Seven Essential Southern Albums

Caroline Allison

We asked several of our favorite musicians for albums every music-loving Southerner ought to know 

REM Reckoning

Reckoning, R.E.M.
“R.E.M is my all-time favorite Southern band. They made about ten excellent albums, but if I had to pick one favorite, it would be their second full-length album, released in 1984. It’s an absolute masterpiece from their early phase, with incredible songs like ‘So. Central Rain’ and ‘(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville,’ among others.”

—Patterson Hood, Drive-By Truckers


Goodbye Babylon

 

Goodbye, Babylon, Various Artists
“It’s a collection of field and archival recordings of Southern gospel music released by Dust-to-Digital. It contains the very seeds of American roots music.”

Rosanne Cash


Eat a Peach Allman Brothers

 

Eat a Peach, The Allman Brothers Band
“The studio version of 'Blue Sky' is alone worth having this classic in your collection.”

—Susan Tedeschi, Tedeschi Trucks Band



Al Green Im Still In Love With You

 

I’m Still In Love With You, Al Green
“Those guys were making magic down in Memphis! This album was what Southern soul was all about in Charleston, South Carolina, where I grew up. It will always remind me of home.”

Darius Rucker


Jason Isbell SoutheasternSoutheastern, Jason Isbell
“Every single human should own Southeastern, by Jason Isbell. It will break you down, lift you up into laughter, make you explore the dark places you never wanted to, and still has the choruses that you can’t stop singing in the shower. Love and glory, death and defeat. A perfect exploration into all of our souls no matter our age, class, or taste. He is a perfect storyteller and musician.”

Holly Williams


Outkast ATLiensATLiens, Outkast
“Outkast brought that Southern hip-hop to a bigger audience, and that spawned so much greatness. If you don’t move to this record, there isn’t much hope for you.”

—Paul Janeway, St. Paul and the Broken Bones


 


Sounds of the SouthSounds of the South (box set), Various Artists
"[This is] Alan Lomax's definitive roots music field-recorded masterpiece. A look into the wonder, beauty, sadness, and humanity through the songs of the Southern soul. It's the quintessential Southern sacred music bible."

—Chris Robinson, Chris Robinson Brotherhood

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