The North Carolina Arts Council will launch three new cultural tourism guidebooks for residents and visitors this year.
Guidebooks to authentic travel experiences exploring the state’s literary heritage, traditional music of the mountains and the foothills and African American music in eastern Northern Carolina are being released this spring and fall.
The N.C. Arts Council, a national leader in cultural tourism — branding the state as a place that sustains unique and significant arts experiences — has developed “trails” that focus on rich cultural assets with national and international appeal. The Arts Council will release the following cultural tourism guidebooks (with accompanying websites) in 2013:
Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina (April) by Georgann Eubanks
Blue Ridge Music Trails: A Guide to Music Sites, Artists, and Traditions of the Mountains and Foothills by Fred Fussell with Steve Kruger. The book includes a CD with 20 music tracks (May)
African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina by Sarah Bryan and Beverly Patterson, with Michelle Lanier and Titus Brook Higgins. The book includes a CD with 20 music tracks (October)
The N.C. Arts Council partners with UNC Press on the guidebooks.
Literary Trails of North Carolina Series Final Guidebook available in April
Through stories, anecdotes and excerpts, readers of Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina see the North Carolina landscape through the eyes of writers who have lived and worked here. The book is written by Georgann Eubanks.
Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina is the concluding volume in the three regional guidebooks series. It takes readers into a land of pale sand, dense forests, and expansive bays, through towns older than our nation and rich in cultural traditions. Here, writers reveal lives long tied to both the land and the water and their stories are tales of hardship, hard work and freedom. Eighteen tours lead readers from Raleigh to the Dismal Swamp, the Outer Banks and across the Sandhills as they explore the region’s connections to more than 250 writers of fiction, poetry, plays and creative nonfiction. Along the way, Eubanks highlights the role of place in their work and explores the region’s vibrant local culture. Featured authors include A. R. Ammons, Gerald Barrax, Charles Chesnutt, Clyde Edgerton, Philip Gerard, Kaye Gibbons, Harriet Jacobs, Jill McCorkle, Michael Parker and Bland Simpson.
The other volumes in the series are Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains and Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont, all published by UNC Press. A companion website at www.ncliterarytrails.org provides additional stories, itineraries and videos of Eubanks sharing some of her favorite tidbits about authors. Georgann Eubanks is a writer and teacher. She is director of the Table Rock Writers Workshop, was a founder of the North Carolina Writers’ Network and is past chair of the North Carolina Humanities Council. She lives in Carrboro, N.C.
North Carolina: The Music State
Doc Watson, John Coltrane, Elizabeth Cotton, Shirley Caesar, Earl Scruggs, James Taylor, Roberta Flack, Thelonious Monk, Randy Travis, Nina Simone, Maceo Parker –all American musical icons–and more than five American Idol finalists have shared the sounds of North Carolina with the world.
North Carolina’s rich traditions in music span the magnificent mountains of the Great Smokies and Blue Ridge to the sandy shores of eastern North Carolina. In between, there are world-class musicians and composers as well as music industry innovators. North Carolina is home to recording studios and record labels that have produced Grammy winners, such as Sugar Hill, Merge Records and Old Hat, as well as a groundbreaking company, Zenph Sound Innovations, that created a sophisticated software to analyze old recordings and reconstruct songs as they would have sounded if those musician had recorded in a modern studio. Raleigh is the site for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) 27th annual World of Bluegrass conference to be held in September and home to the North Carolina Symphony, the nation’s first state-supported orchestra founded in 1932.
The N.C. Arts Council celebrates the state’s rich musical traditions and many musical distinctions with the publication of Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (May 2013) and African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina (October 2013).
Western North Carolina has a national reputation as a music-rich region and its traditions of old-time stringband music, ballad singing and bluegrass are internationally renowned — with musicians from the region shaping many forms of American music. Today, bands like the Steep Canyon Rangers, Avett Brothers and the Kruger Brothers are learning these traditions and creating new forms of roots music.
Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina: A Guide to Music Sites, Artists, and Traditions of the Mountains and Foothills puts travelers on the trail to discover many sites where these musical traditions still thrive. In fact, western North Carolina is the heart of unique regional music-making. Profiles of prominent musicians and venues, maps, informative sidebars and a CD with 20 music tracks are included in the guidebook, jointly produced with the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and UNC Press.
North Carolina has many distinctions in traditional music that make the western and foothills regions of the state celebrated places for traditional music-making:
The 256 page book includes more than 140 color illustrations, profiles of prominent musicians and unique sidebars. You can order books from UNC Press.
If you are interested in learning more about traditional arts in western North Carolina, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area offers comprehensive resources for discovering heritage treasures at www.blueridgeheritage.com. A Traditional Artist Directory features the finest traditional craft artisans, musicians, dancers and storytellers in the mountain and foothills with more than 500 artists and groups. Visit www.blueridgeheritage.com/traditional-artist-directory for details.
African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina
North Carolina is also home to legendary African American figures of jazz, blues and gospel including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller and Elizabeth Cotten. Today, artists like Shirley Caesar and Maceo Parker, among others, represent North Carolina to the world through their internationally acclaimed music.
The distinctive African American musical traditions continue as a source of pride and cultural identity for residents of eastern N.C. and the entire state. The guidebook recognizes these contributions and connects cultural travelers and residents to the area’s rich and authentic living traditions, providing opportunities to explore, learn and enjoy. The guidebook will include a CD of historic and contemporary recordings and will be distributed by UNC Press this fall.
African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina is the first publication designed to help travelers explore African American music in North Carolina. In an area that includes Lenoir, Jones, Wayne, Greene, Wilson, Edgecombe, Nash and Pitt counties, researchers, writers and photographers have worked with local residents and arts organizations to provide an in-depth insiders’ view of music and musicians. In addition to the personal narratives of musicians, the book features historical and new photographs, engaging portraits by Cedric N. Chatterley and dynamic photographic documentation of musicians and music events by Titus Brooks Heagins, as well as snapshots contributed by the artists. Maps and travel information accompany descriptions of significant sites, venues and events related to African American culture and heritage.
The book will be distributed by UNC Press this fall.
To learn about other cultural trails in North Carolina visit www.NCArtsTrails.org