The Southland Music Line 2023 – A Year in Review

By Johnny Cole .
Photos by Stephen Anderson .
Art by Robby Amonett .

Thanks to very loyal readers and like-minded music fans, The Southland Music Line entered its 11th year in October of 2023. Our first ten years saw a number of changes, but our mission has always remained the same. We are still on a pilgrimage in search of the best music.

The First Ten Years
In early 2012, Rosco Bandana’s Jason Sanford introduced me to Stephen “Andy” Anderson and Robby Amonett at Ben Kaufman’s Irish Coast Pub in Gulfport, Mississippi. They in turn invited me to join them at an upcoming Sugarcane Jane show at Jack’s by the Tracks in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Since I knew who Sugarcane Jane’s Anthony Crawford was and had seen him perform since the 1980s with such folks as Neil Young, Dwight Yoakam, and Steve Winwood, I was enthusiastic about attending. In 2013, musician Kennon Barton encouraged me to take the already-named  “The Southland Music Line” and start a regionally-themed music website with Anderson and Amonett. In the fall of the year, we officially launched our website.

Since we began, we have had many to contribute to the website. Patsy Cheek, Sandra Cole, Connie Gibbs, Cindy Thamert, Glenda Campbell, Leslie Mulcahy, Juanita Smith, Shane Rice, Dr. Tom Laytham, Steven Dale, and Colton McMillan have all contributed as writers, photographers, proofreaders, and technical advisors. For several years, Brenda Germany contributed as a principle writer and associate editor. She was very instrumental in the success of our Mississippi Blues Trail Series. Since December of 2022, Deborah Chatham has been contributing as a writer and associate editor. Of course, there have been many who have assisted us in a variety of ways. Several music venues have also played a huge part during these past ten years, including Jack’s by the Tracks, Callaghan’s Irish Social Club, The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm, The Peoples Room of Mobile (formerly known as The Listening Room of Mobile), The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint, The Julep Room, Government Street Grocery, The Grand Magnolia Ballroom, The Thirsty Hippo, The Lobby Lounge, Murky Waters, Irish Coast Pub, Duling Hall, and many more.

We also really appreciate the good folks at The Mississippi Songwriters Alliance (organizers of the Mississippi Songwriters Festival), the Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival, and South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Jack’s by the Tracks, “The Birthplace of The Southland Music Line,” remains a popular live music destination in Pascagoula, MS

2023: A Year to Remember
The Southland Music Line, which remains a non-profit group and website, took a more balanced approach to our activity in 2023. Since we all have active schedules apart from “The Line,” our staff saw the importance of evenly picking and choosing we do or not do. Personally, my schedule outside of The Southland Music Line involves me working with music education and consulting on events and tours, both stateside and abroad. Thankfully, I was able to accomplish what I was hired to do while keeping things in proper perspective.

As earlier mentioned, The Southland Music Line has enjoyed a great working relationship with the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance and has done so for several years. During 2023, we attended Mississippi Songwriters Festivals on both the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the culturally rich Delta. This year’s Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was a huge success, too. For the second year in a row, we had the honor of writing the bios used in the ceremony presentation. Also, one of our favorite events to regularly attend has been the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance’s “Songs and Stories” held at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Arts Center. This year, we enjoyed seeing Kenny Brown, Eric Erdman, John “Papa” Gros, and Stephen Lee Veal at this popular monthly event.

No year-end review is complete without mentioning The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill, Alabama. It continues to be a special place for live music and building friendships with like-minded music fans. We attended this year’s February 19th show featuring Shawn Mullins, Will Kimbrough, Lisa Carver, Chuck Cannon, and Katrina Miller; and the October 29th show featuring Jimmy Hall, Randall Bramblett, Grayson Capps, Rick Hirsch, Donna Hall Foster, Stan Foster, Corky Hughes, and John Milham. We thank Cathe Steel for all she does for the local and regional music scene.

