Music

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.

Pages