Music

Hopscotch Design Fest is the newest part of Raleigh's Hopscotch Music Fest.
http://hopscotchdesignfest.com/

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Raleigh’s Hopscotch Music Festival and the event is bigger than ever. 

Tom Maxwell chronicles his time with The Squirrel Nut Zippers.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/23/4092005/tom-maxwell-and-squirrel-nut-zippers.html

“Hell” was the song that rocketed Tom Maxwell’s former band The Squirrel Nut Zippers to the top of the charts, but the success was short-lived.

    

Musician Laila Nur developed her “revolutionary love” music style when she moved alone to Greensboro at 19. 

Duncan Webster and Leah Gibson make up the Durham duo Beauty World.
the artist

Duncan Webster and Leah Gibson have each honed their chops with bands including Lost in the Trees, Hammer No More the Fingers, and Bowerbirds.  Recently the two Durhamites joined forces to form Beauty World.

The duo is also a couple. They've both played in several bands, but were introduced by a mutual friend.

The five-song E.P. features the song, "Architect". Webster wrote it about his own challenges in learning building design.

Sylvan Esso, live in concert. June 2014
still from video

"It's the dreamiest of scenes," Sylvan Esso singer Amelia Meath sighed as she looked out over the sold-out crowd at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club. Wearing six-inch platform tennis shoes and an all-black jumpsuit, Meath gyrated and pumped her fists, urging the crowd on. Meanwhile, the other half of Sylvan Esso, Nick Sanborn, tweaked the knobs on a small control panel plugged into a laptop.

Teen Reporters: 8 Essential Summer Jams

Jun 26, 2014
earbuds and a heart
Olivia Alcock / Flickr/Creative Commons

WUNC is working with several teen reporters this summer. The young people are learning Journalism 101 from seasoned NPR and WUNC reporters.

On their first day on the job, we asked each reporter to recommend a song. The idea is to pull together a fun 2014 summer playlist for you.

Here are the recommendations.

Jamayah Parrish: "Pumped up Kicks" by Foster the People:

John Howie Jr. and The Rosewood Bluff performing at a Back Porch Music On The Lawn concert in 2013
Kathryn Walbert / www.kathrynwalbert.com

John Howie, Jr. started off playing drums, but it wasn't long before he switched to guitar and began making some hard-core honky-tonk music, first in the Chapel Hill-based Two Dollar Pistols and now in his current band, The Rosewood Bluff.

The latest album is called "Everything Except Goodbye."  It's chock full of heartbreak, pedal steel, upright bass and John's baritone voice.

boy playing a video game
creative commons

When many people hear the words “video game,” they think of a stereotypical geeky teenage boy. But that image does not represent the true industry. Women account for nearly half of the gaming population and more than a third of gamers are over the age of 36. Video games have expanded into an art form that produces complex narratives, cultural critiques and symphony soundtracks. 

Chatham County Line
Michael Podrid / Yep Roc Records

“There’s a lot of growing up in this record,” says vocalist/guitarist Dave Wilson.

“We’re maturing in this world and seeing things through a different set of eyes – and that materializes in a lot of these songs.”

Chatham County Line is celebrating the release of their latest album, Tightrope from Yep Roc Records. The foursome stopped into the WUNC  studios to talk with Eric Hodge.

The interview begins with this song: Any Port in a Storm.

On Pop Studios

Stephen Murray has spent years making big, spirited sounds with the band Holy Ghost Tent Revival. Now, he has a new album of his own called “The Backlot Sessions.”

It’s a collection of songs that had been sitting in Stephen’s mind for years, and came together in just days.

He will be performing at On Pop Studios in Greensboro on May 30th and with Holy Ghost Tent Revival on Saturday, May 31st, at the Penguin Music Festival in Wilmington.

Bill Myers, 2014
NC Arts Council

Bill Myers was honored this week with a North Carolina Heritage Award. Myers is a saxophone player, and he's led the jazz band The Monitors for close to 60 years.

Bill's earliest introduction to music was when the minstrel shows came through Eastern North Carolina in the 1940s.

A picture of Joe Westerlund in a bird beak nose.
Spacebomb Records

Drummer Joe Westerlund is a busy man.  He plays with Triangle based band Megafaun as well as Califone and Durham's Mount Moriah.

But recently he's been working on something else altogether.  It's called Grandma Sparrow & His Piddletractor Orchestra. 

Westerlund describes it as a psychedelic children's song-cycle for adults.  It recons Frank Zappa, Monty Python and Firesign Theater.

image of hands welcoming sunset
http://womensvoiceschorus.org/

  When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it's a tragedy. But when writer David Wolman's wife contracted breast cancer, he chose to make the experience into art. He wrote an anthology of poetry, which composer Andrea Clearfield set to music.

A local community chorus, Women's Voices Chorus, is performing "The Long Bright" tonight at 8pm in the Hill Hall Auditorium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

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.

King Mez album cover
http://kingmez.com/

  

The list of nationally-acclaimed rap artists from North Carolina is getting longer each year. The rise of Little Brother, Rapsody, 9th Wonder, and J. Cole, has solidified our state's place on the map of rap history. North Carolina's latest rap incarnation is Raleigh's King Mez. His newest album "Long Live The King," is helping him emerge from a more underground rap scene. 

