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This week we found a key in our wallet. We don’t know where it came from or what it opens, and we don’t recognize the silver shape. Last week we noticed a cookbook missing from our shelves, and we haven’t found it since. Two weeks ago we saw a dead squirrel on our walk to work—a common sight in the neighborhood, except the body was twenty feet away from the road, splayed on a sidewalk at the base of an oak. Had she miscalculated a jump and fallen to her death? Later, when we walked home, the squirrel had been laid under a trio of rocks: an improvised burial. Our lives are filled with small mysteries. What happened to the squirrel? Where did the cookbook go? How did this key work its way into our wallet, unnoticed for years? Lucky for us, the Internet now has someone to answer these questions. Starlee Kine, producer of “Mystery Show” by Gimlet Media, is on the case. She’s made it her mission to solve one mystery a week, and so far she’s succeeded. Catch up on her current detective work here. Pair with Kine’s Longform podcast, from the early days of that show.

The June issue of Poetry is a treasure trove, and presents new poems from several past contributors to this magazine, including Yusef Komunyakaa, Michael Klein, and David Tomas Martinez. And while we’re always overjoyed when OA poetry editor Rebecca Gayle Howell publishes new work, this month we’re especially proud of her Poetry debut. Rebecca has two beautiful pieces in the June issue, “Something’s Coming but Never Does” and “Every Job Has a First Day.” The latter was selected to be read in the magazine’s excellent monthly podcast. In the discussion, editor Don Share singles out a stunning line—“He wore those rubber boots, though the sun was / an anvil, and very little wet . . .”—inspiring us, yet again, to dive into Render, Rebecca’s powerful collection from 2013.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Leon Bridges, the rising rail-thin “new soul” musician from Fort Worth, Texas. He sounds a lot like Sam Cooke—at least according to nearly every outlet that’s covered Bridges in the past year. We’ll admit that the comparison’s getting tired, though we get it, too. Maybe it’s Bridges’s soft Fifties pop grooves, the rhythmic catch of the guitar strings on second beats, the harmonized doo-wops in “Better Man,” or the scratch at the edge of the tenor vocals that makes his voice sound like it was recorded by a 1955 cardioid mic. Whatever it is, listeners the nation over have responded to Bridges’s act with cultish admiration. We ourselves saw him play a show at Little Rock’s White Water Tavern not long ago, performing to a near-empty room while we watched in quiet awe. (By the time we caught his return trip, the word had gotten out: it was standing room only.) Since then his listeners have grown from tens to dozens to thousands—seemingly in the time it might take for a space rocket to launch in front of a world of screen-pressed faces. Bridges’s expanding fan base is at odds with the fact that he’s had only two songs available online until just this month. NPR premiered the “First Listen” of his album, Coming Home, on June 14. It dropped on Tuesday. We’re partial to the title track.
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Oxford American

From the editors of the Oxford American.