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The ultimate Americana music playlist for your summer

It’s going to be an Americana summer for residents of Winston-Salem, as UNCSA presents a new music lineup: American Music Series. The six-concert series, held at the Stevens Center, will feature artists who have won Grammy Awards, been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, recorded Top 40 hits, been honored by the Kennedy Center and featured on NPR and network television.

Take a listen to our American Music Series playlist on Spotify, curated by Managing Director of Performance Facilities Wiley Hausam, and plan to join us for a show soon:


The Rocker. UNCSA Presents: American Music Series opens with rocker Steve Earle on May 23. You may know his hit “Copperhead Road,” from the 1988 album of the same name. Earle’s music combines heavy metal and bluegrass and as a songwriter, his work has been recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Patty Loveless, Travis Tritt and Emmylou Harris, to name a few. “I play 'Snake Oil' each politial season as a sort of musical antidote,” says faculty member Joe Mills. He speaks his mind, he's smart and he's talented—a powerful combination.

The queen. Mavis Staples graces the Stevens Center stage on June 7 with rhythm & blues and gospel tunes. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2017. Fun fact: Staples performed the title theme song for beloved holiday classic film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

North Carolina boy. “Del’s family is from Mitchell County, NC, where I’m from,” says UNCSA Provost David English. “He has a road named for him not far from where I grew up. I’ve never had the chance to see him in concert before, but I am looking forward to his show this summer!” The Del McCoury Band brings their bluegrass act to Winston-Salem on June 27.

California kids. Las Cafeteras mixes Afro-Mexican beats, rhythms and rhymes with their lyrics to document stories of community—seeking love and justice. “I’ve wanted to present them for years,” says Hausam. “Las Cafeteras is from East LA—I lived and worked in California for four years—and they’re pulsing with young energy. Their infectious performances cross genres and musical borders. This is music everyone can love and groove to.” Las Cafeteras performs July 26.

The duo. Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle will perform in Winton-Salem on July 28. The duo lends their musical talents to folk ballads, steeped in Appalachian music history, on their latest album release, “The Invisible Comes to Us.” Jeremy Gara, drummer for indie rock band Arcade Fire, calls their music “heartbreakingly great.”

The closer. Celebrated Americana singer-songwriter Josh Ritter ends the American Music Series on August 2, where he will perform selections from his latest album, “Gathering,” and his previous eight albums. He has been named as one of the 100 greatest living songwriters by Paste Magazine.

by Hannah Callaway

May 22, 2018