Playlists curated by your favorite musicians and writers. by Brittany Howard, Kiese Laymon, Rosanne Cash, Kelsey Waldon, & others | Nov, 2020

An introduction to the Music Issue’s Icons Section Beyond my eye, beyond the death and decay of matters left behind and unsettled, the music ringing up above my head told a thousand stories of bounty and belonging, and it glimmered… by Danielle A. Jackson | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue She traveled the world and left it scorched with her fearlessness and musical originality, inspired fierce devotion from an audience who thrilled to her enormous gifts and her personal excesses, and shook… by Rosanne Cash | Nov, 2020

Originally published in our Georgia Music Issue Grandmama’s stank was root and residue of black Southern poverty, and devalued black Southern labor, black Southern excellence, black Southern imagination, and black Southern woman magic. This was the stank from whence black… by Kiese Laymon | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue Great Black music is that which isn’t trying to impress or entreat or even necessarily communicate with a white audience—or any audience. Instead, great Black music works to retrieve what Rahsaan Roland… by Harmony Holiday | Nov, 2020

Poachers are among a small group that have actually seen the flytrap in the wild, and Officer Gorchess thinks they know what they’re talking about. “The guys who actually take them probably know more about flytraps than ninety-nine percent of… by Joe Purtell. Photographs by Nina Riggio | Nov, 2020

An essay from the Greatest Hits Music Issue There was a moment in 1958 when the future of jazz took an extraordinary turn that would be imperceptible to the world for another quarter century. That’s when Ellis Marsalis Jr., freshly… by Gwen Thompkins | Nov, 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

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

Over the last three years, Alex and I have spent a total of eight summer nights in the Carlton Marion Inn. It’s a tidy motel with a gravel parking lot and a pool overlooking Crooked Creek Valley. This year, though, there’d be no fun to be had in the pool. Not even any fishing. We didn’t know that yet, but maybe we could feel it. Maybe we were afraid of what was coming, what was already there and would not stop.

In his series Palimpsests, film photographer Sean Crutchfield documents the places “where the past and present collide” in small-town Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

A featured short story from the Summer 2019 issue.

Mother had no shortage of repulsive qualities, but the most disturbing was her laugh. Otherworldly. Piercing. A stranger would fall on the ice or a double-crossing cop would get his comeuppance from a mobster on television and this wretched, menacing cackle would emerge as though she kept a raven on a choke-chain between her gargantuan breasts.

A poem from the Summer 2019 issue.

My mother turns off the kitchen light
before looking out the window

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

Here is what I know: becoming a parent made me a better writer; being a better writer made me a better parent. Now, as the number of children in my household doubles, I expect this positive relationship between the life-crafts of parenting and writing to extend and increase proportionally over time. I also expect severe financial stress. Lastly, I expect it’ll probably all work out somehow.

A poem from the Summer 2019 issue.

Fieldstones covered with velvet in emerald mark the heads of graves

a deeper depression in the ground means there was a casket that deteriorated causing the 
earth to cave in

shallower dents in the earth mean only linen shrouds wrapped the bodies

Mike Frolich’s artistic legacy in the Saturn Bar

One of my many justifications for keeping the devil was Frolich’s claim that his paintings were created in part for the children of the Ninth Ward, more of whom run through our house than the Saturn Bar. Kids need a relationship with their devils as much as adults do. Instead of renouncing or banishing them, children should know their features and particular hues, their habitats and gestures. Keeping them in steady sight, they’re easier to manage.

 

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.

In his series Sippi, Ty White documents the scenes off the rural backroads that make the Mississippi Delta distinct.

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue. 

Today we think of the fight for educational equality as being a national story, one involving a progressive Supreme Court, a reluctant president, and a recalcitrant governor in Arkansas, but the struggle was fueled by black parents and teachers and students across the country. It depended upon women like Laura and teachers like Carl and patriarchs like Isaac who labored across generations to reset their children’s future.

No person living today knows exactly what an 1850s minstrel banjo sounded like; the music that was made on such instruments predates the invention of recorded sound. But we know that the banjo was brought to America by Africans, and that white players, including Thomas F. Briggs—author of the first banjo instruction book, an invaluable resource for historians and musicians—learned from black banjoists. When Giddens composes for or performs on her banjo, she channels both the history and the mystery of early American banjo music: what has been passed down as well as what has been lost.

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue. 

I am angry. I am sad. I cry. I shout. I don’t understand. I am good about not expressing any of it with the van, especially when I have my daughters with me. I’m a model driver—no, please, you first! But when I’m alone I listen to the sound of a head exploding and, by some magic of sympathetic resonance, I experience the relief of it for myself. I know what it feels like when the pressure valve works, briefly.