Just like it's hard to study any kind of music in American history without finding some tie to North Carolina, it's hard to have followed any kind of music in North Carolina over the past 3 decades and not found some tie to David Menconi. He was a music writer and critic for the News & Observer for almost 30 years, and in that time became as much a part of the music scene as he was a chronicler. Beyond his main gig, he found bylines in many major publications and college alumni mags, stacked up multiple NC Press Association awards, and in 2019 was given the honor of serving as Piedmont Laureate.
All of this made him the perfect person to author Step It Up & Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music. (Surely you can order it online, but he'd prefer you buy it from a local bookstore). We talked to David about coming to Raleigh, learning the music of the region, and what makes Raleigh a great music city.
We included several tracks from the Spotify playlist David created to complement the book, you can find it here. Specific tracks used are:
"Round Midnight" by Thelonious Monk
"Step It Up & Go" by Blind Boy Fuller
"Morphine Girl" by Mandolin Orange
"Freight Train" by Elizabeth Cotten
[Note: We asked David a tangential question regarding the business of publishing related to his previously published book on Ryan Adams. His thoughtful statement on the sexual misconduct allegations against Adams can be found on his blog.]
Also included in this episode is a word from Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin on why she and many others think you should vote "Yes" to the Raleigh Housing Bond on the ballot this election season.
Please support the businesses who support us: Papa Murphy's Take N Bake Pizza of Raleigh and Steele Residential.
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