musicthe sound of your morning

the sound of your morning: southern roots

by Grace Bonney

Photograph of Wormsloe (on vintage tin tile) by Meryl Truett

Last week’s trip to Birmingham, Alabama still has its claws in me. Whenever I touch down on southern soil it’s as if some stubborn weed wraps a tendril around me and it makes it harder and harder to leave each time. This trip was especially difficult because the weather was so beautiful and the dogwoods were in full bloom. So the sights and sounds of the South have been on mind ever since.

For today’s music mix it seemed like a natural choice to focus on music that reminds me of the South and artists that call southern states their home. If this doesn’t inspire you to visit amazing cities like Savannah, Memphis, Charleston, Nashville, Atlanta, and New Orleans I don’t know what will. Bonus? This time of year the deep south is gorgeous. If you’ve ever wanted to travel there grab a plane ticket before the humidity becomes so intense you feel like you’ll melt into the sidewalks.

People seem to have strong memories and experiences from trips to the South so if you have one please feel free to share it. And of course I’d love to hear your favorite southern artists as well as songs about the South or that remind you of the people or cities south of the Mason-Dixon. I have friends who’ve never touched a foot south of Pennsylvania so I’d love to send them links to your playlists to lure them down…xo, grace

CCR “Fortunate Son”- Beyond the obvious anti-war messages here (good luck finding a video of this song on YouTube without Vietnam War imagery behind it) this song always reminds me of the South. It has the added bonus of being vernacular used in my family every now and then. Describing someone who came from a wealthy background in the South my Dad actually said “He’s a real fortunate son type” the other day. It’s a perfect description, though it probably describes my least favorite part of Southern culture (the boys who went to prep schools and wear khaki pants and Docksiders)

Kings of Leon “Molly’s Chambers”- I’m going to start by saying I’m not a huge KOL fan right now. I’m not in love with the direction of their music and that doesn’t even begin to touch on them endorsing a line of jeans (what?). But all that aside, this album clicked with me in such a major way when it came out. I’d just moved back to NYC from Virginia and was missing Southern rock in a big way. I was working for a record label full of people that had little to no appreciation for anything not from California or the Northeast so I dove into this band with reckless abandon and played this album (and this track) on an endless loop.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the music mix and to add your favorites after the jump!

Dolly Parton “Jolene”- Is there a sadder song than this? If so, I don’t want to hear it. But it’s Dolly. And it’s “Jolene”. Heartbreakingly beautiful voice and sentiment. As much as I love Dolly this song always makes me glad I didn’t grow up in a part of the South where big hair and bad relationships were the norm.

Punch Brothers “Reptilia” (cover)- Ok, this song is cheating (sort of), but I didn’t feel quite right leaving it in or out. Chris Thile has been a mandolin idol of mine (and many, many others) for a while and I really love what he and the Punch Brothers are doing for contemporary bluegrass. I’ve met so many people who were inspired to play a new instrument after hearing them and that’s always a good thing for me. This video is actually a cover of a Strokes song, but I love their spin on it. The do a lot of covers at their live shows and I think (in moderation) it’s a fun spin on instruments that often have a somewhat “older” sound to them. Hearing a banjo in this track always makes me happy. The banjo is an instrument that sends some people running for the hills, but I’m in the “more cowbell” camp when it comes to this instrument. More banjo, please.

Outkast “B.O.B.”- This song is one of my favorites of all time. It’s physically impossible for me to listen to this and not jump around the living room like a complete idiot. It reminds me of countless crappy frat parties at Southern colleges but also reminds me of how amazing the music scene in and around Atlanta is. Southern music isn’t all banjos and guys with tight jeans and feathered hair, and Outkast is a great reminder of other music genres the South does so well.

