Singing on the Land

Singing on the Land logo

Singing on the Land is a virtual music project that celebrates the stories of historic sites across North Carolina through the voices of North Carolina musicians. Developed by North Carolina State Historic Sites and Properties in partnership with the North Carolina Arts Council and Come Hear NC, each installment of the series will highlight one of North Carolina’s 27 state designated historic sites. Each episode of Singing on the Land will feature a single song acoustic performance by a North Carolina musician(s) paired with short interviews and environmental footage of the site’s landscape and landmarks. 

N.C. Heritage Award Recipient Arnold Richardson with Netye Lynch at Historic Halifax

Watch and listen to Arnold Richardson and Netye Lynch’s performance at Historic Halifax. Arnold Richardson plays a hand-carved red cedar American Indian Flute and Netye Lynch accompanies him on the hand drum at Magazine Spring, a sacred place to the Haliwa-Saponi tribe.  

Arnold Richardson is a musician, sculptor, and storyteller and member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe of eastern North Carolina. His work spans decades, starting in 1972 when he returned to North Carolina with a focus on revitalizing the cultural heritage of eastern North Carolina’s American Indians. In this performance, we hear Arnold play an American Indian Flute, the oldest melodic instrument in the Western Hemisphere. His prowess on this sacred instrument, along with his ability as a stone sculptor, gourd carver, and percussionist led him to be the American Indian Folk Artist for the North Carolina Arts Council from 1982 to 1989 and a North Carolina Heritage Award recipient in 2004.

Historic Halifax: Located on the Roanoke River, the town of Halifax developed into a commercial and political center at the time of the American Revolution. North Carolina's Fourth Provincial Congress met in Halifax in the spring of 1776. On April 12 that body unanimously adopted a document later called the "Halifax Resolves," which was the first official action by an entire colony recommending independence from England. Historic Halifax is also home to Magazine Spring, which is sacred to the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe. 

Historic Halifax:
Instagram: @halifaxnc1776
Facebook: @historichalifaxnc
Twitter: @HalifaxNC1776

Surry County Traditional Musician Jimmy Vipperman at Horne Creek Farm

Multi-instrumentalist and teacher Jim Vipperman grew up in a musically rich family and community in Surry County. His father, John Vipperman, whose musical career included a stint with Bill Monroe’s band in 1951, encouraged Jim to play, taking him to fiddlers’ conventions, dances, and visits to local musicians. In the 1980s, Jim started giving lessons at the local music store and at Surry County Community College. In 1991, he began teaching for the Surry County Arts Council, and in 1995 he opened his own shop. “Today, I spend about 80 percent of my time giving lessons,” he says. He teaches weekly lessons for the Arts Council, and he has a host of private students. He teaches fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, and bass in several styles through his shop, Vip’s Violins. Jim also continues to perform at local and regional festivals, fiddler’s conventions, and other events. He has performed with the Doug Dillard band at Mayberry Days since the late 1990s. Jim has won more top-ten awards—thirteen—than any other fiddle competitor in the history of the Galax Fiddler’s Convention, including First Place in 1991. The Mount Airy Fiddler’s Convention has bestowed the First Place honor on him nine times.

Blue Ridge Music Trail Directory Listing

Horne Creek Living Historical Farm: Once the Hauser family farm, Horne Creek enables visitors to experience farm life in North Carolina's northwestern Piedmont circa 1900. The site features the family's original farmhouse, a tobacco curing barn, a corn crib, adjacent fields under cultivation, and even a heritage apple orchard. Through programs ranging from old fashioned ice cream socials to an annual corn shucking frolic, Horne Creek Living Historical Farm provides a unique opportunity to learn about our rural past.

Horne Creek Living Historical Farm
Instagram:  @HorneCreek
Facebook:  @HorneCreekFarm
Twitter: @HorneCreekFarm

Blues musician Lakota John at Town Creek Indian Mound

Lakota John is a blues musician from Pembroke, North Carolina. He grew up listening to and absorbing his dad’s music library, and he picked up harmonica at age 6, and the guitar at age 7. He learned to play guitar left-handed, in standard tuning (like Carrboro’s folk matriarch Elizabeth Cotten) and was soon intrigued by the sound of the slide guitar. At age 10, he bought himself a glass slide, placed it on his pinky finger, and he has been sliding over the frets ever since. Lakota John channels traditional styles of the blues, ragtime,  jazz, and roots music through his slide guitar, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica and draws on his Native heritage with sounds of the American Indian flute. In 2009, he joined the Music Maker Relief Foundation, performing locally as one of their Next Generation Artists. He has performed at the North Carolina Museum of History, Shakori Hills Music Festival, and for The PineCone Music Series and the North Carolina Indian Heritage Celebration. 

Lakota John
Instagram:  @lakotajohn_
Facebook: @lakotajohnmusic

Town Creek Indian Mound is an unusual phenomenon in the history of North American archaeology.  While most archaeological sites are investigated for a few years before archaeologists move on to new locations, Town Creek, situated on Little River (a tributary of the Great Pee Dee in central North Carolina), has been the focus of a consistent program of archaeological research for more than half a century.  This research has contributed to the scientific understanding of the original inhabitants of our continent and has provided educational opportunities for many graduate and undergraduate students in anthropology. Moreover, these contributions to science and higher education were made as the site contributed directly to public education.

Town Creek Indian Mound
Instagram:  @towncreekindianmound
Facebook:  @towncreekindianmound
Twitter:  @tcim

Country-soul singer Rissi Palmer with James Gilmore on guitar at Bentonville Battlefield

Rissi Palmer is a country, pop, R&B/Soul songwriter from Raleigh, N.C. Raised in a musical family that loved both country & R&B, she was offered her first publishing and label deals at 19. In 2007, she released her debut album with the single “Country Girl,” which hit No. 54 on the Billboard Hot Country charts, making her the first African-American woman to chart in country music since Dona Mason in 1987. Rissi has performed at The White House, Lincoln Center, and the Grand Ole Opry, has appeared on Oprah & Friends, CNN, the CBS Early Show, and the Tavis Smiley Show. She has shared stages with Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Chris Young, and Charley Crockett, and she has been featured in Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, People, Parade, Ebony, Newsweek, and The Huffington Post. This summer Rissi just launched Color Me Country, a podcast about the black and brown women of Country/Americana/Roots Music.

Rissi Palmer
Instagram:  @rissipalmermusic
Facebook:   @RissiPalmerOfficial 
Twitter:   @RissiPalmer

James Gilmore
Instagram:  @jimmyjam6000
Facebook:   @JimmyGilmoreMusic
Twitter:   @jamesfgilmore


The Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21, 1865, was the last full-scale action of the Civil War in which a Confederate army was able to mount a tactical offensive. This major battle, the largest ever fought in North Carolina, was the only significant attempt to defeat the large Union army of Gen. William T. Sherman during its march through the Carolinas in the spring of 1865. Free people of color, American Indians, and enslaved African Americans were also witness to this catastrophic battle.