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Coming November 2019 . . .

The Oxford American’s 21st Annual
Southern Music Issue & CD

Featuring
SOUTH CAROLINA

 

Pre-order your copy today.

  

The OA is thrilled to pair our South Carolina Music Issue announcement with an exclusive premiere of a new song from Ranky Tanky, the acclaimed Charleston band reviving the Gullah musical tradition of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. “Beat Em Down” is the title track from the band’s new EP, due out on Friday, and will be included on their upcoming album, Good Time (out July 12, 2019), the band’s first to include original compositions written in the Gullah tradition.

Check out the exclusive premiere of “Beat Em Down” from Charleston’s Ranky Tanky: 

The Oxford American’s South Carolina Music Issue will celebrate the unforgettable stories, songs, and artists that convey the deep history and continuing vitality of South Carolina’s music—including icons like Dizzy Gillespie, Eartha Kitt, and the Marshall Tucker Band, as well as contemporary voices, such as Iron & Wine, Toro y Moi, Shovels and Rope, and, of course, Ranky Tanky.

As always, the music issue will come with a sampler compilation of songs spanning the 78-rpm era to the present (in CD and digital download formats), with accompanying liner notes included within the magazine.

Pre-order your copy today. Issues will ship the first week of November.

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June 11, 2019

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue. 

I’m too old for bedtime stories, too old to be writing words like these, maybe too old for love songs. But for me, bedtime songs, my body, and my truck are physical links between New York and Mississippi, between a home I was given and a home I made.

June 11, 2019

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue. 

I’d go to the bar early to watch them sound check—I loved the “check, check . . . check one-two-three, check one-two”—and then I’d sit with Matt while he ate his free meal and ask how he was doing so I could report back to our parents. Was he eating okay? Was he happy? Did he have enough money? He never had enough money and there was always something lost, a jacket or a wallet or his keys, which made me nervous. I had never lost so much as an earring. 

June 11, 2019

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.

June 11, 2019

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue. 

I am journeying north. I want to see the infinite yellow flat of the Texas panhandle. Stables and barns. The dipping heads of pumpjacks. Enough to situate a fictional ranch along the Caprock Escarpment, a location I need to depict for a novel-in-progress. My mother’s family comes from the region, but I’ve never been there. My plan is to drive the seven hours north from Austin to Palo Duro Canyon, where I’ll camp for the night. Often, a single detail will bring a scene into clarity, and I’m off to find it.

June 11, 2019

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue. 

Holy Mother Lode. I rose straight up out of the driver’s seat and fairly levitated for the next six minutes/miles. New Grass on the radio is rare and precious enough, but where was I headed that very morning? Up to Bristol, Virginia, and then a winding ramble northeast to speak about writing, heading to Roanoke via one of my favorite roads: U.S. Route 11, a.k.a. the Lee Highway. Cosmic? You bet!

June 11, 2019

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue. 

Lenny did all he could to hang around it over the next couple of years, cleaning lines, fetching balls, brushing the clay to maintain a smooth surface. Eventually, after cocktail hour ended and the guests went home, Gibson set him in front of a backboard and showed him how to rotate his back foot and drive the ball. She even imparted a few life lessons, foremost among them, he remembers now: “Every time you come to this gate, you better be ready to go.” 

June 11, 2019

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue. 

He began the letter by asking Larry to cremate him and scatter his ashes next to his second wife’s ashes at Johnson Beach in Perdido Key, Florida, “approximately 75 yards from end of road, then straight out to the beach . . . where lovey’s ashes were scattered.” Then, Tom addressed the business of his art. “Now Larry,” the letter read. “I know you don’t know shit about art but DO NOT destroy my work.”

May 23, 2019

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.

June 11, 2019

A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue. 

In the Tampa exurbs, splashed across the side of a half-occupied strip mall, is a vast mural depicting the Victorian art critic-cum-philosopher-cum-political economist-cum-painter-cum-social reformer John Ruskin. He gazes out at an expanse of concrete and asphalt, most of his jaw coated in white paint to conceal an underlying scrawl of graffiti. It seems like a high-brow joke, to paint one of the nineteenth century’s leading critics of capitalism and industrialization to preside over a hollowed-out commercial landscape of accountants’ offices, pet grooming businesses, and laundromats.

June 12, 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 hot down here, so sultry, but I don’t want to turn the air-conditioning on in my little red fuel-efficient rental vehicle; I want to breathe in the heat, bathe in the heat, dance with it! And I happen to find a watering hole where I can do just that, in the belly of the belly of the belly of the beast. The Neon Moon Saloon, a cement-floor biker bar in industrial Houston. There’s a lively game at the billiard table, rough red-faced men at the wooden bar, a glowing neon cabinet of booze. It is an end-of-the-world type of place, and this is the end of the world.

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