Front Porch: Music 2006

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Front Porch: Music 2006

by Harry L. Watson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 12, No. 4: Music 2006

"Little about the South has meant more to southerners than their tunes."

Spirituals, blues, Dixieland, jazz. Ballads, old-time, hillbilly, bluegrass. Country, Cajun, zydeco. Sacred Harp, gospel, Christian rock. R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, “southern rock.” Nashville, honky-tonk, alt-country, progressive country. The list of southern musical varieties and hybrids goes on and on. It’s hard to imagine a richer legacy of southern culture than the music that southern people have brought to life. Larry Griffin calls it “toe-tapping, feet-shuffling, arm-waving music; whiskey-drinking, down-in-the-dumps, my-baby-done-me-wrong music.” There is little about the South that has meant more to southerners than their tunes, and nothing from the South that has been more widely popular around the world. The only other thing that even comes close is southern storytelling, but even the greatest writing or spoken word can’t travel as far and as fast as a great sound. Knowing all this, it’s a wonder that Southern Cultures hasn’t done a music issue before now.