And The Kids is a Massachusetts-based pop quartet that manages to conjure chunky indie rock, blissful new wave, chamber folk, jarring avant-garde, and brawny classic rock. Guitarist and vocalist Hannah Mohan navigates this expansive creativity, along with Rebecca Lasaponaro on drums, Megan Miller on synthesizers and percussion, and bassist Taliana Katz. Their latest album, “Friends Share Lovers” was released in 2017. National Public Radio has said of them, “They make music that’s both fearless and entertaining.”
Jan Godown Annino delights in talking about the real SEMINOLES who lived in North Florida, before the collegiate kind arrived.
Seminole Tribe of Florida leader Betty Mae Tiger Jumper authorized Jan to share with children about alligator wrestling days, and a great deal more.
Jan's lyrical tribute to Betty Mate Tiger Jumper is an award-winner from Scholastic/ NatGeo. Her poems are published by Milkweed Editions & Today's Little Ditty.
Martha Barnette is co-host of the public-radio show “A Way With Words,” heard each week by listeners in 300 cities across North America, and worldwide by podcast. The show is about words and how we use them — word and phrase origins, slang, regional dialects, writing well, books and reading, and that weird thing Grandma used to say. Martha holds an undergraduate degree in English from Vassar College, and did graduate work in classical languages at the University of Kentucky. She studied Spanish in Costa Rica at the ILISA Language Institute.
Before her work in radio, Martha was a reporter for the Washington Post and an editorial writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal. She’s the author of three books on word origins: A Garden of Words, Ladyfingers & Nun’s Tummies: A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names, and Dog Days & Dandelions.
A Kentucky native, she lives in San Diego, where she can be found hiking mountain trails and performing improv comedy at Finest City Improv and Old Town Improv Company.
Jared Beck, AICP is an urban designer and community planner. Stemming from a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree, his breadth of professional skills ranges from large scale town planning to detailed architecture and design guidelines. With more than 15 years in both private and public roles, his focus is now on reinvestment programs and projects that recognize and work within the unique built environment that exists in our communities.
Inspired by the developing energy to revitalize historic downtown Fort Myers, Mr. Beck relocated from his home in Naples, FL more than a decade ago to become a part of the transformation. Since then, he has been involved in a variety of projects and programs focused on community revitalization, while also serving on numerous local and state committees and boards encouraging quality community design and reinvestment.
Today, he balances his professional role in the private sector in consulting work focusing on community reinvestment projects, while also working within the non-profit field to further economic development efforts within historic downtown Fort Myers and other similar communities.
From many years of grant and proposal writing, Mr. Beck often writes to "tell a story." It was his belief the story of River & Road, his first book project, needed to be told for the City of Fort Myers.
Blind Pilot's 'And Then Like Lions' on ATO Records is the third LP from the Portland, Oregon-based sextet consisting of frontman Israel Nebeker, fellow founding member Ryan Dobrowski, Luke Ydstie, Kati Claborn, Ian Krist and Dave Jorgensen. The album was produced by Israel Nebeker and Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Neko Case, My Morning Jacket), and was written and composed by Nebeker. It comes five years after the band's well-received 'We Are the Tide' and three years after Nebeker thought he'd be starting the songs that would become the band's third album.
Blind Pilot has performed on Ellen and The Late Show with David Letterman, at the Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza. The group has shared stages with The Shins, Local Natives, Andrew Bird, and more. The project began in 2007 when Israel and co-founding member Ryan Dobrowski went on a West Coast tour via bicycle.
Eliza Borné is the editor of the Oxford American, a national magazine dedicated to featuring the best in Southern writing and art, while documenting the complexity and vitality of the region. Best known for its annual Southern Music issue, the OA has won four National Magazine Awards and other high honors since it began publication in 1992. The OA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and the magazine’s offices are located in Little Rock’s South Main neighborhood. Eliza was born and raised in Little Rock and received a B.A. in English from Wellesley College. She has also served as associate editor, managing editor, and interim editor of the OA. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference, is on the Arts & Culture Commission of the City of Little Rock, and is on the talent committee of the Arkansas Literary Festival. Eliza will be appearing at Word of South with the writer Diane Roberts.
Rick Bragg is the Pulitzer Prize winning writer of best-selling and critically acclaimed books such as All Over but the Shoutin’, Ava's Man, and The Prince of Frogtown.
A native of Calhoun County, Alabama, Bragg’s books chronicle the lives of his family cotton pickers, mill workers, whiskey makers, long sufferers, and fist fighters. He has written also for the numerous magazines, ranging from Sports Illustrated to Food & Wine, and was a newspaper writer for two decades, covering high school football for the Jacksonville News, and militant Islamic fundamentalism for The New York Times.
The winner of more than 50 significant writing awards in books and journalism, including, twice, the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award, Bragg is currently Professor of Writing in the Journalism Department at the University of Alabama, and lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Dianne, a doctoral student there, and his stepson, Jake.
The Brother Brothers tour as an acoustic duo: David on cello and guitar, and Adam on the 5-string fiddle. With individual storied folk and bluegrass music careers under their belts, the brothers have finally teamed up to bring their experiences together. They released their EP “Tugboats” in January 2017 and are planning to release their follow up full length album in early 2018.
The artist Sarah Jarosz says: “The Brother Brothers have been in this together for life, and their familial connection comes through in the music, harkening back to some of the greatest family harmonies ever made. They approach their poignant and often charming songs with an almost startling sense of ease, and the tight harmonies are enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine.”