AARON’S PICKS (in his words)

Skip James – “Devil Got my Woman” – I think one thing I love about the South is the sense of history and tradition. Growing up in the Boston area, we had a lot of history – mostly Revolutionary War type stuff). But the South always feels somehow older to me. This Skip James song just grabs ahold of you and makes you listen. It was well used in the movie “Ghost World” – and it’s perfectly written – when the girl character asks, “Do you have any other records like that?”, Seymour answers: “There are no other records like that.” It’s true.

Alison Krauss – “Down in the River to Pray” – I’m not a religious person, but if they played music like this at a church near my I’d certainly consider going if only for the beautiful music. This song was featured on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack (along with a million other amazing southern songs) – but this one is my favorite.

Johnny Cash – “Rowboat”

Wow. Johnny Cash was a BEAST. The guy really did it for his whole life, and did it his way. He produced hits when my mom was in college, and was still making great songs when I was in college. How many musicians can say that? It’s a small club. Here he is covering Beck, because he never stopped finding great songs to record.

Spoon – “Sister Jack”

When I mentioned I might be using Spoon for one of my picks, she half-sneered “Oh, Texas south…” – basically, according to her, Texas isn’t the South. Well tough. I’m from New England, and to me anything below the Mason-Dixon line counts as Southern. In fact, maybe she’s lucky I didn’t pick one of those Florida-based boy-bands just for spite… (PS – this song rules.)

Sam Cooke – “Bring it on Home”

Is Mississippi southern enough for you? I remember finding a Sam Cooke Greatest Hits tape in my Dad’s collection as a kid and just being fascinated by the voice that came through my little two-deck boom box. It wasn’t the kind of music I usually listened to but I couldn’t get over the sound. It just had so much emotion and really resonated with me in a way I never really understood. This was the song Grace and I had our first dance to at our wedding, which just cemented it as always having a place in my heart. (awwwww…)

Suggested For You


  • I’ve visited Savannah and Charleston and I found them both to be so serene and peaceful. I felt so relaxed walking down the beautiful streets and smelling all of the flowers and plants. The homes are breathtaking and the food made me really happy and content!

  • We do seem to have a sense of history and connection that I just haven’t found in the rest of the country. You did manage to get some good weather…lucky. Give it another week – we live in constant fear of summer!

    Georgia from Mississippi

  • I just wanted to clarify that I have endless love for Texas (especially parts of west Texas). But I’ve always thought of Texas as its own country, rather than part of the South. It seems bigger and more diverse and, in the best way possible, like it deserves its own region. I mean that as a huge compliment. Texas rules (and so does Spoon).


  • A couple years ago, if you had told this west coaster that she’d move to Atlanta and love it, I would’ve laughed. Some of the songs that are a part of my southern soundtrack are:
    Oh Atlanta-Alison Krauss, Blue Ridge Mountains-Fleet Foxes, and pretty much anything by The Lovin’ Spoonful

  • I too had deep Southern roots (which have been aching ever since I left) and love most of the artists you listed. But where are the Avett Brothers? Modern Southern country and folk has a cult following, thanks to them. And now that they’ve been on the cover of Garden and Gun, they’re probably about to become a mainstream hit as well.

    Aww, the Wormsloe picture made me miss living in Savannah. I can’t wait to return!

  • Oh Grace! Doesn’t the South just make you swoon? I may be a little biased seeing as those I was born and raised in deep South Georgia, but I ADORE our little slice of the country down here :)

    A few Southern artists that I just can’t get enough of are:

    The Dirty Guv’nahs — girlfriend, you’re gonna love them, no doubt. A bunch of Knoxville, Tennessee boys who love southern rock and roll :)

    Drew & Ellie Holcomb – a husband & wife duo from Nashville. They will make you just melt.

    The Avett Brothers – too good for words!

    Emily Hearn – charming girl from Athens with an indie, soul, sugarpop sound. adore her :)

    — Come visit us down here again soon!
    Mary Catherine

  • Grace, every week, I tell myself, ok, you can’t comment EVERY single week Erin. But then Monday rolls around and it’s like WOW! What a great mix! Oh! This song or that song would fit well too.
    Well, seeing that I’m from Mississippi and live here again, I can’t NOT comment! HA!!

