboro this weekend for the 75th annual National Folk Festival.  The festival begins Friday, September 11 and goes through Sunday, September 13. It is the first time the festival has come to the Tar Heel State.

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