Cedric Burnside is an American electric blues drummer, guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the son of blues drummer Calvin Jackson and grandson of blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist R. L. Burnside. Amongst many others, Burnside has played drums, either live or on record, with R. L. Burnside, Jessie Mae Hemphill, John Hermann, Kenny Brown, Richard Johnston, Jimmy Buffett, T-Model Ford, Paul "Wine" Jones, Widespread Panic, Afrissippi, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Burnside won his fourth overall, and third consecutive Blues Music Award in May 2014, in the category of 'Instrumentalist - Drums'.
Susan Cerulean is a writer, naturalist, and activist based in Tallahassee, Florida. Her 2015 nature memoir—Coming to Pass: Florida’s Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change (University of Georgia Press) just won the Gold Award for Florida Nonfiction by Florida Book Awards. Previous books include Tracking Desire: A Journey after Swallow-tailed Kites, UnspOILed: Writers Speak for Florida’s Coast, and Between Two Rivers: Stories from the Red Hills to the Gulf. She writes a regular column at www.susancerulean.com.
Based in East Tennessee, Circus No.9 is a new progressive acoustic group that embraces the influence of Bluegrass, Americana, and Folk. The group has appeared on stage alongside artists including David Grisman, Bryan Sutton, Larry Keel, and more. With awarded musicians Matthew Davis (2016 National Banjo Champion), Thomas Cassell (2016 Rockygrass Mandolin Champion), and Colin Hotz, Circus No.9 is taking the new acoustic scene by force.
Allison Clarke is a singer-songwriter living in Nashville, TN. Her soulful pop style draws influences from artists like Colbie Caillat, Ed Sheeran and Ellie Holcomb. Allison’s thoughtful lyrics have connected with audiences from festivals and coffee shops to church retreats. She recently released her debut EP, Back to You, which features six vocally-driven songs inspired by her journey in faith. You can find Back to You on iTunes and Spotify.
Ben Holmes & Patrick Farrell are a trumpet and accordion duo whose performances range from klezmer, original concert music and improvisation to interpretations of Romantic-era composers and more. They bring together a unique array of experiences to present a truly original program of music ranging from the 19th-21st century. In the "The Conqueror Worm Suite," they create a 6-part suite of music, words and images based on Edgar Allan Poe’s 1843 poem "The Conqueror Worm". Using Igor Stravinsky’s "The Soldier’s Tale" as a reference point, "The Conqueror Worm Suite" consists of a reading of the poem surrounded by original music inspired by it. Holmes and Farrell present their compositions, Poe's original text, and, in performance, a projected set of animated illustrations by the visual artist Natalie C. Sousa.
Charley Crockett released his debut solo album titled A Stolen Jewel in 2015, receiving critical acclaim in Dallas and ultimately landing him a Dallas Observer Music Award that year for “Best Blues Act”. A record “rich with Southern flavor, a musical gumbo of Delta blues, honky-tonk, gospel and Cajun jazz,” Jewel proved that Crockett, born into poverty in the Rio Grande, had come home to make his musical mark on the South. Crockett, who is self-described as elusive, rebellious and self-taught, has been compared to legends like Bill Withers, Merle Haggard, and Gary Clark Jr.
He released his sophomore record In The Night, an admirable nod to his Texas country and Louisiana blues roots, on June 4 and ended 2016 having played over 125 shows. “In the Night” and Crockett’s song “I Am Not Afraid” received international recognition from top tastemakers after being picked by NPR Music as one of the "Top 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing” and selected by David Dye to be featured on World Cafe in late July.
Through a steadfast dedication to justice and service to others, Benjamin Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost attorneys and advocates for civil rights and social justice. His legal acumen as both a litigator and advocate has ensured that those most frequently marginalized in American society are protected by their nation’s contract with its constituency. He has successfully battled to protect constitutional rights at the local, state, and federal levels, using his advocacy skills and the high profile of the cases to provide a voice to those long silenced and hope to those pushed to the outside. Crump is the principal and owner of Ben Crump Law.
Benjamin Crump has served in leadership positions at the highest levels of the legal profession, and has been recognized for his efforts by numerous esteemed organizations. He served as the 73rd President of the National Bar Association and is President of the National Civil Rights Trial Lawyers Association. He was the first African-American to chair the Florida State University College of Law Board of Directors, and currently serves on the Innocence Project Board of Directors. He was bestowed the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award, the SCLC Martin Luther King Servant Leader Award, the American Association for Justice Johnny Cochran Award, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Eleanor Roosevelt Medallion for Service. In 2016, he was designated as an Honorary Fellow by the University of Pennsylvania College of Law, and he has been nationally recognized as the 2014 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, and Ebony Magazine Power 100 Most Influential African Americans.
Attorney Crump has represented clients in some of the highest profile cases in the United States, recovering millions of dollars in damages for them. His work has involved the cases of Trayvon Martin, who was killed in Sanford, Florida, by a neighborhood watch volunteer; Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri; the precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court case involving excessive force perpetrated against Robbie Tolan; and 10 of the 13 Black women who were victims in the Holtzclaw Oklahoma City Police rape case in 2015. His also has used his successes on the national stage to help ensure quality legal representation and access to the courts for poor people in his home community, serving as Board Chairman of Legal Services of North Florida and, with his former law partner Daryl Parks, donating $1 million to the organization’s capital campaign.
Currently, attorney Crump is the executive producer of the ground-breaking documentary, Woman in Motion, about Nichelle Nichols and the race to space. Nichols was among the first African-American actresses on TV and played Lieutenant Uhura in “Star Trek: The Original Series.” He is involved in "Who Killed Tupac" and the host of the critically acclaimed legal docudramas, “Evidence of Innocence” on TVOne and “The Search For Justice” on A&E. He can also be seen on Fox’s “You The Jury.” His CrumpWatch column, a legal essay on law, society, and culture, appears on NewsOne.com. He portrays legendary civil rights attorney Z. Alexander Lobby in the Hollywood movie production Marshall, and has appeared in the documentary Beating Justice, the story of the Martin Lee Anders on case, and BET’s I am Trayvon. He serves as host for the Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute Annual Contemporary Issues in Civil Rights Symposium, where national thought leaders gather at Tennessee State University.