    Dent May (MS)
    Magic Kids (TN)
    John Paul Keith and 145s (TN)
    Sanders Bohlke (MS)
    Young Buffalo (MS)

    Mississippi Fred Hurt (MS)
    Big Star (TN)
    Mendoza Line (GA)
    Neutral Milk Hotel (GA)

    Thanks for your great mixes Grace!

  • Great to see an old timey blues shot out here. I would absolutely add a little Blind Lemon Jefferson or Blind Willie McTell if you are looking for that nice, hollow, deep, old sounding blues.

  • Chatham County Line! (from NC)
    Can’t access You Tube at work, but they do a beautiful “Wagon Wheel” (I think that’s the title? Rock me mama like a wagon wheel, rock me mama any way you feel?)

  • After living the past three years on Long Island, I’m thrilled to be back in the south for spring. Everything is gorgeous – the dogwoods, azaleas, pear trees etc. and it all happens so early! However, I will admit that I can’t wait to be back in NY for the summer! Summers here are brutal. Love your writing and music selections!

  • Grace,
    I’m from TX and I agree with you 100%. I’ve never felt “Southern”, just Texan.

    • m

      i’m glad you get it. i was so worried people would think it was mean, but i really mean it with a spirit of true appreciation for texas. :)


  • Jimmy Reed reminds me of hot summer days on the lake, particularly the swagger of “Found Love.” In terms of newer music, I’m really diggin’ Justin Townes Earle and his newest (I think) “Harlem River Blues.”

    Great post. As a Nashvillian living in NYC, I seriously ache for all things southern. Especially the weather right now!

    There’s a great music venue in Brooklyn (Red Hook, specifically) called Jalopy that’s strictly bluegrass, jazz, Americana. I go there when I need a banjo fix.

  • My eight years in Birmingham made such a deep and lasting impression on me. Coming from Kansas it was total culture shock at first, but once you’re immersed in the culture, the smells, the sounds, the birds, flowers, and weather of biblical proportion, it sticks with you forever. Happy to be headed to North Carolina and Tennessee this week for a little Southern fix. If I’m in New England too long my personality gets to be a bit too sharp.

  • So many greats here…although I am a sucker for Sam Cooke. Having been born a yankee, but living in the south for many years, it had a great affect on me. Especially the deep south which I frequented while down that way…NOLA, Savannah, Charleston….so much history.

  • I live in Durham, NC. While I was studying abroad in Europe my iPop only played the artists below.

    Ryan Adams // Magnolia Mountain

    Bill Callahan // Diamond Dancer

    Neko Case // Maybe Sparrow

    Rosebuds // Silja Line

    Otis Redding // Can’t Turn You Loose

    Some may not claim the south as their hometown but they definitely sound like the south.

  • Great list..

    Agree about Kings of Leon. Just saw them on a bill with Band of Horses last week, not my thing.

    I grew up in Atlanta and landed in Austin by way of Boston and DC, and I think there is a definite under current of the south in the Austin music scene. Waylon and Willie landed in Austin from Nashville, and there was a flow of great musical talent that followed them.

    You should try the Dolly Parton station on Pandora.

    Also, as a fellow Spoon lover, this is beautiful:


  • Faye, thanks for the Secret Sisters link. First time I’ve heard of them and they have a lovely sound.

  • As a Texas transplant to the NE I have to agree with you, Aaron! Texas is SO the South. Perhaps its own brand of South, but it still counts!

  • Grace, good save on Texas! There are parts of Texas that are pure South (especially out in the Piney Woods or places where southerners settled after WWII), but there are parts that are nothin’ but “Texian,” combining southern, Mexican, western, and weird in about equal measure.

