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Big Boi and André 3000. © Jerome Albertini / Corbis


Introducing our 17th Southern Music Issue, featuring Georgia

From the country blues to early jazz to gospel, soul, metal, rock & roll, hip-hop, and beyond—there isn’t a corner of American music the people of this state haven’t made their own. Within the magazine and across 25 songs on the accompanying CD, we have gathered some of their stories, in hopes of illuminating a bit of Georgia’s musical past, present, and future. 

Next week, we’ll post the issue’s full table of contents. Here are just a few highlights from the magazine:


“He displayed a breadth of imagination that allowed him to cover virtually every aspect not just of the African-American experience but of the entire American vernacular tradition.”

Searching the Desert for the Blues
Peter Guralnick on Blind Willie McTell




“I’d heard that moan in the presence of older Southern black folk my entire life, but I’d never heard it connecting two rhymed verses. Art couldn’t get any fresher than that.”

Da Art of Storytellin’ (A Prequel)
Kiese Laymon on OutKast




“Listening to Duane, you get the sense you’re receiving everything he had, straight, that he was uninterested in or incapable of mediating his presence while playing.”

The Road Goes on Forever
Amanda Petrusich on the Allman Brothers




“Occasionally, I run into people who were here thirty years ago (or twenty, or ten) and then left for a more sensible adult pursuit. Inevitably, they ask me if the Athens music scene of today is anywhere near as good as it was in their own halcyon college years. I’ve always given the same response: ‘It’s even better.’”

Why Athens?
David Barbe on the famous scene




“I knew someone who knew someone who had Little Richard’s cell phone number, and in June, I cold-called him. To my surprise, he picked up.”

Prayers for Richard
David Ramsey on Little Richard




“One of his sidemen later compared the Henderson requirement to being able to see around corners. The received wisdom was, if you could cut the mustard in that band, jazz was yours, baby.”

Sugarfoot Stomp
Cynthia Shearer on Fletcher Henderson




“By floating through time, by playing with the tropes of the past, by inventing new mythologies and new futures, Monáe and her artists expand the possibilities of black art and showcase the complexity of black lives, its struggles and its triumphs.”

Battle Cry of the Android
Brit Bennett on Janelle Monáe




“What Lance had been compiling was not just a collection of songs, but a portrait of a time in which Atlanta had been the thriving center of recorded Southern music.”

An Unfinished State
Wyatt Williams on Dust-to-Digital


2015 11 12 91COVER Notebook

For more on the Georgia Music Issue, go to OxfordAmerican.org/music  

Pre-order the Georgia Music Issue today!

Oxford American

From the editors of the Oxford American.