Whether you’re looking for some fresh-faced country music out of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains or some truly wild roots-y punk rock from a famous Alabaman, a beautiful folk ballad about love and malt liquor from a Georgia college town or an indie country sound from a North Carolina college town, I believe I have you covered – and then some. Ten Southerners, ten songs.
This series serves to highlight the many Southern women and trans and non-binary Southerners creating the sounds we need to hear. There are videos below and a Spotify playlist. I hope you enjoy this week’s playlist as much I do.
Florida: Breanna Barbara, “Sailin’ Sailin’”
Breanna Barbara honed her musical chops playing house shows and bars in St. Augustine, Florida (considered the oldest city in America, if you didn’t know). She makes anew the well-worn gritty and roots rock-y sound with verve and intensity. The same folks behind the Alabama Shakes and Hurray for the Riff Raff produced her forthcoming debut album (and her single, “Sailin’ Sailin’”).
Virginia: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, “Nobody Dies”
I was reminded this week at Girls Rock camp that Thao Nguyen, while now based in San Francisco, is originally from Falls Church, Virginia. Her new album is raw, emotional, and personal. It’s shockingly good rock music.
Texas: Lomelda, “Brazos River”
Lomelda seems to be an ever-changing roster of musicians with Waco songwriter Hannah Read at its heart. The music is soft and bittersweet, and the band lists its genre as “sad party,” which I think is fair.
Georgia: Hope for Agoldensummer, “Malt Liquor”
This is beautiful folky music from an Athens-based family band helmed by sisters Claire and Page Campbell.
Virginia: Dori Freeman, “You Say”
I have two new favorite country singers that I discovered in 2016, and Freeman is one of them (Sarah Shook’s the other – which I’ve made clear elsewhere). She hails from the southwestern Virginia town of Galax, where her dad runs a shop on the state’s heritage music trail. Her voice can be deceptively simple and sweet but her message and music are anything but.
Texas: Aisha Burns, “Shelley”
Austin-based singer/songwriter and violinist Burns will give you the best chills. It’s delicate and subdued, dark and expansive.
North Carolina: Mount Moriah, “Calvander”
Heather McEntire of Durham-based Mount Moriah sounds a lot like a very young, hip Dolly Parton – everyone knows this. But it’s the way her voice belts and quivers that makes their brand of country/folk/punk/rock that much more unique.
Alabama: Thunderbitch, “Leather Jacket”
Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard has unleashed her punk rock soul in her side project Thunderbitch.
South Carolina: Megan Jean and the KFB, “These Bones”
Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band from North Charleston are definitely eclectic, weird even, and they’re also masterful in constructing a sound that’s at once vintage and modern.
Tennessee: Kiya Lacey, “No Mercy”
This is a dreamy, R&B-infused, dance-pop number from Nashville singer/songwriter and rising star Kiya Lacey.