New Southern magazine: Garden & Gun

August 29, 2007

No, this is not a parody from The Onion. The newest magazine about the South is Garden & Gun: 21st Century Southern America. I learned about this new periodical from an article in the Knoxville News Sentinel, which announces that “The magazine would walk the delicate balance between conservation and hunting.” Think Ted Nugent meets the Audubon Society.


From the News-Sentinel: “Garden & Gun will attract men and women who live an adventure bound, art loving, skeet shooting lifestyle and who have a love affair with the South.” And this: “The cover of the magazine’s debut issue this spring featured a barefoot Pat Conroy standing in a garden pond.”

I’ve been to parties like that.

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Memphis Magazine hits a home run

July 18, 2007

Glossy city magazines have an almost impossible task: producing good prose while simultaneously sucking up to companies who cotton to rich folks–and who, incidentally pay for the ads. That’s why you see those issues with lame stories such as “this year’s movers and shakers” and “the physician directory” with glowing little box profiles of doctors within an IV drip of an ad from their practices.

The July issue of Memphis magazine is about the best issue of this publication I’ve seen. The cover story is a 30-year look back at how the magazine covered Elvis, from their literally stop-the-presses September, 1977 issue–Memphis would have come out the month after the most momentous death in Memphis history with a cover on Dutch Elm disease and no mention of the King–complete with covers from all the issues during that time. Good stuff.

There is also a Chris Herrington article on the various out-of-town artists who recorded in Memphis. These include the Yardbirds, Neil Diamond, John Prine, Sonic Youth, Stevie Ray Vaughn, R.E.M, and Three Doors Down. Herrington then makes his case for what he thinks are four of the most significant albums recorded in Memphis by artists who did not live there: Dusty Springfield’s 1968 Dusty in Memphis, ZZ Top’s 1983 Eliminator, The Replacements’ 1987 Pleased to Meet Me, and the White Stripes’ 2001 White Blood Cells.

Memphis magazine costs a mere $15 per year for 12 issues, a bargain.


This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

American Legacy features DeFord Bailey

May 22, 2007

American Legacy, the magazine of African-American history and culture, has an insightful article in their summer issue on Deford Bailey, the first black star of the Grand Ole Opry. Bailey played harmonica on the very first show in which the name “Grand Ole Opry” was used, in 1927, and continued performing until 1941, when he got in the middle of a royalties fight between ASCAP and BMI and quit.

Unlike his blues counterparts, Bailey played a country-flavored harmonica. You can hear several of his songs here. While on the Opry, he was very popular with audiences and performers alike. The fact that the Opry was on radio and listeners could not see him made it easier to break a black performer into country music.

Bailey put up with a great deal of racism in his life. He was often referred to as “the mascot” of the Opry, and when he traveled with Opry stars, he was refused service at hotels and restaurants. When he left the Opry, he set up a shoeshine business in downtown Nashville and ran it, according to the article, until 1971, when he was 72 years old. He died in 1982, and was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.



This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

Oxford American releases first DVD

April 27, 2007

The Oxford American is a wonderful magazine that seemingly began its existence with nine lives, and has already gone through three or four of them. The magazine is beloved by subscribers for its once a year release of a CD with songs old and new accompanied by articles in the magazine about the music and its players.

The new issue breaks ground by including a DVD containing 16 short films to accompany the “Southern Movie” theme of the magazine. The second film included is “Born for Hard Luck,” an amazing look at the late “Peg Leg Sam: Jackson, whose photo is here:


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Happiness begins with No Depression

April 26, 2007

I am a magazine junkie, and one of my favorite fixes arrived last week. No Depression claims to “survey the past, present, and future of American music (whatever that is).” The magazine began by focusing on alt country, but has grown more eclectic over the years.

The May-June 2007 issue features stories on Uncle Earl, Elizabeth Cook, and Bright Eyes. Don’t know who those people are? I didn’t either, which is why I get this magazine. No Depression has wonderful CD reviews as well. On my list to get are Mavis Staples’s “We’ll Never Turn Back” as well the new collaboration between Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby.


This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

Rolling Stone at 40

April 23, 2007

I grew up with Rolling Stone. I was 15 years old when it hit the streets, and I subscribed as soon as I could. I would come home from high school to find my mother fuming about “that trashy magazine” that had arrived in the mail that day.

Rolling Stone has come out with a wonderful 40th issue, which includes interviews with people ranging from Jimmy Carter to Tom Wolfe as well as a list of “40 Songs that Changed the World.” First on that list is Elvis’s “That’s All Right.” Toward the back of the magazine, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards weigh in on the effect of the King on their music.

From Jagger: “The Elvis period was super-rebellious. Because that kid of music was much more shocking than the music of the Beatles–the early Beatles. . . .The wild men–Elvis, Jerry Lee–they were much more scary.”

From Keith, upon being asked what was the first rock & roll record you heard?: “The one memory that sticks out immediately is hearing “Heartbreak Hotel” one night on Radio Luxembourg. It was hard to get the signal, so you’d be walking around the room with the radio, going , ‘Oh, no, it’s fading!’ But it was like the world went technicolor.”