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‘Bleeder’ Pours Story And Soul Into Music

Headshot of the bandmembers of Bleeder.
Courtesy of Bleeder
Bleeder is back in North Carolina for Hopscotch Music Festival.

Shelby Smoak was born a bleeder. As a child with hemophilia, he spent a lot of time on crutches, using a cane or limping, but he has long refused to let fear control his life.

He studied creative writing in college, and his book “Bleeder: A Memoir” (Michigan State University Press/2013) won a PEN American Center award. The story is set in North Carolina in the ‘90s and opens with his discovery that tainted blood has given him HIV.  Fans of the book were hoping for a sequel to “Bleeder,” and Smoak delivers, but not in the way readers expected. A long time guitarist, Smoak found a new use for his creative writing. In 2017, he released his debut album by the same name: “Bleeder.

Smoak returns to his old stomping ground for a performance in Raleigh at Hopscotch Music Festival and is performing in Chapel Hill at The Cave on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. He joins host Frank Stasio in studio for conversation and performance alongside his bandmates Jan Paul Jakubowski on bass and Abner Jara on cajon.

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Dana is an award-winning producer who began as a personality at Rock 92. Once she started creating content for morning shows, she developed a love for producing. Dana has written and produced for local and syndicated commercial radio for over a decade. WUNC is her debut into public radio and she’s excited to tell deeper, richer stories.
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.
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