NC Musician

Mipso

The North Carolina-based band Mipso is always on the move. The group is just finishing up a 20-stop summer tour of the U.S. and Canada, and this fall the group will venture back out to a slew of European countries including France, Germany, Austria and Sweden.

Courtesy Merge Records

As a kid, Laura Ballance was most comfortable slipping into the background. Her introverted nature gave her plenty of space to think and create on her own. As a teenager, she found punk through a music video of Adam and the Ants, and the “otherness” they expressed spoke directly to her.

a black-and-white picture of Jon Shain with his guitar and FJ Ventre with his bass
Stephen Houseworth

Durham-based guitar player Jon Shain and bassist FJ Ventre have known each other since high school. They have played music together on and off for more than three decades, and Ventre has played on or produced all of Shain’s CDs.

Courtesy of Simon Pauly

As a youngster growing up in Carthage, North Carolina, Lucas Meachem had his sights set on a career in landscaping. As a teen, he had his own lawn mower, weed wacker and a green thumb. Plus, his family’s 10 acre property gave him plenty of opportunities to hone his skills. Then he discovered karaoke. Specifically, what Meachem found was the immediate gratification of an audience. 

Portrait of Max Roach, Three Deuces, New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1947.
William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress

North Carolina-born jazz musician Max Roach carved out a creative legacy in music that spanned genres. Roach grew up in New York City and during the 1940s he drummed alongside artists like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. 

His recordings were innovative and during the civil rights movement, even political. To honor Roach, Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center is hosting a restaging of Roach’s “We Insist! Freedom Now Suite” recording.

Michelle Belanger playing guitar on stage.
Courtesy of Michelle Belanger

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.

Greensboro's Chuck Mountain brings blues rock on the road this spring.
Courtesy Chuck Mountain

Chuck Mountain has not been on the Greensboro music scene long – the band just came to fruition in July – but they have already been on tour and laid down a number of original tracks. The band’s guitarist Beau James says their trip to Nashville, which included camping on the North Carolina state line, expedited the team bonding and lit a creative spark for the band. 

Clay Enos / Warner Bros Pictures

Films that draw viewers into the gritty highs and lows of the music world are having a big cinematic moment. There is the new head-banging Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” yet another reincarnation of “A Star is Born,” featuring pop icon Lady Gaga, and the forthcoming “Rocketman” that takes on the rise of Elton John.

Beloved North Carolinian musical legend Nina Simone graces the cover of Oxford American's Southern Music Issue.
Amanda Magnus

The latest issue of the Oxford American magazine is all about North Carolina’s musical past and present, from Doc Watson to Rapsody. The issue features essays on musicians from the Tar Heel State from writers across the South. It also features a companion CD full of samples of the state’s iconic music. 

photo of leeda 'lyric' jones playing guitar onstage
Courtesy of Leeda 'Lyric' Jones

Leeda “Lyric” Jones honed her skills as a writer, singer and performer busking on the streets of downtown Asheville. At first hesitant to play for strangers, she quickly realized her original lyrics and soulful style helped her forge connections with those who needed it the most.

photo of sarah shook and her band
John Gessner / Bloodshot Records

Chapel Hill-artist Sarah Shook did not follow an obvious path to country music. She grew up in a conservative Christian household, listened primarily to religious music and only discovered country greats like Wanda Jackson and Buck Owens in her 20s. She was also painfully shy as a kid, so when she first took the stage in early adulthood, it was a shock to her own mother.

photo of elayna jean playing guitar and signing at a microphone
John Guerin

Many of the songs Cosmic Punk performs are rooted in angsty, teenage feelings. Elayna Jean, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, says that is because she wrote a lot of those songs while she was still in high school.

The Collection

The Collection started out as a Greensboro-based group with 15 members rotating in as a part of the group’s line up. The collective has now become more of a band with seven concrete members. But the group still sticks to its indie folk roots in it’s upcoming album “Listen to the River.”

singer and songwriter BJ Barham embarks on a tour to promote his solo-recording "Rockingham."
Courtesy of All Eyes Media / http://alleyesmedia.com/clients/bj-barham/

Fans of Raleigh-based American Aquarium are in for a treat as lead singer and songwriter BJ Barham embarks on a tour to promote his solo-recording "Rockingham."

John Paul White
Allister Ann / Sacks and Co.

John Paul White was one half of the four-time Grammy winning duo The Civil Wars.  Since finishing with that band, he has founded a record label, built a studio and collaborated with artists including Jason Isbell, Roseanne Cash and Emmylou Harris. 

When he paused long enough to write some songs, his new solo recording Beulah was born.