  • awlright southern music! Glad to see the south being well represented. Going with the southern roots sound, check out Elizabeth Cotten, she wrote this song when she was 13, back in 1908 and it still sounds incredible.


  • Although the Bradford Pears really get to the ol’ allergies, Nashville is an amazing place to visit this time of year. As Todd Snider says, “Those rollin’ hills of Nashville, TN.”
    —Check out Todd, if you don’t know him already. His live album is enough to make any Yankee want to visit. Great story teller.

    I’m from the Chicago area and moved to Nashville just after college for a job. I picked up yall, and dropped my g’s within 6 months. The south does something to a person … makes me slow down a bit, enjoy good food, drink good beer and listen to some damn good music.

    Check out the Lonesome Heroes. Saw them in a small bar here in Nashville last summer and haven’t stopped listening since. The girl plays a mean steel guitar.

  • Speaking Of Kings of Leon…

    Their song “Back Down South” sends my Alabama roots into a frenzy.

    Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” puts me at ease whenever I’m feeling homesick.

    Great mix Grace!

  • Southern girl born and raised (Tuscaloosa, AL) and have to second the Avett Brothers and Civil Wars. Also, Sam Beam (and Iron and Wine) sounds like songs of the south to me.

  • Grace, I love all your music posts! I’d like to second the previous post from Meg about music (I’m in Durham too and the local scene here is amazing!). I’ll also suggest Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and American Aquarium to add to the list of great Southern rock.

    Sometimes I forget to take advantage of this beautiful place I call home — thanks for the perspective and renewing my pride and love of Dixie!

  • I agree with Faye above- love the Secret Sisters! I also really think you need to have The Black Crowes somewhere on this. Rockin’ guys from Georgia.

  • Love your playlist! Thanks for introducing me to Punch Brothers!

    A friend gave us a CD to listen to on one of our National Parks road trips–it had the perfect roots tunes to listen to on the windy backroads of our country! Come to find out that the musicians are here in Austin. This is a good vid of our favorites from the CD:

    My daughter ended up becoming a mandolin student of Billy’s (in the vid). Fun stuff!

  • Thank you so much for this post! A Kentuckian living in Canada, this time of year always makes me miss home (snow?!still!?). It was great this morning to see and hear some bands that take me back home.

  • Wow, Grace. I just can’t believe this post. I love Southern Rock, bluegrass, soul… and you nailed some of my faves, down to the song!!

    One of my all-times is Iron and Wine. Their album The Shepherd’s Dog is amazing. Boy with a Coin is my favorite:

    Loving all the comments too. Thanks for the music inspiration!

  • I’d add some Hank Williams, Graham Parsons, Phil Alvin, and Patsy Cline to that mix. However, one summer I spent in Arkansas when I was 13 all I listened to on my disc-man was David Bowie’s ChangesBowie and the Beatles’ Help album. Anytime I listen to those albums I get super nostalgic. I love the south. And Texas is it’s own land (and more southwest, than south)

  • Where do you start when talkin bout Southern music? The South has consistently produced some of the best music regardless of what decade you were born. Bands rip Southern artists off all the time, no matter where what part of the country they are from and Southern bands get ripped off because of the story telling in their songs. Story telling is a tradition that is still alive and well here and is a sense of pride for many Southerners. We do love to talk and spin a yarn. We also love the fact that we have our own form of the English language and the fact that the g is dropped when using ing. We also love using the word Fixin to replace about. With this said I want to give you some songs with strong story telling:
    Copperhead Road- Steve Earl
    The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down- The Band
    Outfit- Drive By Truckers
    Whipping Post, Blue Skys,One Way Out_- Allman Brothers
    Porch Song, Barstools are Meant for Dreamers- Widespread Panic
    Ballad of Curtis Loew- Skynyrd
    Home- Marc Broussard
    Tennessee Jed- The Dead (Jerry lived in NC for a time so I count it)
    Kentucky Rain, In The Ghetto- The Kang
    Green Onions- Booker T. & The MGs (Memphis personified
    Polk Salad Annie- Tony Joe White
    Any REM Album before Monster.
    Anything by BB King, Albert King, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon

  • love this post grace! as a girl from mississippi i have to suggest The Band’s song Evangeline from the Last Waltz (and pretty much anything else from that cd). it is haunting and beautiful and always makes me think of the Big river.

