Oxford American

Sixth annual music issue

Taliban Republicans may be giving the American South a bad name these days, but the region’s cultural output, especially the music produced by its lower and middle classes, represents much that is loved about America by people outside its borders. Fittingly, this Southern literary magazine, recently on the ropes, returns with its annual Southern music issue (actually, the last one was in 2001), which comes with a compilation CD that helps illuminate the features and essays inside the magazine. From bluegrass (Del McCoury), blues (Little Milton), gospel (the Blind Boys of Alabama), power pop (Chris Bell) and country (Willie Nelson) to Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, reading—and listening—to this issue should precipitate some mighty fine reflections on what, verily, makes America great.