Echo Courts

Apr 10, 2015
Echo Courts plays in Winston-Salem at Phuzz Phest, April 17-19.
Echo Courts

Echo Courts is a five-member surf-rock band out of Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Their second EP, "Ice Cream Social," will have you reaching for your beach towel. But their melancholy lyrics are a contrast to their dreamy, summery sound. The band is playing at Phuzz Phest, a three-day music festival in Winston-Salem next weekend that features more than 60 national and local acts.

N.C. musician Ari Picker tries his hand at orchestral composition.
Duke Performances

Ari Picker is best known as the front man for the acclaimed indie rock band Lost in the Trees, but the North Carolina native is now entering orchestral composition.

Inspired by the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, specifically Book of Hours, Picker has assembled a group of local musicians to debut his piece titled Lion and The Lamb

Josh Oliver is playing tonight at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro.
Logan Wentworth

Musician Josh Oliver was a very shy performer for most of his life. Growing up in eastern Tennessee he often heard hymns and traditional music in his church, but he never liked singing very much.

That all changed when he decided to study music at East Tennessee State University. In the music program, his instructors had him performing solos and writing music for himself.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Oliver about his career and Oliver performs music from his latest solo album, Part of My Life.

Mary Johnson Rockers and the Spark
Derek Anderson

  

Mary Johnson Rockers and the Spark recently released their second record, Remedy, that celebrates the many ways in which the band has found their niche in the Triangle music scene. 

Kat Robichaud crowdsurfed while singing during one of her 'The Voice' performances
NBC

Raleigh glam rocker Kat Robichaud finished in the top ten of NBC's program The Voice last season. Robichaud says that she never could have imagined the kind of success she found on television: "I was an awkward little girl, I just didn't fit in anywhere. High school sucked. College, honestly wasn't too much better. And it wasn't until I joined my band that I started finding my voice. When my band broke up I was devastated. I didn't know what to do.

Anna Rose Beck
Anna Rose Beck / annarosebeck.com

When singer-songwriter Anna Rose Beck last appeared on our show, she was trading engineering studies at Duke University for a full-time career as a musician. Now she is fully devoted to her musical career and her newest album, Glass House in Outer Space, garnered a lot of support on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.

Anna Rose Beck performs live in-studio, and talks with Frank Stasio about her new album. She is joined by Elana Scheiner on cello and Marc Harkness on guitar.

Jazz great Branford Marsalis joins the State of Things to speak about his work.
Palma Kolansky

Grammy-award winning artist Branford Marsalis is one of the world’s leading jazz artists. 

Christmas music. It's nearly inescapable at this time of year - on the radio, in shops, in cafes, everywhere. When Phoebe Judge sat down to talk about "Christmas" with jazz double bassist John Brown, the question arose: Why would musicians want to add to the large catalog of existing Christmas songs and recordings?

"It comes from a place of joy," said the double bassist. "We wanted to take this material that's tested, tried and true and say something different about it."

African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina
uncpressblog.com / unc press

Maceo Parker, Billy Taylor, Thelonius Monk: many soul and jazz legends have North Carolina roots. The new book "African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina," creates a road map of African American musical history.

Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founders Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemmings
Carolina Chocolate Drops

Dom Flemons, a co-founder of North Carolina-based Grammy award winning string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, will leave the band in mid-December following a series of concert dates. He will be starting a solo career. 

Ironing Board Sam
www.musicmaker.org/ / Music Maker Relief Foundation

  Ironing Board Sam has been playing rhythm and blues professionally since he was 16 years old in Rock Hill, SC. He's now 73, living in Chapel Hill and his passion for music-making is as strong as ever. Sam is part of Hillsborough's Music Maker Relief Foundation, and he's just released a new album, “Going Up.”

This segment was originally broadcast on January 11, 2013. The following is new information:

Jazz great Branford Marsalis joins the State of Things to speak about his work.
Palma Kolansky

Grammy-award winning artist Branford Marsalis is one of the world’s leading jazz artists. In a career spanning more than three decades, the saxophonist has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music across an array of genres. 

Faye Hunter was the bassist for 80's band Let's Active.
Faye Hunter, Facebook

The Winston-Salem community mourns the loss of local musician Faye Hunter, who was found dead in on Saturday of an apparent suicide. She was 59 years old. Hunter was the bassist in the 80’s band Let’s Active, which was led by Mitch Easter. Yesterday on "Here & Now," host Jeremy Hobson interviewed Easter about his former bandmate.

Cover of Jeanne Jolly's album 'Angels'.
Celeste Young / Family Love Photography

Jeanne Jolly visited our studio a year ago in the early stages of working on her album, “Angels.” Now, she is back in the midst of a national tour promoting her album.

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