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Oxford American Kentucky Music Issue

By Kentucky For Kentucky |

We've always thought Kentucky deserved more attention. That's why we started this thing. And whenever anyone else wants to join us in preaching the Gospel of Kentucky, we're always ready with the metaphorical megaphone to help amp up their message. In that spirit, when our friends at the Oxford American magazine let us know that they'd chosen The Bluegrass State as the focus of their much-anticipated annual Southern Music Issue, we jumped at the chance to show our support for Kentucky's amazing musicians and writers. We're even running a full-page ad that we think y'all are gonna love. More on that later.



For now, in case you don't already know, the Oxford American is to the South as The New Yorker is to the North. In their own words, it's a "nonprofit, quarterly literary magazine dedicated to featuring the best in Southern writing while documenting the complexity and vitality of the American South."


Long story short, it's not exactly Upworthy. And this year, under the guidance of editor Eliza Borné, the revered magazine returns to the popular music issue series that's been published sporadically since 1997.


"Working on this issue has been a pure joy," says Borné. "Kentucky's musical tradition is so rich for exploration and celebration. I love to introduce our readers to music across decades and genres, regions and styles. Kentucky made it easy for us to showcase breadth and depth: from bluegrass to hip-hop, classical to indie rock; music made in hollers and cities; songs recorded from the 1920s to the present; lyrics inspired by the landscape, or the labor movement, or love. It's all there in Kentucky and in this issue."


According to Borné, readers can expect some truly special work from notable Kentuckians like Silas House, Crystal Wilkinson, Ronni Lundy, Erik Reece, Marianne Worthington, and Rebecca Gayle Howell. The issue also includes three unpublished poems by the great Catholic thinker and writer Thomas Merton.


"I could go on all day," says Borné, "but that should give you a sense of the variety in the issue."



As with past installments of the Oxford American's Southern Music Issue, buyers and subscribers will receive a CD full of rare and exclusive Kentucky music to enjoy along with the essays. And this year, for the first time ever, readers get a free download—with bonus tracks—along with their CD, so they can listen on their device of choice.  


Says Borné, "One of the many pleasures of working on this issue was discovering rock band The Torques, who were popular in Lexington in the 1960s, then disbanded when the young musicians joined the service or went on to grad school. Jamming to 'It's Me Not You,' an early track on our compilation, kept me going on many a late night when we were on deadline."



Want to score your very own copy of the Oxford American's upcoming Southern Music Issue featuring the great state of Kentucky? Make sure you aren't left empty-handed by pre-ordering right here before it flies off newsstands.


Better yet, click here and enter the promo code "OAKENT" for a yearlong $25 (normally $39) subscription that begins with the Southern Music Issue.



As for Kentucky for Kentucky's involvement, we've been big fans of the Oxford American since the beginning, but our official relationship started in 2013 when they were nice enough to feature us and our "Kentucky Kicks Ass" campaign on their excellent SoLost Video series.


Oxford American executive director Ryan Harris says that, as admirers of Kentucky for Kentucky's creativity, "We knew that we wanted to collaborate with y'all if the opportunity ever arose for a Kentucky music issue."


Which brings us to our kick-ass ad. In addition to featuring kick-ass Kentucky power couple Brett Ratliff and Rebecca Gayle Howell in some of our signature kick-ass Kentucky gear, we think we came up with a pretty killer concept that'll turn some heads and do the Commonwealth proud.


Check it out.



Not bad, right?


"It's brilliant," says Harris.


Yeah, but is it the greatest ad that's ever appeared in the Oxford American?





Want to score your very own copy of the Oxford American's upcoming Southern Music Issue featuring the great state of Kentucky? Make sure you aren't left empty-handed by pre-ordering right here before it flies off newsstands.


Better yet, click here and enter the promo code "OAKENT" for a yearlong $25 (normally $39) subscription that begins with the Southern Music Issue.

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