For one thing, there’s no music.
That’s because this is a recommendation of a magazine issue. If you love music, Georgia music in particular, then this issue of the Oxford American is a must get. As you should be able to tell from this blurb, it’s a great read.
In the magazine, more than 45 writers take on the task of chronicling numerous musical traditions and artists from Georgia—including legends, innovators, and the state’s brightest visionaries. A few highlights: Peter Guralnick on his discovery of Blind Willie McTell and the electrifying experience of seeing the James Brown Show in 1965; Kiese Laymon on the influence of OutKast; Amanda Petrusich on the Allman Brothers Band and Capricorn Records; Elyssa East on Gram Parsons and his “Nudie suits”; and Brit Bennett on Janelle Monáe and Wondaland Records. The issue has a special section called “Athens x Athens,” in which musicians from the famous scene share stories and anecdotes about what makes the town an unmatched hub for creativity.
A few more highlights: David Ramsey contemplates Little Richard; a profile of the swing jazz bandleader Fletcher Henderson by Cynthia Shearer; Creative Loafing senior staff writer Rodney Carmichael talks Dungeon Family with Rico Wade; rapper Killer Mike turns 40; Wyatt Williams goes in search of Dust-to-Digital’s magnum opus; Dom Flemons pays tribute to “Father of Gospel” Thomas A. Dorsey; new poetry by MacArthur Fellow A. E. Stallings; and much, much more.
The section on Athens really gets into the weeds. (If you think I’m kidding about that, there’s even a bit in there about Ort.)
Did I mention the issue comes with a 25-song CD? Well, it does.
… the issue comes with a 25-song CD compilation that features music by Georgia artists such as James Brown, Sandy Gaye, Gram Parsons, Otis Redding, OutKast, Indigo Girls, Drive-By Truckers, the Allman Brothers Band, and many more. This showcase of Georgia music also includes a cover of the song “Midnight”—written by songwriting legends Boudleaux Bryant and Chet Atkins and recorded by Ray Charles—by the Athens-based band Futurebirds. This song was recorded exclusively for the Oxford American. The compilation ends with a recently discovered 1961 demo recording of Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer performing “Moon River.” The CD was mastered by Grammy-winning producer Michael Graves of Osiris Studio in Atlanta.
There are a couple of omissions – I’ll leave it to you to figure those out – but taken as a whole, the magazine and the CD are a total blast. Go get ’em here.