Folk Music

Mandolin Orange
Scott McCormick / Sacks & Co.

Mandolin Orange's new album, "Blindfaller," moves between a haunting warning about politics, allusions to lingering effects of historical wars in the South, and a honky-tonk ode to life on the road.

An image of The Bucket Brothers with host Frank Stasio
Charlie Shelton-Ormond / WUNC

Logan Valleroy and Casey Valleroy might be teenagers, but their musical prowess makes them seem like professional musicians. The brothers have been playing music since they were young.

Today, the pair play a myriad of instruments like the violin, keyboard, drums, saxophone and guitar, but started out as kids banging on pots and pans around the house. The Bucket Brothers new album is called "Our State."

Photo of Andy Eversole with his banjo in Tiananmen Square
Ben Singer

Musician Andy Eversole has always wanted to travel the world and make music, and last year an unfortunate incident gave him the push he needed to make a long-time dream a reality.

photo of Kathy Mattea
Arlin Geyer/Warren Wilson College

For the last 25 years, the Swannanoa Gathering has brought thousands of people from across the world to experience the old-time musical traditions of Appalachia.

The five-week program features workshops in traditional folk, guitar composition and Celtic music and includes instruction from Grammy award-winning musicians like Janis Ian and Tom Paxton.

Peter, Paul and Mary
Wehope / Wiki Creative Commons

Peter, Paul and Mary was one of the leading contemporary folk bands in the 1960s, mixing social activism with music.

The trio was best known for the 1963 single, “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” and covers like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” Peter, Paul and Mary continued to tour until 2009 with the death of Mary Travers. Peter Yarrow continues to tour, spreading his messages of change. 

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 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.

An image of bluegrass group Chatham County Line
Yep Roc Music Group

The summer is wrapping up, but the bluegrass does not have to stop just yet. Chatham County Line and the Jeanne Jolly Trio take the stage Thursday, September 10 for the final Back Porch Music on the Lawn concert. The free concert is open to the public and kicks off at 6 p.m. on the American Tobacco Campus lawn in Durham.

An image of Mipso
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

Mipso's new album Old Time Reverie soars with the group's sharp bluegrass composition and lilting harmonies. It also delivers complex and nuanced songwriting, strengthening Mipso's craft as storytellers.

The band has been on the road for most of the last two years since the release of their last album Dark Holler Pop, venturing further away from their origin days as college students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This process of growing up is reflected in "Everyone Knows," featuring fiddler Libby Rodenbough.

Folk Musician Malcolm Holcombe

Jul 31, 2015
Image of Malcolm Holcombe playing guitar
John Gellman

Malcolm Holcombe was born and raised in the mountains of western North Carolina. His rugged voice and insistent guitar are the marks of a true folk musician who runs on clear passion.

He embarks on a North American tour next month, but first he performs in Hickory on Saturday, August 1 at 8 p.m. at the Acoustic Stage.

Host Frank Stasio talks to Holcombe about his life and music.

Set List:

"Pitiful Blues" (starts at 3:59)

An image of the band Goodnight, Texas
Sideways Media

Patrick Dyer Wolf is from Chapel Hill. Avi Vinocur is from San Francisco. The musicians' hometowns are separated by almost 3,000 miles, but right in the middle is Goodnight, Texas. It is a small town of 28 people and the namesake of the duo's musical partnership.

A picture of recordings at the SFC
Steven Weiss / Southern Folklife Collection

McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA has seen more than 1,600 musicians perform in the store. Those live performances have produced thousands of recordings documenting the livelihood of folk music for the past 45 years.

An image of musician Josh Moore
Soleil Konkel

 

Josh Moore has been pouring coffee in Carrboro and playing music for years. His smooth and soulful vocals have backed up local acts Mandolin Orange and Skylar Gudasz, but Moore is now stepping to the center stage with his long-awaited solo album, Parted Ways.

 

An image of Jim White playing foosball with the Packway Handle Band
Yep Roc Music Group

The 2015 Back Porch Music on the Lawn concert series is underway, and continues to heat up tonight with plenty of banjo pickin' and foot-stompin' from Jim White vs. the Packway Handle Band.

Darren Hanlon opens the evening festivities with amiable acoustic folk rock.

The free concert kicks off at 6 p.m. on the American Tobacco Campus lawn in Durham.

Stock photo of Steph Stewart and The Boyfriends in field.
Roxanne Turpen (c) 2014

Steph Stewart grew up in the foothills of western North Carolina surrounded by Appalachian folk music.

The sounds resonated with Stewart and she began creating porch folk music mixed with Americana.

An image of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange
Alex Loops

 

Chapel Hill musicians Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz have been busy the past year touring as the folk duo Mandolin Orange. But all roads lead back home for the pair.

 

Their new album, Such Jubilee, is a celebration of home and a revered tribute to the places and people they cherish.

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn
MerleFest

The beat of hundreds stomping their feet to the southern sounds of MerleFest returns this weekend. The annual festival starts this Thursday in Wilkesboro and brings three days and four nights of folk and bluegrass music back to the foothills of North Carolina.

 

Hindugrass
Will Michaels / WUNC

Hindugrass is a collective music project that has been around for 17 years. 

The Durham-based band can be anything from a quartet to an octet in live performances and the band describes its sound as "Indo-Appalachian fusion." It's a mixture of classical Indian sounds and Appalachian folk.

Host Frank Stasio discusses what that means with five members of Hindugrass: John Heitzenrater on the sarod, Laura Thomas on the violin,  Katie Wyatt on the viola, Chris Johnson on the tabla, and Ed Butler on percussion.

Every place holds stories—of people who lived there, died there, or passed through at some point in their life. 

Family Secrets is a new song cycle performance debuting this weekend that explores the relationship among places, people and secrets.

John Prine Headshot
Oh Boy Records & Jim Shea

Legendary singer-songwriter John Prine is best known for writing "Angel from Montgomery," "Sam Stone," and "Paradise." 

His musical career began humbly in the late 1960s while he was still working as a mailman in Illinois. Five decades later, Prine is a Nashville icon who has won a litany of awards, including two Grammys and a lifetime achievement award for songwriting from the Americana Music Association

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. 

Jonathan Byrd and his band.
jonathanbyrd.com

North Carolina's Jonathan Byrd has been served well by his time on the road. His travels have inspired his songs – both the gritty and gentle ones – and have earned him a huge following, especially in Canada.

He's a star in Quebec and southern Ontario.

"I sell out every show. The reception is just incredible, and I'm honored to be a part of that."

Jonathan Byrd's latest recording is "You Can't Outrun The Radio."

David Holt and Rhiannon Giddens during the filming of "David Holt's State of Music."
davidholt.com

  

Grammy Award winning musician David Holt moved to western North Carolina to learn "mountain music" in the early 1970s.

A picture of the Avett Brothers performing at the Outside Lands 2009.
Moses / Wikipedia

North Carolina drops an acorn, a pickle, and a possum every New Years Eve. But Concord-natives Scott and Seth Avett have their own holiday tradition.  The Avett Brothers will be playing their annual New Year's Eve concert at the PNC Arena in Raleigh this year. 

The band does a New Year’s show in North Carolina every year. Seth says it’s a tradition borne out of convenience. When the band started 14 years ago, they were on the road a lot. Like, more than 200 shows in a year.

Ivan Saul Cutler / Governor Morehead Forum for Economic Development

Greensboro's Little Mountain will perform live at the Triad Stage today during The State of Things. 

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