Southern Folklife Collection

A picture of recordings at the SFC
Steven Weiss / Southern Folklife Collection

McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA has seen more than 1,600 musicians perform in the store. Those live performances have produced thousands of recordings documenting the livelihood of folk music for the past 45 years.

Graphic for 25th Anniversary Celebration for Southern Folklife Collection
UNC-Chapel Hill Southern Folklife Collection


The Southern Folklife Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill  has grown to contain more than half a million items, including sound recordings, moving images, photographs, posters and ephemera.

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:

The Royal Hawaiian Quintet Performing on the U.S. Mainland
University of Hawaii at Manoa Library, via flickr, creative commons


The sound of American Country music owes much of it's success to an unlikely source: the 19th century Hawaiian music scene. Hawaiian music at that time was dominated by the steel guitar. During the instrument's century-long international migration, it influenced the direction of many genres.

Alan Lomax dedicated seven decades of his life to recording and distributing the sound of as much of the globe as he could reach. Beginning as a 17-year-old from Austin, Texas, Alan traveled with his father, John Lomax, to plantations, farms and prisons in the deep South.

Ron Liberti
Ackland Museum

Ron Liberti's screen-printed posters for music shows have been integral to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro scene since Liberti moved here in the 1990s. A musician as well as a visual artist, Liberti has performed with seminal '90s band Pipe and The Ghosts of Rock and designed posters for everyone from Southern Culture on the Skids to Tift Merritt. His work has been shown around the world and is collected in the University of North Carolina's Southern Folklife Collection in the Wilson Library.