  • You guys are awesome with these playlists each week! I look forward to Monday mornings so much more now. :)

    “Southern Thing” by Drive-By Truckers off of “Southern Rock Opera” is one of my favorites. I love the way he sings about the history of and pride for the South, and the misconceptions about what it means to be Southern.

    Also – Randy Newman’s “Good Old Boys”. The whole album is fantastic! Especially “Louisiana 1927”. That album may have been recorded in the 70s, but it’s still so relevant.

    And PS – My husband and I had “Bring It On Home To Me” as part of our wedding playlist. :)

  • There is one I did forget and that would be Skynyrd’s “Freebird”! Jeff Foxworthy calls it the Southern National Anthem

  • Hailing from Louisville, KY. We are pretty proud here of My Morning Jacket. This is their brand new one, Circuital (you can get a free download on their website right now):

    Someone already mentioned it, but you’ll have a hard time going to a bar here on a Saturday night here in the Ville an not hearing Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine show. And you better know the words and sing ’em loud:

    Great song by the Everybodyfields from my college home, Johnson City, TN:

    Gillian Welch is the real deal. Everything is Free:

    Patty Griffin – Rain… Ok, so she’s from Maine. One of my favorite songs of all time:

    Joe Pug – Nobody’s Man:

    A.A. Bondy – American Heart

    Have to put R.E.M. on there… and this is one of the coolest videos ever:

  • Ooh ooh I have a few more! I got started listening to all these songs and I couldn’t stop!

    He used to be in Drive-By Truckers, but Jason Isbell’s “Grown” makes me think of a special trip to Columbia, South Carolina I took a few years ago. It was the beginning of August and I’ve never been anywhere hotter (and this is coming from someone who lives in Florida), but it was a beautiful city.

    And Son Volt’s “Windfall” from “Trace”. Good for driving on those Southern back roads.

  • I love this post! I grew up in Birmingham and have so many wonderful memories. I love going back to visit.

  • southern music is some of the best of all time, no doubt! but i gotta say that creedence is from oakland, california, even though they had a southern sound!

    my favorite southern bands/musicians: will oldham, neutral milk hotel, townes van zandt (if yr counting tx), gillian welch (if yr counting transplants).

    love that you are writing about music more, grace! we have the most amazing free bluegrass fest every year in sf– hardly strictly bluegrass! worth a trip out, if you ask me! :) mandolins abound!

    oh, and dogwood trees are my favorite too, though here in california the only place i’ve seen em is in yosemite.

  • Even though I’m Irish, the South has a special place in my heart. Myself and my husband went there on a road trip a few years ago and decided to get married in Birmingham, Alabama. I have such happy memories of places like Clarksdale, Missisippi, staying in a concrete tipee hotel in Cave City and getting a strange look from a waitress when I asked what Mr Pibb was!

    Robert Johnson’s music was played a lot on that trip.

  • mmmm! just what this girl needed! i’m homesick for the south every spring, too– and i only lived in mississippi for a few years after college. but a trip to new orleans last week, the sweet air, glowing green dappled sunlight, fried food and abita beer, LOUD music… something about the south just fits.

    beautiful mix… and to it i’d add a dash of nina simone, b.b. king, elvis, and t.i.

  • I’m not from the south but I sure love the music! Many fav’s have already been listed, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Avett Brothers, Drive By Truckers, etc.

    What about My Morning Jacket?

    Loretta Lynn

    Lucinda Williams

    Emmylou Harris

    or basically anyone else at Bonnaroo during the early years.