Benjamin L. Crump was born in 1969 in Lumberton, North Carolina. He graduated from Florida State University and received his law degree from Florida State University College of Law. He is married to Dr. Genae Angelique Crump, and is the proud father of Brooklyn Zeta Crump and legal guardian to Chancellor Isiah Crump and Jemarcus Olajuwan Crump.
Sean Dietrich (“Sean of the South”) is a columnist and novelist, known for his commentary on life in the American South. His work has appeared in Southern Living, South Magazine, Yellowhammer News, Good Grit, the Bitter Southerner, Thom Magazine, and the Tallahassee Democrat, and he has authored seven novels.
New York Times bestselling author Judith Dupré writes about art, life, and architecture. Her illustrated nonfiction has been published in 14 languages, and is beloved by readers around the globe. She writes about history as revealed through a single building type, in books that include Skyscrapers, Bridges, Churches, Monuments, and, most recently, One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building. In addition to loving stories, she’s obsessed with discovering the limits of the printed page, something that’s evident in the dynamic designs and unique bindings of her books. A graduate of Brown and Yale universities, Dupré is a 2015 National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar.
John T. Edge is a contributing editor at Garden & Gun and a columnist for the Oxford American. For three years he wrote the monthly United Taste column for the New York Times. Edge is also director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, where he documents, studies, and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South. His magazine and newspaper work has been featured in eleven editions of the Best Food Writing compilation. In 2012, he won the James Beard Foundation's M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award. Edge has written or edited more than a dozen books, including The Potlikker Papers, a history of the modern South, from the lunch counter sit-ins of 1960 forward, published last year. He’ll be appearing at Word of South with the farmer Jenni Harris.
Laura Freeman received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts and began her career working for various editorial clients. She has illustrated over twenty children's books, including Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, the Nikki & Deja series by Karen English and Fancy Party Gowns by Deborah Blumenthal. In addition to illustrating books and editorial content, her art can be found on a wide range of products, from dishes and textiles to greeting cards. Her debut as an author, Natalie’s Hair Was Wild, is available now.
The Fried Turkeys, based in Tallahassee, Florida, combine a surprising blend of truly original music and a uniquely eclectic selection of covers that will have you dripping in greasy, hippy, roots-country music. Soulful pedal steel, soaring vocal harmonies, a thumping rhythm section, dixieland piano lines, and a wooden Americana sound will have you tapping your feet and singing along.
“Funky” Donnie Fritts is a legendary artist and songwriter from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He's known for his soulful songs, like "We Had It All" and "Breakfast In Bed." A recording artist in his own right, he has been Kris Kristofferson’s keyboardist for decades and released three outstanding albums featuring Tony Joe White, Eddie Hinton, Kris Kristofferson and John Prine. In 2008, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
At Word of South Donnie will participate in a panel discussion on the significance of Muscle Shoals music, and will headline an all-star band playing the songs of the soul singer and songwriter Arthur Alexander.
The Good Little Chickens is a young band out of Tallahassee that first took shape in Leon High School’s music program. The band’s name was inspired by guitar teacher Ed Prasse, who jokingly calls his students “good little chickens” if they play well, and “bad little chickens,” if they don’t. GLC lead guitarist and slide player Hub Chason III has also studied music with Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars and the late drummer Butch Trucks, of Allman Brothers Band fame. The group’s sound is a mixture of blues, funk, contemporary pop and soul. The lineup also includes Austin Boyd on drums, Jack Byerts on trombone and guitar, Ellis Chaires on tenor saxophone, Rebekah Hopkins on leads vocals, Josiah Pye on bass, Dylan Tucker on alto saxophone, Dawson Tucker on trumpet and Gilbert Voegtlin on piano.
Jenni Harris, Will's middle daughter, is the fifth generation of the Harris family to tend cattle at White Oak Pastures. After living on the farm her entire life, Jenni went to Valdosta State University and earned a degree in Business Marketing, graduating in 2009. She remained intimately involved in the family business throughout her studies. After graduating, Jenni set out to learn the industry. She moved to Atlanta where she interned at Buckhead Beef, a SYSCO company. She put in time in every department, from shipping and receiving to the cut shop, and was later hired to work as a sales associate. In June of 2010 Jenni returned home to Early County to work for White Oak Pastures full time. As the marketing manager, Jenni travels the East Coast promoting her family’s grassfed beef and lamb and pastured poultry to distributors, retailers, and restaurateurs. She’ll be appearing at Word of South with the writer John T. Edge.
Arlo Haskell is the author of The Jews of Key West: Smugglers, Cigar Makers, and Revolutionaries (1823-1969) and executive director of the Key West Literary Seminar. He is also the author of Joker, a poetry collection, and the editor of poetry volumes by Harry Mathews and Héctor Viel Temperley. Born on Big Coppitt Key in 1977, he has been inspired by Key West’s literary history since he was a child and began writing as a teenager, thanks to a supportive and creative high school English teacher. He lives with his wife and daughter (and one on the way) in old town Key West.
Columnist Mark Hinson, who is a fifth generation North Floridian, has written for the Tallahassee Democrat and Tallahassee.com, both part of the USA Today Network, for more than 25 years. He has covered the arts and entertainment scene in the Capital City for the same amount time. Over his long career, Hinson has interviewed and written about such musical figures as Mavis Staples, Philip Glass, George Clinton, Ella Fitzgerald, Renée Fleming, Jim White, Bo Diddley, Sam Moore, Alan Parson, Billy Preston and many more. He’ll be discussing music and the arts at Word of South with the NPR music critic Ken Tucker.