In 2023, we attended several shows by such music artists as Ghalia Volt, Grayson Capps, Leilani Kilgore, Molly Thomas and Rick Hirsch at the very popular Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS. The 100 Men D.B.A. Hall in Bay St. Louis, MS is one of our favorite destinations for live music and music related events on the Gulf Coast, too. We had the privilege of attending shows there by Cedric Burnside, Sunny War, and a special screening of City of a Million Dreams at this historic venue.

The Southland Music Line’s Stephen “Andy” Anderson has enjoyed the “Along The Pontchartrain Concert Series” in New Orleans, Louisiana for the past few years. This past April, Deborah Chatham and I joined him for a beautiful day overlooking Chef Menteur Pass while enjoying music by Cary Hudson (our 2023 Music Artist of the Year), Will Kimbrough, Mark Rubin, Papa Mali, Russ Broussard, Casandra Faulconer, Brian Daley and Anna Hudson. We certainly appreciate Chris Bolka, the event’s host, for inviting us.

Prior to me heading to Europe in June of this year, we attended the Cathead Jam, featuring The Flaming Lips, Shakey Graves, Larkin Poe, The Band of Heathens, and Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country at Cathead Distillery in Jackson, Mississippi. We want to thank everyone at Cathead Jam, the Dreamnote Foundation, Ardenland, Cathead Distillery, and Robert Dienelt for making this event one of our most memorable of the year.

Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, Alabama is one of the most popular music venues on the Gulf Coast. It’s not only loved by the locals but has an outstanding reputation with musicians as far away as Australia and Europe. John “J.T.” Thompson, the owner and operator, continues to bring amazing music to Callaghan’s. This year, we enjoyed seeing Amanda Donald, The Marlow Boys, Myron Elkins, Dylan LeBlanc, Banditos, and of course, Phil and Foster at Callaghan’s. We also attended the annual “Pink is the New Soiree” benefit. This event held at Callaghan’s has raised lots of money and awareness for cancer research.

Robby Amonett, a co-founder of The Southland Music Line and popular artist, had a busy year capturing a multitude of shows and live music events.

One of our favorites, Summerlyn Powers, also brought her fall tour supporting her latest EP, The Hive, to Callaghan’s in November. A few weeks earlier, we enjoyed doing a photo shoot with Summerlyn at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi and later seeing her alongside Cary Laine and Katie Jones at The Parlour on Lorraine in nearby Gulfport.

Located at the I-10 and Highway 57 Crossroads sits The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint. A venue highlighted in one of Grayson Capps’ most popular songs, “Coconut Moonshine.” We enjoyed a number of music artists at The Shed in 2023, including Jimmy Lee Hannaford, Lightnin’ Malcolm, Mississippi Shakedown, Sugarcane Jane, and The Nervous Tics.

Some additional shows and live music events attended by The Southland Music Line in 2023: Abe Partridge’s album release show for Love in the Dark at the Alabama Contemporary Art Center; Abe Partridge’s “Floating Away” and Robby Amonett’s “Capturing Sound” at the University of South Alabama; “With Signs Following,” an Abe Partridge art exhibition at the Alabama Contemporary Art Center;  a special screening of “From Dust We Came” at The Peoples Room of Mobile (Mobile, AL); Blue Mother Tupelo at Jack’s by the Tracks (Pascagoula, MS), the Corky Hughes Trio at Jacks by the Tracks (Pascagoula, MS), Cruz Contreras’ and Shannon LaBrie’s house concerts at Zimmer’s Corner (Montose, AL); Drew Young and Emily Sholes Smith at The Wilbur (Ocean Springs, MS), Sugarcane Jane at Keg & Barrel (Hattiesburg, MS), and more.

The Mississippi Blues Trail Series
A few years ago, we began documenting the Mississippi Blues Trail markers. Since we began our article series, we have spotlighted markers across the entire state and region. This series of articles has become one of our most popular features. This year we spotlighted we markers honoring Trumpet Records, Ace Records, Scott Radio Service Company, Grammy Museum, Po’ Monkey’s, and Piney Woods School.

Deborah Chatham Goes to London
I wasn’t the only one from The Southland Music Line who traveled to Europe in 2023. Deborah Chatham, who joined our team in December of 2022, traveled to London in the spring of the year. Her trip was documented in her articles “Camden Town: Exploring London’s Music Scene” and “Chasing After One of “The Runaways.”

