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The Oxford American’s 22nd Annual 
Southern Music Issue

Guest edited by
BRITTANY HOWARD

 

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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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August 25, 2020

An essay from the Place Issue

I visit Mileston more than I do my parents’ graves; it is here in the Delta that I can again imagine them as vibrant people, a way of dimming the memory of the pain of watching their decline into illness and old age.

December 04, 2015

George Mitchell’s recordings and photographs of the blues music and culture of Georgia’s Lower Chattahoochee Valley document a once-thriving American musical tradition drawing its last defiant breath.

November 10, 2015

Tired of Being Tired, by Ari Gabel, focuses on people of the Mississippi Delta. Inspired by his love for the delta blues, Gabel traveled throughout the region searching for the source of this powerful genre of American music.

May 23, 2016

The photographs in Grant Ellis’s book Bless Your Heart were taken during the summer of 2014, when Ellis returned to the Mississippi Delta where he grew up.

September 25, 2017

In That Land of Perfect Day is the culmination of Brandon Thibodeaux’s eight-year long residency in the towns of the northern Mississippi Delta, including the United States’ oldest completely African-American municipality, Mound Bayou. 

September 04, 2019

“As the grandson of a well driller, I learned at an early age that water does not originate from a faucet, nor simply disappear after going down the drain.”

March 14, 2018

Rory Doyle’s Delta Quinceañera is “part of a larger body of work documenting Latino immigration in the rural Mississippi Delta over the last five years.” These images of a single Quinceañera, which shepherd the viewer from a Mass held in a young woman’s honor to a “dance party held in Cleveland, Mississippi’s local Army National Guard Armory,” convey the particular mix of grand, joyful celebration and deep, solemn importance that marks the transition from childhood to womanhood throughout Latin America.

July 24, 2019

In his series Sippi, Ty White documents the scenes off the rural backroads that make the Mississippi Delta distinct.

October 18, 2016

Constructed in 1904, the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman covers 20,000 acres, forty-six square miles, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. In 1994, Kim Rushing began photographing the inmates.

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