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WUNC Music is curated locally with songs that inspire, energize and bring joy to listeners across North Carolina.  It’s a place for music discovery and a home to old favorites.

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2020 Slingshot Artists To Watch

Jan 9, 2020

It's a new decade and a fresh chance for emerging artists to shine. As part of Slingshot, NPR music stations have chosen a select group of artists who are sure to do big things in 2020. Some have been around for a bit, but just never had the chance to "slingshot" into the popular music space. Packed with discoveries, our 2020 Artists To Watch list features a diverse celebration of artists, with many releasing new projects later this year.

The Come Up Show, Ebru Yildiz and Hans Watson

North Carolina musicians made waves on the national stage in 2019. Close to a dozen artists from the state, including Rhiannon Giddens, DaBaby and J.Cole, are up for Grammy Awards in 2020, and new talent keeps popping up.

An image of Kate Rhudy
Kendall Bailey Atwater

WUNC Music is excited to share 'Dance It Away' - the new single from Raleigh's Kate Rhudy. It's the first new music from Rhudy since 2017's 'Rock N' Roll Ain't For Me' and was produced by Jack Hallenbeck (Maggie Rogers) and Kate Rhudy in Los Angeles & Raleigh.

An image of Joni Mitchell
Henry Diltz

This time of year families come back together and share stories.  For Will Blythe, a writer who grew up in Chapel Hill there was one piece of family history that had him convinced he, and the town of Chapel Hill, was connected to this seasonal classic by Joni Mitchell.

An image of James Taylor
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This week, we look at the one song that most everyone identifies with our home state. Writer Will Blythe joins Eric Hodge to talk about James Taylor's 'Carolina In My Mind.' He says it's a song that affects people both young and old.

An image of  The Red Clay Rambers
John Rosenthal

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This time, former Cat's Cradle owner and Crook's Corner chef Bill Smith talks about The Red Clay Ramblers. Smith saw The Red Clay Ramblers perform all the time in the early days of Cat's Cradle. For this episode, he focuses on their version of the song 'Aragon Mill.'

An image of Nina Simone
Jack Robinson / Getty Images

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. On this episode, HC McEntire joins Eric Hodge to talk about Nina Simone's 'I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free.' Like Nina Simone, McEntire grew up in Tryon, NC. She says the music Simone made often illuminates the challenges people in the South face, even to this day.

An image of Michaela Anne
Matt Wignall

Michaela Anne grew up the daughter of a Navy officer. That means she moved around - a lot. In turn, that constant uprooting fuels some of the songs on her new album, 'Desert Dove.' She spoke with Eric Hodge about her upbringing and the process of recording the new album.

One of the themes she explores is constantly being on the move, both growing up and as a touring musician. On 'Child of the Wind' Michaela sings that her "home town was a back seat looking at highway signs."

An image of Skylar Gudasz
Roxanne Turpen

WUNC Music is excited to share the video for Skylar Gudasz's cover of the Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb classic 'Wichita Lineman.' The song was originally recorded in 1968 by Campbell, backed by the notorious Wrecking Crew - L.A.'s premiere collective of studio musicians. 

Gudasz had this to say about the inspiration:

Alexandra Sauser-Monnig
Kendall Bailey Atwater

'Dawnbreaker' is the debut album from Daughter of Swords, the new solo venture from Mountain Man's Alexandra Sauser-Monnig. It's an album that Sauser-Monnig says was written about a break-up that had yet to happen. It's also one that touches on the topic of hitting the road.

An image of musician Ryan Gustafson
Josh Coyle

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. On this episode, Jacob Sharp of Mipso talks about 'Black Flower Blooming' by The Dead Tongues. He says it's a song that both speaks to living in North Carolina, and also needing to spead your wings and fly from home. 

"I think that Tom Waits is an artist who makes art for the sake of making art," singer Allison Moorer says.

It's been 37 years since Prince released 1999, but this week, the Prince estate will reissue a remastered version of the iconic album — this time with 35 previously unreleased tracks. During his lifetime, Prince was notoriously protective of his music, both released and unreleased.

An image of Jonah Tolchin
Joe Del Tufo

Jonah Tolchin's journey through life has been a little rough over the past few years.  His marriage ended and it left him looking for a new beginning.  'Fires For The Cold' is the result of putting some of those harrowing personal experiences to music. It's something he excels at.

