ONE HUNDRED SONGS! That’s right, today’s ten songs puts the tally at 100 total songs by 100 different, women, trans, or non-binary musicians, singers, and songwriters of or in the South. Not that I’m counting or anything. Here are your videos and your playlist. Please enjoy this new bunch of talented folks making it all look so easy.
South Carolina: Tape Waves, “Nowhere”
Let’s start with some brand new music from a Charleston duo with Kim Hart Weldon on vocals. Maybe it’s just me, but the couple’s brand of light, airy, seaside pop seems to have gotten a little poppier on this new album – perhaps even seaside-ier.
Georgia: Casper & the Cookies, “Meredith”
These Athens indie rockers have long indie-rocked their small, Georgia college town, and on “Meredith,” Kat Stanton leads a fast-paced pop anthem, reminiscent of some the great women of the alt-80s. This one is off of Casper & the Cookies’ 2009 album, Modern Silence.
Tennessee: Jackie Lynn, “Smile”
“Smile” is from Franklin-native Haley Fohr’s latest solo project as Circuit des Yeux, and Jackie Lynn is the persona driving the narrative. The album exists in this deep, dark, storytelling world amid sparse and deceptively simple experimental music. There’s a documentary and everything. All of the eight songs on this album deserve your attention, but “Smile” features the lyrics: “I’m so sick of these jocks with their little tiny cocks/Thinking I’d shine my shoes and show my pearly whites.” So.
Florida: A Brilliant Lie, “Pieces”
Orlando’s A Brilliant Lie are currently on tour around the South. They are a heavy, rock n’ roll band led by a dynamo of a vocalist in Tara Lightfoot, and they’re hitting Columbia, SC, on Wednesday.
Texas: Erykah Badu: “This Bitter Land”
So, this new song, a promotional release in anticipation of the upcoming film The Land, is actually billed as Nas, featuring Erykah Badum, but I don’t care about that. The opening lines sung by Dallas-native Badu are more gut-wrenching than merely beautiful, and I don’t how you’ll listen without being dragged back to Billie Holiday’s mid-century rendering of “Strange Fruit” – though that’s surely the point. This is a distinctly moving piece of music.
Kentucky: Kelsey Waldon, “You Can Have It’
Kelsey Waldon hails from Barlow, KY, and she uses every bit of small town nostalgia and horror she can in her music. It’s all very good and will exceed your country music expectations. This is her very latest release.
Virginia: Emily Henry, “In My Eyes”
Arlington-based Emily Henry checks all of the obligatory folky singer/songwriter boxes, but she adds smart and angry lyrics, a warm and defiant tone, and an indie sensibility that is both charming and unsettling. I don’t know, just listen.
Texas: Femina X, “Cosmos”
I have to admit that I’m pretty enchanted by the San Antonio, feminist, Latin music scene. Allow me to introduce you to Femina X, an avant garde, synth-driven pop band with Daniela “Zaa Zaa” Rojas on vocals. This is their latest single. Now, you’re enchanted too.
Louisiana: Dawn Richard, “Wake Up”
New Orleans-native Dawn Richard headed for Baltimore after Hurricane Katrina, where she became a member of all-ladies group Danity Kane. She’s now a solo singer/songwriter, and this is her latest dance number.
Georgia: Kylesa, “Shaping the Southern Sky”
It occurred to me that I have not included a metal band on one of these lists, so I’m remedying that with Savannah-based, sludge metal group Kylesa. Fronted by Laura Pleasants, they have been slaying it for, like, fifteen years! I wanted to include a song from their 2015 album Exhausting Fire, because it’s the newest and the dreamiest. But please just watch Pleasants tear it up on some earlier work.