The Oxford American welcomes new Jeff Baskin Writers Fellow KaToya Ellis Fleming

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Help the Oxford American welcome their new Jeff Baskin Writers Fellow, KaToya Ellis Fleming, at this special reception!

Tonight (September 6) from 4pm to 8pm, ESSE is opening up the museum free of charge and serving light refreshments during SoMa After Dark for this casual meet-and-greet.

Grab a snack, sign up to win a door prize from ESSE and the OA, and stay to hear KaToya do a brief reading from her work at 5:30 PM and again at 7:00 PM.

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Tonight the Oxford American kicks off its Jazz Series at South on Main with Peter Martin & Romero Lubambo feat. Erin Bode

Peter Martin & Romero Lubambo Featuring Erin Bode [JAZZ SERIES]The Oxford American magazine is excited to welcome Peter Martin & Romero Lubambo featuring Erin Bode to the South on Main stage!  The concert is tonight (September 5) at 8:00pm.

This is the first show of their Jazz Sub-Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, as well as their season sponsor University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

 

Peter Martin is an acclaimed jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator. His touring career has taken him to six continents numerous times. In January 2011 Peter performed with a select group of jazz artists at the White House for a State Dinner hosted by President Obama, and he returned to perform for the Governor’s Dinner in February 2012 for the first family and other guests.

Peter performed on and arranged Dianne Reeves’ GRAMMY-winning release A Little Moonlight. He also appeared in George Clooney’s 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck, as well as being the featured pianist and an arranger on the GRAMMY-winning soundtrack. Peter has performed, toured and recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Chris Botti, Betty Carter, Christian McBride, and Joshua Redman, as well as the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. In 2014 Peter was selected to tour with “Newport Now 60,” an all-star ensemble that toured nationwide in celebration of the iconic festival’s 60th anniversary.


In 1985, Romero Lubambo came to the United States, and brought with him a new sound in Brazilian jazz guitar.

Romero’s guitar playing unites the styles and rhythms of his native Brazilian musical heritage with his fluency in the American jazz tradition to form a distinctive new sound.

From the cool, sophisticated rhythms of his native Brazil to hard bop, Romero is a guitarist who’s comfortable in any musical setting. He is an uncommonly gifted soloist and musical improviser with a steady stream of unpredictably creative musical thoughts and the virtuosity to deliver them.

Lubambo is considered by critics to be “the best practitioner of his craft in the world today…the guitarist’s facility, creativity and energy are in a class all their own.”


In the decade-plus since Erin Bode began her professional recording career, she has garnered much critical praise for her pure voice, perfect pitch, and impressive phrasing and style. It is this talent, coupled with her reluctance to accept classification as a purely jazz vocalist that has led to reviews hailing her as “someone you won’t forget” and comparing her sound to the likes of Eva Cassidy and Norah Jones.

To date, Bode and her band have released eight albums and have toured the United States, as well as Italy, Asia, and Africa. The Erin Bode Group creates music forged from the Americana of its members’ Midwestern roots, infused with jazz grooves and made magic by Bode’s bell-like voice. Sophisticated arrangements and attention to phrasing, both vocal and instrumental, further distinguish the band’s fresh sound.

While Bode got her start singing standard jazz, her recent projects have been decidedly more pop-based. 2008’s Little Garden and 2010’s Photograph feature all original material by Bode, and showcase her love of poetry with songs that are rich in harmonic and timbral texture. For her most recent album, Here and Now, Erin has collaborated with producer and bassist Viktor Krauss, guitarists Matt Munisteri and Todd Lombardo, cellist Tara Santiago and GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist, Suzanne Cox.

 

Additional season partners include Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Cypress Properties, Inc., J. Mark & Christy Davis, Chris & Jo Harkins, Margaret Ferguson Pope—Thank You Aunt Margaret!, EVO Business Environments, Jay Barth & Chuck Cliett, Stacy Hamilton of Desselle Real Estate, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery Little Rock.

