"Insofar as there has been American music,
it has been Southern music."

-- John and Dale Reed

University of North Carolina

Regions can be difficult, even perilous, to define. We do not claim, then, that the musics represented in our "Sounds of the South" exhibit are "peculiarly" Southern. Music is obviously, gloriously, amorphous. If you tried to contain it, it would only bleed through your fingers, slide under the door, and wriggle up next to somebody else. But the musical styles we've chosen have obvious Southern roots, in the history of their genres, but more palpably, simply, in the way that they sound. Bluegrass sounds like the thin air rolling over the Kentucky mountains, New Orleans jazz like the brassy, earthly demands of the brothel and the street carnival. Each sample here has been chosen because it expresses something essential about its genre. We may not have captured the genre completely, but then that's the point--one musical style leeches into the other, seamless, like the air, or the rivers . . . or the regions.

Each musical type is accompanied by two sound files: 1) an .au formatted file. Most browsers have built in support for this file type, though download times can be substantial via modem; 2) a real audio formatted file. This streamlined format reduces downloading time but requires a plugin available from Real Media.

The descriptions of each musical type are excerpted from John Shelton and Dale Volberg Reed's 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the South, published by Doubleday, and available at most bookstores.

SC Music Home | Black Gospel | Black Spiritual | Bluegrass | Boogie-Woogie | Cajun | Country and Western | Delta Blues | Dixieland Jazz | Folk | Piedmont Blues | Ragtime | Rhythm & Blues | Rockabilly | Shape Note | Southern Rock | Soul | Swamp Blues | Texas Blues | White Spiritual | Zydeco

(The above section is borrowed from, and linked to, the University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of the American South)


Links for exploring Southern Music

Blue Grass                               Southern Rock Guitar           Southern Music Tours

Country Music                         1900 Southern Music             Southern Gospel    

Gritz (Southern Music Magazine)         Southern Music Library         Southern Gospel 

Mississippi Rag                       Southern Mosaic                    Zydeco (Cajun) 

Southern Gospel News            Southern Music Network        

W.C. Handy Blues & Barbeque Festival