The Southland Music Line Continues To Share Lists
Since 1979, I have been making year-end music lists. These and all my music-themed lists are used for archiving and educational purposes. Periodically, The Southland Music Line has shared some of the latest lists on our website. Thankfully, they have been well received by our readers. We began the year with My List of Favorite Recorded Songs by Bruce Springsteen As Compiled in 2023. We also shared My List of Favorite Songs Recorded by Tina Tuner60 Favorite Singles Released by Sharleen Spiteri and Texas (1989-2023)160 Favorite Singles & Album Tracks by Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders (1979-2023); and Ranking 500+ Singles, Album Tracks & Demos by The Rolling Stones.

Cary Hudson was selected this year’s Music Artist of the Year by The Southland Music Line’s editorial staff.

2023 Music Artist of the Year as Chosen by The Southland Music Line’s Editorial Staff
Each year, The Southland Music Line’s management team along with a body of consultants and contributors chooses a different artist to be that year’s “Music Artist of the Year.” At the beginning of December, we announced that Cary Hudson had been chosen as our “Music Artist of the Year.”
Click Here for the article written by Robby Amonett.

Results of The 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards
During the month of December, we celebrate the Gulf Coast Music Scene with our annual Readers’ Choice Awards. The results for this year’s voting are:
︎ Readers’ Choice Music Artist of the Year: Grayson Capps (Runner-Up: Blue Mother Tupelo; also receiving a considerable amount of votes in alphabetical order: Abe Partridge, Amanda Donald, Cary Hudson, Cary Laine, Corky Hughes Trio, Eric Erdman, Grits & Greens, Marlow Boys, Phil & Foster, Royal Horses, Sugarcane Jane, Summerlyn Powers, The Krickets, The Red Clay Strays, and Will Kimbrough.
︎ Readers’ Choice Album or EP of the Year: Rebel Rose – Cary Laine (Runner-Up: Take Me with You – Blue Mother Tupelo; also receiving a considerable amount of votes in alphabetical order: 100 Roots – Amanda Donald, Love in the Dark – Abe Partridge, The Hive – Summerlyn Powers, and The Olive Tree – Kristy Lee
Readers’ Choice (Indoor) Music Venue of the Year: Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, AL (Runner-Up: Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS)
︎Readers’ Choice (Outdoor) Music Venue of the Year: The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill, AL (Runner-Up: The Wharf in Gulf Shores, AL)

Readers of The Southland Music Line voted Grayson Capps as 2023 Readers’ Choice “Music Artist of the Year.” Capps was previously selected as Music Artist of the Year in 2017 by The Southland Music Line’s editorial staff. He has always received a lot of votes from our readers, but this is the first year he received the most votes. Over 35 Music Artists received votes in 2023.

Top Ten Album List(s) by The Southland Music Line’s Management Team:

 Johnny Cole (Editor/Writer/Co-Founder) –
︎ 1. Hackney Diamonds – The Rolling Stones
︎ 2. Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart – Lucinda Williams
︎ 3. Rockstar – Dolly Parton
︎ 4. Made for the Road – Wyatt Edmondson
︎ 5. The Record – Boygenius
︎ 6. From the Valley – Ilsey
︎ 7. I/O – Peter Gabriel
︎ 8. Coyote – Dylan LeBlanc
︎ 9. Take Me With You – Blue Mother Tupelo
︎10. Shake It – The Nervous Tics
11. Rat Saw God – Wednesday
12. Golden State – Logan Ledger
13. Relentless – Pretenders
14. Weed, Wine & Time – Caleb Elliott
15. Live at Third Man Records – John Moreland
16. Seven Psalms – Paul Simon
17. City of Gold – Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
18. Rustin’ in the Rain – Tyler Childers
19. Strays – Margo Price
20. Live in London – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
21. 100 Roots – Amanda Donald
22. Resurrection Thorn – Lincoln Durham
23. Factories, Farms & Amphetamines – Myron Elkins
24. Higher – Chris Stapleton
25. Halfway to Number Nine – Memphis & The Misfits

