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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

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October 04, 2017

In Fair Bluff Evan Simko-Bednarski explores a North Carolina town “in danger of simply fading away,” struggling to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The flood and its destruction come after the one-two punch of the tobacco and textile industries crumbling in the 1990s. As one resident put it, “The town was dying. The hurricane just sped us up by ten or fifteen years.”

October 02, 2018

The Oxford American magazine’s celebration of its twentieth annual Southern Music issue, this year featuring North Carolina, will be held Monday, November 26 – Saturday, December 1, 2018. This weeklong celebration, co-presented by Hillsborough, North Carolina-based Yep Roc Records, and designed in partnership with North Carolina-native singer-songwriter Tift Merritt, will be comprised of music events featuring a Statewide Singing Circle and literary readings highlighting stories from the issue. 

November 12, 2018

An essay supplement to our North Carolina Music Issue.

It’s easy to become bored with common things—a four-lane highway, or a daily schedule at the nursing home, or a type of bird or music. But maybe these days we make too much of what awes us or infuriates us, and too little of the regular life in the middle. What’s common only became common, after all, because it adapted and learned to fit in. A cliché was once original. Country music was once meaningful. Walking was once easy. A common robin once saved Jesus.

December 05, 2019

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.”

January 24, 2019

An essay supplement to our North Carolina Music Issue.

After processing their set, I asked them to tell me about Venezuela and the places that have faded into the backdrop of spotty, childhood memories for me. A country I haven’t seen in more than eighteen years is the place that they’re indescribably homesick for, but know they can’t return to if they want to continue making their art. Through their music and conversation, they transport themselves across the Caribbean Sea, back home.

November 05, 2019

Interested in how the climate of the South “coalesces with the lifestyle and culture” of the region, Eric Ruby celebrates “light, color, heat, and haze,” in his project Leanen n’ Dreamen, exploring how these atmospheric elements inform a way of life in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Missouri.

July 09, 2020

An installment in our weekly photography series, Eyes on the South

In a series of photographs documenting George Floyd’s memorial service in Raeford, North Carolina, Will Warasila interrogates the relationship between photographer and subject and the privilege inherent in the act of creating photographs.

November 20, 2019

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.

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.”

October 23, 2017

One of eight historic African-American neighborhoods in Raleigh, North Carolina, SE Raleigh was first settled more than 130 years ago. Once a hub for business, education, and cultural life, rising property taxes and increased rent have forced many people in the area to move out of their homes.