The OA’s next issue is a love letter to Southern art! ️✨

Pre-order your copy today or find it on select newsstands starting March 19!

SUBSCRIBE Shop Donate Login


Issue 107, Winter 2019

South Carolina Music Issue

The Oxford American presents its 21st annual Southern Music Issue, featuring more than twenty-five stories and poems exploring the history and legacy of South Carolina music. Among the many notable contributors to this year’s Southern Music Issue are National Book Award–winning poet Nikky Finney; fiction writers Thomas Pierce and George Singleton; musicians Marshall Chapman and Melvin Gibbs; and essayists John Jeremiah Sullivan and Zandria F. Robinson.

The issue comes with a 24-song sampler showcasing South Carolina music across era and genre, ranging from a 1937 field recording of the gospel choir the Plantation Echoes to Gullah-Geechee revivalists Ranky Tanky’s 2019 single “Freedom.” In signature Oxford American style, the compilation includes beloved artists such as Reverend Gary Davis, Linda Martell, Shovels & Rope, and Iron & Wine, alongside obscure recordings, including early hip-hop from Charleston and a 1970s prison band. Accompanying the sampler in the issue are detailed liner notes and essays on the songs by Blain Roberts and Ethan J. Kytle, Katie Moulton, Benjamin Hedin, and others.

The Music of South Carolina 

Notes on the songs, including: 

"Down to the Graveyard"
George Singleton on Moon Pie

"Bad Case of the Blues"
Katie Moulton on Linda Martell 

Marshall Chapman on her "Guitar Song"

Liam Baranauskas on Charlie McAlister

"My Father Is a Witness, Oh, Bless God"
Blain Roberts & Ethan J. Kytle on the Plantation Echoes

"Keep Your Eyes on the Prize"
Benjamin Hedin on Alice Wine 

Benny Starr on his “Resurrection”

Brendan Greaves, KaToya Ellis Fleming and Diaspoura


Early Recordings, by Thomas Pierce

Enchanted, a poem by Ciona Rouse

Eartha Kitt, Coming Home, by Latria Graham

Lowcountry for Old Heads, by Dave Tompkins 

Beyond the Sea, by Sarah Bryan

I Make of You What I Will, by Mark Powell

The Knoxes of Murrells Inlet, by Eric Crawford

Cut Me Loose, by Joshunda Sanders

Talking Drums, by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Set the Country to Stamping, by Robert Greene II

Esquerita and the Voola, by Baynard Woods

I Remember His Sweetness, by Maxwell George

More Like African Music, by Melvin Gibbs 


Clara & Josephine
A poem by Nikky Finney

The Wonder of It All
In Ron McNair’s Orbit
by Jon Kirby

Sing Across the Ocean
South Carolina is our past and our future, and Ranky Tanky celebrates the middle
by Zandria F. Robinson 

Like a Shovel and a Rope
Notes on family and a family band
by David Ramsey

Now I Don't Know Who I Am 
Mixed (race) feelings about Columbia’s Toro y Moi
by Lauren Du Graf


Art by: Carter/Reddy, Ndidi Emefiele, Alex Harris, Katherine Dunlap, Dorothy Chapman Josey, Sean Rayford, Jack Tottle, Diana Davies, Paul Chelmis, Sam Doyle, Shara Hughes, Carrie Mae Weems, Sarah Hobbs, Brennan Booker, Adam Ekberg, Irene Tison, Derrick Adams, Radcliffe Bailey, Alex Gardner, Giuseppe Pino, Carl Van Vechten, Jeremy M. Lange, Kennedi Carter, Robert Beatty, Keisha Scarville, Sully Sullivan, Teppei Kaneuji, Steve Daniels, Dave Jordano, Ruta Smith