Originally published in our Tennessee Music Issue  There is a remarkable story tucked halfway through Bessie, Chris Albertson’s biography of the blues singer Bessie Smith, in which Smith approaches a circle of robed North Carolina Klansmen, places one hand on her hip,… by Amanda Petrusich | Nov, 2020

Playlists curated by your favorite musicians and writers. by Brittany Howard, Kiese Laymon, Rosanne Cash, Kelsey Waldon, & others | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Music Issue’s Icons Section Beyond my eye, beyond the death and decay of matters left behind and unsettled, the music ringing up above my head told a thousand stories of bounty and belonging, and it glimmered… by Danielle A. Jackson | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our 2007 Music Issue  In a remarkable 1963 appearance with Juilliard professor and friend, Hall Overton, at the New School in New York, Monk demonstrated his technique of “bending” or “curving” notes on the piano, the most… by Sam Stephenson | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our North Carolina Music Issue.  I wanted to start with the wild weeds and the creaking wood on the front porch, walking up to Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. I wanted to start where… by Tiana Clark | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue The first songs that I listened to by Talibah Safiya had this soft, sweet, plaintive quality. There is something else underneath if you listen a bit closer: a little loneliness. The knowledge… by Jamey Hatley | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Greatest Hits Music Issue How does the South inform my music? How do I describe the sound that your bare feet make when they pat the cool, packed red dust under them? How do I describe… by Brittany Howard | Oct, 2020

 A Letter from the Editor, Food Issue. Quiet as it is kept, and widely as it has become forgotten, those who do the cooking and the farming know that those who only eat what is cooked for them and served… by Alice Randall | Mar, 2021

December 01, 2014

We are saddened to learn of the death of legendary Texas music writer Margaret Moser on Friday, August 25. In this feature essay for the OA’s 2014 Texas Music Issue, written just after her cancer diagnosis, Moser shares vivid stories from her pioneering career: 

“A life writing about music wasn’t part of the plan, but then I’d had no plan. I had dropped out of high school, didn’t attend college, had no special training or talent for much, other than a knack for making a place for myself where places didn’t exist. I’ve long joked that I got in through the back door, so whenever I am let in through the front door, I run to the back to see who I can let in.”

December 31, 2014

A poem from the Winter 2013 issue.

Veronica is lovely. She wipes the dust from Christ’s face in the carving
beside Simon, though she is never mentioned in the Gospels.

March 22, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

My mother saw the border as a metaphor for possibility. To her, the border wasn’t geography, but poetry. Sometimes the border is a crisscrossing, with some children born here and others born there. Not a river, but a poem filled with words waiting to be written down. A brave new music.

June 27, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

My father was not so different than Gerty. He was a King Ranch man through and through. He spoke English and Spanish as one language, making one body of words from the branchy rivers of South Texas.

October 04, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

San Antonio is the patron saint of lost causes, and Rolando created a statue of him in faux-marble white with the Alamo perched like a hat, except that the saint is upside down, so the Alamo is at his feet. When you want something, Rolando says, you flip the statue upside down.

November 29, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Willie grew up right here, on the Westside, el Hueso. The bone of San Antonio. We call it the barrio.

Lately, people have been getting these letters, and they bring them to me. I don’t know why, only that Willie died 30 years ago this year, 2018. Something about he’s stepping up, moving on, and now he’s finding himself. Not lost anymore, no way. Has things he wants to get off his chest. Knows the way home to you now.

This is his story.

August 30, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Because of her story, I’ve seen the way that wars secure land at the cost of great violence, hate, and marginalization. Sometimes the so-called losers win. Like the Alamo that the Mexicans won, whose descendants lost everything. What about the downtown real estate? Mary Lou doesn’t know what happened to it. Apparently, not all heroes die rich.