4-Show Jazz packages are available beginning May 13 via Metrotix.com or by calling (800) 293-5949Single tickets go on sale May 20 and are $35 (General Admission), $44 (Reserved), and $46 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart). Full season ticket pricing and options are also available in a consolidated format, here.

The Oxford American kicks of 2019-2020 Concert Series with Amy Helm tonight at South on Main

Amy Helm [AMERICANA SERIES]The Oxford American magazine is excited to welcome Amy Helm to the South on Main stage!

This event kicks off their 2019-2020 Concert Series and is the first show of their Americana Sub-Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor Stella Boyle Smith Trust, as well as their season sponsor University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Additional season partners include Chris & Jo Harkins, J. Mark & Christy Davis, Cypress Properties, Inc., UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, Margaret Ferguson Pope—Thank You Aunt Margaret!, EVO Business Environments, Jay Barth & Chuck Cliett, Stacy Hamilton of Desselle Real Estate, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery Little Rock.

There are no tickets available at this time. Please visit the venue on the night of the show when doors open to inquire about any potential ticket releases.


Amy Helm sought what she calls a “circular sound” for her new album. It’s a well-rounded one, marked by streaks of Americana, country, blues, and gospel, and the kinds of four-part harmonies that can burst open a melody and close the loop of an octave. It’s a sound that represents the feeling of community.

This Too Shall Light, released September 2018 on Yep Roc Records, comprises ten songs produced by GRAMMY-winning producer and songwriter Joe Henry. During the four-day session in Los Angeles, the musicians were directed not to overthink the songs, and Helm herself barely performed any of the selections while preparing to record. As a result, the sessions forced fast musical trust among the collaborators and yielded the vibrant instrumental improvisations heard throughout This Too Shall Light.

Although a profound songwriter herself, Helm and Henry jointly arranged a diverse collection of songs for the record, which range from Rod Stewart’s “Mandolin Wind” to Allen Toussaint’s “Freedom for the Stallion” and even the Milk Carton Kids’ “Michigan.” The title track in particular, written by Hiss Golden Messenger’s MC Taylor and Josh Kaufman, is a brilliant summation of the record’s sound and spirit.

Helm’s voice veers from commanding to supplicating within a single soulful verse, as she manipulates that message so that light leads throughout even the darkest of times.

Helm’s parents—The Band’s legendary drummer and singer Levon Helm and singer/songwriter Libby Titus—guided her training and influences. A lifelong musician and music-lover, she later became a founding member of the alt-country collective Ollabelle and served as a backing musician in her father’s Midnight Ramble Band. On This Too Shall Light, Helm says that two songs in particular pay homage to Levon—“The Stones I Throw,” a song he released in 1965 with Levon and the Hawks, and the closing traditional number, an a cappella version of the hymn “Gloryland,” which was passed from father to daughter.

While This Too Shall Light is only Helm’s second album under her own name, it serves as a comprehensive portrait covering her life’s journeys and recoveries; these songs are stories that, no matter where they take her, seem to end and begin in the same place like a circle.

South Words, a new author series, is announced by OXFORD AMERICAN

The Oxford American is pleased to announce South Words, a new author series at Ron Robinson Theater (100 River Market Ave., Little Rock, AR 72201) featuring renowned OA contributors.

The inaugural season features Sarah M. Broom, author of The Yellow House (Tuesday, October 15, 2019); Van Jensen and Nate Powell, author and illustrator of Two Dead (Tuesday, November 19, 2019); Silas House, author of Southernmost (Tuesday, February 25, 2019); and Leesa Cross-Smith, author of So We Can Glow: Stories (Tuesday, March 31, 2020). At each event, the author will read from his or her work, then be interviewed onstage by a moderator. The events, all of which are free and open to the public, begin at 6:30 PM, with the doors opening at 6 PM. Books will be for sale onsite and authors will participate in a signing.

