The University of North Carolina Press has released a new book by David Menconi, Step It Up & Go – The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk.
As you might infer from the title, Menconi covers the contributions from North Carolina natives to American popular music, touching on nearly every imaginable genre from blues, jazz, and bluegrass to beach music, rock, hip-hop, and more. Serious bluegrass lovers know that the Tar Heel state has given us a great many important artists, starting with the one and only Earl Scruggs, and the author ties the working class roots of the successful musicians he profiles to the homegrown sounds they created.
Members of the bluegrass industry will remember David from seeing him at World of Bluegrass each year since the move to Raleigh, in his capacity as staff music writer at the Raleigh News & Observer. He also reported in detail about the move from Nashville and the efforts of the city’s tourism and convention people to bring the IBMA to town, and renegotiations that have kept the organization’s big week in Raleigh.
His was a familiar face every year, especially in the media room where we hung out, and over time it became clear that David had a deep and widespread insight into how music and business intersect, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the North Carolina scene. Anyone who met him during IBMA weeks will surely be interested in his book.
Menconi has retired now from the newspaper after 28 years, partly to dedicate himself to completing this book.
Step It Up & Go is available in both hardcover and ebook versions, directly from the publisher.
David Menconi will be doing a number of virtual author events through October, in association with bookstores around Raleigh. Full details are available online.