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

In the latest installation for its Picturing the South project, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art presents Our Strange New Land: Photographs by Alex Harris. Taken over the course of two years and encompassing most of the South, Harris’s series documents independent film sets, exploring “how the region is seen, imagined, and created by contemporary visual storytellers.”

A Points South essay from the South Carolina Music Issue.

A problem solver, Jones would ultimately get his drums from his mother’s record collection, as her Charles Wright and Isaac Hayes albums began migrating into his room. “There wasn’t enough money for records,” he recalled. “Or I couldn’t find them. So I’d record songs on the radio off the reel-to-reel, and take the reel-to-reel to the party.” There’s a photograph of Jones deejaying the Charleston YMCA wearing pleated baggies and a fade, with a Michelob parked in front of his Akai séance machine.

A liner note essay from our South Carolina Music Issue

We all know that Southern music needs to be heard and celebrated. However, visibility (exposure) cannot be pitted against our chance at a healthy life. The Oxford American’s ask of under-resourced Southern musicians to donate their song licenses is exploitative, and must end. 

A feature essay from the South Carolina Music Issue. 

Outside of his studies, Ron joined, and eventually presided over, the A&T karate club, and still made time to stay sharp on his saxophone. “People talk about born geniuses, but I always thought of Ron as a self-made genius,” recalled Ron’s college roommate, Keenan Sarratt. “He got his through hard work. That’s one thing I learned from him—nothing’s impossible. If it couldn’t be done, you’d have to convince him it couldn’t be done.” 

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

As Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) audio director John Biewen preps for the next season of Scene on Radio, the podcast is headed to 5 million downloads, episodes are being used in classrooms and independent discussion groups across the country, and media outlets—Los Angeles Review of Books, Columbia Journalism Review, Buzzfeed, among others—have taken note. Here, John sets the scene for the upcoming season.

In an effort to manifest William Faulkner’s idea that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” Lake Roberson Newton’s project, Flowers for the Dead, examines the preservation of historical homes, exploring how previously private spaces are transformed for, and by, public consumption.

Notes on the songs from our 21st Southern Music Issue Sampler featuring South Carolina.

It is fitting that this Southern Music Issue (the Oxford American’s twenty-first) devoted to South Carolina should come in 2019, as the nation moves to better recognize the tragic anniversary of the first sale of enslaved Africans on American soil, in August of 1619. About forty percent of the enslaved people brought to America came through Charleston; today most African Americans have roots in the city (some estimates go as high as eighty percent). Or to put a finer point on it, as Joshunda Sanders writes in this issue, “No Black person has a family tree that has not been pruned by slavery.” Acknowledging, parsing, and reckoning with this history is the prominent theme of this South Carolina music issue—as is celebrating the immense wealth of cultural heritage that has sprung from this small, proud place.

Farewell to Deputy Editor Maxwell George

On Max’s last day at the Oxford American, we’re sharing ten highlights from his years with the magazine. 

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

For twenty years, football was my purpose, my reason, white lines and rules for everything, the scoreboard keeping track of it all. Do I want it back? Do I pine for a helmet and a fourth-quarter drive?

Not exactly.

Nothing brings people together like food. And those gatherings are primed for memory making and of course stories for sharing and stories to be, well, created.

A new episode of Points South is now playing!

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Episode Four features the OA editors discussing the upcoming South Carolina Music Issue and sharing their favorite stories and behind-the-scenes moments. Plus: A preview of the issue’s tracklist

For more information visit oxfordamerican.org/pointssouth.

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

In my research following Leibniz and Spinoza as their paths cross and then diverge, I became interested more broadly in the failure of the Enlightenment to extinguish the things it’s meant to have extinguished: superstition and religious bigotry, tribalism and barbarity, feudalistic economies and stupid, evil, mass death. Their world, on the cusp of a new modernity, begins to look more like ours than not: the post-Westphalian order giving rise to the nation-state and with it, bellicose nationalism, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade birthing global capitalism and the system of racial hierarchy that persists today in its wake.