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