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Posts Tagged ‘The South’

Dwight Yoakam – A Heart Like Mine
Dixie Chicks – A Home
Allison Moorer – A Soft Place To Fall
Elvis Presley – All Shook Up
Pistol Annies – Beige
Mazzy Star – Blue Light
John Hiatt – Blue Telescope
Billy Bragg and Wilco – California Stars
Elvis Presley – Can’t Help Falling In Love
Neil Diamond – Cherry, Cherry
Waylon Jennings – Cloudy Days
R.E.M. – Country Feedback
Dustin Lynch – Cowboys and Angels
Miranda Lambert – Dead Flowers
Emmylou Harris – Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby
Cracker – Dixie Babylon
Alison Krauss – Down To The River To Pray
Jamey Johnson – Dreaming My Dreams With You
John Hiatt – Dust Down A Country Road
Kenny Chesney – El Cerrito Place
R.E.M. – Endgame
John Hiatt – Ethylene
Steve Earle – Fearless Heart
Sara Evans – Four-Thirty
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
Lucinda Williams – Fruits Of My Labor
Zac Brown Band – Goodbye In Her Eyes
Ryan Bingham – Hallelujah
Pistol Annies – Housewife’s Prayer
Dixie Chicks – I Believe In Love
John Hiatt – I Can’t Wait
Dwight Yoakam – I Sang Dixie
Hank Williams – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
Johnny Cash – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
The Band Perry – If I Die Young
Roy Orbison – In Dreams
Mazzy Star – Into Dust
Ryan Bingham – Junky Star
Mazzy Star – Lay Myself Down
Eric Church – Like Jesus Does
Miranda Lambert – Look At Miss Ohio
Hank Williams – Lost Highway
Gram Parsons – Love Hurts
Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender
R.E.M. – Man On The Moon
R.E.M. – Me In Honey
Waylon Jennings – Memories Of You And I
Grant Lee Buffalo – Mighty Joe Moon
Merle Haggard – My Favorite Memory
Neil Young – My My, Hey Hey
R.E.M. – New Orleans Instrumental No.1
R.E.M. – Nightswimming
Townes Van Zandt – No Place To Fall
Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman
Miranda Lambert – Oklahoma Sky
Hal Ketchum – Past The Point Of Rescue
Neko Case – Porchlight
Waylon Jennings – Pretend I Never Happened
Sam Phillips – Reflecting Light
The B-52′s – Revolution Earth
The Decemberists – Rise To Me
Uncle Tupelo – Slate
Hal Ketchum – Small Town Saturday Night
Waylon Jennings – So Good Woman
Kenny Chesney – Somewhere With You
R.E.M. – Star Me Kitten
Jessi Colter – Storms Never Last
Deana Carter – Strawberry Wine
Cowboy Junkies – Sweet Jane
R.E.M. – Sweetness Follows
John Hiatt – The River Knows Your Name
Ryan Bingham – The Weary Kind
Dwight Yoakam – Things Change
Waylon Jennings – This Time
Dixie Chicks – Truth No. 2
Neko Case – Twist the Knife
Miranda Lambert – Virginia Bluebell
The Band Perry – Walk Me Down the Middle
John Hiatt – Walk On
Patsy Cline – Walkin’ After Midnight
Ryan Adams – When The Stars Go Blue
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell – When You Get To Asheville
Sara Evans – Why Should I Care
Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman
Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
Johnny Cash – Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)
R.E.M. – You Are The Everything
Roy Orbison – You Got It

I’ve been perfecting it for going on two years now; it makes me think of all the places my heart hurts for.

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I haven’t seen James Franco’s As I Lay Dying yet, but I want to so bad I can taste it.

Now it looks like James Franco is going to tackle The Sound and the Fury. That’s awesome. I am 100% in favor of as many Faulkner adaptations as possible. Bring all of them to the screen! I will watch them all.

Neither As I Lay Dying nor The Sound and the Fury are among my favorite Faulkner novels, but a not-favorite Faulkner is still like a billion times better than most everything else. Hopefully HBO will get around to making everything else.

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I’m a sucker for a good mint julep.

I try to keep a good 5-6 different kinds of bourbon on hand at any given time; I rarely choose to drink any other kind of liquor. I try to keep Early Times around for cooking (I know it’s not technically bourbon), and for making pancake syrup with. I always have at least one bottle of Wild Turkey and a bottle of Dickel’s (my Tennessee Whiskey of choice–sorry, Jack), and then a handful of whatever else looked interesting at the liquor store. A couple of months ago I scored a bottle of Black Maple Hill, but I drank it all, and I’m not at all sorry I did it.

Usually I drink bourbon straight, on the rocks. Real ice, not real rocks. I think that the melting water opens up the flavors and I don’t mind the minor watering down at all. In fact, with a drink like Wild Turkey, a little watering down’s actually a really good thing. But I also like bourbon-based cocktails. When I’m out, I always order an old-fashioned. It has enough ingredients in it that it’s not that much fun to make at home, but it’s delicious. My best bourbon buddy says the old fashioned is too sweet, but I like it.

Once I made bacon-infused bourbon, and used it to make a delicious old fashioned. And an absolutely disgusting Manhattan. Live and learn.

But the point of all of this, other than to just, generally talk about bourbon, is that my favorite bourbon cocktail to make at home is a mint julep. I haven’t made it that often because it requires, well, mint. But seeing as how we just bought a house last month, and the back yard came with, among other treasures, a huge pot of what I believe to be spearmint, that is no longer a problem. Accordingly, I have had no small number of mint juleps since moving in. It’s a perfect summery drink, and, like a Bellini, you’re allowed to have it in the morning.

I realize that the mint julep is often associated with the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Derby parties, but I am an advocate for bringing this delicious drink back into regular rotation. It’s not all that different from a mojito, after all (different liquor and no lime), and those aren’t arbitrarily restricted to once-a-year drinking.

So today I picked a bunch of our spearmint and I am making a mint simple syrup with it. I know that’s kind of cheating (actually muddling the mint is the correct way, and probably tastes better), but we have so much dang mint, I feel like I should do something with it other than picking a sprig here and there. So right now I have a huge fistful of the mint boiling in water, and I’m going to strain it, turn the liquid (which will effectively be super-strong mint tea at that point) into simple syrup, and put it in a jar to save for later. We’ll see how it turns out. In any case, I am looking forward to making sure I test it thoroughly and exhaustively over the next few coming weekends.

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This looks like it will be absolutely everything I have been hoping it will be. I am incredibly stoked.

Incidentally, the music that’s playing at the beginning of the trailer is “Moving On” by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, from the soundtrack to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The cool thing is, I listened to that soundtrack while reading As I Lay Dying last year, because I thought it had just the perfect atmosphere for the book. Apparently someone else thought so too.

Also, true story: I have a Google Alert set up for “William Faulkner.”

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It is only too easy to define the malignant meaning of industrialism. It is the contemporary form of pioneering; yet since it never consents to define its goal, it is a pioneering on in principle, and with an accelerating speed. Industrialism is a program under which men, using the latest scientific paraphernalia, sacrifice comfort, leisure, and the enjoyment of life to win Pyrrhic victories from nature at points of no strategic importance.

-John Crowe Ransom, “Reconstructed but Unregenerate,” from I’ll Take My Stand

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Ol’ Joe Hooker, won’t you come out of the Wilderness?
Come out of The Wilderness, come out of the Wilderness?
Ol’ Joe Hooker, won’t you come out of the Wilderness?
Bully boys, hey! Bully boys, ho!

If you want to have a good time, jine the cavalry!
Jine the cavalry! Jine the cavalry!
If you want to catch the Devil, if you want to have fun,
If you want to smell Hell, jine the cavalry!

Today, 150 years ago, on the second bloodiest day of the War of Northern Aggression, General “Stonewall” Jackson lay wounded, having been hit by friendly fire the previous night during a recon of the battle lines after dark. Command of his corps, that had routed so much of the Army of the Potomac the previous day, fell to General A. P. Hill, who also fell wounded in turn.

General Rodes was next in line to take command, but by mutual agreement, General J.E.B. Stuart, the glamorous cavalry comander, took charge instead. It was his first time commanding infantry, but by all accounts he acquitted himself more than manfully, continuing to push the advantage that Jackson had gained on the 2nd. Said Stephen W. Sears,

It is hard to see how Jeb Stuart, in a new command, a cavalryman commanding infantry and artillery for the first time, could have done a better job. The astute Porter Alexander believed all credit was due: “Altogether, I do not think there was a more brilliant thing done in the war than Stuart’s extricating that command from the extremely critical position in which he found it.”

