For years, I've been trying to get Joe Newberry to let me do a Tar Heel of the Week profile on him, because he's a very fine musician who is universally beloved -- and he also carries himself with a quiet dignity that I think is exactly the face we should all aspire to putting forward to the world. Modest fellow that he is, he's always demurred. But then he went and won a pretty major award, best gospel song at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards; and so he has finally relented.
Sunday's paper has a story I've been meaning to do for a while, a "Tar Heel of the Week" feature on Tim Duffy. Duffy and his wife Denise run Hillsborough-based Music Maker Relief Foundation, in which capacity they truly do the Lord's work -- helping out impoverished older blues musicians, who have been ripped off their whole lives. Thanks to the Duffys' work, Etta Baker, Macavine Hayes and hundreds of other artists have enjoyed a measure of comfort and recognition in their later years.
"I'm a big fan of Tim's work," says Don Flemons of Carolina Chocolate Drops. "I own a good deal of all the albums he's done with Music Maker, which are amazing pieces of American music. And we've greatly benefitted from Music Maker -- Tim managed us for free during our first eight months, and opened his connections to us. That was very helpful. He and Denise are great and wonderful people who go out of their way to help folks. I highly recommend him for being able to get his people paid and working, on top of documenting their music."
Ryan Going, a 21-year-old senior at N.C. State, is a science whiz kid headed to Cambridge University in England next year on a prestigious scholarship.
A Durham native and graduate of the N.C. School of Science and Math, Ryan is the latest member of the News & Observer's Tar Heel of the Week club.
Read Jay Price's profile of Going here.