The Tar Heels may have fallen short of the Final Four in the NCAA tournament, but Chapel Hill's music community just made the top-four in a different countdown. Livability.com, a website that runs top-10 lists about the country's best places to live, puts Chapel Hill at No. 4 in its "Top 10 Cities With the Best Music Scenes Outside Nashville, New York City and Los Angeles" -- right between Omaha and Portland. Coming in at No. 1 is Athens, Ga.
I have to say, however, that the methodology is a bit peculiar. Rather than quote someone who actually lives in Chapel Hill or is familiar with its new-music quadrant, the piece quotes Doobie Brothers/New Grass Revival member John Cowan, apparently because he has played in Chapel Hill "many times since he began touring extensively in the 1970s" (which is probably code for, "He answered the phone when we called"). The list of acts with Chapel Hill ties is pretty dated, too: James Taylor, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Archers of Loaf, Southern Culture on the Skids, Superchunk and Ben Folds Five, all of whom go back at least 15 years.