KANNAPOLIS — The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame started a new series last week called “Listening to Legends,” where it will host interviews with inductees and take questions from their fans live on YouTube.
David Holt was the first guest on the show hosted by Debbie McPhatter and Veronica Cordle of the N.C. Music Hall of Fame.
Holt was a 2016 inductee to the Hall. He is a multiple-time Grammy Award-winner and host of “David Holt’s State of Music” on PBS.
Like everyone else over the last few months, Holt has been staying at home. He has taken the time to learn songs he hadn’t had the chance to learn yet while relaxing in western North Carolina.
He is still producing his television show, which he films on location in the mountains.
“It’s been pretty good for me,” he said. “I go walking in the woods here and spend a good bit of time doing that (while) working on material.”
Holt is known for his versatility in music. He plays 10 acoustic instruments and lately has been working on putting a couple of them together.
“It’s been really fun to put the harmonica with banjo and work on playing those two together,” he said.
Holt has won four Grammy Awards, while being part of 23 studio albums over the last 34 years.
Two of his Grammy Awards came in his work on albums with fellow N.C. Music Hall of Fame inductee Doc Watson.
“(We won) for a three-part album that we called ‘Legacy,’ and it ended up being Doc’s autobiography, really,” Holt said. “He didn’t ever want to have a biography written; he just didn’t want it.
“So I said, ‘Doc, why don’t we go into the studio, and you just record your life, you just tell about it?’ And I ask him questions and interviewed him, and we played music, and he tells me about his life, and it’s one of the best things I’ve done.”
Doc’s son, Merle, also was inducted into the N.C. Music Hall of Fame.
Work like Holt did with Watson is a trademark of his style, as he is known for recordings of traditional mountain music and Southern folktales. His TV show focuses on folk music as well as culture.
The music and culture of North Carolina have really spoken to Holt. He raves about all the talent and good music to come out of the state.
“Most of the mountain states have a lot of music, but North Carolina, I think, has an extra amount because it wasn’t too remote. It wasn’t like Kentucky or some place like that,” he said. “It had people coming in; it had tourists coming in influencing the music all the way along.
“So you had a lot of variety here, everything from early vaudeville to bluegrass. If you look at the bluegrass musicians that are keeping bluegrass alive, so many of them came from North Carolina, and still come from North Carolina.”
The Music Hall of Fame announced its 2020 inductees Wednesday, along with two who will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The Briarhoppers, Donald Lawrence, Charles Whitfield, Jermaine Dupri, Michael Mauldin and the Squirrel Nut Zippers will be inducted as part of the 2020 class. The induction ceremony has been pushed back to 2021 due to restrictions because of COVID-19.
Past inductees Tony Brown and Roberta Flack will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The Squirrel Nut Zippers were actually on the livestream to listen to Holt’s interview.
“I love those guys,” Holt said.
“Listening to Legends” will hold interviews with all the 2020 inductees in the coming weeks. The program will rotate between past inductees and 2020 inductees as the streams continue.
Tune in next Wednesday for the second edition of “Listening to Legends.” Ron Tyson of the Temptations, a 2016 N.C. Music Hall of Fame inductee, will be stopping by for the livestream.
Holt's full interview is available online.
Also, more news of importance from the Music Hall of Fame. It announced Monday that this year’s Rhythm and Run 5K has officially been canceled. It was scheduled for March 13, but was pushed back due to COVID-19 restrictions.
It has now officially been scrapped, and those who were registered to participate can find out more in their personal emails.
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