Southern Songs and Stories

In May of 1989, Doc Watson was 66 years old. He was known around the world, and had already cemented his legacy, but was nowhere near the end of his achievements. With four Grammy awards under his belt, he had four more to go. He had yet to be inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall Of Honor, and was probably not anticipating that the National Medal Of Arts would be awarded to him in the coming decade. One of his great contributions to the music world had begun just the year before: the event which was born out of the tragedy of losing his son, MerleFest.

On Monday, September 21st, tune in during the music mix with Joe Kendrick as he brings you a special presentation of his interviews of Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, just after NPR headlines in the 1pm hour. This half-hour session with Jason and wife Amanda features new music from both artists, along with wide-ranging conversation, and is a preview of their upcoming episode of the documentary music podcast Southern Songs and Stories.

Tune your dial to 88.7FM or listen live online.

Devon Allman and Duane Betts are well-known as the sons of Greg Allman and Dickey Betts, respectively. Their partnership seems like it was meant to be, especially now that The Allman Betts Band’s second album, Bless Your Heart, is well on its way to being a big hit. But their friendship and musical partnership did not happen right away after they first met some thirty years ago, as teenagers attending an Allman Brothers show.

Collage of images of Charley Crockett
Photos By Ben Christensen and Bobby Cochran

Charley Crockett loves to ride horses almost as much as he loves to play music. 2020 was going to be the year that I got to see him play his music live not once, but twice — first at MerleFest in spring, and next at Cold Mountain Music Festival in summer. Of course, the pandemic struck both of those appearances for Charley, and made every venue and festival reschedule or cancel the year’s events. The silver lining is that, most likely, I got to speak with him for far longer than I would have in person at either of those festivals when I called him while he was staying in Taos, New Mexico.

In the first episode of this series, you got to hear about how BJ Barham turns uncomfortable conversations about the dark parts of Southern history into songs, about racial and class divides, how influential Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen are to his music, and about how things stand for American Aquarium and in the music business more generally during the coronavirus pandemic.

From WNCW Program Director Joe Kendrick: This is the first of a two episode series on BJ Barham, front man of NC band American Aquarium, with in depth conversations with BJ as well as guests Ronda Chollock, a music promoter from Charlottesville, Virginia, and music artist Tyler Boone, who grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, but now calls Hollywood, CA home. We get into topics like how Barham articulates the dark history of the South so that people will start having conversations about racial and class divides, however uncomfortable those conversations might be.

From WNCW Program Director Joe Kendrick: You will never be bored when it comes to Paul Thorn. Whether it’s his life story, his conversations, or his main gig, music, there’s nothing run of the mill about any of it. None of it is what you would call normal, but at the same time, everything about him has a wide appeal and relatability. There’s the surface level of what seems like a carnival show, but pretty quickly it’s obvious that, deeper down, there’s a profound love for humanity, a rare level of self-awareness, wit and intelligence in everything he does.

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