Book Award

About the award

The North Caroliniana Society established the North Caroliniana Book Award in 2003 to recognize annually “the book that captures the essence of North Carolina by contributing powerfully to an understanding of the state.” Authors are eligible regardless of residency. However, neither authors nor publishers submit books; instead, a committee privately surveys all books published during the year and chooses the volume that it believes “makes a positive contribution and appears to have the best chance of standing the test of time as a classic volume of North Caroliniana.”

The winner is invited to accept the award (an engraved silver cup) during the following year’s annual meeting of the Society, and his or her name is engraved on a sterling silver bowl exhibited with other statewide literary awards in the Archives Building in Raleigh.

2020

THE STORY OF NORTH CAROLINA POPULAR MUSIC,
FROM BLIND BOY FULLER AND DOC WATSON
TO NINA SIMONE AND SUPERCHUNK

About the Author: David Menconi

David Menconi is a journalist, author, critic and sometime radio host in Raleigh, North Carolina.

He spent 34 years writing for daily newspapers, 28 of those years at The News & Observer in Raleigh. Before that, he spent five years at the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado. He earned a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Texas/Austin and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English
from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

He has written for publications including Rolling Stone, Spin, Billboard and New York Times. He was also North Carolina’s Piedmont Laureate for 2019 in the area of creative nonfiction and biography, as well as co-editor of the University of Texas’ acclaimed American Music Series from 2011 to 2019.

His most recent book, “Step It Up & Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk,” was published in October 2020 by University of North Carolina Press. It won First Runner-Up in the “Culture” category of the Eric Hoffer Awards in May of 2021.

Menconi’s other books include 2012’s “Ryan Adams: Losering, A Story of Whiskeytown” (also a Hoffer Award winner, Honorable Mention in 2013); 2015’s “Comin’ Right at Ya: How A Jewish Yankee Hippie Went Country, or, the Often Outrageous History of Asleep at the Wheel”; a novel, 2000’s “Off The Record”; and the 1985 UT Master’s thesis “Music, Media and the Metropolis: The Case of Austin’s Armadillo World Headquarters.” His next book will be a history of the folk label Rounder Records, to be published in 2022 by UNC Press.

About the Book

“Step It Up & Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk” is a love letter to the artists, scenes, and sounds defining North Carolina’s extraordinary contributions to American popular music. David Menconi spent three decades immersed in the state’s music, where traditions run deep but the energy expands in countless directions.

Menconi shows how working-class roots and rebellion tie North Carolina’s Piedmont blues, jazz, and bluegrass to beach music, rock, hip-hop, and more. From mill towns and mountain coves to college- town clubs and the stage of “American Idol,” Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk, “Step It Up and Go” celebrates homegrown music just as essential to the state as barbecue and basketball.

Spanning a century of history from the dawn of recorded music to the present, and with sidebars and photos that help reveal the many-splendored glory of North Carolina’s sonic landscape, this is a must-read for every music lover.