The South Rises Again and Again

lynardI know the words to so much classic rock, and I suppose my laidback, rural nature has resulted in an aesthetic preference for Southern instrumentation and voices. I love that dusty twang, those whiskey-soaked leads, the drone of a pedal steel, and the happy cries of a fiddler.

 

 

 

 

mollyhatch

My biggest guilty listening pleasure can be summed up with two words from a well-known infomercial: "Goin' South," as in Southern Rock.

Growing up in rural Southern Illinois (not exactly the South, but certainly not immune from front porch-pickin' and slack-jawed yokels), I found myself unavoidably surrounded by two interchangeable classic rock radio stations. On the way to school, in the break room at work, and on the speakers at my favorite local dives were the Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Allman Brothers. I've always been known for my encyclopedic memory of useless music knowledge, and to this day contend that I can turn to one of those stations and name 99% of the songs within 10 seconds of their beginning. I know the words to so much classic rock, and I suppose my laidback, rural nature has resulted in an aesthetic preference for Southern instrumentation and voices. I love that dusty twang, those whiskey-soaked leads, the drone of a pedal steel, and the happy cries of a fiddler. For me, it evokes the feeling of a twilight drive on a humid summer night, passing silos, churning gravel, and breathing the forestation with "Black Water" rattling my antennae.

Southern rock makes me feel carefree, makes me want to get my hands dirty, drink a cold beer and drown out the crickets while my friends and I smile at nothing. It makes me feel the outdoors, a connection to the land, to my land. I'm not ashamed of my guilty pleasure. I'm not afraid to say that I'm so caught up in .38 Special, that I flirt with disaster every time Molly Hatchet kicks on, and that I'd rather hear "Tuesday's Gone" and "Saturday Night Special" than "Freebird" or "Sweet Home Alabama" (though you'll never hear me complain about the latter two). I actually spent a good hour or two, one night, searching feverishly to download "Goin' South," and although I deleted a few songs I didn't like, I eventually created my own three-disc set which is never out of mind for my rotation. Currently, the Dickey Betts-featured "Blue Sky" is at the top of my iTunes "most played" songs, and in the foreseeable future, it's there to stay. Long live Pure Prairie League! | Dave Jasmon

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