Osiris Podcast Profile: Southern Songs And Stories

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Brian Brinkman is the cohost of the Osiris network’s Beyond The Pond that uses the music of Phish as a launchpad to explore a variety of other artists and styles of music. Below, Brian details fellow Osiris podcast, Southern Songs And Stories.

The music of Appalachia spread across America organically, filling songs with stories and providing structure to melody. It’s the music of the land, the music of the people and the music of laborious struggle. Without it, we have no rock ‘n’ roll, no bluegrass and no jam. It’s as essential to the fabric of the country’s cultural expression as jazz and baseball. And yet, its influence, its continuity and the people who carry on its tradition to this day are often overlooked in popular music, as well as the more celebrated elements of underground music.

It’s from this basis that Joe Kendrick, veteran DJ and director of programming and operations at WNCW, approaches Southern Songs And Stories. This is a podcast that seeks to celebrate the music and people of the South, the music that inspired their creations and the shifting directions of its future. Episodes generally focus on a specific band or artist of the modern South, using interviews interspersed with musical breaks, to explore their influences, musical evolution and the ways in which the modern world is slowly impacting the music of the south.

Episodes tend to be released the first week of each month and treat frequent listeners to a deepening understanding of the sounds of the region and the personalities pushing them forward while retaining their heart. As a native of the region, and a host on WNCW since 2006, Joe speaks the language of the land, showcases the festivals and venues that house its best artists and acts as a guide through the backroads and bars of Appalachia.

Southern Songs And Stories has been in operation since late-2014 and in that time has covered a plethora of the artists who make up the region, yet many of whom are inexcusably unknown outside of the mountains. A recent episode on the band Town Mountain highlights their bluegrass roots while also showcasing their rock influences and dexterity in their sound. Joe recently interviewed a number of female musicians from the region, showcasing the challenges they face breaking out not just in larger country music, but in their communities as well. The four-piece, Tellico makes a few appearances throughout as Joe tracks their development and comments on the experience of non-Appalachian artists trying to make it in the community.

Other episodes focus on larger historical themes, like the three-part series from Spring 2018 on Green Acres Music Hall in western North Carolina, which tracks the venue’s origins, the artists who frequented its halls and its final years as a source of cultural output in the region. Similarly, a two-part series on the people and the culture of the South allows Joe the opportunity to weave together seemingly fragmented themes around a larger cultural unity.

As he enters his fifth year as a podcasting host, Joe continues to dive deeper into the fabric of the South. His work is a great service to the Osiris Podcast Network and to music fans everywhere. You can find episodes on his website and support the podcast through Patreon.