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2009’s Most Popular in Print: Music 3 & CD

The 2009 Special Music Issue and FREE CD was another bestseller, full of provocative and groundbreaking material, and you can still read it online.  

275 musicians.
80 classic photographs.
4 Top Ten Lists.
1 massive FREE CD.

For diehard music fans and true collectors, the wait is over.

We’ve asked our experts to compile rankings of country, blues, jazz, and rock greats.  Is B.B. the best bluesman of all-time?  How good are the performers on our Top Ten Southern Rockers?  Do Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, and John Coltrane make our Top Ten Southern Jazz Greats?  Who’s Number 1 on our Top Ten Country Music Stars?  Patsy?  Hank?  Loretta?  Reba?  And could the Dixie Chicks somehow sneak onto this Top Ten?

We’ve also published—for the first time anywhere—a compilation of the amazing “Son” Thomas Interviews. “The blues is nothing but the Devil,” James “Son” Thomas once said to William R. Ferris, who interviewed the bluesman several times over several years.  “If you play spirituals, and you used to play the blues, the next thing you know, the Devil gets in you, and you’re going to start right back playing the blues. You can’t serve the Lord and the Devil too.”  These remarkable interviews take us inside the mind of “Son” Thomas, into his fabulous music and his folk art and his friends—and into the heart of the Delta blues culture that Ferris reveals in his engaging Give My Poor Heart Ease, which has just been released.

In “A Brief History of the Boogie,” we’ll reveal just what the pop icon and megastar Madonna thinks about Southern music—the boogie, in particular—as Burgin Mathews takes us through the story of the brand of music that influenced so many others.  We also go inside the wide-ranging music of Pura Fé in “Blues Power in the Tuscarora Homeland,” discover the Mill Mother’s Lament, explore Emmett Till in Southern Songs, and, in a provocative photo essay, travel local drinkhouses with the Piedmont Bluesmen who refused to retire. And more.

And then there’s COOL-WATER MUSIC, the FREE CD—our biggest and best yet—featuring George Jones, B.B. King, Pete Seeger, Son Thomas, Charlie Louvin, the Rosebuds, Pura Fé, and many more artists in a 65-minute brew of timeless tracks and fresh cuts. Order it in print now or read it online.


Front Porch

by Harry L. Watson

“Whatever feeling you are looking to explore or express—misery, elation, spiritual ecstasy, or low-down lust—chances are that some southern musician has done it already.”


Interview The Devil and his Blues

James “Son Ford” Thomas

with William R. Ferris

“You can’t always go by what them preachers say, because right now some of them drink more whiskey than me.”


Top Ten Southern Jazz Musicians

by Charles Joyner

John Coltrane played his hyperactive ‘sheets-of-sound’ with a scorching intensity, faster than most jazz fans could listen.


“When I Say Get It”

A Brief History of the Boogie

by Burgin Mathews

“‘I like to boogie-woogie,’ Madonna proclaimed.  ‘It’s like riding on the wind and it never goes away.’”


Blues Power in the Tuscarora Homeland

The Music of Pura Fé

by John W. Troutman

“Pura Fé has developed a highly unusual style of weaving a fast-paced and complex, sinewy web of notes to follow and accent her extraordinarily dynamic vocal range. . .  a unique and engagingly melodic tour de force.”


Top Ten Country Music Stars

by Jocelyn R. Neal

“Patsy Cline had a great big barrel of a voice that cut straight into the heart of everyone who heard her sing.”


Winston-Salem Blues

Captain Luke, Macavine Hayes, and Whistlin’ Britches

photographs by Joanna Welborn

“A round of ‘chicken,’ or moonshine, was ordered, and Macavine and Whistlin’ Britches were one-upping each other with insults and dirty jokes. Captain Luke played it cool in the corner, sipping a can of Natural Light and smoking a cigar.”


Mill Mother’s Lament

Ella May Wiggins and the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929

by Patrick Huber

“Ella May Wiggins, the ‘poet laureate’ of the Gastonia Textile Strike of 1929, was silenced by a mill thug’s bullet on September 14, 1929.”


Top Ten Blues Greats

by William R. Ferris

“The true Hootchie Kootchie Man, Muddy Waters summons all the powers of the voodoo doctor in his guttural, deep blues voice.” 


Haunting America

Emmett Till in Music and Song

by Philip C. Kolin

“Dylan linked Till’s innocent blood to a Mississippi downpour—so much blood shed from the brutal beatings; Till’s killers ‘rolled his body down a gulf of bloody red rain.’”

Mason Dixon Lines  Legend

            poetry by Al Maginnes

“. . . we owe our past the kindness

of a visit now and then.”


Top Ten Southern Rockers

by Joshua Guthman

“Let’s be honest: Southern rock is a critically despised genre, a redneck sound draped in the Confederate flag and fueled by an oh-so-’70s mix of Jack Daniels and Quaaludes.”




And then there’s COOL-WATER MUSIC, the FREE CD—featuring George Jones, B.B. King, Pete Seeger, Son Thomas, Charlie Louvin, the Rosebuds, Pura Fé, and many more artists in a 65-minute brew of timeless tracks and fresh cuts. Order it in print now or read it online.


“The rich array of photographs and graphics, and the sincere and effective attempt at readerly appeal, go well beyond what is attempted by most… Southern Cultures is truly impressive.” —Council of Editors of Learned Journals