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Durham Musician Nancy Middleton Shares Her ‘Raving Roller’ Spirit

Middleton singing into a mic and playing an acoustic guitar.
Courtesy of Nancy Middleton

Durham called folk rocker Nancy Middleton back home after 11 years in Nashville.

She was born and raised in the Bull City, the punctuation mark at the end of a line of four older siblings. Her music career began in the Triangle and met great success. With her Americana blues-y sound that attracted crowds of all kinds, Musician magazine named her one of the best unsigned bands in the 90s. That led to a write-up in Billboard Magazine, which gave her the confidence to move to Nashville. She played legendary venues like The Bluebird Cafe, singing nearly all original songs. Middleton met her husband in Nashville, and they moved back to Durham in 2007 to raise their two kids.

Now, she balances her career as a beloved local musician with being a teacher’s assistant in a first grade classroom and volunteering with Kidznotes, an organization dedicated to teaching music to children. Host Anita Rao talks with Middleton about the evolution of her music career, and she performs some songs from the years in the studio. Middleton recently formed a trio The Goodloveswith local artists Glenn Jones and Emma Davis. The Goodloves will perform in the 10th Annual Newtonanny Christmas Show at the Blue Note Grill in Durham on Dec. 22 and again at the Blue Note Grill on Jan. 3 at 9 p.m.

Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.