Honeysuckle is a progressive folk act that blends older influences and traditional instrumentation with modern effects and inspiration. Comprised of Holly McGarry, Benjamin Burns, and Chris Bloniarz, this Boston-based band has performed at the Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza and CMJ, was chosen as a Converse Rubber Tracks artist, and has been nominated for Best Folk Artist of the Year and Best Americana Artist of the Year three years in a row at the annual Boston Music Awards. They were also put in the Top 10 bands of 2016 So Far list compiled by NPR.
Honeysuckle recently released their sophomore album, "Catacombs." They also have two previous titles: "Honeysuckle" (full length 2016) and "Arrows" (EP 2015).
David Hood is a bassist from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Hood started his career playing with the Mystics and as a backup musician at FAME Studios. He went on to co-found Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where he produced songs for Willie Nelson, Cher and others, and was the bass player for the legendary “Swampers,” the house band at Muscle Shoals. He played bass on albums by Boz Scaggs, Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, Bob Seger, Bugs Bunny, Traffic, the Staple Singers, Frank Black, Odetta, John Hiatt, Etta James, John Altenburgh, Johnny & The MoTones and Percy Sledge. Hood appeared in 2009 on Klaus Voormann's solo album A Sideman's Journey. He participated in the latest Waterboys album, Modern Blues, recorded mainly in Nashville, and afterward toured with them. He is a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
At Word of South he’ll participate in a panel discussion on the significance of Muscle Shoals music, and will play as part of the Donnie Fritts band the songs of the soul singer and songwriter Arthur Alexander.
Patterson Hood is a musician and songwriter living in Portland, Oregon, a co-founder of the band Drive-By Truckers and the son of David Hood, the longtime bassist of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (who is also appearing at Word of South). For the past three years, Patterson’s life has been dominated by the Truckers’ latest release, 2016’s “American Band.” The Drive-By Truckers have always been outspoken, telling a distinctly American—and Southern—story by craft, character and concept, all backed by sonic ambition and social conscience. “American Band” is the most explicitly political album in their extraordinary canon. At Word of South Patterson will be appearing on the Bitter Southerner Stage on Saturday for a panel discussion on the significance of Muscle Shoals music, and on Sunday for a solo performance.
Jacob Jolliff is one of the country's premier contemporary mandolinists. In 2012, he won the National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, KS. A fixture of the national bluegrass community, he has shared the stage with Darol Anger, Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury, Jerry Douglas, and David Grisman, to name a few. In 2014, he joined the progressive bluegrass giant, Yonder Mountain String Band. Jolliff's new solo project, The Jacob Jolliff Band, is a next generation bluegrass supergroup. The ensemble features some of the most virtuosic and innovative young pickers in the country. The band features his long-time partner-in-crime, Alex Hargreaves, a winner of the Grand Masters Fiddle Championship, on fiddle, Stash Wyslouch on guitar and Jeff Picker on drums.
Darius Jones is an extraordinarily gifted alto saxophonist and composer. He joined the New York music community in 2005, after living and studying in Richmond, VA. During his time in New York he has amazed and inspired musicians and audiences from widely divergent backgrounds with his meticulously honed musical gifts. Soul-power is at his foundation; forward-looking expression always at the core. Darius' 2012 release, Book of Mæ'bul (Another Kind of Sunrise) was listed among NPR's Best Top 10 Jazz Albums of that year. He will appear at Word of South with author Catherine Lacey.
Catherine Lacey is the author of The Answers and Nobody Is Ever Missing. She has won a Whiting Award, was a finalist for the NYPL's Young Lions Fiction Award, and was named one of Granta Magazine's Best Young American Novelists. Her work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch & German. With Forsyth Harmon, she co-authored a nonfiction book, The Art of the Affair. Her first short story collection, Certain American States, is forthcoming from Farrar Straus & Giroux. Based in Chicago, she is the 2017-2018 Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi. She’ll be appearing at Word of South with the saxophonist Darius Jones.
Irene Latham is the author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming books, including two novels for children: Leaving Gee's Bend and Don't Feed the Boy. Winner of the 2016 ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, her poetry books for children include Dear Wandering Wildebeest, When the Sun Shines on Antarctica, Fresh Delicious and Can I Touch Your Hair? (co-written with Charles Waters). Irene lives in Alabama with her family where she does her best to “live her poem” every single day by laughing, playing the cello, and walking in the woods.
Laura Lee Smith is the author of the novels The Ice House and Heart of Palm. Her short fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and New Stories From the South: The Year’s Best. A writer who’s been praised for her “intelligence, heart, and wit”, Smith has won awards and accolades from across the United States, and her work has been translated into German and French. She lives in Florida, where she writes fiction and works as a copywriter.
Walker Lukens has been called ‘one of the best songwriters in Texas’. The Austin-based, Houston-bred singer, multi-instrumentalist has been called ‘wonderfully inventive’, and a ‘veteran balladeer with sudden indie rock ambitions’. Walker thinks it’s important that you realize his name is not Walter.
In 2013, he released his first full length record, Devoted. It received praise from outlets like NPR’s All Songs Considered, American Songwriter, Austin American Statesman, Austin Chronicle, and Billboard and took Lukens and his backing band, The Side Arms, all over the US.
After meeting Spoon drummer Jim Eno in a bar, Walker & The Side Arms started recording new music at with him at his studio, Public Hi-Fi. Their first collaboration, ‘Every Night,’ has been streamed almost a million times now. Their second collaboration, ‘Lifted’ from Never Understood EP spent 8 weeks on the specialty commercial radio charts. Another EP, Ain't Got A Reason, soon followed in April of 2017 and garnered Walker spots at festivals across the country like Bonnaroo, Firefly, Austin City Limits Festival, Free Press Summerfest, Middle of the Map, Underground Music Showcase. His second full length, Tell It To The Judge, is out now on Modern Outsider.
