Bringing The World Home To You

© 2024 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Due South takes a trip to 'My Black Country' with Alice Randall, Rhiannon Giddens and Rissi Palmer

Rissi Palmer (left) and Rhiannon Giddens (right) holding Due South mugs during their in-studio interview about My Black Country and the history of Black artists in country music at WUNC
Erin Keever
Rissi Palmer (left) and Rhiannon Giddens (right) holding Due South mugs during their in-studio interview about My Black Country and the history of Black artists in country music at WUNC

This hour originally aired on April 15, 2024.

2024 is shaping up to be quite the interesting year in country music.

The release of Beyonce's Cowboy Carter on March 29 shook up the industry when one of her lead singles, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Hot Country Songs chart, making the chanteuse the first Black woman to top the country chart in Billboard history.

Little more than a week later, acclaimed author Alice Randall released her memoir, My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music's Black Past, Present and Future. In it, she chronicles her early life and career as a country music enthusiast, songwriter and producer in Nashville. Her story is told against the backdrop of other Black country artists making their way through an overwhelmingly white industry.

Co-host Leoneda Inge chats with Randall, who joined us from Nashville Public Radio's studios, about her life, her memoir and the compilation album that accompanies it, My Black Country: The Songs of Alice Randall.

Later, two artists featured on that album stop by our WUNC studios to chat with Leoneda Inge.

Pulitzer Prize-winning singer and musician Rhiannon Giddens talks about her personal experiences with country music audiences and her involvement on Beyonce's single, "Texas Hold 'Em."

Singer-songwriter Rissi Palmer weighs in on what it was like to be a "traditional" country music artist in her early career, including being the first Black woman in 20 years to make the country charts with her 2007 single, "Country Girl." The host and creator of the Apple Music podcast, "Color Me Country," also discusses what it has been like preserving and amplifying the little-known histories of Black artists in the country music industry.

Palmer is currently curating a monthly music series at The Carolina Theatre. Her upcoming show featuring Gabe Lee will be held on April 25.


Rhiannon Giddens, singer, musician and historian

Rissi Palmer, singer-songwriter and host of Apple Music's Color Me Country

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
Stacia L. Brown is a writer and audio storyteller who has worked in public media since 2016, when she partnered with the Association of Independents in Radio and Baltimore's WEAA 88.9 to create The Rise of Charm City, a narrative podcast that centered community oral histories. She has worked for WAMU’s daily news radio program, 1A, as well as WUNC’s The State of Things. Stacia was a producer for WUNC's award-winning series, Great Grief with Nnenna Freelon and a co-creator of the station's first children's literacy podcast, The Story Stables. She served as a senior producer for two Ten Percent Happier podcasts, Childproof and More Than a Feeling. In early 2023, she was interim executive producer for WNYC’s The Takeaway.