Southern Nights: 10 Killer Albums for a Sticky, Humid Summer
by Justin Farrar | June 14, 2011
I'm attempting to nail two themes with this, my latest cheat sheet. The first is a celebration of summer, of hanging on front porches while cranking killer rock 'n' roll. I know this concept has been slayed to death through the years, but only because it's a durable one. Rock music is capable of speaking to the deepest depths of the soul, as well as the most abstruse pockets of the brain. But oftentimes its most potent powers manifest themselves when in service of nothing more than good times and hanging out. The perfect chair, a rickety porch and sunlight filtered in just the right way can fuse with your favorite jams to elevate summer-month leisure time into something sublime and unique, something that infuses life with real meaning. Example: to this very day, I'll never forget the first time I heard The Flying Burrito Brothers' debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin: the ice-cold beer bottle sweating into my palm, the blistering heat, the tattered recliner that should've been junked years ago and those incredible harmonies ... wow. What a wonderfully memorable slice of time.
As for my second theme, it's considerably more straightforward. Below you'll find 10 (or so) albums that feature some of the latest and best sounds in modern Southern rock, blues rock, country rock, etc. Because genre classification has splintered into a million tiny shards over the decades, most of the artists I feature aren't often tagged rock: more like Americana, alt country or modern blues. Yet every one of them explore the same sounds and styles that were first established by The Band, The Allman Brothers Band, Gram Parsons, Tony Joe White, the mighty Lynyrd Skynyrd and other rootsy pioneers in the first half of the 1970s. So yeah, this stuff is rock 'n' roll.