Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Southern Rockers

Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Southern Rockers

Article excerpt

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Let's be honest: Southern rock is a critically despised genre, a redneck sound draped in the Confederate flag and fueled by an oh-so-'70s mix of Jack Daniels and Quaaludes. But the genre's critics have it only partly right. It is impossible to overlook the shame of the Stars and Bars, but what about the sound of the music itself? There lies glory--especially if you turn it up real loud.

10. The Allman Brothers Band

The genre's progenitors? I wouldn't be so quick to place the Allmans at the moment of creation. But it is true they exhibit all that is good and bad about southern rock--the heady mix of blues, rock, country, and soul, on the one hand, and the never-ending on-stage "jam" burdening that other hand like so much dead-weight.

9. Lynyrd Skynyrd

Only Elvis's music lies buried beneath more heaps of cultural symbolism. But that's what you get for playing in front of the Rebel flag and sparring with Neil Young over the meaning of southern manhood.

8. Lucinda Williams

Oh, she can sing it sweet, but, Lord, have you heard Williams when she plugs in? A voice like a branding iron.

7. Uncle Tupelo

The Rust Belt meets the Bible Belt. The post-industrial descendants of the white southern migrants who found themselves exiled to the steel mills and automobile factories of the Midwest.

6. Gram Parsons

The pre-eminent country-rocker, a radiant songwriter, and a man who died far too young. …

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