A picture of Sylvan Esso.
Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso's eponymous album is full of catchy tracks, ripe for getting stuck in your head. "Coffee" is hypnotic, with a droning vibe that's infectious and profoundly danceable.

The Durham-based duo filmed much of the music video for "Coffee" in Carrboro months back.

Singer Amelia Randall Meath designed the video to explore different kinds of dance parties. She  is a fervent fan of contra dancing, which kicks off the video and inspired the lyrics. Meath taught band mate Nicholas Sanborn to dance for the occasion.

Andrea Moore performs in the opera, Turn of the Screw
Benjamin Britten / andreaedithmoore.com

   

Opera comes to life in elaborate performance halls with high-priced seats. But the high-brow setting is not the only place for opera; it also takes place in modern art museums, bars and even outdoors. "Opera in the Garden" takes the artform outside on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Chapel Hill’s North Carolina Botanical Garden.

The performance is part of the Chapel Hill Spring Garden tour and proceeds will help build a Children's Wonder Garden.

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. 

Marcus Gee (left) and Heyda Ortiz with Frank Stasio
Carol Jackson

  

 For ten hours each week, 300 children in the Triangle create a cacophony of sound using flutes, violins, cellos and drums. The  organization Kidznotes uses classical music as a tool to combat poverty by strengthening kids' community and self-esteem.

Kidznotes hosts a Renaissance-themed gala on Thursday, April 24th, inspired in part by a local children's author. 

Bobby Bare, Jr.
the artst

There's an honesty in Bobby Bare Jr.'s songwriting. A familiarity. He's a famous son, his dad is country music legend Bobby Bare. Bobby Bare Jr. was nominated for a Grammy award at age 6 for this song, Daddy, What If.

Bobby Bare Jr.'s latest album is Undefeated.

A picture of the Durham Bulls mascot with the Merge Records logo.
Merge Records

It's a big year for Merge Records. The Durham-based label is celebrating its 25th birthday with a series of events, which has included concerts, limited release recordings and a 25K run.

Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance founded the label in Chapel Hill to promote their band, Superchunk. A quarter-century later, dozens of other celebrated artists have jumped on board, including the Grammy-winning Arcade Fire.

Over the Rhine
Darrin Ballman

Eight years ago, musicians and husband and wife Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler moved from Cincinnati to a brick farmhouse in rural Ohio. Linford had seen the house and loved it at first sight. Karin took a little convincing. But when she saw it, she was smitten: "Sure enough we rounded the bend in the road, and I saw it. It was an old, old brick house that looked like it had a lot of love in it at some point."

The space around the building was inviting and green with rolling fields. "It felt like home," Karin says.

A picture of musicians on a stage with the Converge NC logo
Converge NC

The ConvergeNC Southern Music Festival is underway on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  It's organized by students and faculty.

Co-founders Libby Rodenbough  and Gabe Chess spoke with WUNC's Eric Hodge about this year's event.

Chess said the desire to start a music festival on campus came after his freshman year of college, so he reached out to Bill Ferris at the Center for the Study of the American South, who found a lot of support from university leadership.

facebook.com/ClockworkKids

 

   

An alternative rock band from Chapel Hill, Clockwork Kids' music combines psychedelic sounds with soft folk and hard rock. The Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill has synchronized a space show inspired by the group's new album, "Rememory". Clockwork Kids will play the album live under the stardome for their album release party on April 3 at 7 pm. 

yMusic
Eric Oberstein / Duke Performances

Scott Lee grew up on the Gulf coast of Florida. Once in a while, on a clear night, at the right time of year, he could walk outside, look 150 miles to the East, and see the glow of a shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral.

"As they rise upwards, they kind of start to curve," Lee said. " And it's a really interesting phenomenon, because they're still just going straight up. But to you, it looks like they're coming back down. So you start to wonder... 'Is something wrong?' "

Jazz vocalist Kate McGarry and her guitarist husband Keith Ganz have been collaborating for a decade. Kate headlined their New York City-based jazz ensemble that recorded five albums, including Grammy-nominated "If Less Is More, Nothing Is Everything."

Merge Records

Merge Records is celebrating their 25th anniversary this weekend.

Laura Ballance & Mac McCaughan of the band Superchunk founded the label. "When I see pictures about what we looked like and what the bands that we worked with looked like then it feels like a long time," says Mac. "But it did go by quickly. It's gone by fast."

Superchunk is still releasing new stuff. They debuted"I Hate Music" last year.

Southern Culture on the Skids are Chapel Hill's legendary "bards of downward mobility." If you have no idea what we're talking about, you're in for a treat:

Here's some of our top four favorite song/album titles:

Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums/raleighpipedrums.com

    

  

This weekend, Raleigh’s streets will be flooded with St. Patrick’s Day revelers. And the sounds of the parade will be classic bagpipe and drum tunes played by the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums.

The group crashed a wedding last year, much to the guests' delight.

Joshua Starmer
Carol Bales

Joshua Starmer is a songwriter, a singer and a cellist. He can play just about anything, we suppose. At the end of 2012, he decided to spend 2013 writing and recording a song a month.

"It almost derailed every month. The very first month was make or break it. I was working on a song I thought was really good until January 28." Then Starmer, notes, he decided that song was about the worst he'd ever heard, and he scrambled to write something else.

The result is a remarkable collection.

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