A field ecologist with more than 50 years’ experience, Bruce Means was Director of Tall Timbers Research Station from 1976-1984; President and Executive Director of the nonprofit Coastal Plains Institute and Land Conservancy from 1984-present; and Courtesy Professor in Department of Biological Science at FSU since 1975. His research interests center on ecosystems of the southeastern US, longleaf pine ecosystem, biogeography, wetlands ecology, amphibians and reptiles, rare and endangered species, and the ecology of South American tepuis. He has published 10 books and 295 scientific research papers, contract reports, and popular articles that have appeared in Natural History, National Geographic, International Wildlife, National Wildlife, BBC Wildlife, South American Explorer and other natural history magazines. He co-produced and starred in numerous documentary films featuring his research for National Geographic Explorer, BBC Television, and PBS. He has just published Diamonds in the Rough, Natural History of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, a 40-year study of North America’s most iconic animal.
At only 24 years of age, Oklahoma native Parker Millsap is making a name for himself with his captivating live performances, soulful sound, and character-driven narratives. He recently wrapped up a banner year, which included his network television debut on CONAN, an invitation to play with Elton John at the Apple Music Festival, an Austin City Limits taping and an Americana Music Association nomination for Album of the Year, as well as winning the International Folk Music Awards' Artist Of the Year. Parker's most recent release, The Very Last Day, has received praise from The New York Times, The Boston Globe, LA Times, Austin Chronicle and Rolling Stone to name a few.
Bestselling author, entrepreneur, speaker, world traveler and founder and CEO of Moore Communications Group, Karen B. Moore, embodies what it means to leave a legacy and affect positive change in every area she touches. Since she began the firm 25 years ago, Karen has had an astonishing amount of success on behalf of clients from around the globe, making Moore one of the top ranked communications and public affairs firms in the nation. As an industry thought leader, Karen has written numerous articles in esteemed publications, most recently featured in Forbes. Karen is highly sought after for her integrated and crisis communications counsel. She has conducted media and advocacy training sessions for Fortune 500 companies, elected officials, and national associations. A distinguished public speaker, she has addressed more than 300 organizations on topics such as advocacy, leadership, entrepreneurship, marketing, and networking. Karen’s bestselling book, “Behind the Red Door: Unlock Your Advocacy Influence and Success,” draws on nearly three decades of experience by presenting her time-tested strategies, along with new technology for organizations that are serious about building influence and affecting change.
Allison Moorer is a writer in every sense of the word. Since her debut in 1998, she’s released nine albums and had five singles reach the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and her songs have appeared in movies ranging from “The Rookie” to “Moonshiners” to “The Horse Whisperer.” She and her sister, Shelby Lynn, released a collaborative album in 2017 entitled “Not Dark Yet,” an album of stunning sibling harmonies. More recently, Moorer has been writing a memoir and contributing prose to various publications, including The Bitter Southerner.
Bill Morrison is a New York-based filmmaker and artist, whose films often combine rare archival material set to contemporary music. His work was honored with a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, NY, from October 2014 – March 2015. Morrison is a Guggenheim fellow and has received the Alpert Award for the Arts, an NEA Creativity Grant, Creative Capital, and a fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. His theatrical projection design has been recognized with two Bessie awards and an Obie Award. Morrison has collaborated with some of the most influential composers and performers of our time, including John Adams, Maya Beiser, Gavin Bryars, Dave Douglas, Richard Einhorn, Erik Friedlander, Bill Frisell, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Michael Harrison, Ted Hearne, Vijay Iyer, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Kronos Quartet, David Lang, David T. Little, Michael Montes, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Aleksandra Vrebalov, and Julia Wolfe, among many others.
The Novel Ideas are a country-folk quartet from Massachusetts that has earned a reputation from music critics and fans for their moving four-part harmonies and rich Americana sound. From rock clubs to living rooms to festival stages, the band strives to convey honesty and intimacy through their music. Featuring the voices of three songwriters, their newly-released self-titled album showcases the band at its best. The Novel Ideas represent a contribution to the country-folk scene that balances love-and-loss melancholy with thoughtful instrumentation and intricate vocal arrangements.
Longineu Parsons has been hailed by critics internationally as being one of the world’s finest trumpet players. He also performs on recorders, flute, percussion and is a vocalist. Longineu performs classical and jazz on trumpet and his compositions include orchestral works and chamber music as well as jazz and world music. He is the protégé of the great cornetist, Nat Adderley and performs regularly with pianist, Nat Adderley Jr.
Longineu is founder and president of Tribal Records and he has produce and engineered recordings from traditional to modern jazz as well as classical, R&B and world music. Longineu’s musical history is very stylistically inclusive as is represented in his various musical projects. Longineu has performed and recorded with such greats as Cab Calloway, Nat Adderley, Cecil Taylor, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Herbie Mann, Frank Foster, Mal Waldron, Philly Joe Jones, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Sam Rivers, David Murray, Billy Harper, and many others.
Longineu holds a BS degree in Music from Florida A&M University and Master of Music in classical trumpet from the University of Florida. He has also had supplementary jazz studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and holds a Ph.D in Composition from the University of Florida. He is currently Professor of Trumpet and Composition at Florida A&M University and President of Tribal Records, Inc. Longineu will be appearing at Word of South with the writer Kent Spriggs.
