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Songwriter Brad Cook once told journalist David Menconi that "The older I get, the more I think that we didn't choose North Carolina, it chose us." Brad and his brother Phil moved from Wisconsin, formed the power folk band Megafaun in Durham, joined Hiss Golden Messenger and generally helped build a vibrant contemporary scene. Brad called the move and the community “the greatest thing that ever happened to us."

Heidi Ross

Allison Moorer’s song “Cold Cold Earth” has the bones of a centuries-old tradition, the folk murder ballad in which a man inexplicably goes mad with jealousy and takes the life of his beloved. Songs like “The Knoxville Girl” and “Delia’s Gone” drew from true events to evoke a morally complex and tragic world in the British and African-American threads of country respectively.

The campaign to convince the world that modern Music City is more than country music has been a rousing success. It’s safe to say the national audience is now aware that Nashville nurtures and produces rock and pop acts. The city’s history in R&B and rock and roll recording has been well told via popular exhibits at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

This week’s episode of The String is devoted to Bob Dylan’s masterpiece Blonde On Blonde, recorded in Nashville in 1966. The featured guest is Nashville music journalist Daryl Sanders whose new book That Thin Wild Mercury Sound digs deep in to how and why those sessions took place here and how Dylan and the Nashville Cats achieved a sound Dylan had been chasing.

  John Hartford died seventeen years ago today, but his influence on today’s bluegrass and acoustic scene remains as strong and direct as any other founding figure in the music, including Bill Monroe himself. That’s because Hartford, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer, showman and historian, was a ground breaking pioneer of progressive, individualistic string band music from the 1960s until his untimely death from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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