Dom Flemons
Tim Duffy / Music Maker

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This week, Grammy winner and American Songster Podcast host Dom Flemons talks with us about the legacy of 'Shady Grove.' He says it's a song that is synonymous with North Carolina. 

YouTube

On Wednesday, Bon Iver was nominated for four Grammy Awards, snagging nods for record of the year (for "Hey, Ma"), as well as album of the year, best alternative music album and best r

The only thing we know for sure about new posthumous studio albums from Leonard Cohen, Harry Nilsson, Prince, Arthur Russell and others: Final approval did not come from the artists themselves. At some point, a producer – or manager, or official from the estate or other individual a step removed from the name on the marquee – acted as the artist's proxy and gave an OK to release the work to the public.

The 62nd Grammy Awards nominations are here, and it appears to be Lizzo's year to lose.

The singer, songwriter, flutist and rapper was nominated across five of the night's top categories, including song of the year, record of the year, best new artist, best pop solo performance and best R&B performance.

Lil Nas X was nominated for best new artist, album of the year (for his debut record, 7), and record of the year, where his Gen Z opus "Old Town Road" is up against Post Malone, Bon Iver, Swae Lee, H.E.R., Ariana Grande, Lizzo and Billie Eilish.

Sylvan Esso
Sylvan Esso

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. On this episode, we chat with Durham rapper Lord Fess  about Sylvan Esso's 'Die Young.' It's a song he says speaks to him personally, and is also one with incredible production.

Tift Merritt
Alexandra Valenti / Sacks & Co.

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This week we've got MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger telling us about why he loves 'Traveling Alone' by Tift Merritt - the title track from her 2012 record.

Here's a video of MC Taylor performing 'Traveling Alone' at the North Carolina Art Museum in 2017.

Jack Klatt - It Ain't The Same
Yep Roc Records

Jack Klatt grew up in Minnesota. As a teenager, his musical tastes took him from The Clash, to Bob Marley and Woody Guthrie.  You can hear some of that in the songs from his new record 'It Ain't The Same.'

Ahead of his show at Cat's Cradle on November 9th, Klatt chatted with WUNC Morning Edition Host Eric Hodge about the new record. He talked about the process of recording the album, one that's a bit more produced than his previous work.

An image of Doug and Jack Wallin
Rob Amberg

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. On our 40th episode, Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council Wayne Martin talks about a recording of the song "Pretty Fair Miss In A Garden" he made with fiddler Doug Wallin. He also talks about how the traditional music of North Carolina has resonated not only in our home state, but worldwide.

Merge Records

Durham's Hiss Golden Messenger is back with their 11th studio album 'Terms of Surrender.' It's an album that touches on dark topics in a hopeful and optimistic way, something principal member MC Taylor excels at. The album kicks off with the politically charged 'I Need A Teacher.' To create a video for the song, Taylor and director D.L.

Mandolin Orange
Mark Maya

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. This time, writer Allison Hussey tells us about a rare recording of the gospel standard 'Fifty Miles of Elbow Room' recorded by Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange with Josh Moore.

Neil Young has easily one of the most recognizable names in American music, and his familiar voice isn't getting quieter with time. He has played with a lot of people over the years: There was Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But Crazy Horse has outlasted all of them.

For the past decade, Frances Quinlan has built a reputation as an expertly narrative songwriter and a peerless singer in the indie-rock world with her band, Hop Along.

In the 1960s, Janis Joplin was an icon of the counterculture, a female rock star at a time when rock was an all-boys' club.

"At that point in time there weren't too many women taking center stage," biographer Holly George-Warren says. "Janis created this incredible image that went along with her amazing vocal ability. ... [She] was very, very different than most of the women that came before."

An image of Jonathan Wilson
John Vettese

We've teamed up with Come Hear NC on a podcast series that explores North Carolina music one song at a time. On this episode, musician Kamara Thomas talks about the Jonathan Wilson song 'Can We Really Party Today?' She says it's a song with dual meanings.

Jonathan Wilson plays The Arts Center in Carrboro on Friday, October 25th.

YouTube

Now over 30 years into his storied, genre-hopping career, the always-multivalent Beck has announced a new album, Hyperspace, out November 22.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for its newest class of inductees on Tuesday morning: 16 artists and groups ranging from the late Whitney Houston to German synth pioneers Kraftwerk to rap royalty in the form of the late Notorious B.I.G.

The 2020 nominees also include Dave Matthews Band, Pat Benatar, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Judas Priest, MC5, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T. Rex and Thin Lizzy.

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