Joe Woodson prepares for the show.
Hady Mawajdeh

Joe Woodson and The Bean Trees have released a new album of Americana music that has an old-fashioned grounded by solid songwriting. 

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. 

Durham Artist Rich James has like staying pretty anonymous while playing under the moniker of WowolfoL, but he's stepping out and into the light.

Music by the Durham-based Wowolfol band is difficult to describe. 

Durham band Delta Rae is lending a hand to the nation's farmers and playing Farm Aid in Raleigh tomorrow.

Delta Rae has made it back home to North Carolina.

American Sacred Steel gospel group Campbell Brothers

The Campbell Brothers, a New York-based sacred steel band, will be performing a reinterpretation of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme to kick off the Bull Durham Blues Festival this weekend.

Hopscotch Design Fest is the newest part of Raleigh's Hopscotch Music Fest.

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.

“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 /

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

  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


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 /


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.