Educator and musician Seth Warden started his career as a children’s recording artist in the summer of 2011 with the release of “Hi, Hello, How do you do?.” Seth and his wife, Tanika teamed up with local artist and illustrator Kara Kniffen to create a picture book based on their song, “Pickle Pie.” They released their second children’s book Little Lady Bug in 2013. Seth teamed up with local violinist Doug Moody and percussionist Brian Melick to start performing “Hi, Hello, How Do You Do?,” at local festivals, libraries and community events and soon thereafter the album was on the shelves of local bookstores. In 2014, Seth released “Instrumental Lullabies,” geared towards infants and young children and a third book release, Playful Poems. In addition to writing and recording music for the band, Seth has combined his music and educational background to develop enrichment and character education programs to bring to local school districts.
Local singer-songwriter Pat Puckett has been writing songs for decades, first with the Casual T’s and later as a solo artist and leader of his eponymous band. It’s not just that he has a poet’s way with words, but that he nestles those words in sterling musical settings so that they grab the ear as well as the heart. Sometimes deliberately rough-hewn, sometimes delicately crafted, Puckett’s songs are always real and, above all, honest.
RAM is a drum-roots-driven powerhouse band from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that derives its name from the initials of its founder, songwriter and lead vocalist, Richard A. Morse. After 25 years of consistently producing quality music, they recently released “Manmanm Se Ginen,” their sixth album - the first in over a decade. In RAM’s music, ancient folkloric polyrhythms intertwine harmoniously with punk rock guitar riffs and swinging Caribbean keyboard melodies, led by the entrancing singer, Lunise, for a truly magical experience. During the years of the military junta of Raoul Cédras, one of the band’s singles, “Fey,” was banned nationwide by the military authorities who perceived it to be a song of support for the exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The band continued to play weekly concerts in defiance of death threats from the regime until Morse only narrowly escaped kidnapping. In 1998 the band clashed with the newly elected mayor of Port-au-Prince, a supporter of Aristide, and survived an assassination attempt during their Carnival performance. They play on Thursdays at Hotel Oloffson in Port Au Prince- where RAM has consistently gigged for the last 25 years, as well as international concerts and festivals in places ranging from the U.S. to France to the UK to Mexico and Brazil.
RAM will appear at Word of South with author Bob Shacochis.
Chuck Reece is the editor of The Bitter Southerner, an online magazine that tells the stories of the new South - pieces about bartenders, musicians, cooks, designers, farmers, scientists, innovators, writers, thinkers and craftsmen - showing the reader the spots that make the South a far better place than most folks think it is. Chuck will be moderating a panel discussion at Word of South on the significance of Muscle Shoals music, featuring John Paul White, Donnie Fritts, Patterson Hood and David Hood.
If you are a fan of the FSU Seminoles or a resident of Florida, you know – or should know – about the writings of Tallahassee’s own Diane Roberts. Her latest book, Tribal, a comic, critical analysis of a Southern intellectual’s love of FSU football and distaste for the excesses that go with it, made several Best of Book lists in 2015. Dr. Roberts is a professor of creative writing at Florida State who received her undergraduate degree at FSU and doctorate at Oxford University in England. The author of four books, she is known for her spot-on interpretations of Southern culture and her sardonic sense of humor. She writes op-ed articles for major newspapers and has been a commentator for NPR and the BBC. Diane will be appearing at Word of South with Eliza Borné, the publisher of the Oxford American.
Two years ago, Michael Rothenberg, co-founder of the global arts movement 100 Thousand Poets for Change, moved to Tallahassee from California where his life's work had been one of intimate collaboration with the original Beat writers. Friend, publisher and editor of many of the Beat writers, Rothenberg learned from the source about music and poetry collaborative performance, and in his own work he has pushed the boundaries of that form into a new realm and manifestation, evidenced by his work with the recently organized Ecosound Ensemble, an all-star lineup of Tallahassee's most dynamic musicians. The Ecosound Ensemble includes Brian Hall (upright bass), Vivianne Asturizaga (flute and piccolo), Michael Bakan (drums and percussion), Joel Johnson (guitar), Bradley White (didgeridoo), and Mason Margut (Piano). Rothenberg has been writing and performing poetry for nearly 40 years. He has published over 20 books of poetry and is co-founder of the global poetry and arts movement, 100 Thousand Poets for Change. As recipient of the Creative Work Fund Grant he has performed his poetry with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bob Malone (John Fogerty), Johnny Lee Schell (Bonnie Raitt), Debra Dobkins (Richard Thompson), John B. Williams (Freddy Hubbard), Joe Sublette (Taj Mahal, Eric Clapton), and Marty Ehrlich (Anthony Braxton, John Zorn).
Rodger Tripp, the SafariMan, has a BS Degree in Child Development from Florida State. He is a Music Enrichment Teacher, an Educational Entertainer. Rodger was commissioned by The Florida Department of Health to develop a children's music CD called “Give me 5 a day!” The CD has 4 original fruit and vegetable songs written, sung and all instruments played by Rodger Tripp, the Singing SafariMan. The CD was developed to encourage children to be more physically active, dance, play and move, and to encourage eating fruits and vegetables. Over 277,000 copies have been distributed to children in Florida. He also has created several CD’s for young children. Two of his songs are children and preschool favorites on the Whole Child Leon CD “Catching Smiles,” which is a wonderfully uplifting CD that goes home with newborns from Tallahassee Hospitals.
Barry Sager empowers kids to make music on their own and with others. His programs encourage hands-on learning, active listening and self expression.
Matt Schofield is an English blues guitarist and singer. His band, The Matt Schofield Trio, play their own material, a blend of blues, funk and jazz, as well as covers of blues classics such as Albert Collins' "Lights Are On, But Nobody's Home". Matt was named British Blues Award Guitarist of the Year in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and is an inductee into the British Blues Hall of Fame. He’ll be appearing at Word of South prior to the Tedeschi Trucks Band show Friday night.
