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14th Annual Music Issue

14th Annual Music Issue

Nov. 2012 - Issue: 79

The Oxford American's 2012 Southern Music Issue showcases the rich musical heritage of the state of Louisiana, where sounds emanating from the swamps of Acadiana, the cotton fields of North Louisiana, and the streets and barrelhouses of New Orleans percolated into America's national consciousness and left a profound mark on modern music. 

As always, the issue includes a CD featuring an exciting mix of music and artists. Handpicked by the staff of The Oxford American and guest editor Alex Rawls, creator of and a longtime fixture of the Louisiana music scene, this year's 21-track compilation showcases the great variety of styles and genres that have emerged from the creole state—from Cajun to funk, country, jazz, New Orleans bounce, zydeco, r&b, gospel, blues, rock & roll, and everything in between. 

In 152 pages of insightful writing and stunning artwork, The Oxford American delves deep into Louisiana's musical landscape—its past, present, and future. 

Highlights include:

  • Jason Berry, author of Up From the Cradle of Jazz, on the life and legacy of Professor Longhair, the Bach of Rock

  • Jazz critic Stanley Crouch with a definitive exposition on the jazz aesthetic and the fundamental innovations of New Orleans's greatest jazz artists

  • Three new poems by Louisiana's own Yusef Komunyakaa, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who evokes the region's blues and jazz traditions in his verse and vernacular
  • Amanda Petrusich on the emotional power of the singing and playing of Amédé Ardoin, the great Creole accordionist

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Rose on Louisiana's role as the cradle of American music
  • Duncan Murrell explores the paradoxes of the quest for authenticity and originality in American roots music and the conflicts that have arisen between New Orleans's musical communities and political authorities

PLUS: Interviews, profiles, remembrances, and special features devoted to an array of artists and institutions, including Johnny AdamsRev. Utah SmithMargaret LewisMeschiya Lake and the Little Big HornsRobert Pete WilliamsThe MetersBarbara Reid, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Shreveport’s Louisiana HayrideTerrance Simien, New Orleans brass bands, Bourbon Street, Tony Joe White, Zydeco hip-hop, and more.


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