A Points South essay from the North Carolina Music Issue. I heard voices down the hall and followed them into the recording room, where I found Soul Council producer Kash talking with Tia Watlington, Jamla’s director of product management, and… by Dasan Ahanu | Nov, 2018

A Points South essay from the North Carolina Music Issue. I first heard Wesley Johnson’s name in 2008 while speaking with Carlotta Fleming (née Samuels) about her vocal group, Odyssey 5. After recording their lone LP, First Time Around, for… by Jon Kirby | Nov, 2018

A feature essay from the North Carolina Music Issue.  I wanted to start with the wild weeds and the creaking wood on the front porch, walking up to Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. I wanted to start… by Tiana Clark | Nov, 2018

A Points South essay from the North Carolina Music Issue. Around the close of the 1950s, if you wanted to hear the beginnings of the funk music that James Brown would soon introduce to the world, you wouldn’t find much… by Sarah Bryan | Nov, 2018

A poem from the North Carolina Music Issue. It rises from dust, rakes in the populace, feeds them fried Twinkies, fried trees if they could put them on a stick and powder them in sugar. Bodies bunch up: the perfumed, the balmy, the whole… by C. L. White | Nov, 2018

A feature essay from the North Carolina Music Issue. Perverse? Yes. Blasphemous? Maybe. But not irreconcilable. To contemplate the meaning of Jodeci is to grasp at the intersection of religion and excess, of devotion and abandon, of agape and eros—a… by Lauren Du Graf | Nov, 2018

A Points South essay from the North Carolina Music Issue. Funk can be a sense of place, transmigratory memories filtered through the nose. For George Clinton, the smell of pig shit crosses state lines. “I remember feeding them pigs. I… by Dave Tompkins | Nov, 2018

Track 22 – “Somebody Else’s World” by Sun Ra & His Arkestra FEAT. June Tyson  Sun Ra—master jazz pianist, composer, visionary, and astral traveler—is why many jazz listeners entered the Space Age before there was a Space Age. And June Tyson gives vibrational… by Harmony Holiday | Nov, 2018

A Points South essay from our North Carolina Music Issue. “Reina de mis . . . Reina de mis . . .” And it struck me suddenly, as I stared down at my notebook at my messy handwriting, how without… by Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas | Nov, 2018

Notes on the songs from our 20th Southern Music Issue Sampler featuring North Carolina. The profiles, eulogies, and essays herein boast of remarkable achievements of North Carolina’s musicians across eras and genres: from unassailable legends (High Point’s John Coltrane, Tryon’s… by Oxford American | Nov, 2018

An essay supplement to our North Carolina Music Issue.

It’s easy to become bored with common things—a four-lane highway, or a daily schedule at the nursing home, or a type of bird or music. But maybe these days we make too much of what awes us or infuriates us, and too little of the regular life in the middle. What’s common only became common, after all, because it adapted and learned to fit in. A cliché was once original. Country music was once meaningful. Walking was once easy. A common robin once saved Jesus.

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

Her mother was characterized by her resilience but also her harshness; she had lived in a holler nestled in the East Tennessee mountains, worked on an assembly line in a shirt factory, and been a divorced woman at a time when divorcées were ostracized. When my relatives reminisce about her, they remark often about her stubbornness, her confrontational tenacity. Neither sentimental nor delicate, her affection manifested in stoic devotion rather than fawning tenderness.

Rosalind Fox Solomon’s Liberty Theater comes from a period of traveling throughout the South between the 1970’s and 1990’s, documenting the influence of discrimination from Alabama to Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

A poem from the Fall 2018 issue.

The girl born at the edge 
                  of a copper-colored river 
returns, prefers her wrists 
                                                      cuffed 
                  by swift currents 
rather than caution-stilled 
                                  by the many sister-gazes.

A feature essay from the Fall 2018 issue.

One morning in the summer of 1996, Damian Hart was standing naked on a pier in the Aegean Sea. The sun was bearing down on Mount Athos, one of several craggy peninsulas that extend like claws off the coast of northeastern Greece. Hart, an American priest, was a guest at Agiou Pavlou, or St. Paul, one of twenty-odd Greek Orthodox monasteries that occupy the land. For Greek Christians, the peninsula is a holy site, perhaps the holiest in the world.

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

I couldn’t tell if my total transparency meant I was improving or that I was becoming completely unmoored, with no understanding of my words’ effects—especially on Luke. I was still so far away from understanding the pain I’d caused him. The nearest I could come was a vague worry that I could no longer experience that empathy.

An essay from the Louisiana music issue.

When I was fifteen, my brother brought home an album by Lightnin’ Hopkins. I got real turned around by that. I took that record and a guitar up to my room. A month later, I came downstairs into the living room and played “Baby Please Don’t Go,” played it for the family. They didn’t say anything, and that’s it. I played from the time I heard that album. It was something I couldn’t stop thinking about. I had no choice.

A poem from the Fall 2018 issue.

None of this surprises you now, 
does it? I’m not sure I can know that, 
I responded to myself. 
Or I think I did. 
I should have. 

A friend told me to embrace 
my disorientation here, to attend 
to it and dwell in that state, make it 
a daily practice, like walking, 
like drinking coffee. 

Sarah Winchester and the legacy of living with guns 

It’s difficult to understate how the repeating rifle revolutionized killing, of both animals and man, as it brought the world from the single-shot muzzle-loaded rifle to a gun that could hold multiple cartridges and fire two shots per second. It’s the “gun that won the West.”

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

As I listened, going first through What Would the Community Think again and then switching to Moon Pix, I felt the loneliness leave me. I watched it dance in front of me, saw it swimming against the light from the music.

Drawn initially to these images of displaced funeral bouquets as a distraction from his own grief, Joel Whitaker came to observe these abandoned flowers and sentimental ephemera as a necessary counterbalance to the somber etiquette of death, a reminder of the “impermanence of the original, well-planned, and ordered memorial.”

Every slight got raked into a sad little pile of hurt, which is why, I think, we both laughed with such obvious scorn whenever one of our acquaintances euphorically declared their marital friendship on social media. We laughed because we secretly wanted that friendship, too, and had given up believing it was possible in this particular marriage. But it was fine. Only a few more decades of this pathetic business and we’d be dead! It’s fine!