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Mystery Hillbillies Keep Audiences Dancing

Michelle Belanger playing guitar on stage.
Courtesy of Michelle Belanger
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Mystery Hillbillies are a band of misfits. The band is frontwoman Michelle Belanger and a rotating cast of “sidemen.” The group plays a wide range of music, including country, western swing and blues from the early 1940s to today.

Belanger started the band with three sidemen as a way to find her musical voice. It eventually became difficult to coordinate everyone’s schedule for gigs, so she decided to open up the ranks of Mystery Hillbillies.

Belanger talks to host Frank Stasio about her musical history and approach to engaging with the audience. Hillbillies Colby Jack on the bass and Lance White on guitar join her for an in-studio performance.

They will be performing at The Kraken in Chapel Hill on Friday, Feb. 1, and at The City Tap in Pittsboro on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.