My Latest Bluegrass Unlimited Feature


The October 2016 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited contains my latest feature with color photographs by Becky Johnson. It profiles the extraordinary music collector Tom Isenhour of Salisbury, NC.



America needs a public option for the internet

Of course, blazing fast internet service today doesn’t nearly match the importance of electricity in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Internet connectivity is, however, increasingly necessary to live a normal life — to participate in the culture, to stay in contact with friends and family, and especially to run any sort of business. And just like in Johnson’s day, rural America is being left out, because private industry prizes profits over breadth and quality of service.

NYTimes: The Magnificent 10: Restaurants That Changed How We Eat

In his navy suit and thin-rimmed glasses, Mr. Freedman, a professor of medieval history at Yale University, doesn’t look the part of a provocateur, either. But for his new book, “Ten Restaurants That Changed America” (Liveright), he set out on a brash mission: culling through hundreds of thousands of restaurants, across a span of two centuries, to produce a list of what he considers the ten most influential.

The Magnificent 10: Restaurants That Changed How We Eat

“Othering” – Art Menius

“Othering” – Art Menius Chapel Hill News September 14, 2016

Defining people who don’t appear to be like you as others, as members of groups that aren’t us, as sources of our problems. Makes for an easy explanation of problems. Then demagogues can attack the others, make them less than us, to be controlled or eliminated.

NYTimes: Rhiannon Giddens Brings Diversity to Banjo Award

Rhiannon Giddens Brings Diversity to Banjo Award

Ms. Giddens is the winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. The $50,000 award is presented annually by a board that includes Mr. Martin as well as other banjo stars like Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka, Pete Wernick and J. D. Crowe. The board’s official announcement of Ms. Giddens’s honor is expected to be made on Monday.

NYTimes: Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.

In Celebration of American Labor | Folklife Today

It should not be forgotten that Labor Day was born out of struggle for better treatment and recognition of the workers who built the wealth of this country. The fight was for many things we take for granted today, such as a minimum wage, a five day work week, the right to form and belong to unions, and the rights of working children.