What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Menconi takes readers through NC's musical history in new book

Posted September 30, 2020 9:24 a.m. EDT

Longtime music writer David Menconi is taking readers on a trip through North Carolina's musical history in his latest book, Step It Up and Go. (Courtesy of David Menconi)

— Longtime music writer David Menconi is taking readers on a trip through North Carolina's musical history in his latest book, Step It Up and Go.

Menconi was the music writer for 28 years at the News & Observer and has since been a contributor for WRAL.com's Out and About.

"There's stuff in the book from the very first couple of months I was on the job in 1991, running up more or less to the present day," Menconi said on the Out and About Podcast.

Menconi covers everything from rock to bluegrass, which has deep roots in the state.

"Even before Earl Scruggs, Charlie Poole was playing old time string band music around textile towns through the North Carolina Piedmont. He was playing something very much like bluegrass, a good 20 years before Bill Monroe, quote unquote 'invented it,'" Menconi said.

The International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass is happening this week virtually. The event has been held in Raleigh since 2013 and was set to be in the city again this year until the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"Bluegrass has really deep roots here in North Carolina. There were some people connected to the bluegrass world who kind of poo-pooed the notion of IBMA moving World of Bluegrass here, but there's a lot more to the history of bluegrass in North Carolina than many people realize," Menconi said.

Find out more about Step It Up and Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk on Menconi's book blog.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.