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Speaking All Things Bluegrass With Unspoken Tradition

Unspoken Tradition at Skunkfest May 2021.jpg
(l to r) Zane McGinnis, Ty Gilpin, Sav Sankaran, Audie McGinnis and Tim Gardner of Unspoken Tradition perform at Albino Skunk Music Festival on May 14, 2021

It is a joy talking with guests on this podcast, but I have to say that my interview with these gentlemen was especially rewarding. They are some of the most genuine, forthright and dedicated artists you will ever meet, and this holds for whenever they are in a studio, on stage or simply talking with anyone who wants to take a few minutes of their time. They put all of themselves into what they do, and it shows.

This is the second of three episodes to originate from one of my all-time favorite festivals, The Albino Skunk Music Festival in Greer, South Carolina. The podcast on Sierra Ferrell preceded this one and still to come is our episode on Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters, who also played at the Skunk Farm in May 2021. Here, I spoke with brothers Audie and Zane McGinnis, Ty Gilpin, Tim Gardner and Sav Sankaran of Unspoken Tradition just ahead of their performance, and we had a lively and far ranging conversation about their musical philosophies, how they got their start in bluegrass (and in the case of fiddle player Tim Gardner, old time music), what silver linings they discovered from not getting to tour due to COVID-19, and much more. And as always, there is music, from a sampling of their live performance at Skunk to excerpts of several of their newest songs which will be part of their forthcoming album, their fourth since their 2013 debut.

Songs heard in this episode:

“Monroe’s Hornpipe” by Unspoken Tradition, live at Albino Skunk Festival 05-14-21

“California” by Unspoken Tradition, excerpt

“Irons In the Fire” by Unspoken Tradition, excerpt

“At the Bottom Again” by Unspoken Tradition

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Joe Kendrick grew up far off in the woods at in rural Stanfield, NC, where he acquired his first Sony Walkman, listened to both AM and FM radio from Charlotte, went to Nascar races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attended a small Baptist church, read Rolling Stone, subscribed to cassette clubs, and played one very forgettable season of high school football. From there, Joe studied Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was able to fulfill his dream of being a disc jockey at WXYC. He volunteered at WNCW soon after graduation.