Rock Music

An image of folk singer Leadbelly
Public Domain

Rock music has roots in many different musical forms. It is shaped by the blues and jazz. Meanwhile, the narratives in rock songs can be traced back to English ballads.

An image of the music group Future Islands
Tim Saccenti

Future Islands might have bumped up its fan base after impressing David Letterman last year with vocalist Sam Herring's stirring dance moves and contagious energy when it performed "Seasons (Waiting on You)."

But the synth-rock group has been performing together for more than a decade, and is getting ready to do its 1,000th show Sunday at the Carrboro Town Commons.

Years before appearing on Letterman, or signing onto acclaimed record label 4AD, Future Islands met in an art program at East Carolina University. Herring said the trio connected immediately.

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.


A picture of 6 String Drag.
Michael Traister /

Raleigh-based roots rock quartet 6 String Drag is back after more than 16 years in hibernation. Front man Kenny Roby came into the WUNC studios recently to talk about getting the band back together, and their new album.

Before Roots Rock ‘N’ Roll was released last year, Steve Earle produced 6 String Drag's celebrated album, High Hat in 1997. After that, Roby says, the band drifted apart.

Cover art for Silent Lunch's most recent EP, Late to Bloom. Album art by Julienne Alexander.
Julienne Alexander

Durham’s Silent Lunch is a punk trio that plays music that they describe as “abrasive, sweet, brutal and tender.”

Their stiff upper-lip approach to music can be felt through their straight-ahead drumming, a purposeful gracelessness on guitar and lyrics delivered with a take-it-or-leave-it flair.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with Silent Lunch: Emily O’Sullivan, bassist and vocalist; Kaitie Hereford, drummer; and Hannah Spector, guitarist and vocalist about their music and they perform live. 

A picture of Kim Gordon playing guitar.
Pat Blashil / Harper Collins Publishing

Kim Gordon became alternative rock royalty in her 30 years singing and playing bass with no-wave band Sonic Youth. They released 16 albums together. Gordon will be at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro tonight to talk about her new memoir, "Girl in a Band."

The book covers Gordon's upbringing and creative inspirations in California and New York. But, most notably, it describes the rise and fall of Sonic Youth, which she formed with guitarists Lee Ranaldo and, Gordon's husband of 27 years, Thurston Moore.

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. 

The Rinaldi Flying Circus

Stacey, Joe, Mike and Rob Rinaldi say their brand of rock and roll ranges from dirty blues to driving rock and tear-jerking ballads.

Along with drummer Aaron Cummings, the Greensboro family band plays a vintage rock sound with an eclecticism that lives up to their name.

Host Frank Stasio talks with The Rinaldi Flying Circus.

Will McBride

The jazz-influenced pop ensemble, The Will McBride Group, led by guitarist Will McBride, recently released their fourth album, All In. It tells the story of the life and relationships of a musician through songs with both jazzy swing and rock rhythm. Host Frank Stasio talks to the group about their new record and they perform live in studio. The group is Will McBride on guitar and vocals; Jeff Hatley on bass and vocals; Brad Miles on drums, and Michael Pelz-Sherman on keyboards.

Image of La Bête Magique performing at The Casbah
Tim Walter

For much of music history, rock music has been considered a boys club. 

The Rosebuds Bloom

Aug 1, 2014
Western Vinyl


For more than a decade, Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp have played together as the musical duo The Rosebuds. The pair’s sentimental grooves endure on their new album, Sand + Silence, as they pay homage to their North Carolina home.

It's A Beautiful World

Jul 18, 2014
Beauty World


Musicians Duncan Webster and Leah Gibson strive to never play the same show twice. The experimental duo, formerly known as Prypyat, recently embraced a new chamber pop sound along with a new name: Beauty World.

The band combines their classical training with a sharper, rock-fueled delivery. They perform at the Raleigh City Plaza at 6pm next Thursday, July 24th.

A photo of a girl near a Girls Rock poster.
Girls Rock NC

Girls Rock NC is turning 10 years old this summer.  The series of week-long day-camps gathers girls of varying ages and musical abilities to form bands.  They write original music and play a show at the end of the week. 

But tonight, some male musicians are covering songs by female artists at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw to benefit the nonprofit.  With me this morning is Girls Rock NC founder Amelia Shull, and Stu McLamb of the band The Love Language



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. 

Heather McEntire's guitar.
Carol Jackson / WUNC

You may know Heather McEntire as the vocalist and guitar player of Mount Moriah.  The beloved band has released two albums and toured nationally, but they call the Triangle their home.

Erin Nenni Band CD
Erin Nenni Band

Singer-songwriter Erin Nenni and guitarist Scotty Miller performed as an acoustic duo until late last year when they decided to form the Erin Nenni Band. They play tomorrow night at The Pour House in Raleigh, but first they talk with host Frank Stasio and perform live in studio.

Gross Ghost plays the main stage at the Hopscotch Music Festival in 2013.
Soleil Konkel

Before Mike Dillon and Tre Acklen formed the band Gross Ghost, they were friends and roommates.  They lived in a rural area on the outskirts on Raleigh and started creating music to combat boredom and cabin fever. Five years after the start of their friendship, they are releasing their second album, Public Housing.  

America's Music is a film and performance series at the North Regional Branch of Wake County Libraries.

America’s Music is a film and performance series that traces the soundtrack of a nation. The program features documentary screenings and discussions about the history of 20th century American popular music from blues to Broadway and bluegrass to rock 'n' roll.