Step it Up & Go: A Conversation with David Menconi, Facilitated by NC Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green

In celebration of his new book, Step It Up and Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk, David Menconi will be discussing his process and journey putting the book together. The conversation will be facilitated by NC's Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green. Join us for a wonderful evening with two very special North Carolina writers honoring our special place in music history and present.

Register for this Zoom event here:

This book is a love letter to the many artists, scenes, and sounds that define North Carolina’s extraordinary contributions to American popular music. David Menconi has spent three decades immersed in the state’s music culture, where tradition runs deep but the energy has expanded in countless directions. Menconi shows how working-class roots and rebellion tie North Carolina’s Piedmont blues, jazz, and bluegrass to beach music, rock, hip- hop, and everything in between. From mill towns and mountain coves to college-town clubs and the stage of American Idol, Step It Up and Go celebrates homegrown music just as essential to the state as barbecue and basketball.

Spanning a century of history from the dawn of recorded music to the present, and with sidebars and photos that help reveal the many-splendored glory of North Carolina’s sonic landscape, this is a must-read for every music lover. Music critic and journalist David Menconi spent twenty-eight years as staff writer at the Raleigh News and Observer. His most recent book (with Ray Benson) is Comin’ Right at Ya: How a Jewish Yankee Hippie Went Country, or the Often Outrageous History of Asleep at the Wheel.

Spotify Playlist: Readings and

“At long last, David Menconi has given us the musical overview the Tar Heel State truly deserves.”—Jon Wurster, Superchunk

“This is a great, comprehensive look at what incredible diversity North Carolina music has to offer, and there is no one better to tell these stories than the ever- present David Menconi.”—Woody Platt, Steep Canyon Rangers

More info on the facilitator:
Jaki Shelton Green, ninth Poet Laureate of North Carolina is the first African American and third woman to be appointed as the North Carolina Poet Laureate. She is a 2019 Academy of American Poet Laureate Fellow, 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame Inductee, 2009 NC Piedmont Laureate appointment, 2003 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature. Jaki Shelton Green teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies and has been named the 2021 Frank B. Hanes Writer in Residence at UNC Chapel Hill. Her publications include: Dead on Arrival, Masks, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, Feeding the Light, i want to undie you. On Juneteenth 2020, she released her first LP, poetry album, The River Speaks of Thirst, produced by Soul City Sounds and Clearly Records. Jaki Shelton Green is the owner of SistaWRITE providing writing retreats for women writers in Sedona Arizona, Martha’s Vineyard, Ocracoke North Carolina, Northern Morocco, and Tullamore Ireland.

Event date: 
10/15/2020 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
Step It Up and Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk By David Menconi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781469659350
Availability: available for order
Published: University of North Carolina Press - October 19th, 2020