For the six years Charlotte native Maxwell George has been an editor at the Oxford American literary magazine, he has wanted North Carolina’s rich music history to be featured in the annual Southern Music Issue.
This month, he got his wish.
“I’ve been lobbying for this my entire time here, and I’m glad it took this long, because 2018 feels right for North Carolina,” said George, the deputy editor.
Oxford American’s 20th annual Southern Music Issue, published this week, features North Carolina music with Tryon native Nina Simone on the cover. Essays and profiles highlight the music from the mountains to the beach and everywhere in-between. Past and present musicians get their due, from James Taylor and John Coltrane to contemporary Triangle-based stars Rapsody and Sylvan Esso.
“North Carolina music has not really been spotlighted or even explored,” said Catherine Oliva, marketing director for the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Not just the heroes of various genres, but the industry with luthiers and fiddle repairers and record companies. The state has not given its music the level of appreciation it deserves for its contributions to the creative economy.”
Oxford American is an Arkansas-based literary magazine, published quarterly, that explores Southern culture. It was founded in 1992 with the Southern Music Issue launched in 1997. Since 2009, the Southern Music Issue has covered one state at a time, most recently Kentucky in 2017.
The state’s musicians, many who are featured in the issue, will be celebrated at a “Statewide Singing Circle” concert Nov. 26 with an all-star roster of artists: Tift Merritt, Shirlette Ammons, Chatham County Line, Phil Cook, Alice Gerrard, Chris Stamey and others. The concert is at Raleigh’s Fletcher Opera Theater. Events are planned elsewhere in the state, including a free party Nov. 27 at The Pinhook in Durham, and a Nov. 29 concert in Charlotte.
What:“Statewide Singing Circle”concert in celebration of the Oxford American Southern Music Issue on North Carolina
Who: Tift Merritt, Shirlette Ammons, Stephen Anderson, Chatham County Line, Phil Cook, Alice Gerrard, Brian Horton, Big Ron Hunter, H.C. McEntire, ASM, Sister Lena Mae Perry, Chris Stamey, Mary Dobbin Williams, others
When:7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26
Where: Fletcher Opera Theater, 2 E. South St., Raleigh
Cost: $29-$34 at Ticketmasteror the Duke Energy Center box office
▪ There is a free event with author readings and some of the same musicians, 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at The Pinhookin Durham.