The local lecture series CreativeMornings Raleigh was kind enough to have me as a guest in the spring of 2021, when I did a full-length speech via Zoom. And because that was online rather than in-person, they brought me back the morning of Nov. 18, 2022, for a quick in-person update during their monthly presentation at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. It’s below, a brief overview of what I’ve been up to since last year.
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Greetings! I was a CreativeMornings guest speaker back in April of 2021, when I did a presentation about procrastination as part of the creative process. And I guess I’ve spent a lot of time procrastinating over the past year and a half, because I’ve kept pretty busy.
At the time of that presentation, I had just published a book called “Step It Up & Go,” about the history of North Carolina music – which I don’t believe is in the museum gift shop here although I wish it was, hint hint – and I was pleasantly surprised to win a couple of awards for it. The paperback edition should be out next spring.
Since that last CreativeMornings appearance, my main accomplishment was finishing another book, this one a history of Rounder Records. Rounder is a folk-music label that has had some big-selling acts like Alison Krauss. But mostly it puts out esoteric records of banjo music or field hollers. Rounder’s founders were basically hippies who spent the ’60s hopping freight trains and hitchhiking to folk festivals, so of course they started a record company, because why not? “Oh Didn’t They Ramble: Rounder Records and the Transformation of American Music” will be out in time for us to launch it at the big World of Bluegrass festival in late September of 2023, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.
Perhaps inevitably, given my demographic, I’ve also been doing a podcast. “Carolina Calling” is a new podcast about the music and history of North Carolina, produced by The Bluegrass Situation, and I am the host. This past spring’s first season had episodes about Asheville, Shelby, Greensboro, Durham and Wilmington. Season two is coming in 2023 with episodes about Nina Simone, Doc Watson, Libba Cotten and more. You should be able to find “Carolina Calling” wherever you get your podcasts. Come find me after this, and I’ll give you one of these very spiffy stickers.
Otherwise, I keep busy writing for area arts councils, magazines and websites. You can find me most months in Walter magazine, VisitRaleigh.com, The Bluegrass Situation and various university alumni publications. I’m also on That Station 95.7-FM twice daily, 8:30 a.m. and p.m., with “North Carolina Backtracks.” Coming up on four years since I left the News & Observer, I occupy a sort of netherworld between marketing, PR, journalism, criticism and I don’t know what else. But hey, it works.
I hope to see you out there.