Issue 99, Winter 2017

Issue 99, Winter 2017

Kentucky Music Issue

The Oxford American’s 19th annual music issue explores the Music of Kentucky. The magazines comes with a 27-song CD + free download with bonus tracks. The Commonwealth gave us musicians like Loretta Lynn and Nappy Roots, Richard Hell and Bill Monroe—just to name a very few—and beloved writers like Crystal Wilkinson, Ronni Lundy, Silas House, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and our own poetry editor, Rebecca Gayle Howell. You’ll see those names (and many, many others) in our Kentucky Music Issue—“the greatest mixtape accompanied by the best liner notes ever,” according to Beale Street Caravan.

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The Music of Kentucky 

Notes on the songs, including: 
Minda Honey on James Lindsey 
Jay Ruttenberg on King Kong 
Nathan Salsburg on the Booker Orchestra and two Kentucky octets
Elyssa East on Sarah Ogan Gunning
Joe Manning on Rachel Grimes

Points South

Marianne Worthington falls for Loretta Lynn’s TV-screen glow 

Erik Reece on when a Freakwater song walks into a bar 

If God Had a Name, by Jason Howard

Michael L. Jones digs up the black roots of “Happy Birthday”

Leesa Cross-Smith shares her unlikely love of Sturgill Simpson

Living Too Close to the Ground, by Will Stephenson

Jewly Hight sees Brandon Godman’s bluegrass pride

Real People Radio Stories, by Jeffrey A. Keith

Rebecca Gayle Howell remembers Lexington’s Narcotic Farm

Three previously unpublished poems by Thomas Merton

J. D. Daniels has an ear for Jimmy Raney’s genius

John Thomason visits John Prine’s Paradise lost

Fire in My Bones, by Ashley Blooms

Harmony Holiday talks with Les McCann

How Dwight Yoakam dialed up Ronni Lundy

Cleo, Cleo Black as Coal, a story by Crystal Wilkinson


Richard Hell after Lexington 
by Amanda Petrusich

Southeastern Kentucky’s Phipps Family legacy 
by Silas House 

When the South is everywhere and nowhere 
Zandria F. Robinson 

The Old Regular Baptists and the joyful sound 
by David Ramsey  

Searching for the old jawbone
by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Southern Scene

Cowboy Steve, photo by Guy Mendes

Art by David McClister, Steve Squall, James Dechert, Dave Banks, Les Leverett, Chloe Meynier, James Robert Southard, LaVon Van Williams Jr., Judith Eisler, Chris Sikich, Letitia Quesenberry, Audrée Anid, Dennis Mader, Ray Johnson, Gina Phillips, Bob Hower, Steve Schapiro, Lina Tharsing, Ted Kincaid, Ray Kleinhelter, Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer, Les McCann, Emily Joyce, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Robert Beatty, Meg Wilson, Alan Lomax, Tom Martin, Adrian Morales, Juliana Hawawini Johnson, Guy Mendes 

Sturgill Simpson – Photo by David McClister 
Loretta Lynn – Photo by Les Leverett, Courtesy of Grand Ole Opry, LLC 
J.D. Wilkes – Photo by James Dechert 
Les McCann – Photo by Dave Banks 
James Lindsey – Photo by Steve Squall