  • What a fantastic post!
    We Southerners tend to have very strong feelings, and an immense sense of pride for where we live. I know I do, especially since I’m lucky enough to live in Savannah. I’ve been a southerner my whole life. I grew up in Memphis & Arkansas, and I’ve been a Georgian for 9 years. We frequently visit the Northeast to see friends, but I belong below the Mason-Dixon line.
    And it IS gorgeous this time of year!

    I for one have always loved the Allman Brothers.

    Iron & Wine is from SC. Many of his songs speak of the south to me. Resurrection Fern is one that comes to mind.

  • My husband and I will be roadtripping throught the US for our upcoming 1 year anniversary — I cant even begin to describe how PSYCHED I AM to begin downloading some great tunes, D*S City Guides and get on the open road! Any suggestions????

  • Great list! Just wanted to point out that although CCR is classified as southern/swamp rock, they were actually from the San Francisco Bay Area! They were great fakers :). Wish they had stayed together longer.

  • ya’ll have got to get a hold of the annual Oxford American Music issue-This year it featured Alabama-Its our favorite driving to NOLA music

  • I’m a perpetual D*S stalker, but this post has lured me into comment-town. I love that it’s a Mississippi girl kind of day! Zac Brown’s “Colder Weather” and anything by Dave Barnes feel like home to me right now.

  • Looks like somebody beat me to mentioning My Morning Jacket, but they are pretty crazy proud of them around here. I don’t know much else of the local music scene in Kentucky, but I’m loving your posts on the south. I’m a midwesterner by birth but I’ve been in Louisville for over half my life and I’m just now starting to appreciate this city for what it is.

    One of us around here really ought to do a city guide, I think.

  • Agreed with Danielle! Though I’m in Charlottesville, VA (a different Ville!) Wagon Wheel is a weekend staple.

  • Great post! I’m a northerner who has lived in Tennessee for 15 years now and have completely fallen in love with the south! I am way into the Civil Wars lately, and here’s another artist to check out…

    Trent Dabbs’ Album “Southerner”

    Perfect album title for this post!

  • I just read all the comments and don’t think I saw our local boys, The Marshall Tucker Band added to the list yet! “Can’t You See” is a must have :)

  • These “the sound of your morning” posts have become my favorite thing about Mondays. Another great line-up!

  • Ok, I know I have posted twice already but this has been running through my head all day so here are some that I haven’t seen. Some of these might be cheesy to some but they are from the South: The Dave Matthews Band (VA), Hootie and The Blowfish (SC), Three 6 Mafia, Jerry Lee Lewis, Al Green, Issac Hayes, Big Star, Lucero, Alex Chilton, The Gentries, Johnnie Guitar Taylor, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Aretha, Tina and Ike Taylor, The Staple Singers, The Bar Kays, Justin Timberlake, North Mississippi Allstars, Al Kapone, 8 Ball MJG (Memphis), Ani Defranco Dr. John, Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick Jr, The Subdudes, The Neville Brothers (NOLA) Athens/ATL GA: James “Freakin” Brown, Widespread Panic, REM, The Black Crows, Lil John, Drivin ‘N’ Cryin, Outkast, Goodie Mob, Guadalcanel Diary, Ceelo Green. (TX): ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Fabulous T-Birds, Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Willie, Glen Campbell, Janis Joplin, Kris Kristofferson, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. This should add to a comprehensive list

  • Great collection of southern music! Being a west coast Louisiana transplant, it reminds me of home….I do however, second Kim’s above comment that CCR was actually a band of pretty excellent posers as they were all from the SF Bay Area :)

  • haha! grace, my husband and his family are from texas, and they too agree that texas isn’t the south, as much as i try to convince them otherwise!

