Southern Side Trip: Playlist

Aaron Smithers

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.

Pressed into the pages of an imagined southern music scrapbook, photos and clippings tell of the hard work, heartbreaks, late nights, and bar fights behind the major movements of our shared sonic history. Flipping through, we see jazz beneath Storyville’s red lights, country music’s “Big Bang” in Bristol, southern soul and rock ’n’ roll painting Memphis in black and white, and the “Dirty South” rising tall above Atlanta’s urban sprawl.

These remarkable cultural convergences flood our collective memory, consuming the pages of this imaginary scrapbook with grand gestures and giant personalities that obscure the people, places, and sounds in between. Like too many pictures of the Grand Canyon from a family road trip, the destination eclipses the magic of the journey. In pursuit of a more rambling route through our current aural landscape, we pulled off the main road, rolled down the windows, and drove toward the music.

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Track List

1. “Hard Times Come Again No More” (3:53)
Stephen Foster, Arranged by Marisa Anderson

Traditional and Public Domain Songs,

2. “Down In the Water” (3:21)

Faces (single),

3. “Son Arribeño de la Sierra Gorda” (2:14)
Raúl Orduña y Los Trovadores

En Defensa de la Música de Vara,

4. “Little Black Train” (3:38)
Anna & Elizabeth

Anna & Elizabeth, Free Dirt Records,

5. “Car Song” (4:06)
Skylar Gudasz

car song / dream lover (single),

6. “Migration” (6:53)
Solar Halos

Solar Halos, Devouter Records,,

7. “Find a Way” (4:12)
Carlitta Durand

I’ll be Gorgeous When I Die,

8. “Karate Kicks” (2:55)
See Gulls

You Can’t See Me, PotLuck Foundation,

9. “Keep it Kool” (2:57)
The Koolest

Nerds at the Kool Table,

10. “BlkBoi” (2:22)


11. “Great Tide” (5:20)
Phil Cook

Southland Mission, Thirty Tigers & Middle West (2015),

12. “Candy Lady” (4:09)
Dave Ferrato

Later, On Decatur,

13. “Magdalena” (6:20)
New Orleans Suspects

Ouroburos, Louisiana Red Hot Records,

14. “Nobody’s Darlin'” (5:54)
Steph Stewardt & the Boyfriends

Nobody’s Darlin’,

15. “Boll Weevil” (3:10)
Alice Gerrard

Follow the Music, Tompkins Square,,

16. “Push Boat” (5:47)
Jake Xerxes Fussell

Jake Xerxes Fussell, Paradise of Bachelors,

17. “In the Pines” (9:12)
Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC

Live Sept 6th, 2013,

18. “Red Land Drone” (11:36)
Ezekiel Graves


Aaron Smithers is the music editor for Southern Cultures and the collections assistant for the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Header image: Detail from Southern Cultures cover illustration by Rob Liberti.

Explore the Fall 2015 Music Issue, featuring Johnny Cash's last interview, the making of a “Mexican South,” and more. (Cover illustration by Ron Liberti.)

Running time: 1:27:59.

Compiled by Aaron Smithers.

Mastered by Aaron Smithers and John Loy at the Southern Folklife Collection.

Special thanks to Steve Weiss, Curator, UNC’s Southern Folklife Collection.