We love October — the leaves crunching beneath our feet, the crisp air, the lattes, the onset of sweater weather. But our favorite bit of October? Halloween. October is the month of ghosts, of witches, of deals with the devil. The South in particular has a history with haunting, and so our soundtrack to this month taps into the heart of the Southern Gothic, channeling the world of Carson McCullers and Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams. We’re trading sunny cityscapes for small towns at twilight, filled with eccentric characters and macabre corners. We’re longing for haunted empty streets lined with derelict buildings, the ghosts of lives past, the spooky twilights on back roads somewhere in the Smoky Mountains.
Our cast of musical characters includes some of our regulars, each more evocative than the last. After an opening benediction from the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, The Secret Sisters lead us down the rabbit hole, their murder ballad “Iuka” setting the tone for our Southern Gothic tale. Audra Mae‘s sultry voice guides us to the hovel of a witchy woman, bedecked with shawls and beads and sitting in lamplight. Our perennial favorites, Houndmouth, jump into the fray as well, transporting us to a smoky dive somewhere on the side of the highway in Kentucky. Canadians Kacy & Clayton may hail from the south of Saskatchewan, that doesn’t stop them from tapping into a distinctly American Southern sound. Ben Harper summons a coven, Pistol Annies plot revenge, and Elliot Smith kills a Southern belle. Bluegrass veterans Patty Loveless and Alison Krauss round out our cast of eccentrics, with a lament on coal country and a cautionary tale.
So join us as we take a step into the dark. It’s a little spooky here, and who knows what ghouls may lurk in the shadows and the mire. There’s a legend to these minor chords, a heritage of lore whispered down the generations. Take a seat at our campfire. This isn’t just a playlist: It’s a ghost story.