This year we’ve compiled our “greatest hits,” including selections of the most beloved music writing from our archive—guest edited by Brittany Howard, the Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and frontwoman of the Alabama Shakes. This jam-packed issue also includes new essays on iconic Southern artists who have changed the trajectory of American music.
Rather than including a CD this year, we’ve asked guest contributors to curate a selection of playlists that limn the bounty of Southern music across genres. These are available to stream on Spotify.
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From the liner notes to Light in the Attic’s reissue of the 1971 deep soul classic Time and Place.
Lee Moses possessed all the ingredients for a successful career, but after releasing just one album, Moses would vanish into obscurity in his hometown of Atlanta, where he died in 1997, remaining one of the most underrated but enigmatic figures of rhythm and blues.
Deacon Lunchbox shared crass, nonsensical, and insightful truths, and believed artistic expression wasn’t just for the highbrow. He once told Creative Loafing that working-class Southern expression is unexpected: “I’ve lived in rural areas most of my life, and the idea that working-class people aren’t creative or imaginative is ridiculous.”
These photographs by Rusty Miller, taken in the 1960s and ’70s, feature Atlanta’s Summerhill, Old Fourth Ward, and Vine City neighborhoods as well as the MARTA bus line. A careful and intense observer, Miller is known for his often candid and striking images of his subjects.
I have enough tear gas in my blood to know what doomsday tastes like. I know theft because it’s in my lineage and know how to find reclamation in the wreckage. Could mold myself a reenactment of the moment a man with the same last name as me was murdered for having the gall/spite/righteous insolence to fight death.
Denis Johnson and revision.
A couple of years later, I told someone about this, that the hitchhiker in “Emergency” is a real guy with the same name, that I’d watched this remarkable video of Johnson reading the story, and she second-guessed the whole thing. What if, she wondered, the interruption, the anecdote, the letter that Johnson reads is just another version of the story? It all fits together that way, that years later the narrator would be a novelist, that the character he’d almost forgotten was real would walk up and say hello. It feels a little like a final revision.
An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.
To him, my life as an eager, emerging writer was entertaining—inspiring maybe—and our excursions were his break from mind-numbing corporate life. For me, it was fun to test my knowledge of the dining scene and be celebrated for it.
A photo essay supplement to our spring issue
In spite of this palpable, omnipresent sense of loss, or perhaps precisely because of it, the Juancun community in Atlanta has devoted themselves to engaging the city’s larger Asian-American population, in an attempt to share what they feel remains of their cultural identity.