This Week on Hell or High Water: Selections from the Newport Folk Festival

This week on Hell or High Water, we’ll be featuring music from the three volumes of the 1964 Newport Folk Festival evening concerts, largely inspired by last Monday’s SFC lecture by Elijah Wald, “Dylan Goes Electric! Music, Myth, and History.”
Dylan’s electric performance in 1965, according to Wald, “split the Sixties.” Previously, the Newport Folk Festival had been a time celebrating traditional folk music alongside popular “new wave” artists, like Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Phil Ochs. The hopes were that pairing these traditions with popular artists would draw a crowd and help new or unknown artists gain a following.
The Newport Folk Festival showcased the many different types of traditional folk present in this country, from cajun to country to blues. We hope that featuring this record will, like the original festival, showcase the diversity of what constitutes folk music.
To quote Stacey Williams on the 1964 festival, “And what was most remarkable was the homogeneity of the event as a whole, with all this wonderful variety adding up to a feeling of one brotherhood, as hard to define as it is easy to sense; ‘many branches from the same tree’ is a lame way to put it, but it hints at the idea.”
Tune in this Sunday from 1-2pm on WXYC-Chapel Hill, 89.3FM, or online via live stream. 

This Week on Hell or High Water: William Faulkner and the Blues

Tune into Hell or High Water this Sunday, 1-2pm, for a special episode focusing on renowned Mississippi author William Faulkner’s connection to and use of blues music in his writing. Hell or High Water features music from the Southern Folklife Collection every Sunday on WXYC-Chapel Hill 89.3FM. Turn your radio on or stream online at
We’ll be reading aloud his 1931 short story “That Evening Sun,” which deals primarily with the ignored and invalidated suffering of a black woman named Nancy in the Reconstruction South.
The story gets its name from the W.C. Handy song “Saint Louis Blues,” and we’ll play several variations of the song as well as others dealing with “that evening sun.” We’ll also discuss the blues motifs present in Faulkner’s work, and how in the case of “That Evening Sun,” the short story could be interpreted as a sort of blues song in and of itself.
Artists that will be featured include Duke Ellington, Van Morrison, Ted Lewis, and Mississippi John Hurt. Tune in on WXYC-Chapel Hill 89.3FM or stream online at

Dylan Goes Electric! with Elijah Wald at the Southern Folklife Collection

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The Southern Folklife Collection is thrilled to welcome back Elijah Wald to discuss his new book, Dylan Goes Electric! Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night that Split the Sixties (Dey Street/Harper Collins, 2015).

In Dylan Goes Electric! Elijah Wald explores the cultural, political, and historical context of Bob Dylan‘s 1965 performance at the Newport Folk Festival. He delves deep into the folk revival and its intersections with the civil rights movement, the rise of rock, and the tensions between traditional and groundbreaking music to provide new insights into Dylan’s artistic evolution, his special affinity to blues, his complex relationship to the folk establishment and his sometime mentor Pete Seeger, and the ways he reshaped popular music forever.

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Join us on Monday, November 16 for a book talk by Wald and view related materials from the Southern Folklife Collection, including the 1965 Newport program featured here (top and bottom) from the Southern Folklife Collection Festival Files (30007), folder 518, and the brochure and schedule from the Guy and Candie Carawan Collection (20008), folder 172 (above). The Carawans were traveling with the Moving Star Hall Singers from Johns Island, South Carolina (notice the notation on the program by Guy Carawan to make note of the Moving Star Hall Singers performance times). Even after looking at this schedule countless times, we still can’t believe that a single event could feature such a remarkable schedule of performers: Cousin Emmy, Roscoe Holcomb, Gary Davis, Lightning Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, Fannie Lou Hamer, Eck Robertson, Memphis Slim, Mississippi John Hurt, Dylan, Donovan, Pat Sky, Kweskin Jug Band, Bill Monroe, Ed Young (!), Sam and Kirk McGee with Arthur Smith (!!!), and so many more.20008_0172_Newport1965_schedule__001_Guy and Candie Carawan Collection_20008_Southern Folklife Collection_The Wilson Library_UNC Chapel Hil


We’ve got much more to share with you so check back on Field Trip South and mark your calendar for November 16 at 5:30PM in The Wilson Library. Event is free and open to the public. 30007_0518_Newport1965_program_bios__Southern Folklife Collection Festival Files_30007_The Wilson Library_UNC Chapel Hill