Arts & Culture

Ten Years of Southern Trailblazers

A tip of the hat to those who have shaped the last decade

JASON ISBELL

Americana All-Star

Came out of North Alabama, via the Drive-By Truckers, to become dean of a new generation of Southern alt-country troubadours. Writes and sings songs of personal heartbreak and triumph that sound universal. Two Grammys on the mantel, but cares more about making every live show an unforgettable event. jasonisbell.com

John Jay Cabuay


NATASHA TRETHEWEY

Master of Verse

Explores history and race—black soldiers in the Civil War, for instance—in her powerful poetry, which earned the Mississippi native a 2007 Pulitzer Prize and the title poet laureate of the United States in both 2012 and 2014.


SAM BEALL

Hospitality Hero

Sparked a new Great Smoky Mountains cuisine rooted in local country ham from Allan Benton, buttermilk, and ramps. Transformed his family’s Blackberry Farm in East Tennessee into an award-winning resort and dining destination. Friends, family, and food lovers mourned when he died in a 2016 skiing accident—a visionary taken too soon.


TA-NEHISI COATES

A Mighty Pen

Baltimore-raised journalist and MacArthur grant “genius” whose 2015 book, Between the World and Me, took the form of a searing letter to his young son about racial inequality, winning him the National Book Award. Prompts conversations about African American culture and issues. Expanded his range by writing a hit reboot of Marvel’s Black Panther comic.

JOHN JAY CABUAY


BILLY REID

Classic Clothier

Turned the style-world spotlight from New York to the former mill town of Florence, Alabama, his muse and the headquarters for his thirteen eponymous stores. Makes workaday materials such as weathered leather, utilitarian denim, and raw linen into soulful button-downs, blazers, and shift dresses. billyreid.com


DAVE COBB

The Golden Ear

Nashville music producer who has manned the knobs for outlaw-country genre busters Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, and Jason Isbell. Rightly earned his reputation as a trendsetter by keeping the voice in focus and the sound natural. A true artist whisperer. davecobbproducer.com


VIVIAN HOWARD

Televangelist with a Whisk

Brought creative, seasonal dining to small-town Kinston, North Carolina, with her restaurant Chef & the Farmer. Spread the gospel of the state’s farm-to-fork foodways with her PBS series, A Chef’s Life, and Deep Run Roots cookbook. Her guinea-hen-and-rutabaga potpie is awe-inspiring. vivianhoward.com

John Jay Cabuay


JULIAN P. VAN WINKLE III

Bourbon Booster

Kentucky whiskey scion who inadvertently sparked a craze over his Pappy Van Winkle label when he created an exceptionally drinkable bourbon in frustratingly limited quantities. Watched bemusedly as it spawned a frothing cult and fanned interest in the Southern liquor nationwide. oldripvanwinkle.com


WILLIAM E. PALMER

Quail Defender

As CEO of Tall Timbers land conservancy, shepherded innovative strategies for the restoration of longleaf pine and grassland habitats that support the comeback of Southern bobwhite quail populations. talltimbers.org


LAURA VINROOT POOLE

Style Ambassador

Landed the South on the international fashion map with her Charlotte boutique Capitol and its mix of grit and glam, from Golden Goose sneakers to Giambattista Valli couture. Champion of all things Southern, from thank-you notes and monograms to the joys of NASCAR.

John Jay Cabuay


DAVID SHIELDS

Seed Savior

University of South Carolina  professor who rescues heirloom seeds from obscurity—even extinction—like a culinary Indiana Jones. Helped put such once-forgotten flavors as Bradford watermelon, Carolina Gold rice, and Carolina African runner peanuts back on Southern plates.


