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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A Points South essay from the Summer 2019 issue
Much of what they’d tell me next was legend—tall tales, rumors, exaggerations. Perry Martin adopted an orphan girl he found on the riverside, raised her up as his own, paid her way through college. He killed nine people, or eleven, or a dozen. One of his alleged victims was his own stepson: the younger man had rocked a boat they shared too violently, which angered Martin. Apparently, despite his life along the river, this outlaw did not know how to swim.
A selection of short stories in the Fall 2019 issue
He had witnessed her appearance a few minutes earlier. Instantly he had known, from the way her pieces sifted together, that she was a ghost, though he had never seen a ghost before, nor indeed believed in them. Nervously he called her over to his cart.
A Points South essay from the South Carolina Music Issue.
What I want is to love Southern rock without being implicated in the Old South politics. I want progress but I want it surgical. Take secession and Strom Thurmond, take Bob Jones and his university, take the racism and the guy wearing the sandwich board, all bad eye and venom, and leave me the Chattooga River, leave me my grandparents on the porch, leave me the fish fries and Ronnie Milsap and the old man at Open Arms Church who played the dobro so lovingly you swore he was cradling his child.
A Points South essay from the Spring 2020 issue
As sea levels rise, there’s more water than ever coming down the Atchafalaya. Shrimp are being pushed offshore, farther into the Gulf, emptying the bayous that Kermit Duck, Douglas Oleander, and their ancestors have fished for generations. On top of that, the water is polluted. On top of that, the shrimpers have to pay for fuel and ice, and they have to pay for a lot more of it when they’re chasing shrimp into the Gulf.
A prose poem from the Place Issue
When I got married, I knew she loved my husband, and I also knew she adored my in-laws because she would gift them these oranges, the most precious offerings of her and my father’s gardens. After my kids could finally eat solid foods, one of her greatest pleasures was hand-feeding them slices of fresh citrus—all the white threads lovingly pulled off for a sweet bite.
"It was the day after Easter, or as it’s known around here, Blue Monday. On King’s Bluff, a grassy shelf overlooking the lock and dam, a crowd of several hundred had gathered for the Blue Monday Shad Fry, an event celebrating the start of spring, and the shad runs that signal it."
William never intended for anyone to read these diaries. He kept his record in a cipher of his own design, fashioning shapes and symbols to conceal the terse fragments of his life. Presumably, he took the key to his coded diary to his grave.