Old-time

Ralph Epperson, founder of WPAQ. Photographed 07/20/05.
Megan Morr / Winston-Salem Journal

This weekend people in Surry County remember a radio pioneer and North Carolina broadcasting legend, Ralph Epperson. A special WPAQ broadcast of the long-running "Merry Go-Round" program and a screening of "Broadcast - A Man and A Dream" documentary are scheduled for Saturday morning and afternoon at The Earle Theater in Mount Airy, NC.

WPAQ - "The Voice of the Blue Ridge"

Ballad singer and banj player Sheila Kay Adams.
Kim Dryden, courtesty of Sheila Kay Adams

Mention the name Sheila Kay Adams to any traditional old time musician and you’re likely to elicit a reverent response.  In the world of American ballad singers, Adams remains one of the pillars of tradition, drawing on her Madison County roots to perform and teach the old style of singing and banjo playing passed down in her family for generations.  This week, her lifetime of nurturing and sharing traditional music earned her a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle singing the ballad 'Lord Bateman' with a 'crankie.'
Laura Candler

When traditional Appalachian musician Anna Roberts-Gevalt first showed ballad singer Elizabeth LaPrelle a crankie, Elizabeth was speechless.

“I really freaked out,” LaPrelle said. She was astounded not only because she had never seen one before, but also because it was such a powerful tool for storytelling.

Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle
annaandelizabeth.com

While many popular musicians today seek out the newest digital technology to enhance their performances, there’s a young musical duo from rural Virginia who are moving in the opposite direction. Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle call themselves simply “Anna and Elizabeth.”  Both accomplished traditional Appalachian musicians on a variety of instruments, together they have resurrected a storytelling tradition called the “crankie,” whose technology outdates their combined age (which is 50).

  Old-time radio may be old-fashioned, but it’s not extinct. Every year, the Murphey School Radio Show brings together North Carolina writers and musicians for a charitable variety show. The next one is coming up February 23.

The Legacy of Joe Thompson

Apr 5, 2012
picture of fiddler Joe Thompson
http://www.ncarts.org/artist_page.cfm?ser=1255&num=755&

Joe Thompson was a legendary fiddler, teacher and cultural icon. He passed away earlier this year after bringing new life to old-time string band music for many decades.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Here's one good old broadcast tradition that's still going on. Every Saturday morning, musicians in Mount Airy, North Carolina, gather at a historic downtown theater. They've been doing it since 1948 when AM radio station WPAQ began airing a live show called the "Merry-Go-Round."

The program features regional old-time and bluegrass music. And today, the "Merry-Go-Round" is one of the last shows of its kind on the airwaves.

From North Carolina Public Radio, Jessica Jones reports.