  • Okay, I am going to weigh in on the TX thang. I am from Oklahoma, currently living in Texas and let me tell you I have never in my life not considered myself anything other than from the south. Here it is… PLAIN AND SIMPLE. If you go to a person’s house and they offer you sweet tea then your in a southern home.
    Oh yeah and Texas is a whole ‘nother country.
    There is also some great TX country. Try Zane Williams on for some Texas country. Love “river girl” but “pablo and maria” is a close second. http://www.zanewilliamsmusic.com

  • Finally, thank you for speaking out on the Kings of Leon. I’m from Texas and cannot remember how many times we sat in tha back of a truck enjoying some adult beverages, listening to Molly’s Chambers. I don’t think it would work with anything they’ve done in a looong time :) Great post!

  • As a life long Southern, I say the South has the best music hands down! I think your play list proves it. :) Thanks for including Dolly, she’s one of my faves. And definitely check out all the great Knoxville bands previously mentioned–another one to add to the list of Knoxville peeps is Jill Andrews (http://www.jillandrews.com/)–so hauntingly beautiful!

  • I second a Louisville city guide Katie Bee! I love this city! Good to see some other Kentuckians on here :)

  • I’m SO homesick now. Although I’ve been living in SoCal now for 11 years it has never quite felt like the right fit for me. My heart will always be in Charleston. Uncle Mingo’s “Bottle of Moonlight” always brings me back home.
    I used to live in Austin, and any Townes Van Zandt makes me long for lazy afternoons at Barton Creek.

  • I loved the post about the sweet tea!! NH, you are sooooo right, as a Marine wife, we have been all over the country, but you know you are HOME when at a restaurant they don’t even ask if you want sweet or unsweet tea!! To me the south is Sweet Tea, the Allman Brothers with a little Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys thrown in! And lest we forget about the peaches:) Well there could be tons of posts just on the food alone:)
    Grace, I love all the music!!! I love that this blog is so informative and fun!! Thank you for all your hard work!!! I think this GA girl will just get another glass of iced tea with a little mint sprig in it and listen to all your music all over again!!

  • 8th generation Texan here: we don’t think Texas is part of the south. It’s not actually part of the west, either. You know how Texans are — we’re just our own thing. Of course, technically, Texas is in the southern US so it’s in the south. But it’s not deep south, which has it’s own quite different vibe.

    I live in NYC and people often comment on my “cute southern accent” (which makes me whisper to myself: oh no it’s not!!) but I do understand how hard it is to differentiate. Texans recognize my accent specifically as the northern plains twangy accent. But shoot, I can’t differentiate Brooklyn vs Bronx vs Long Island vs New Jersey, so I’m definitely not pointing fingers. :)

  • I’ve lived in the DFW Texas area my whole life. My family is from the north so I don’t have that Texas twang that most have around here, but I married a true blood Texan.

    Alan Jackson
    So many memories from growing up here.

    Ben Kweller
    A Texan from a small-town called Commerce I believe. He’s made his rounds through the country but his last album is super southern rock/bluegrass and awesome! Perfect for road trips through the woods or plains of Texas!

    Agreed on the Texas/Southern argument. We aren’t deep south. But we definately aren’t like the western states like New Mexico or Utah. Texas and Oklahoma are clumped together in my mind in our own region!

  • Oh my, Old Crow Medicine Show anything….love the Wagon Wheel song! (…picking me a bouquet of dogwood flowers)

    You missed James Taylor! Can’t have Southern music without some JT! =)

    The Connells…anything from their ‘Ring’ album. Gosh, they’re old, ha!

    Memories: Sipping Cheerwine on the way down to the beach, passing South of the Border going from NC to SC, eating some Calabash shrimp, sweating in the humidity and hearing the cicadas scream, reel dancing in the mountains, and eating hushpuppies, grits and BBQ. Gosh, it’s as much about the food as it is about the music! ha!

    You should totally do a Part II to this post! (although Part I was pretty sweet!) –wait, sweet tea! =P

  • U.S. Royalty….although they’re from D.C. so that’s pushing it, ha!

    I love their song, ‘Equestrian’! love it love it love it!