Tony Schwalm is a retired lieutenant colonel with the US Army Special Forces (aka the Green Berets). A veteran of multiple combat deployments around the world, he is currently assigned to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan as a Department of the Army Civilian leading a group of social scientists supporting special operation forces in that war-torn country. With “a fresh, authentic voice” (Publishers Weekly), Tony Schwalm takes readers deep inside the grueling training on the notorious Q course, required for all Special Forces soldiers before they can join the elite Green Berets that defend our country in nontraditional operations, in his book The Guerilla Factory.
Bob Shacochis is one of America’s most provocative and accomplished writers. His story collection Easy in the Islands won the National Book Award, and his novel Swimming in the Volcano was a National Book Award finalist. His most recent novel, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, was the winner of the Dayton International Literary Peace Prize and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. His most recent work is a collection of his travel and adventure essays, Kingdoms in the Air, published in 2016. He lives in Florida and New Mexico, and teaches at Florida State University.
He will appear at Word of South with the musical group RAM.
Elizabeth Sims learned the art of fiction by listening to tall tales on her father's knee, and by reading all sorts of books brought home by her mother, a teacher. (These ranged from Grimm's Fairy Tales to the Canterbury Tales, from Laura Ingalls Wilder to Ernest Hemingway.) She started life in Wyandotte, Michigan, and has lived in San Francisco, rural Washington state, and currently Bradenton, Florida.
Elizabeth is the author of the Rita Farmer Mysteries, the Lambda and GCLS Goldie Award-winning Lillian Byrd Crime Series, and other fiction, including the standalone novel Crimes in a Second Language, which just won the 2017 Florida Book Awards silver medal in general fiction. Her work has been published by a major press (Macmillan) as well as several smaller houses, and she’s written short works for numerous collections and magazines. She publishes independently under her personal imprint, Spruce Park Press.
In addition, Elizabeth is an internationally recognized authority on writing. She’s written dozens of feature articles on the craft of writing for Writer's Digest magazine, where she’s a contributing editor. Her instructional title, You've Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams (Writer's Digest Books) has been specially recognized by NaNoWriMo and hundreds of other web sites and bloggers. Her blog, Zestful Writing (esimsauthor.blogspot) has been included in top-100 blog lists.
Katy Simpson Smith is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835, and the novels The Story of Land and Sea and Free Men. Her writing has also appeared in The Oxford American, Granta, Literary Hub, Garden & Gun, Catapult, and Lenny. Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, she attended Mount Holyoke College and received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She lives in New Orleans.
Kent Spriggs has been a civil rights lawyer for more than five decades. He specialized in large class actions seeking to vindicate employment rights of blacks and women. He authored the critically acclaimed two-volume Representing Plaintiffs in Title VII Actions (2d Edition Panel Publications 1998), and most recently edited Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers: Reflections from the Deep South, 1964-1980, published in 2017. He has served as a Tallahassee City Commissioner and Mayor, and will appear at Word of South for a program on Voices with the trumpeter Longineu Parsons.
Darryl Steele is a native of Tallahassee, Florida. He is a son of The Rev. Dr. C.K. Steele Sr. Tallahassee’s most celebrated leader in Civil Rights. This talented musician and vocalist has been involved in music since his early childhood, playing and singing in church and while just a teenager he played with several bands in the area. He is well known as one of the best guitarists in the area. He has a very unique smooth and soulful style on his guitar and his vocals, and he also has been known to sit down to the piano from time to time.
Darryl has performed with several legendary blues artists; artists such as Betty Wright, Tyrone Davis, and Benny Latimore. While working with Betty Wright he recorded almost all the guitar tracks and did background vocals on her hit album titled “Mother Wit”. He has recorded with and performed with international artists Sulaiman Hakim and Longineu Parsons. He is also an assistant music minister at Unity Eastside Church. Where he has been encouraged to write and perform original music for Sunday services. And teaming up with friend and schoolmate Reginald Litman has a wonderful CD on Tribal Records titled “Gifts from the Gods” by; the Litman and Steele Project”.
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.
You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her adorable little family on most social media platforms as @getnicced.
Since his Carnegie Hall debut with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops, Byron Stripling has become a pops orchestra favorite, soloing with the Boston Pops, the National Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops, the Seattle Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, and the Dallas Symphony, to name a few. He has been a featured soloist at the Hollywood Bowl and on the PBS television special, "Evening at Pops," with conductors John Williams and Keith Lockhart. Currently, Stripling serves as artistic director and conductor of the highly acclaimed Columbus Jazz Orchestra. At Word of South he’ll team up with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra’s Jazz Ensemble for an afternoon of gospel and jazz.
The Tallahassee Symphony Jazz Orchestra is pleased to join forces with trumpeter Byron Stripling for an afternoon of "Gospel, Blues, and All that Jazz" at this year's Word of South Festival! The set list includes Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Hoochie Coochie Man, Saint Louis Blues, Go Tell It On The Mountain, He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands, and When The Saints Go Marchin’ In, among others.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band journey began on April 1, 2010 with their first gig at the Savannah Music Festival, and led to the recording and release of their Grammy-winning debut album “Revelator” in 2011, and “Made Up Mind” two years later. During their five-year rise, the group toured incessantly, raising their profile and being handpicked to play with the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and Santana; to appear on television shows hosted by Jay Leno, Conan, and on the premiere of Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show; and hosting special all-star musical salutes themselves, including Bonnaroo’s Superjam in 2014 (with Chaka Khan, Anthony Hamilton, Taj Mahal, and others), and Lock’n Festival’s Tribute to Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen in 2015 (with Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, and many other original members.). What began as an eight-piece group has now expanded to an onstage lineup of twelve musicians—a lineup that has remained unusually consistent—known as one of the best live acts in the nation. 2017 featured the release of the band’s “Live from the Fox Oakland” album, and a new album is in the works.
