Issue 123: Ballads Music Issue

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The 2023 annual music issue and CD will celebrate ballads as a vessel for Southern storytelling and sentimentality.

Our 25th annual Southern Music Issue will be devoted to ballads of all genres and origins. We will investigate the slow-building progression from hyperlocal story songs to contemporary slow jams, while simultaneously celebrating myriad stylistic iterations in between: Appalachian folk, character-driven blues, tear-jerking country, down-tempo Southern rock, and more.

In our pages, contributors will explore what ballads reveal about the past, present, and future of Southern storytelling through personal essays, profiles, visual art, experimental narratives, short stories, and more, offering fresh takes on the songs that make private feelings public, tug our heartstrings, and soundtrack our slow dances.

The Ballads Issue will include a free companion CD and a selection of specially curated Spotify playlists. Stay tuned for more information about these exclusive supplements to the issue!

Pre-orders of the 25th annual Southern Music Issue will ship mid-November, and the issue will become available on newsstands early December.

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