OA GreatestHist MusicIssue Ad 2000x1050

 

Order
The Oxford American’s 22nd Annual 
Southern Music Issue

Guest edited by
BRITTANY HOWARD

 

Order your copy today.

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

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on all things OA.

November 20, 2018

A feature essay from the North Carolina Music Issue.

Perverse? Yes. Blasphemous? Maybe. But not irreconcilable. To contemplate the meaning of Jodeci is to grasp at the intersection of religion and excess, of devotion and abandon, of agape and eros—a space where holiness and hedonism coincide. Sacred and erotic poetry, after all, are not dichotomous, but rather the most intimate and ancient of bedfellows, from Sufi mysticism to Ovidian elegy. The meme may be “If the Love Doesn’t Feel Like ’90s R&B I Don’t Want It,” but literary history knows that Jodeci’s ars amatoria continues a millennia-old poetic program that welds the object of affection to something of the divine, a slippage between the beloved and the god, which the poet-scholar L. Lamar Wilson describes as “sacrilegion,” a never-ending hunger for the unattainable object of erotic perfection. 

August 25, 2020

A feature essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

This is how so many black families lose their land. One person wants to sell and starts an action that can force a sale. And if a developer wants the land, he or she can buy a small interest in the property from an heir and through a series of legal maneuvers, force the sale of the whole lot. 

 

August 25, 2020

A feature essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

Most people think of human trafficking as involving sex work, but trafficking occurs across a variety of industries, and migrants are as often coerced by threats of lawsuits and debt bondage as they are by physical violence.

 

August 25, 2020

An Omnivore essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

Photographer Maury Gortemiller explores moments similar to this one in his series Do the Priest in Different Voices. I was startled to find my strange memories of this time reflected within his novel images, which seem to radiate with the command from the Book of Revelation to “write what you have seen, what is now.” 

 

August 20, 2020

An Omnivore essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

Johns has said that, even as a child, he wanted to be an artist—only he didn’t know what an artist was. “In the place where I was a child, there were no artists and there was no art so I didn’t really know what that meant,” he said. “I think I thought it meant that I would be in a situation different from the one that I was in.”

 

August 25, 2020

A featured short story from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

We thought it was the hysterics, him saying over and over again that he couldn’t see, he couldn’t see. Momma was there and rocked over him and prayed the best she could, even though she knew why Reggie was going down to Savannah in the first place. To do those sweet things. I know that Momma would never say it, but she felt like it happened because of his sin. 

 

August 25, 2020

Fiction from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

Amadu waited until Eliza was inside, then stood over the ashes of the vine. She felt of the heat that rose to meet her palms, unsourced heat, for the sparks had finished. It was a grievous wound, then, a heat she could feel from so far. Rebels would not take a gravely wounded captive. They would have killed him, but this message held a bare glow, a senselessness. 

 

August 25, 2020

A featured conversation from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue.

“The pandemic in the United States opened up the truth of what that nation is about. Like a volcano, truth just came pouring out. Just layers and layers and layers. I keep hearing this stuff about, well, in America, we’re exceptional. Are you kidding? I never thought that, never felt that, never even considered it. American exceptionalism? Please.”

 

Page 5 of 5