The presenting sponsor for South Words is the College of Fine Arts & Communication at the University of Central Arkansas. The series is presented in partnership with the CALS Six Bridges Book Festival. Additional season partners include the Clinton School of Public Service, Villa Vue at SOMA, the Arkansas Arts Council, and the Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom, who published an essay called “A Yellow House in New Orleans” in the Oxford American’s Spring 2008 issue, is a memoir set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East. The book was published on August 13, 2019, to wide acclaim, including from New York Times critic Dwight Garner, who called it “a major book that I suspect will come to be considered among the essential memoirs” of the decade. In a cover feature in the New York Times Book Review on August 11, Angela Flourney wrote: “[The Yellow House] is an instantly essential text, examining the past, present and possible future . . . of America writ large.” The conversation with Broom will be moderated by KaToya Ellis Fleming, the OA’s 2019-20 Jeff Baskin Fellow.

Little Rock native Nate Powell, the artist of the #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning illustrated trilogy March, has said, “I’m always eager to bring my home state to life through comics, and each book doubles as a love letter to Arkansas in all its contradictory beauty.” His next book, Two Dead, a Little Rock noir set in the 1940s, is a collaboration with author Van Jensen, a former crime reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The South Words event with Powell and Jensen will occur on the book’s November 19 publication date. A 16-page excerpt from Two Dead was published in the Oxford American’s Fall 2019 issue. The conversation with Powell and Jensen will be moderated OA Senior Editor Jay Jennings, author of Carry the Rock.

Silas House is a frequent New York Times contributor and the nationally bestselling author of six novels, including Southernmost, which was published in June 2018 and long-listed for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and named a best book of the year by Booklist, the Advocate, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, and Paste. Excerpted on OxfordAmerican.org, Southernmost is the story of evangelical preacher Asher Sharp, who offers shelter to two gay men after a flood in a small Tennessee town. The conversation with House will be moderated by Seth Pennington, editor-in-chief of Sibling Rivalry Press.

Leesa Cross-Smith made her Oxford American debut in 2017 with “Ain’t Half Bad,” her widely read essay about Sturgill Simpson for the Kentucky music issue; in 2018, she was a regular contributor to The By and By, the OA’s online story series. She is the author of Whiskey & Ribbons (longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and listed among Oprah Magazine’s “Top Books of Summer”), Every Kiss a War, and So We Can Glow, a collection of forty-two short stories forthcoming from Grand Central Press on March 10, 2020. The conversation with Cross-Smith will be moderated by OA contributing editor Kevin Brockmeier, who is the author, most recently, of A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade.

For more information about South Words, visit OxfordAmerican.org/events

The Oxford American announces its 2019 Music Issue

South Carolina Music Issue

The Oxford American has announced their 21st Annual Southern Music Issue & Sampler will be devoted to the musical legacy of South Carolina! The issue will feature unforgettable stories, songs, and artists that honor the deep history and continuing vitality of South Carolina’s music—including icons like Dizzy GillespieEartha Kitt, and the Marshall Tucker Band, as well as contemporary voices, such as Iron & WineToro y MoiShovels and Rope, and so many others.

With contributions from some of the state’s most beloved homegrown writers, the South Carolina Music Issue will present an unforgettable collection of profiles, essays, and tributes, rendered with the magazine’s signature literary sensibility. As always, the music issue will come packaged with a sampler compilation of songs spanning the 78-rpm era to the present (in CD and digital download formats), with accompanying liner notes included within the magazine.

Issues can be pre-ordered here.

Tonight at South on Main – John Paul White performs as part of Oxford American music series

John Paul WhiteThe Oxford American is excited to welcome John Paul White back to the South on Main stage tonight, June 5! This is a special addition to the OA’s 2018-19 Concert Series. Doors open at 5:30 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.  The concert starts at 7:30 PM.

Single tickets are $30 (General Admission), $34 (Reserved), and $36 (Premium Reserved).

With The Hurting KindJohn Paul White has crafted a stunning album that draws on the lush, orchestrated music made in Nashville in the early 1960s. Yet these songs retain a modern feel, whether he’s writing about overwhelming love, unraveling relationships, or the fading memory of a loved one.