Terry Ann Thaxton, fifth generation Floridian, is the author of three collections of poetry: Getaway Girl (Salt, 2011), The Terrible Wife (Salt, 2013) which won the Florida Book Award Bronze Medal in 2014, and Mud Song (Truman State University Press). She has also published Creative Writing in the Community: A Guide (Bloomsbury, 2014) which is the result of over 15 years of providing creative writing workshops to marginalized people in the central Florida area. Her first publication was a news article when she was in fourth grade at Osprey Elementary School in Sarasota County, where she grew up. She is now professor of English at the University of Central Florida where she also directs the MFA in Creative Writing graduate program. She currently lives in Winter Springs, just north of Orlando, with her husband and their dog.
In 2013 North Florida regional favorites Jerry Thigpen, Pete Winter, and Jimmy Bone combined their talent and experience toward creating a new musical synergy. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2016 with an encore album anticipated in late spring 2018.
Known for their engaging live performances, the Trio's straight-forward and relatable songwriting showcases strong vocals musically seasoned by blues, rock, British invasion and Americana influences. Reminiscent of other high energy trios (Cream, Police, ZZ Top) the Jerry Thigpen Trio delivers the goods like a band twice its size.
Ken Tucker reviews rock, country, hip-hop and pop music for National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. A cultural critic, he has been the editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly and a film critic for New York Magazine. His work has won two National Magazine Awards and two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications. Tucker is the author of Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy: 100 Things to Love and Hate About Television. He’ll be interviewed at Word of South by fellow attendee Mark Hinson.
Jeff VanderMeer grew up in the Fiji Islands and currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida. His critically acclaimed New York Times-bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy has been published in 20 countries, and the Paramount Pictures film of the first book in the trilogy, Annihilation, starring Natalie Portman, has just been released. VanderMeer's nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Atlantic, Washington Post, the Guardian, and many more. Jeff will be appearing at Word of South with feathered friends from the St. Francis Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Suzanne Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival of the early 1980s when, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang what has been labeled contemporary folk or neo-folk songs of her own creation in Greenwich Village clubs. Since the release of her self-titled, critically acclaimed 1985 debut album, she has given sold-out concerts in many of the world’s best-known halls. In performances devoid of outward drama that nevertheless convey deep emotion, Vega sings in a distinctive, clear vibrato-less voice that has been described as “a cool, dry sandpaper- brushed near-whisper” and as “plaintive but disarmingly powerful.” She’ll perform at Word of South some of her work set to the words of Carson McCullers, as well as other tunes.
Loudon Wainwright III is a songwriter, humorist, actor, and now, memoirist. He’s known for his acting as Captain Calvin Spalding the singing surgeon on “M*A*S*H*”, and on films ranging from “Big Fish” to “The Forty-Year Old Virgin”. Three of his albums (“I’m Alright,” “More Love Songs” and “High Wide and Handsome, The Charlie Poole Project”) have been nominated for Grammy awards, with “High Wide” winning Best Traditional Folk Album in 2010. And now he’s written a memoir, Liner Notes: On Parents and Children, Exes and Excess, Death and Decay & A Few of My Other Favorite Things, which he will read from and sign copies of at Word of South.
Ken Waldman is an author and musician. A former college professor with an MFA in Creative Writing, he's been a visiting writer at nearly 100 colleges and universities, a visiting artist at over 230 schools in 33 states, and has led workshops from Alaska to Maine. His nine CDs of old-time Appalachian-style string-band music include two for children. His nine books consist of seven full-length poetry collections, a memoir about his life as a touring artist, and a volume of acrostic poems for kids. As a performer, he's played from the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage to Berkeley's Freight and Salvage, occasionally as a soloist, more often as leader of one of his ever-changing troupes of nationally recognized musicians.
Reed Watson is a drummer based out of Florence, Alabama. In addition to studio work, he tours and performs with John Paul White, Belle Adair and Donnie Fritts. He is also the label manager at Single Lock Records, an independent record label based in the area.
Phillip Wenturine is a Fulbright Alum to Portugal and currently an English teacher at Leon High School. Phillip, who has his MFA in creative writing, recently began a project called Pessoas of Portugal, which is the Westernmost of Europe’s take on Humans of New York. He has published fiction and non-fiction in Aurora Magazine, Intrinsick, Potluck Magazine, Cortland Review, and KY Story, among others. Some of his new book of poetry, “Love Affair With Lisbon”, is forthcoming from Z Publishing. When Phillip isn’t writing or teaching, he is traveling the world, just hitting his 32nd country.
John Paul White is an American singer-songwriter and a former member of the duo The Civil Wars, which won the 2012 Grammy Awards for the best Folk Album and Country Performance by a Duo or Group and recorded four albums. A co-owner of "Single Lock Records," a local indie label that has released records by some of the Yellowhammer State’s finest, including Dylan LeBlanc, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and legendary singer and songwriter Donnie Fritts, his new album, "Beulah", was released in 2016. At Word of South John Paul will participate on a panel discussing the significance of Muscle Shoals music, he’ll join the Donnie Fritts band in playing the songs of the soul singer and songwriter Arthur Alexander, and he’ll also do a solo show with his own band.
As an award-winning keynote speaker, business leadership coach, an eleven-time New York Times Best-selling author and longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated, Don Yaeger has fashioned a career as one of America’s most provocative thought leaders. As a speaker, he has worked with audiences as diverse as Fortune 500 companies and cancer survivor groups, where he shares his personal story.
He is primarily sought to discuss lessons on achieving Greatness, learned from first-hand experiences with some of the greatest sports legends in the world.
Additionally, Don has been retained by companies and organizations to coach their leaders, management teams and employees on building a culture of greatness by looking at Great Teams in sports and discerning the business lessons we can learn from them.