Southern Sounds

First Listen: Robert Earl Keen’s Bluegrass Debut

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsNovember 18, 2014

If you know anything about Robert Earl Keen, you probably know that the man is a seasoned storyteller. His biggest hits have been meandering, sing-along narratives such as “The Road Goes On Forever” and “Merry Christmas from the Family.” On his next album, though, he doesn’t have a single songwriting credit to his name. Happy Prisoner is a collection of classic bluegrass tunes first performed by the likes of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. It won’t be out until February 10, but you can listen to the first song, “Hot Corn, Cold Corn,” right here. It’s a Flatt & Scruggs tune, and—well, without further ado, here are Robert Earl Keen’s thoughts on the song, and on the project as a whole.

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A Music-Filled Weekend

By The EditorsSouthern SoundsOctober 10, 2014

For the fourth year running, Zac Brown is bringing his musical menagerie to the Lowcountry. The line-up for the two-day Southern Ground Music and Food Festival, which begins Saturday, features G&G favorites such as: St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Darrell Scott, North Mississippi Allstars, Steep Canyon Rangers, Secret Sisters, and many more.

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First Listen: Sons of Bill's 'Love and Logic'

By David ThierSouthern SoundsSeptember 23, 2014

They’re called the Sons of Bill, because that’s what they are: Abe, James, and Sam Wilson, the three sons of William Wilson, a Professor Emeritus of Literature and Theology at the University of Virginia. The Charlottesville, Virginia-based band, made up of the Wilson brothers, Seth Green, and Todd Wellons, formed in 2005, but started getting national and international attention with their 2012 album, Sirens

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Video Premiere: Lera Lynn's "Out to Sea"

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsAugust 25, 2014

The intimate, quivering twang in Lera Lynn’s vocals might bring to mind another, better known Lynn. But the Nashville-based singer-songwriter is not necessarily a country musician, she says, at least not according to the modern-day definition. “Out to Sea,” from her upcoming album, The Avenues (out September 9), is a track that bears some resemblance to her adopted hometown’s famous honky-tonk laments, carried along by airy harmonies and slide guitar, but it's also kin to the independent sounds of Athens, Georgia, where she cut her teeth.

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Get On Up: The James Brown Story

By Jessica MischnerSouthern SoundsAugust 1, 2014

It’s one thing to try to be like James Brown. Everyone from Bootsy Collins to Michael Jackson to Justin Timberlake has cited the Godfather of Soul’s enduring creative influence. But actually stepping into those patent leather shoes to try to be James Brown—well, that’s a different measure of daunting altogether. Fortunately, Chadwick Boseman loves a challenge. Under the direction of filmmaker Tate Taylor (The Help), the actor embodies the unshakeable ambition and charisma of the Hardest Working Man in Showbusiness as the breakout star of Get On Up, the James Brown biopic that hits theaters nationwide today. 

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G&G Exclusive: Gregg Allman & Friends

By Elizabeth HutchisonSouthern SoundsApril 29, 2014

Legendary blues rocker Gregg Allman was just a teenager when he first took the stage, playing in seedy clubs up and down the Gulf Coast. Four and a half decades, countless hits, and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later, Allman continues to tour (though the Allman Brothers Band has announced that 2014 will be their last year on the road). To honor the veteran vocalist, a diverse group of Allman’s fellow musicians and friends gathered at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta for a four-hour tribute concert this past January.

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First Listen: Bobby Bare, Jr.

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsApril 3, 2014

Bobby Bare, Jr. earned his first Grammy nomination in 1974. He was eight years old, and he had just recorded a popular duet with his father, country music legend Bobby Bare, titled “Daddy What If.” Bare, Jr. has been in the music business ever since. He sold t-shirts at his father’s concerts as a teenager, and then handled lighting for a parade of Nashville acts while honing his writing skills under the tutelage of Shel Silverstein, who was a close family friend and a prolific songwriter in his own right.

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Lordy, Lordy, the Opry's 40!

By Elizabeth HutchisonSouthern SoundsMarch 14, 2014

The radio show that made country music famous first hit airwaves in 1925. Back then it was just a weekly one-hour “barn dance” put out by station WSM in Nashville on Saturday nights. Today, the Grand Ole Opry is among the longest running broadcasts in history, occupying reverential space in the canon of American music. Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, even Elvis Presley (though he famously only played the Opry once) have all performed. This weekend, the Opry celebrates the 40th anniversary of its move to its current space east of downtown. It left the historic Ryman Auditorium in 1974 after the show’s popularity demanded a larger venue—but not before taking a six-foot circle of oak from center stage and installing it in its new home.

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The First Family of Country Music

By The EditorsSouthern SoundsMarch 13, 2014

Perhaps no other American family has had such an enduring musical legacy as the Carters. Hailing from the foothills of Virginia, A.P. Carter collected and composed traditional folk songs, while his wife Sara’s clear and strong voice resonated in homes across America from the 1920s to 1950s. Her cousin Maybelle’s use of the then-sidelined guitar solidified its place in country music, not to mention Maybelle’s daughter June, who became a legend in her own right alongside her husband, Johnny Cash.

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Mardi Gras Playlist

By Elizabeth HutchisonSouthern SoundsMarch 4, 2014

Happy Fat Tuesday. It's officially the last day of Carnival, which means if you haven’t had your fill of moon pies, king cake, and Hurricanes, today is last call. But for everyone working behind a desk instead of dancing through the French Quarter, we’re bringing the party to you with our essential Mardi Gras playlist on Spotify. Laissez les bon temps rouler! (Just keep the boozin’ to a minimum—we can’t be held responsible for any HR violations the playlist might induce.) 

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