Our 7th Music Issue packs quite a set: Johnny Cash’s last interview, Emmylou Harris as the widow of Nashville, Muscle Shoals and the rise of FAME Recording Studios, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Dutch band Normaal, huapango arribeño musicians and the making of a “Mexican South,” the remaking of Beale Street, a newly discovered ballad of Ella May Wiggins, the community of New Orleans musicians, and more.
"[I]n a long history of poverty, defeat, and suffering on all sides . . . music in multiple forms became an indispensable source of solace, renewal, and strength."
We at Southern Cultures, and southern scholars generally, will always remember Michael for his brilliant insights and penetrating criticisms, unfailingly delivered with kindness, generosity, and wry, self-deprecating humor. His loss is a painful blow to everyone who takes the South seriously.
"Look, I appreciate . . . all the praise and the glory, but it doesn't change the way I feel about anything, really. I just do what I do and just hope the people enjoy it and just try to be myself in whatever I do."
"Emmylou Harris's post-Parsons work is a celebration of complicated grief, casting about for ways to both 'move on' and stay faithful to the past."
"The strumming of stringed instruments booms out through the PA, elaborate fiddle melodies erupt, followed by the soaring voice of the poet-practitioner, embracing those present, scanning the scene before him . . . drifting, shaping, moving verses that elicit a chorus of gritos."
"'We took time, there was no set pattern to how we recorded. We might record all day, go eat a hamburger, and record 'til midnight. I mean we didn't have no three-hour sessions. No such thing.'"
"'I think that everyone who lives here and plays music feels honored in some way, you know. It's a real privilege to be able to live in New Orleans and play music.'"
"'I am proud to be a farmer in the lowlands / A place where even squares can have a ball . . .'"
"In 1988 and '89 I started convincing people to come down there. [W]hen I got B.B. King, which took me seven years, that's really when it completely turned."
"'Men say mill folks are rotten / an' mean down to the core, / But if you seen your chillern starve, / wouldn't you ask fer more?'"
"For fifty years I sweat my dues, / wept salt liquor from the blues. / This story I tell wherever I go."
"Wherever there is suffering, wherever loneliness, wherever love is felt, your spirit, your voice, your music will be heard."
"No one I knew, not even Pete Seeger, could make that banjo ring with the sounds of the Appalachian mountains the way Guy could."
We pulled off the main road, rolled down the windows, and drove toward the music. Tune into this playlist from our 2015 Music Issue, featuring off the beaten tracks suited to summer wanderings.