Remember when creating the perfect mix tape was the ultimate sign of high school devotion? In middle school, my best friend Krissy and I painstakingly crafted a "Sweet Home Alabama" mix for the cute boy leaving us for Kentucky. He was a Phishhead; we loaded the playlist with Micheal Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and Garth Brooks. He may not have dug it, but I'd pay serious money to listen to that riveting compilation today.
College, Napster, and the compact disc brought significant improvement to the art of the mix making. I still cling to the "Easy Mac Mix" my buddy Preston compiled our first year at Appalachian State. (Yes, we ate a lot of Kraft macaroni & cheese. The mix could have been appropriately dubbed "The Freshman 15.") There's no way that disc would ever work in a CD player now—it's been mutilated beyond recognition—but I keep it so that one day I can show my kids what an actual CD looks like.
Which brings us to the current digital age: pretty awesome for expanding your musical appreciation, but a tragedy for those of us who took pride in alphabetizing our leather bound CD cases. (My "eclectic" collection included about 200 live Widespread Panic shows categorized by tour. Those still live under my bed, right next to the VHS collection I can never seem part with.)
In honor of progress, here's a Dixie Caviar playlist for you guys, a few favorites I have declared "modern-day classics" over the past couple of years. All of these tunes are from Southern-bred musicians* and make me proud to call this wonderful region home. Most are fairly established artists, but if you haven't heard Futurebirds, Joe Purdy, Dee Dozier (yup, my sister!), or Buxton Band, you are missing out on some serious listening pleasure.
- Back Down South | Kings of Leon
- Hold On |Alabama Shakes
- Boy of Nine | Buxton Band
- MJB | Futurebirds
- I Don't Wanna Pray | Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
- Hold On, Hold On | Neko Case
- The City | Joe Purdy
- Come Pick Me Up | Ryan Adams
- Heavenly Day | Patty Griffin
- No One's Gonna Love You | Band of Horses
- Okay, Alright | The Whigs
- Montgomery | Dee Dozier
- Seen it All Before | Amos Lee
*I use the term Southern-bred loosely, meaning these musicians were either born in the South or their musical careers have been shaped here. And then there's Alex Ebert (from Edward Sharpe) and Neko Case, with their soulful sounds might as well have been.
Image sources: Amazon