  • Completely agree with you on Kings of Leon. Really dug their first two albums, and as they sobered up… I lost interest…

    How about some lynyrd skynyrd? “Miss you” and “The Ballad of Curtis Lowe” are severely overlooked.

  • Yes, these are great southern songs.
    I am lucky to have many of them.
    Anyone can obtain them from “ripete records.com /877-864-6821. Here in Charleston, SC we love the shag.
    Originally shag was started in Myrtle Beach, SC, but we were lucky enough to let it drift our way.

  • I am a Southern girl, born, bred, and still!
    In a totally different style, I can offer two artists who’ve not been mentioned here.
    The first of these is Mac
    McAnally, who now plays with the second artist I name, but has a significant solo career, too. Utube has mix here:
    Mac McAnally Mix
    My favorite is still Back Where I Came From – which he cut in 1989. I always knew him as a Mississippi artist, but Wikipedia says he was actually born in Alabama, and then moved to Mississippi and grew up here.
    The second Southern artist I think of is Jimmy Buffett. You may consider him more tropical than Southern, but I cut my teeth on his music (literally!). He was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and grew up in Mobile. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi, and started working in Nashville, playing music on the side. He played music in New Orleans, and in the Keys. My favorite Buffett song is Chanson Pour Les Petites Enfants, and my second favorite:
    Come Monday. There are, of course, scads more, but those two are striking to me. I offer one more, Biloxi, but NOT because this is where I live now!
    Lastly, a few I didn’t see mentioned who are from the South, Faith Hill, Leann Rimes, Charlie Pride, Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, Matt Murphy, Bones Malone, Denise LaSalle, Robert Johnson …
    It’s so interesting to see all of the lovely comments about my homeplace, and the feelings it evokes in others. Thanks so much for sharing your generous thoughts. Y’all come visit anytime.

  • ok, have to chime in too. born and raised in Alabama, (now living in Louisiana by way of Montana), you can’t beat Drive by Truckers, http://drivebytruckers.com/. They are the quintessential southern band. If you like Alabama, you gotta check them out. a mix of southern noir and civil rights, poverty and the space program. Just the best! Also if you want a little old time punk country, check out The Pine Hill Haints. Another good Alabama band that can’t beat.

  • killer post! reminded of some good ones I han’t listened to in some time. I’ll be adding them to my summertime rotation. thanks!

  • So glad others have mentioned Curtis Lowe (Loew?) by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Copperhead Road by Steve Earle (which is a nighttime lullaby for my daughter if daddy puts her to bed).

    Avett Brothers – yeah.

    I believe there is hagiography of Jerry Jeff Walker to be found in parts of TX.

    Little Big Town?

  • From Winston-Salem, NC …

    The Avett Brothers are excellent! Their lyrics are heartfelt and deep. The tunes rock!

  • I was born and raised in Charleston and in 20 days I am packing up and moving to Massachusetts with my adorable yankee boyfriend. I made a southern music playlist for his siblings as a half joke/ half thank you present for helping us move. Here is my list (I will certainly be adding some of yalls suggestions)

    Song of the South- Alabama
    Gimme Just A Little More Time- Chairmen Of The Board
    Carolina- Corey Smith
    If I Could Do It Again- Corey Smith
    Two Pina Coladas- Garth Brooks
    Southern Hospitality-Ludacris
    Sweet Home Alabama- Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Free Bird- Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Wagon Wheel -Old Crow Medicine Show
    Possum Kingdom- The Toadies
    BBQ Stain- Tim McGraw
    I Love Beach Music- Embers
    Carolina On My Mind – James Taylor
    Fire and Rain- James Taylor

  • I am definitely with you on the more cowbell thought going with the banjos. Grew up listening to my grandfather and great uncles playing banjos and singing every song from way back when to what was current on the radio. It is definitely something that speaks to my soul. I really enjoyed the music you shared on this blog! Thanks.