A Southern Journey from the Summer 2018 issue.  We are hunting Jerome Boyatt, a Plateau fugitive who remains elusive even after his surrender and brutal death more than eighty years ago. In 1933, when he was twenty-two years old, he… by Lisa Coffman | Jun, 2018

Brother Dynamite in reflection Hounded throughout by the Man, busted, shot at, Big Man managed to stay out of the jackpot. It probably helped that he was a quiet cat who played things close. He’s like that nowadays, not particularly keen on… by John O’Connor | Jun, 2018

A short story from the Summer 2018 issue. What could you make of a world where two things were true at the same time? For instance: Ronnie was dead. But also, Ronnie was alive, and striding very quickly through the… by Becky Hagenston | Jun, 2018

A Points South story from the Summer 2018 issue In our collective memory, this land made it possible to take from so many. Now, I want it to give something back. by Osayi Endolyn | Jun, 2018

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2018 issue.  Even though I knew it was only temporary, I found riding the Tornado a profoundly lonely experience. For many of those around me, the journey was more permanent, one after which they… by Daniel Blue Tyx | Jun, 2018

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2018 issue.  I am again driving through the moon-flecked summer night, the hot dead bugs against my windshield summer night, the benzene-sulfur-streaked chemical stacks streaming into the gleaming Gulf summer night. It is so damn… by Justin Nobel | Jun, 2018

A short story from the Summer 2018 issue. Instead of coming to my birthday party, Shelby decided to become a Mormon. Every year since I turned nine it was me, my Nan, and Shelby eating meringue and lighting off snakes… by Caroline Beimford | Jun, 2018

Poems from the Summer 2018 issue. How convenient when the brainstarts to glow.  You can helpan injured peacock out of the roadwithout being pecked to death. by Dean Young | Jun, 2018

 A Letter from the Editor, Summer 2018. Sometimes we go on journeys just for fun, and sometimes we go because we have to, even when it’s hard. In our third annual Southern Journeys summer feature, five writers travel far and… by Eliza Borné | Jun, 2018

There is a remarkable story tucked halfway through Bessie, Chris Albertson’s biography of the blues singer Bessie Smith, in which Smith approaches a circle of robed North Carolina Klansmen, places one hand on her hip, and begins shaking the other in the air. She hollers obscenities at the men until “they finally turned and disappeared quietly into the darkness.” This is the sort of tale that stinks of apocrypha, but is nonetheless a useful encapsulation of Smith’s particular prowess: shouting darkness into darkness.

With its haunting melody, pressing rhythms, and determination, in the face of the grief that inspired it, to look on the positive side of things, Hebb’s recording of “Sunny” captured the spirit of its time.

In a lovely paean to her home state, a feature essay from our Tennessee Music Issue, Rosanne Cash details the memories that inspired her multiple Grammy Award–winning album The River & the Thread.

An installment of Big Chief Tablet.

Maybe the least expected of the factors that went into making ska in those years, and the one many would argue that most nearly approached it in sound, leading most directly to its birth, came not from Jamaica at all, or even from the Caribbean, but from West Tennessee, and more specifically from South Memphis, and more specifically than that, from the band called the Beale Streeters, and most specifically of all from the right hand of their pianist and sometime singer-songwriter, a Memphis native named Rosco Gordon.

Maury Gortemiller’s work Do the Priest in Different Voices  shows us familiar scenes from an unfamiliar viewpoint. The images in this series blend the icons of Christian epiphany and mysticism with mundane objects from our everyday experience, changing the backdrops of one thousand year old stories to this century in a distinctly American setting.

In 2008, a massive retention pond at a Tennessee Valley Authority coal-fired power plant burst open, spilling more than a billion gallons of coal ash into the Emory and Clinch rivers, burying about 400 acres of land under six feet of ash. The spill was one hundred times greater in volume than the Exxon Valdez spill and by far the largest coal ash disaster in U.S. history. When TVA decided to send the ash by train to a small, poor, rural, mostly black community outside Uniontown, Alabama, the EPA approved the decision. That same day, the first train of eighty cars clicked down the tracks to Alabama.

Roland Janes, 1933-2013

If you ever visited the Sam C. Phillips Recording Studio at 639 Madison Avenue in Memphis, you would know Roland Janes. He was there managing the studio, engineering sessions, greeting the world, every day more or less for the last thirty years, working with everyone from Charlie Rich to Memphis rappers Three 6 Mafia and Al Kapone to Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, and anyone who might wander in off the street looking to cut a “personal” record.

In the early 1960s, the Staple Singers marched with their gospel rhythms and church-house fervor into the arena of civil rights–inspired folksong. Some saw this as a straying from the one true way, a betrayal even. For the Staples, it was a seamless progression, a greater embracing of all creation. And so it was that a like-minded admirer came by one day to introduce them to a scruffy young songwriter from northern Minnesota.