'String Bands In The North Carolina Piedmont' by Bob Carlin
(McFarland Press, 2004) 268 pp softbound. Bob Carlin, old-time banjo player, producer, and former member of John Hartford’s band, has done a lot of good research in compiling this compendium of old-time music in the state of North Carolina. He provides a nicely balanced look at various styles and aspects of the music from early European & African influences right up through early Bluegrass of the 1940s and 50s. He devotes ample space to the Fiddler’s Convention tradition (Union Grove and many others), Radio broadcasts on such stations as WBT, WPTF and WSJS, recording artists and Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s pioneering efforts to popularize authentic mountain music and dance—Carlin has made extensive use of local newspaper reports from the turn of the century to the 1950s, but he also includes much information gleaned from interviews with dozens of musicians, relatives and fans. There are also a generous number of fine photos, most of which I’ve never seen before. Some of the many musicians mentioned in this neat work include Charlie Poole, Tommy Jarrell, J. E. Mainer, Bill and Charlie Monroe, George Pegram, Lost John Ray, L. W. Lambert, Fisher Hendley, Glenn Thompson, Ernest Thompson, Clay Everheart and dozens more. An excellent book with lots of new information about a fascinating region and its many artists.