THE EMANUEL AME
FAMILIES

Amazing Grace Personified

“Hate won’t win.” In the days following the massacre of nine Emanuel AME Church worshippers by a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina, grieving family members spoke healing words such as these. While they did not ignore the need for justice, their mighty testaments to faith and grace united a community and shifted the focus from an evil act to the power of forgiveness. emanuelamechurch.org


PAT SUMMITT

Role Model

Molded the University of Tennessee Lady Vols into a hoops powerhouse, winning more games than any coach in NCAA Division I basketball history. But courage in the face of Alzheimer’s—and a lifelong emphasis on good sportsmanship—put the late mentor in the company of all-time great humans.

John Jay Cabuay


BEYONCÉ

Global Icon

Trillion-watt multi- threat from Houston, with a wagonload of Grammys and worldwide influence. Paid tribute to her Southern ancestry and black womanhood in 2016’s genre-crossing “visual album” Lemonade, packed full of rootsy sounds and New Orleans imagery.


SARAH YARBOROUGH
& VICTOR LYTVINENKO

Denim Revivers

North Carolina couple who in 2007 revamped an industrial space into Raleigh Denim Workshop. Hired skilled craftspeople to wield pre-automation sewing, hemming, and riveting machines also rescued from the heap. Make a hell of a pair of jeans—and Southern denim relevant again. raleighdenimworkshop.com


SEAN BROCK

Southern Food champion

Rural Virginia native who snuck his affinity for pimento cheese and pantry pickles into culinary school and wed those worlds as the pioneering chef at McCrady’s and Husk restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina. His James Beard Award (and obsession with heritage and heirloom ingredients) helped anoint the South as America’s hottest food region.

John Jay Cabuay


SID & ANN MASHBURN

Gracious Retailers

Recast how a modern gent and lady should dress by opening service-focused his-and-her boutiques in Atlanta, then followed with outposts in Dallas, Houston, D.C., and L.A. Torchbearers for hospitable shopping with on-site tailoring and bourbon. sidmashburn.comannmashburn.com


STEPHEN COLBERT

Late-Night heir

Proud son of South Carolina who spent nine years lampooning political pundits before letting his flag fly as the exuberant host of The Late Show (David Letterman’s old gig). Lightning wit makes him the best interviewer on the chat circuit.

John Jay Cabuay


THE PIT MASTERS

Maestros of Meat

Elevated the title of pit master to rank alongside four-star chefs, thanks to authentic barbecue wizardry, from the brisket of Austin, Texas’s Aaron Franklin; to the whole-hog cookery of South Carolina’s Rodney Scott, North Carolina’s Sam Jones, and Nashville’s Pat Martin; to the traditionalism of Helen Turner in Brownsville, Tennessee, and Chris Lilly’s ascendant Alabama-style white sauce.


BRITTANY HOWARD

Rock Goddess

Dynamic lead singer and guitarist of Alabama Shakes, a band whose undeniably Southern brand of music brought blues rock back to the mainstream and crowds to their feet. Her ferocious, heartfelt yowl can split a concert hall in half.

John Jay Cabuay


BOBBY McALPINE

Ace Architect

Raised in an Alabama sawmill town but rose to acclaim as an architect who has designed hundreds of stately Southern homes. Now helping refresh a place that echoes his roots—Wilson, Arkansas, a faded cotton town known for Tudor Revival structures—one building at a time. mcalpinehouse.com

John Jay Cabuay


JOSEPH  P. RILEY, JR.

Leader with Heart

Set the standard for Southern mayors by revitalizing Charleston, South Carolina, into a tourism magnet during his forty years of service and creating a more inclusive local government. Didn’t shrink from confronting the city’s past—demonstrated most keenly, perhaps, after 2015’s Emanuel
AME shooting.


TONI TIPTON-MARTIN

Foodways Defender

Born in Los Angeles, but connected to her Southern roots so deeply she cofounded Foodways Texas. Turned her towering collection of African American cookbooks into a revelatory history lesson in her celebrated 2015 book, The Jemima Code. Started the SANDE Youth Project to combat childhood hunger and disease.

John Jay Cabuay


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