Stuart also spontaneously invented a new verse to the his theme song, “Jine the Cavalry,” which mocked the Union Commander, “Fighting Joe” Hooker, and Stuart sang the song all day while leading Jackson’s men into battle.

Hooker spent a good portion of the morning unconscious from an artillery blast that blew him off the porch of his command post, and accordingly, probably did not hear Stuart’s musical embellishments first hand.

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chancellorsville-fshmp

You can go forward then.

-Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, to Gen. Robert E. Rodes, May 2, 1863, approximately 5:45 p.m.

All across the nearly two-mile width of Jackson’s front, the woods and fields resounded with the rebel yell as the screaming attackers bore down on the startled Federals, who had just risen to whoop at the frightened deer and driven rabbits. Now it was their turn to be frightened — and driven, too. For the Union regiments facing west gave way in a rush before the onslaught, and as they fled the two guns they had abandoned were turned against them, hastening their departure and increasing the confusion among the troops facing south behind the now useless breastworks they had constructed with such care. These last took their cue from them and began to pull out too, in rapid succession from right to left down the long line of intrenchments, swelling the throng rushing eastward along the road. Within 20 minutes of the opening shows, Howard’s flank division had gone out of military existence, converted that quickly from organisation to mob. The adjoining division was sudden to follow the example set. Not even the sight of the corps commander himself, on horseback near Wilderness Church, breasting the surge of retreaters up the turnpike and clamping a stand of abandoned colors under the stump of his amputated arm while attempting to control the skittish horse with the other, served to end or even to slow the rout. Bareheaded and with tears in his eyes, Howard was pleading with them to halt and form, halt and form, but they paid him no mind, evidently convinced that his distress, whether for the fate of his country or his career or both, took no precedence over their own distress for their very lives.

-Shelby Foote, The Civil War, A Narrative, Vol. 2

My God it is horrible. To think of it — 130,000 magnificient soldiers so cut to pieces by less than 60,000 half starved ragamuffins.

-Horace Greeley, on the Battle of Chancellorsville

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A few months ago (probably on a Literary Friday, because that’s when I really tend to go overboard with this kind of thing) I got the idea into my head that I wanted a picture of William Faulkner to hang on my wall. So I Googled pictures of him for about thirty seconds before I fixated on this one. I’m not completely sure why–maybe it’s just the great light/dark contrast, or maybe it’s because Faulkner appears to be outside and unmistakably (stereotypically even!) in the South, which is fitting for an author whose work is so inseparably rooted in Place–but in any case, I liked this particular photo and I decided I wanted it on my wall (at home? In my office? I confess I had not got that far yet).

My first inclination was to ask my mother to draw it or me. For years she did portraits for everyone we knew for Christmas, and she even painted a portrait of my beautiful and sexy wife and me on our wedding day.

But then it hit me: Shit, I thought, I can draw. I should just draw it myself.

So I got started, and I worked on it here and there throughout August and September while I read Go Down, Moses, which turns out to be just a fucking amazing book and without a doubt one of the most powerful novels (and it definitely is a novel, not short stories) he ever wrote, second quite possibly to only Absalom, Absalom!.

I took my time, but when I realized today was William Faulkner’s birthday, I knew it was time to buckle down and finish it. So I did. And here it is.

Copyright by me. Don’t steal. But I hope you like it; I’m awfully proud of it.

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Go read Philip Sasser’s excellent and genteel review of Chuck Thompson’s anti-Southern screed, Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession.

Then, follow Philip Sasser’s blog (I know, I know, its tumblr, but I forgive him), folow all the Oxford American blogs, and purchase a subscription to the Oxford American (a print subscription, because print is better than the internet). You will be glad you did.

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I finished Eudora Welty’s The Optimist’s Daughter quite quickly (it’s a pretty short novel, after all) and I’m still sort of mentally unpacking it. In retrospect, I don’t thin there’s as much to warrant a comparison with Agee as I had assumed. They’re both Southern novels with narratives around a dead person, but honestly that’s about it. Oh, and they both won Pulitzers. And neither of them has much in common with As I Lay Dying, either (although As I Lay Dying and A Death In The Family are interesting because of the ways they approach the death of a parent through the eyes of a child as a kind of secondary or tertiary POV). But like I said, I’m still chewing on it.

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