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Introducing the Country Roots Music Issue

With a TRIO of stars on the cover; an original sampler CD featuring tracks by Hank Williams, Rhiannon Giddens, and Dolly Parton; playlists curated by Rissi Palmer, Tomás Doncker, and Gretchen Peters; and contributions from more than forty writers and visual artists, the 176-page magazine hits newsstands mid-December.

The Oxford American’s 24th annual Southern Music Issue celebrates the multi-hued roots of country music.

We continue the spirit of last year’s iconic star-studded covers with three country legends, pictured in the joy of performance: Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, and the queen mother of country, Dolly Parton. Though the three legendary musicians may be most known for their solo careers, OA poetry editor Rebecca Gayle Howell writes about the 35th anniversary of their first collaboration as Trio: “It was not just another supergroup moment. Trio weaved country traditions and the ease of pop music with the wounds of patriarchy. In delicate, healing truths Ronstadt and her friends reached out—and then all across the South, in carpeted bedrooms with doors closed, mothers and daughters reached back.”

Themes of reaching back, across genres and labels, time and memory, appear throughout the edition. The 2022 Country Roots Music Issue features an impressive lineup of contributors: radio host and musician Rissi Palmer traces the long lineage of Black musicians’ contributions to country music; Rodney Crowell reflects on writing just two of the songs from his long and award-winning career; and Dr. Francesca T. Royster, author of Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions, recalls her father’s career as a session musician in ’70s Nashville. Dr. Charles Hughes, author of Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South, listens to Millie Jackson, while Jason Kyle Howard brings Tanya Tucker her flowers. David Ramsey tells the mostly true story of Hiram Williams—better known as Hank. In a visual and archival ballad, John Jeremiah Sullivan uncovers the chilling history of a series of suicides in Texas. National Book Award finalist and OA contributing editor, Imani Perry, educates us on the country idiom of hip-hop. Our songbook travels from the South to New Jersey to the West to Ireland and beyond, celebrating the indelible sounds of truth, community, and hope.

This edition will include our anticipated CD sampler, a trademark of OA music issues. Nineteen carefully curated tracks celebrate the roots of country music, showcasing  the hidden stories and influencers who made it what it is today. Songs include “Sparrow,” by Wyn Starks, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and Built by Titan; “Better Than You Left Me,” by Mickey Guyton; ”Since You Put Me Down,” by Margo Price; “Wildflowers” by Dolly Parton and Trio, and music by Gillian Welch, the Drive-by TruckersMavis StaplesLucinda WilliamsLesley Riddle; and more. Liner notes for each track are included along with a Spotify playlist for readers who prefer streaming. The CD cover features the beautiful work of visual artist Molly McCall.

Published since 1997, the music issue is the Oxford American’s most acclaimed and popular production. Since 2009, the music issue has centered on a different theme, including Southern states, Visions of the Blues, and Greatest Hits.

The 2022 Southern Music Issue is available now for pre-order at It will be on select newsstands mid-December 2022.

Or, subscribe to the Oxford American by visiting For bulk orders, contact or 501-374-0000.

Dive into our Country Roots with the 24th Annual Music Issue!

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Oxford American

From the editors of the Oxford American.