Nothing could be finer than North Carolina...
December 4, 2018 1:21 PM   Subscribe this year's Oxford American Music Issue. Notes on songs include: Tift Merritt on Elizabeth Cotten's "Holy Ghost, Unchain My Name," Rhiannon Giddens on Joe and Odell Thompson's “Lights in the Valley,” Michael Park on Ruby Johnson's “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied),” Mark Powell on Malcolm Holcombe's “You Don’t Come See Me Anymore,” and Harmony Holiday on Sun Ra and His Arkestra's (feat. June Tyson) "Somebody Else's World."

The issue also includes Malinda Maynor Lowery's essay "The Low Hum":

The songs I heard growing up, sung at family gatherings, and later as I documented music in recordings at Lumbee churches, ring with longing and sometimes nostalgia. They were standard Protestant hymns, Southern gospel tunes, or shape-note classics, straight from the Broadman hymnal or from J. D. Sumner or the Gaither family: “I Feel Like Traveling Home,” “Hard Working Pilgrim,” “I Am His,” dozens more. The talented ones in my family often learned them not by reading the music but playing by ear, molding and adapting the arrangement and harmonies to suit our preference. Not so much the songs themselves, but the way we sing, especially the emphasis on harmony and blend—the need for every person to have a part but no one to stand out—is what demonstrates our togetherness and uniqueness.

...and Dave Tomkin's "Can We Get to That":

Cannon Mills was founded in 1887, deeded from plantations in the area then known as Glass, North Carolina. The remote bathrooms were later built to accommodate the shotgun housing for white sharecroppers and black workers migrating from South Carolina. (Among the plats of land Cannon acquired was Warren Coleman’s mill in Concord, the first black-owned cotton manufacturer in the U.S., which had gone bankrupt by 1904.) Not to discount whatever events took place in the other 1,599 outhouses in Kannapolis at the time, but the one plotted just north of the rooming house on Lowe Avenue calls for historical designation. It already has its own day: July 22, 1941, when George Clinton was born to Julious Clinton and George Clinton Sr.
posted by mandolin conspiracy (13 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
posted by mandolin conspiracy

Wondrous. And may I recommend Rhiannon Giddens' latest, "Freedom Highway," to anyone who takes an interest in this post.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 1:29 PM on December 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

Benjamin Hedin's "John Coltrane's Spiritual High Point", John Thomason's "Black Mountain Music" and Jill McCorkle's paean to beach music "Young, Foolish, Happy" were the stand-outs for me.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:32 PM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Had the chance to see Rhiannon Giddens live when she came through Toronto in May. Had been a fan for quite some time, but that was my first time seeing her live. It's one of the best concerts I've ever been to. And every time I come across something she writes about music, my mind tends to be blown yet again.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:34 PM on December 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

I went by the store today to see if it was out yet...they still had the last issue of Oxford American out.
posted by thelonius at 1:39 PM on December 4, 2018

When I moved back to Asheville in 1987, I met Malcomb Holcombe. He was in his drinking days then and often would lay his head in my lap and pass out. But he was a gentle soul who made good music. And then went off to Nashville with Ray Sisk, the bar here was demolished, and I haven't seen him since.
posted by MovableBookLady at 4:46 PM on December 4, 2018

If y'all are Rhiannon Giddens fans, I might suggest her new Aria Code podcast.

And to the point of this fine post, yes, the new Oxford American Music Issue, I look forward to every fall. Just got mine a little while ago and am looking forward to diving in this weekend.
posted by the sobsister at 5:46 PM on December 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

From her time with the Carolina Chocolate Drops I've loved everything I've heard by Rhiannon Giddens. Following the North Star gives me the shivers, and it has no lyrics. While not necessary, I recommend headphones, outside, at night, in the Fall.

I'll have to dive into these links later when I have more time.
posted by ashbury at 5:58 PM on December 4, 2018

These special issues are always soooo good.
posted by Miko at 6:18 PM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was so excited to see this at the record shop. The finally did NC! Who cares if it costs $20 Canadian.

And then on the walk home I started to realize.... I no longer have a CD player. At all.

New PC case doesn't have a CD drive.
PS4 has all the hardware to play CDs but they never added the codec and functionality (crazy right?)
Switch sure won't play CDs.

Thank goodness there was a download code!
posted by thecjm at 6:51 PM on December 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Thank goodness there was a download code!

Yes they have been doing this for a few years now
posted by thelonius at 8:11 AM on December 5, 2018

Minor derail: The song “Carolina in the Morning” was introduced and popularized by none other than Fred Mertz himself, vaudevillian William Frawley.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:30 AM on December 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I too was praying for a download code (yay!). I haven't bought the music issue in a few years, and have been devoid of anything to play a CD on for almost as long, but as an NC native I HAD to get this one. Good stuff.
posted by greta simone at 11:07 AM on December 5, 2018

Initially, I was over the moon that OA was (at long last) featuring NC in the annual music issue (they have, for the past several years, been compiling state-specific offerings). Upon its arrival, I greedily saved it to enjoy on our trip to the beach for Thanksgiving...
I don't know if it was simply over anticipated, or that it really was... lacking (?) I have been collecting these music issues since '97, and I have never been so soundly disappointed as I was with this one. I plan to give it another listen, but not for a while... I sincerely hope that the download has some redemptive additional content :-/
posted by PaperArtist at 6:49 AM on December 6, 2018

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