There’s a lot going on in Oxford later this week. Wednesday and Thursday, Southern Studies is holding the annual Music of the South conference, starting with a brown bag lecture at noon “Songwriter’s Roundtable,” followed at 1 by Jake Fussell with a talk on contemporary corridos from the South (corridos are story-songs or ballads, associated with the Mexican border areas, often about outlawry), and Scott Barretta with a panel on Songs of the Great Migration. There will be music both on campus and on the square, documentaries, etc.
I am moderating a talk with Holly George-Warren about Alex Chilton and her just-published biography, A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton. I’ve just finished the book, which is an excellent look at both Chilton’s creative and destructive processes. She is very good describing the recordings; she knows how records are made and is excellent at describing that process. She is also very good at the describing the sadness and tragedy of much of Chilton’s life, pulling no punches. As would be expected, a lot of folks with friends in this community (Jim Dickinson, for instance) play major roles. I learned this (from extended description of Dan Penn’s creative process in making the Box Tops records), had things I’d heard about confirmed (about the train-wreck-with-brilliance recording of Big Star 3rd/Sister Lovers, a record Chilton did not like). Essential reading for any fan of Memphis or indie rock music.
Updated based on Scott’s comment.