Southern Sounds

First Listen: Andrew Combs' "Nothing to Lose"

By The EditorsSouthern SoundsJanuary 20, 2015

Nashville, Tennessee, has long been home to talented singers and songwriters, so naturally musician Andrew Combs fits right in. The Texas native's sophomore album All These Dreams will be released March 3, but you can have a listen to the track “Nothing to Lose” now exclusively here. 

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First Listen: Blackberry Smoke's "Too High"

By The EditorsSouthern SoundsJanuary 13, 2015

Although the Allman Brothers Band played their last live show back in October, another hardworking band from Georgia continues to keep the Rambin'-Man traditions of Southern rock alive. Atlanta's Blackberry Smoke have played more than 250 shows a year since their inception back in 2000 cultivating a fiercely loyal fanbase along the way, including fellow musicians George Jones—who guested on the band's second album—Zac Brown, and Gregg Allman himself. The quintet's fourth studio album, Holding All the Roses comes out February 10, but you can hear the song "Too High"exclusively on G&G now. 

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First Listen: JJ Grey & Mofro’s "Every Minute"

By The EditorsSouthern SoundsJanuary 12, 2015

With roots in Southern rock, blues, funk, and soul, the music of Jacksonville, Florida–based JJ Grey and Mofro defies categorization. The band's ninth album, Ol’ Glory, is out in February, but you can have an exclusive first listen of the track "Every Minute" now. Like most of the set, this song is an upbeat anthem—which is easy to understand considering the inspiration for this song came to Grey on a trip to Jamaica. “I had an epiphany," Grey says, "I was eating my favorite breakfast—ackee and salt fish—and was real warm but the sea breeze had just started out of the east. There was music playing somewhere in the distance and all at once I realized that I was the luckiest person alive (no matter how many times I might have tried to convince myself otherwise). Then I started humming this tune." 

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Gravy Podcast: Inside Fred's Lounge

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsJanuary 5, 2015

This week, the Southern Foodways Alliance's Gravy comes from the neon-lit confines of Fred’s Lounge, in Mamou, Louisiana. On Saturday morning, when most of the country is sitting down to breakfast or sleeping off the night before, the bartenders at Fred’s are pouring beer and slicing boudin for a raucous crowd of dancers and musicians—locals and tourists alike. In fact, the sixty-eight-year-old bar is only open on Saturday mornings, an eccentric policy that has helped cement its status as one of the most legendary dives in Cajun country. The music starts at 9 a.m., but the doors are open before 8. Two-step your way through the front door with Eve Troeh’s report from the dance floor.

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Gravy Podcast: The Fight for Water and Oysters

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsDecember 18, 2014

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for a new episode of Gravy , a podcast from the Southern Foodways Alliance's. This week, producer Tina Antolini navigates the troubled waters of the Florida panhandle where a storied local industry is in big trouble. 

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Gravy Podcast: Separation of Church and Coffee

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsDecember 4, 2014

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for a new podcast from the Southern Foodways Alliance. The Oxford, Mississippi–based organization launched Gravy, their biweekly tour of regional cooking and eating places, with a visit to the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina. This week, the podcast takes listeners to a couple of coffee shops in Knoxville, Tennessee where the baristas believe in more than just the merits of freshly ground beans. Listen below.

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The Stories of Southern Food

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsNovember 24, 2014

The podcast is having a moment. Not only is true-crime broadcast Serial a national topic of discussion, with millions of listeners, but the Southern Foodways Alliance has now also taken to the digital airwaves. While the Oxford, Mississippi–based organization has shared stories about food and drink below the Mason-Dixon line for more than a decade, Gravy is a leap into new territory with help from a seasoned producer, public radio veteran Tina Antolini.

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The Lost Songs of Bob Dylan

By Jessica MischnerSouthern SoundsNovember 21, 2014

In his early days as a 1960s songwriter, Bob Dylan took inspiration from a wide range of musicians, including Southern legends such as Little Richard, Woody Guthrie, and Hank Williams. So when famed producer T. Bone Burnett—a Texan who toured with Dylan as a guitarist in the mid-70s and went on to coach a singing Reese Witherspoon for her Academy Award–winning portrayal of June Carter in Walk the Line—received a call from Dylan’s publisher about a box of unrecorded 1967 lyrics, he rose to the challenge.

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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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