An essay from the Place Issue There was a time when I would have given anything for this quiet space to reflect. As it is, I’m tired of thinking about God, and maybe the reason I can’t figure out how… by Jamie Quatro | Aug, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue I first met Skip James at Dick Waterman’s apartment in Cambridge in the summer of 1965. I sought him out because, quite simply, his music had overwhelmed me: the blues that he… by Peter Guralnick | Oct, 2020

A Points South essay from the Place Issue Not only was I in Tennessee, where racism punctuates our historical narrative, but this was Lawrenceburg, some scant eighteen miles from Pulaski, the Klan’s birthplace. And the Lawrenceburg folks had been some… by Rachel Louise Martin | Aug, 2020

An essay from the Place Issue At almost sixty miles in length, the Chattooga is one of the longest and last free-flowing rivers in the eastern United States, and mile for mile, it covers a steeper vertical drop than the… by Erik Reece | Aug, 2020

An introduction to the Greatest Hits Music Issue How does the South inform my music? How do I describe the sound that your bare feet make when they pat the cool, packed red dust under them? How do I describe… by Brittany Howard | Oct, 2020

A poem from the Place Issue Symptoms include an inability / to admit to oneself, let alone some chimeric / Crip, or Capulet, our deepest fear is not / that we are inherently adversarial. Though, / perhaps, it should be. by Marcus Wicker | Aug, 2020

 A Letter from the Editor, Place Issue. A tiresome stereotype about the American South is that this place is a monolith. Growing up in Arkansas, with the two sides of my family living in different regions of the state, I… by Eliza Borné | Jul, 2020

A feature essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue. Most people think of human trafficking as involving sex work, but trafficking occurs across a variety of industries, and migrants are as often coerced by threats of lawsuits and debt bondage as… by Rachel Mabe | Aug, 2020

An Omnivore essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue. Photographer Maury Gortemiller explores moments similar to this one in his series Do the Priest in Different Voices. I was startled to find my strange memories of this time reflected within his… by Jason Bruner | Aug, 2020

Elizabeth Nelson

Elizabeth Nelson is a songwriter, journalist, television writer, and civil servant in the field of education policy. Her writing appears in the Washington Post, NPR, the Ringer, Stereogum, and Lawyers, Guns & Money, as well as other places. She fronts the Paranoid Style, a D.C.-based garage-punk band once described by Robert Christgau as “better than anybody else except Sleater-Kinney.”

October 31, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

This is the most Marvin Gaye sentiment ever. There is no such thing as a fun, cheap fling in the Marvin Gaye universe. There is no hedonistic misbehavior of a random sort that doesn’t yield an awful psychic consequence. There is only this: wheels within wheels, complications, betrayals, and toxic jealousies. And then getting back together. He heard it through the grapevine. But since we’re still friends. This is his foreplay.

September 12, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

What is it about this malignancy that pulls me like the moon pulls on the tides? Why does he live in my head? Maybe I am a soft touch. Maybe I’m a mark. Like so many women, I can’t resist a half-handsome smart guy with a ready and witty remark. That’s on me. I got hooked on a single song: “I Was in the House When the House Burned Down.” But that was years after 1982.

July 25, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

They had announced in August of that year that it would be their final outing and Toronto was the final stop on it. I must consider what or who it was they felt they were really saying farewell to on that frigid evening thirty-seven years ago.

May 30, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

What it all represented to me was a way of living and thinking that seemed astoundingly unconstrained by convention or expectation. Each of these scenes and bands was highly specific, daring, and individual. Most had no chance to reach a mass audience, and hardly fell over themselves trying to amend that state of affairs. For a small, shy, quiet girl with some roiling ideas about art and politics, their examples were a relief and a revelation.

April 09, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Understand my irreverence was never situated in disrespect or unkindness. First he was a man and then he was a star and then he was a legend and then he was a caricature and finally an abstraction. This is the life cycle of commodification. By the time I first heard the name we were well into the weeds.

February 21, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

As for the movie I’m watching, I came to adore it more than I ever expected to. It sent me down a Lou Reed rabbit hole. Transformer and Mick Ronson led to Bolan and Mott and then to glam writ large. For a theater kid with a nascent interest in songwriting, the serotonin fireworks are nearly impossible to describe.

August 14, 2018

In a 2017 interview with Bill Flanagan, Bob Dylan held forth on his views regarding Don McLean’s “American Pie,” a song that I have loathed with an almost inchoate malice since first encountering it as a young child. Dylan didn’t seem like a fan either, and in particular addressed the long-standing conjecture that he himself was the so-called “jester” referred to in McLean’s bloviating marathon.