Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oxford Americans names Alex Rawls guest editor for music issue

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 10:26 AM

GUEST EDITOR: Oxford American will draw Louisiana help for music issue. This cover was in 2003.
  • GUEST EDITOR: Oxford American will draw Louisiana help for music issue. This cover was in 2003.
Oxford American moves on from the firing of its founding editor, Marc Smirnoff, and managing editor Carol Ann Fitzgerald.

The magazine, with offices in Little Rock and Conway, announced today that Alex Rawls, a New Orleans-based writer and editor, will be guest editor of the magazine's popular and widely hailed music issue — this year to focus on Louisiana music. The issue will include a CD of music from the state.

Rawls has recently begun a music and culture website, My Spilt Milk. I happened to have just seen it mentioned in a new combine of on-line sources aimed at providing a digital substitute for the Times-Picayune, which soon will end daily print publication.


The magazine's release follows.

Alex Rawls, a longtime fixture of the Louisiana music and journalism scenes, will be the guest editor of The Oxford American's 2012 Southern Music issue, which will be released on December 1.

"Through his many years of writing and editing in New Orleans, Alex has a broad and intimate knowledge of the music of Louisiana," said Warwick Sabin, publisher of The Oxford American. "He understands its diverse history and he knows that it requires sensitivity, nuance, and some playfulness to tell the stories in an authentic and engaging way. The close relationships he has cultivated with writers and musicians — and their respect for him — will ensure he delivers a fun and memorable Southern Music issue for our readers to enjoy."

The Oxford American’s 2012 Southern Music Issue will be published in December and will be available at bookstores and newsstands nationwide. It will be packaged with a CD dedicated to the exploration of Louisiana music. The magazine will also include a special editorial section with articles about the artists and songs featured on the CD. This is the fourth consecutive year The Oxford American's award-winning and critically acclaimed Southern Music Issue will focus on the musical heritage of a particular Southern state. (Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi were featured in the last three editions, respectively.)

"Louisiana has produced some of the world's most beloved musicians across a wide range of genres, and its musical heritage is already widely respected and admired," Sabin said. "Our challenge is to thoughtfully and deeply explore the music of Louisiana, in order to unearth hidden treasures and introduce our readers and listeners to people and stories they otherwise would never know. As we have proven over the years, that is what The Oxford American does best, and we are up to the challenge."

The Louisiana CD and the editorial section about Louisiana music is produced in partnership with the Louisiana Office of Tourism. After the 2012 Southern Music Issue is released, The Oxford American will work with Lt. Governor Dardenne and the Office of Tourism to hold events throughout the state to celebrate the musical heritage of Louisiana.

Alex Rawls has been covering music and culture in New Orleans for more than 15 years. He freelanced for OffBeat Magazine, writing about books and music from 1997 until 2004, when he became the music editor at Gambit, New Orleans' alt-weekly. There he wrote about music, art and comics until Hurricane Katrina forced a radical reduction in the size of the magazine's staff. After the storm, Rawls freelanced around the country, writing about Katrina for Spin, alt-weeklies and dailies. His feature "Lost in the Flood" for No Depression led to a year-long column in the magazine on the city's slow progress toward recovery, and in the years after he wrote for Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times and other publications. He has also presented papers three times at The EMP Pop Conference, a yearly conference for ethnomusicologists, journalists, critics and historians — once on the effects of the city's housing shortage on the return of the music community, once on songs inspired by Hurricane Katrina, and once on the economic impact of HBO's Treme on the city's musicians.

In January 2006, Rawls began a five-and-a-half-year stint editing OffBeat, Louisiana's music and culture monthly. During that time, he helped tell the story of New Orleans' complicated, difficult renewal, paying attention to the roles played by some of the city's established musicians as well as emerging artists whose contributions were just as important if less obvious. The magazine addressed the efforts of the music community to not only return but decide what form it would adopt. At the same time, a young Cajun and Zydeco community emerged in Lafayette that addressed the relationship between tradition and the future in dynamic ways, and OffBeat focused on that as well. The magazine paid attention to genres and music communities that found new audiences, as well as artists and styles that had to once again prove themselves.

Rawls helped strengthen OffBeat's online presence during his time there, and earlier this year he stepped down from his editor post to launch his own music and culture website, My Spilt Milk, which has already drawn attention for the questions it raised about contemporary second line practices following the death of the Treme Brass Band's "Uncle" Lionel Batiste. Rawls has also been a teacher, having taught English Composition and Literature classes at Delgado Community College - West Bank for 14 years. He earned his B.A. in English at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and earned an M.A. in English at the University of New Orleans.

The Oxford American's annual Southern Music Issue has won two National Magazine Awards and other high honors since it was first introduced in 1999. It is considered by many readers and listeners to be among the best music packages in the country. Over the years, NPR has featured many of The Oxford American's Southern Music Issues on its broadcasts. The New York Times once wrote, "The Oxford American may be the liveliest literary magazine in America … the CDs are so smart and eclectic they probably belong in the Smithsonian." The Houston Chronicle has called it, "The single best music-related magazine of any given year," while The Boston Globe simply termed it "a welcome fix." Musicians like Dolly Parton, Chris Isaak and Tom Petty have also gone on record to praise it. The Southern Music Issue has showcased both famous and criminally neglected musicians, everyone from R.E.M. to the Gants, Isaac Hayes to Erma Franklin, Lucinda Williams to Karen Dalton, Carl Perkins to the Armstrong Twins, Willie Nelson to Gary Stewart, Jerry Lee Lewis to Nellie Lutcher and more. Such music writing leaders as Greil Marcus, William Gay, Stanley Crouch, Peter Guralnick, Steve Martin, Rosanne Cash, Nick Tosches, and Kevin Brockmeier—among many others—have contributed memorable writing to the Southern Music Issues.

Tags: , , , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Thursday's open line and the daily video

    Here's the open line and the daily video.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • UPDATE: Ted Suhl gets seven years, $200,000 fine for bribery

    Ted Suhl was sentenced this morning by federal Judge Billy Roy Wilson on four counts of attempting to bribe a state official to help his mental health business supported by Medicaid money. He received 84 months and a $200,000 fine and is to report to prison in early January. He will appeal.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Question raised on Dallas Cowboy gift to NLR cops

    Blogger Russ Racop raises an interesting question, as he sometimes does, about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' gift of free tickets for North Little Rock cops to attend a Dallas Cowboy football game.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Foster family disputes key statements from Justin Harris

    Craig and Cheryl Hart were the foster parents of the two sisters who were adopted by Rep. Justin Harris and his wife Marsha and later "rehomed." The Harts say that the adoption was allowed to proceed over the objections of the foster parents and local DHS staff due to pressure exerted by Cecile Blucker, head of the Division of Children and Family Services, on behalf of Justin Harris.
    • Mar 7, 2015
  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Opposition organizes to school outsourcing bill

    Little Rock residents aren't happy about news of plan to to turnover the school district, its facilities and its tax base to private management companies for charter schools.
    • Mar 8, 2015

Most Shared

  • Issue 3: blank check

    Who could object to a constitutional amendment "concerning job creation, job expansion and economic development," which is the condensed title for Issue 3 for Arkansas voters on Nov. 8?
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation