Posts Tagged With: D.G. Martin

The News & Observer: For old time’s sake

Turn to page 287 of “Step It Up and Go” and you’ll come to the book’s “Acknowledgements,” a couple of pages where I give thanks to some of the many people who helped me out over the years. And that section begins thusly:

I owe thanks to so many people, places, and things, but especially to the Raleigh News & Observer, my professional home from 1991 to 2019.

That paragraph goes on to thank a long list of some of my former co-workers starting with Suzanne Brown, the editor who hired me to be the N&O’s music critic and brought me to Raleigh. I was there for 28 years, and as I’ve told more than one interviewer, covering music for the paper for so long was kind of like working on the first draft of this book the whole time.

It’s been well over a year since I left the paper, amid many tears, and life beyond it has been better than expected. I was unsure I’d be able to continue making a living as a writer without the N&O’s safe harbor — but so far, so good. Between book stuff, magazine freelancing work and writing for various arts councils, I keep busy and get by.

Nevertheless, it still feels weird not to be in the N&O newsroom anymore. I still catch myself using or thinking the word “we” in regards to the paper, which is probably an instinct that will never go away entirely.

I am, however, delighted to be back in the N&O’s pages today for the first time since February of last year, thanks to the book. There’s a generous Sunday-paper spread in advance of Monday’s “official” Oct. 19 publication date, with an excerpt (the opening of Chapter 10, about Chapel Hill’s 1990s “Next Seattle” phase) and a very fine interview/feature by my longtime pal and fellow N&O alumnus Stacy Chandler. They put my byline on the excerpt, and seeing my name in that familiar spot makes it feel kind of like old times — a nice closing of the circle.

Meanwhile, the “Step It Up and Go” PR campaign is picking up steam on a couple of fronts now. Also today on this Sunday, Oct. 18, I’ll be on UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Bookwatch,” airing at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time (and repeating at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20). It’s an interview with “Bookwatch” host D.G. Martin, which we taped back in July.

And at 4 p.m. today, I’ll be one of this week’s guests on the latest episode of the “Secret Monkey Quarantine Half-Hour Show,” starring longtime local-music fixture Jeff Hart with family, friends and guests. This week’s other guests include Alice Zincone, Adrienne Meddock and Steve McGowan.

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Kicking things off on WPTF

A number of radio stations figure prominently in the storyline of “Step It Up and Go,” especially WPTF-AM in Raleigh. Going all the way back to the 1930s, WPTF was one of the stations across the Southeast that aired the “Crazy Barn Dance” show with performances by that era’s old-time and emerging country acts including the Carter Family, Briarhoppers and Carolina Tar Heels. WPTF was also the last place the Monroe Brothers played together in the summer of 1938, before younger brother Bill Monroe struck out on his own and eventually invented bluegrass with Earl Scruggs. All this and more is in the book.

So I am pleased and proud to note that, fittingly, I’m going to be on WPTF myself Monday night for an interview about the book. I’ll be appearing on WPTF’s long-running “Tom Kearney Show” from 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, Oct. 12. Tune in 680-AM/98.5-FM in the Raleigh vicinity, or stream it online from wherever.

I will also be on Hillsborough’s community radio station WHUP, 104.7-FM, a couple of times this week to talk about the book. First up will be Monday’s “3-D News” morning show with host Bob Burtman, scheduled for the 8:20-8:40 a.m. slot. And then I’ll be on WHUP again on Tuesday (Oct. 13) afternoon around 2:30 p.m. on “The Charlie Brown Show,” chatting with Ed “Charlie Brown” Weiss. As a Beach Music Hall of Famer, he’s in Chapter 7, so I expect we’ll be talking a good bit about beach music. If you’re not anywhere close to Hillsborough, there’s an online stream.

Speaking of beach music, I’ll also be doing a virtual “History @ High Noon” talk on the subject through the North Carolina Museum of History at noon on Wednesday (Oct. 14), titled “Breaking Color Lines at the Beach.” It’s in conjunction with the museum’s new exhibit  “Beach Music: Making Waves in the Carolinas.” It’s free, of course, but there’s advance registration to get the Zoom link.

This week also brings a virtual appearance with North Carolina Poet Jaki Shelton Green, 7 p.m. ET Thursday (Oct. 15) via Durham’s Regulator Bookshop; and an interview on UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Bookwatch” with host D.G. Martin at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday (Oct. 18).

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TV age: “North Carolina Bookwatch”

I’ve been angling to get onto the public-television program “North Carolina Bookwatch” pretty much ever since I started writing books two decades ago. So it was a thrill when the show invited me on to chat about “Step It Up and Go.” As one does in the Coronavirus age, we taped it via Skype this afternoon — host D.G. Martin from the UNC-TV studio, me from my basement against a backdrop of CDs — and when nobody was looking, I did a little screengrab to remember the experience by.

The “Step It Up and Go” episode of “Bookwatch” should air in October, publication month for the book.

Bookwatch.JPG

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