Alabama music will be the focus of the 2010 edition of The Oxford American magazine's award-winning and critically acclaimed annual Southern Music issue.
The Oxford American's 2010 Southern Music issue will be available on newsstands nationwide on Dec. 1. It will be packaged with a CD dedicated to an exploration of music produced in Alabama or by native Alabamans. The magazine will also include a special editorial section with articles about the artists and songs featured on the Alabama CD.
"The musical riches of the state of Alabama are deep and diverse—much deeper and much more diverse than most people realize," said The Oxford American's editor Marc Smirnoff. "We are utterly thrilled to be on this adventure."
The Alabama music CD and the special editorial section about Alabama music are being produced in partnership with the Alabama Department of Tourism, and after the 2010 Southern Music issue is released, The Oxford American will work with the agency to hold events around the state to celebrate the musical heritage of Alabama as part of The Year of Alabama Music in 2011.
"Music brings out the passion and devotion of fans everywhere," said Lee Sentell, Director of the Alabama Department of Tourism. "Our music campaign will showcase the state's legendary singers, songwriters, and musicians who perform nightly in some mighty funky places."
In 2009, The Oxford American inaugurated a new series through which its annual Southern Music issue focuses on the musical heritage of a different Southern state each year, in addition to covering the breadth and depth of music from the entire region.
The Oxford American's annual Southern Music issue has won two National Magazine Awards and other high honors since it was first introduced in 1999. It is considered by many readers and listeners to be among the best music packages in the country. Over the years, NPR has featured many of The Oxford American's Southern Music Issues on its broadcasts. The New York Times once wrote, "The Oxford American may be the liveliest literary magazine in America … The CDs are so smart and eclectic they probably belong in the Smithsonian."
The Southern Music issue has showcased both famous and criminally neglected musicians, everyone from R.E.M. to the Gants, Isaac Hayes to Erma Franklin, Lucinda Williams to Karen Dalton, Carl Perkins to the Armstrong Twins, Willie Nelson to Gary Stewart, Jerry Lee Lewis to Nellie Lutcher, and more. Such music writing legends as Greil Marcus, William Gay, Stanley Crouch, Peter Guralnick, Steve Martin, Rosanne Cash, Nick Tosches, and Kevin Brockmeier—among many others—have contributed memorable writing to the Southern Music Issues.