The Bluegrass Situation: Roots Culture Redefined

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MIXTAPE: Allison Pierce’s Sweet Home Alabama

May 15, 2017

I love being from Alabama. I love that, no matter where I am in the world, people light up when I say that’s where I’m from. Apart from being a beautiful word, its history is rich and full and deeply tragic. Whether it is the power in the earth itself or what happened upon the earth there, it has given birth to many wonderful musicians, and I am very grateful to have shared the same air with these greats. — Allison Pierce 

Hank Williams — “Move It on Over”

Hank has written so many good songs, it was hard to pick my favorite, but I have really great memories of dancing around the house with my sisters to this one. So “Move It on Over” wins the top spot.

Nat King Cole — “Stardust”

Nat King Cole, born in Montgomery, same birthplace as my mother, is one of my favorite singers of all time. His voice is smooth and effortless and full of quiet emotion, and what feels to me like love. “Stardust” is one of my favorite songs ever written, and Nat’s version falls into the top 10 favorite recordings in history for me. I consider it a great gift to humankind.

The Commodores — “Sail On”

I was a big Lionel Richie fan as a kid, and I was very aware that he was from Tuskegee, a town about 15 minutes from Auburn where I spent a large part of my childhood. Lionel, and other members of the Commodores, were frequent visitors to the health food store where my dad worked, and being within two degrees of separation from them was very exciting to my 7-year-old self. “Sail On” remains heartbreakingly hopeful to me to this day. It just doesn’t get old. Turn that shit up.

Emmylou Harris — “Easy from Now On”

Of all the wonderful artists from Alabama, I am most proud to share the same state and city of birth (Birmingham) with this magical woman. “Easy from Now On” is hands down my favorite and rips my heart open every time I hear it. 

Allison Pierce — “Fool Him”

I hope no one minds that I include some of my own music in this playlist (one more to follow), but I am from Alabama so I consider it fair play (wink wink). 

Drive-By Truckers — “Goddamn Lonely Love”

Well, this is just a great song, y’all. And nobody can deny it.

The Pierces — “It Will Not Be Forgotten”

I was in this band with my sister for 18 years, though we have been singing together for longer than that. I remember the first time we harmonized together in our living room in Birmingham when I was six and Catherine was four. From the very beginning, it became an important part of our lives. Singing with my sister has guided and shaped my life in countless ways and, as challenging as it sometimes was working that closely with a sibling, I am eternally grateful for the experience.

Candi Staton — “Young Hearts Run Free”

What a voice and what a song. Thank you, Miss Staton.

Dinah Washington — “What a Diff’rence a Day Made”

I have enjoyed Dinah’s voice and songs for years, but I’ve gotta be honest, I only just discovered she was from Alabama and I’m very happy to add her to the list!

Jimmy Buffett — “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw”

You know, Jimmy, it’s a really great question. Why don’t we?

Lionel Richie — “All Night Long”

I’m not going to pretend that I did not dance around my room to this as a child using a hairbrush as a mic. 

Catherine Pierce — “You Belong To Me”

Maybe I am biased, but I think that my sister is one of the best songwriters to come out of Alabama. And I know that my mother agrees, so it must be true.

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