Even though the cover of the two-disc set that comes with this year's issue clearly says "TWO SOUTHERN MUSIC CDS," Smirnoff writes:
"I'll say it aloud: The Oxford American covers old music...mainly...though not exclusively. I would feel badly, I hope, if our looking back contributed to people ignoring great contemporary music. But, come on, there are many more blogs, magazines, websites, TV spots, radio shows, and MySpaces hyping and analyzing contemporary music than there are useful and thoughtful guides to past music. My point is, simply, that there's room for a publication or CD that focuses on scratchy recordings."
That's fine--but maybe you should add the adjective "old" to the CD cover. Because when you just call it Southern music, I expect, every now and then, to hear some Miami bass, some KC and the Sunshine Band, some reggaeton, some OutKast or Lil' Jon, some electro, even some classic Tampa death metal. There's tons of exciting music that's come out of the urban centers of the South in the last 30 years, a lot of which still sounds vital and fresh today. Just because it doesn't have a banjo doesn't mean it's not Southern. (You'd also be hard-pressed to convince me that Neko Case, who's spent most of her life and almost all of her recording career in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, qualifies as "Southern." Or "old," for that matter.)