WUNC Music

The official lineup for this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, taking place April 13-15 and 20-22, has arrived.

FORTYONCEGOLD

2017 was a big year for both rising stars and foundational artists with roots in the North Carolina music scene. Pop-electronic group Sylvan Esso, hip-hop artist Rapsody, and other North Carolina-based artists garnered Grammy nominations, and the state’s music was elevated once again to the national stage.

No music scene is monolithic, but few encompass the extremes of the bluegrass world. Both musically and ideologically, it runs the gamut from conservatism to progressivism, a range of sensibilities that it's rare to see commingling elsewhere in American society at this polarized moment.

Regardless of how much we acknowledge that group-movement to a centralized rhythm is medicine for the soul, some emotional climates simply aren't conducive to reaching a singular moment of exultation and release on the dance floor. Across much of the world, 2017 sure as heck didn't feel like the right year for the ecstatic. So then, the question is: what to do? One answer arrived at in our listening was to get planning.

Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, The Moody Blues, The Cars and Dire Straits — along with guitar pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with an award for early influence — have been named as next year's inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Pat DiNizio, a singer and songwriter who made popular rock songs as the leader of The Smithereens, died on Tuesday at age 62, his fellow band members say. No cause of death was provided.

When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who has already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

North Carolina band Blame the Youth has been playing together in and around Charlotte for three years.

The 50 Best Albums Of 2017

Dec 12, 2017

Consensus wasn't easy in 2017. Maybe that's because the news this year kept us on edge, our eyes and ears pointed in many directions. Maybe it's due to the growth of streaming as the dominant listening platform, one whose rules have not yet fully been written. Whatever the cause, with the exception of our No. 1 album, it felt like there were few pieces of music this year that captured our attention instantly and simultaneously. Instead, we spent our year tracking down new sounds that gave voice to our struggles and breakthroughs, our search for joy and our need for release.

A picture of James Carter of the Blind Boys of Alabama
Stuart Sevastos / Wikimedia Commons

The Blind Boys of Alabama have been singing gospel music for seven decades – through a world war, the civil rights movement, moon landings and the invention of the Internet. They've gone from their beginnings at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind all the way to the White House where they've sung for three presidents.

Now, the Grammy award winners are back at it with a new recording called Almost Home. Original member James Carter took time out from a series of events in Durham recently to talk about his life's work.

Updated, Dec. 8, 8:20 a.m. ET with a subsequent statement from James Levine and James Lestock.

New allegations of sexual assault have been made against James Levine, the music director emeritus of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and its conductor for over forty years. Levine was suspended from his position over the weekend, and now, with more allegations made public, repercussions for the lauded musician are continuing to pile up.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

On this special holiday episode, Eric Hodge chats with Robert Earl Keen about his classic song 'Merry Christmas From The Family.'

Keen says he wrote the song simply to amuse himself, but when he started playing it around for friends he knew he had something.

Listen to the episode here:

A picture of Hiss Golden Messenger's M.C. Taylor
Elise Tyler / Merge Records

Hallelujah Anyhow is the new record from Hiss Golden Messenger.  Its 10 songs help shine a light on what M.C. Taylor calls the dark clouds he's designed to see. 

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

On this episode, Eric Hodge chats with Durham's Sylvan Esso about their song "Slack Jaw" from their Grammy-nominated album What Now.

Amelia Meath says the song is about being a human and being sad. She wanted to write about these universal and common feelings without coming off as 'whiny,' and Slack Jaw is the result. 

Hailed as music's biggest night, the 60th Annual Grammy Awards will return to New York City, taking place at Madison Square Garden Jan. 28.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

On this episode, Eric Hodge talks with the Canadian singer/songwriter Leif Vollebekk about his song 'Elegy' from the album Twin Solitude.

Vollebekk explains his editing process. He says that the four minute 'Elegy' was originally a 15 or 2o minute jam until the right drum beat came to him.

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

On this episode, Eric Hodge sits down with Mandolin Orange to revisit their song 'Wildfire,' which recently passed 10,000,000 streams on Spotify.

Though every band aims to eventually become a headliner, touring as an opening act is an important step. It allows a group to reach new fans, visit different places and gain inspiration from the act it's supporting. It can offer visions of successes and challenges to come, both on and off the stage.

Ed Marshall

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

On this episode, Eric Hodge chats with Raleigh's The Veldt about their song "Token" from the album The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation.

Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET

Gord Downie, singer of The Tragically Hip, died of complications from brain cancer Tuesday night at the age of 53. His death was announced in a statement from his family.

Hillsborough's Yep Roc Records is celebrating its 20th anniversary this weekend with a series of concerts in Hillsborough and Carrboro. Label co-founder Glenn Dicker sat down with Morning Edition host Eric Hodge to talk about the history of the label and to give us a run down of this weekend's events.

Courtesy of Tift Merritt & Bernhardt Design / bdesignny

Seventeen months after the birth of her daughter, singer-songwriter Tift Merritt is gearing up for an international tour through Europe later this month with her baby by her side. 

Sufjan Stevens is sharing a rare outtake he recorded while making his 2015 album Carrie & Lowell. The song, "Wallowa Lake Monster," is one of several previously unreleased tracks included in an upcoming collection of remixes, demos and alternate versions of songs from that period.

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