White grew up in tiny Loretto, Tennessee, and now lives in Florence, Alabama, not far from Muscle Shoals. He has cultivated his career in Nashville for two decades, first as a songwriter for a major publisher, then as half of The Civil Wars—a groundbreaking duo that won four GRAMMY Awards before disbanding in 2012.

Because The Civil Wars were so hard to categorize, White has earned a fan base among indie rock listeners, folk audiences, Americana outlets, and AAA radio. So, what will happen if people hear The Hurting Kind and call it country? “Well, that doesn’t scare me in the least,” he says. “As a matter of fact, it kind of thrills me.”

2019-2020 OXFORD AMERICAN music series at South on Main

One of the best music series in the South takes place in Little Rock as the Oxford American brings musicians to South on Main. It is actually three different music series: Americana, Jazz, and Archetypes & Troubadours. Tickets are already on sale, and many of the concerts will sell out. So do not delay!

Up first is Amy Helm in the Americana Series. She will perform on Thursday, August 22 at 8:00pm. “One of Americana’s most impassioned, soul-stirring singers.” —Rolling Stone Country

First in the Jazz Series is Peter Martin & Romero Lubambo featuring Erin Bode. They’ll be in Little Rock on Thursday, September 5 at 8:00pm. “One of the most underrated pianists in jazz today … Martin plays with the kind of daring and excitement that marks a distinctive personality on the keyboard.” — Washington Post

The first in the Archetypes & Troubadours Series is Rev. Sekou on Thursday, September 26 at 8:00pm. “Rev. Sekou delivers the spiritual performance we need now.”—Paste

Next in Americana is Chatham County Line on Thursday, October 17 at 8:00pm. “What initially drew me to this Raleigh, North Carolina-based quartet is that in addition to the unique mix of bluegrass, folk and Americana tunes they harmonize so beautifully on is the fact that they typically crowd around a single, large, silver radio microphone. And that’s not the band’s only nod to the past.” — Huffington Post

Marsalis is a name synonymous with jazz. The Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet is next in the Jazz Series on Thursday, November 14. “[Marsalis’s] playing is eccentric within graceful boundaries, concerned with polyrhythm as science, history and gamesmanship, full of technique used to non-slick ends … Discipline and strategy are written deeply into the band.” — New York Times

Next in the Archetypes & Troubadours Series is Catherine Russell on Thursday, December 5, at 8:00pm. “A wonderfully charismatic performer with a show­stopping voice and an unabashedly old-fashioned repertoire.” — The Washington Post

The Fred Hersch Trio takes the Oxford American stage for the Jazz Series on Thursday, January 30 at 8:00pm. “An elegant force of musical invention, Fred Hersch cannot be discounted in any discussion of the top contemporary jazz pianists.” —LA Times

Jon Cleary is next in the Americana Series.  He’ll be on stage on Thursday, February 20 at 8:00pm. “Cleary embodies the heart and soul of the Crescent City, keeping the sound and the fury of its legendary piano pounders alive and kicking.”— No Depression

John Fullbright will be next in the Archetypes & Troubadours Series on Thursday, March 12 at 8:00pm. “In a short-­attention-­span world overloaded with sensory stimulation, there aren’t many artists who can stop you in your tracks with a single song.” —American Songwriter

The final 2019-2020 Americana Series entry is Mary Gauthier on Thursday, March 26 at 8:00pm.  “…[Mary Gauthier’s] Rifles and Rosary Beads, is not only one of the most arresting American singer-songwriter records in recent years, but one of the most vital pieces of art to come out of those two wars.” — Rolling Stone Country

Ranky Tanky closes out the 2019-2020 Archetypes & Troubadours Series on Thursday, April 16 at 8:00pm. “Ranky Tanky proved that exotic music can be both unfamiliar enough to be surprising, and yet familiar enough to provoke swinging hips and nodding heads. When it works, it’s the best of both worlds.” —Paste

The final Jazz Series concert is on Thursday, April 23 at 8:00pm. It features the Miguel Zenón Quartet. “This young musician and composer is at once reestablishing the artistic, cultural, and social tradition of jazz while creating an entirely new jazz language for the 21st century.” —MacArthur Foundation