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