☆ Johnny Cole’s Ten Favorite Singles/Album Tracks of 2023: 1) “Angry” – The Rolling Stones;  2) “Sweet Sound of Heaven – The Rolling Stones ft. Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder; 3) “Addicted to Romance” (from the movie She Came to Me) – Bruce Springsteen; 4) “Healing Like I Am” – Summerlyn Powers; 5) “New York Comeback” – Lucinda Williams with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa;  6) “No California” Ilsey; 7) “Now and Then” – The Beatles; 8) “Soulmates” – Chaislyn *5th straight year that a song by Chaislyn has been in Johnny’s annual year-end top ten; 9) “Not Strong Enough” – boygenius; 10) “Some Misty Morning” – Logan Ledger

See further below for links to Johnny Cole’s Annual Year-End Lists, which include a complete list of favorite albums, favorite singles/tracks, favorite shows, 2023 Music Awards, and more!

☆ Stephen “Andy” Anderson (Photographer/ Co-Founder) –
1. Whitsitt Chapel – Jelly Roll
2. Hackney Diamonds – Rolling Stones
3. Departure Nocturnes – John Calvin Abney
4. Pieces of Treasures – Rickie Lee Jones
5. Accomplice Two – Tommy Emmanuel
6. Strays – Margo Price
7. Anarchist Gospel – Sunny War
8. Workin’ on the World – Iris Dement
9. Coyote – Dylan LeBlanc
10. Black Bayou – Robert Finley
11. Traveling Wildfire – Dom Flemons
12. Southern Star – Brent Cobb
13. Seven Psalms – Paul Simon
14. Simple Things – The Band of Heathens
15. Shout Sister Shout – Ghalia Volt
16. Live in London – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
17. Blood Brothers – Mike Zito & Albert Castiglia
18. Death Wish Blues – Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton
19. Real Gone – Ally Venable
20. Live at BBC, 9 October 1970 – Joni Mitchell
21. City of Gold – Molly Tuttle
22. Higher – Chris Stapleton
23. Rustin’ in the Rain – Tyler Childers
24. Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart – Lucinda Williams
25. Weathervanes – Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

☆ Robby Amonett (Artist/Co-Founder) “Alphabetical Order” –
Back on Moon Beach – Kurt Vile
Caravan – Cactus Lee
Chronicles of a Diamond – Black Pumas
Coyote – Dylan LeBlanc
● Emotional Contracts – Deer Tick
In Times New Roman… – Queens of the Stone Age
Love for the Underdog -John Andrews and The Yawns
Love in the Dark – Abe Partridge
Medicine – Orchestra Gold
No Ordinary Crown – Will Johnson
● Our Guest Can’t Be Named – The Wytches
Revelation – Sienna Root
6  – Graveyard
Smalltown Stardust – King Tuff
Southern Star – Brent Cobb
S.P. – Dick Stusso
Stone – Barones
●  Strays– Margo Price
The Hypnogogue – The Church
The Thorn – Large Plants
Weathervanes – Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

☆ Deborah Chatham (Writer/Associate Editor) “Alphabetical Order” –
1. Equal Strains on All Parts – Jimmy Buffett

2. King of the Land – Yusef Islam/Cat Stevens
3. Coyote – Dylan LeBlanc
4. Rockstar Dolly Parton
5. Higher – Chris Stapleton
6. 100 Roots – Amanda Donald
7. Weathervanes – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
8. Shooter Jennings & The Werewolves of Los Angeles Do Zevon – Shooter Jennings
9. First Two Pages of Frankenstein – The National
10. At Royal Albert Hall – Peter Frampton

* Honorable Mentions (Rereleases or Box Sets):
●10th Anniversary Rerelease of “Tape Deck Heart” – Frank Turner
Songs of Barcharach and Costello – Burt Bacharach & Elvis Costello “Box Set”
● 20th Anniversary Rerelease of “Elephant” – The White Stripes.
Johnny Cole’s Annual Year-End Lists, Complete List of Shows & Music Awards:

Click Here for the Johnny Cole’s Annual Music Awards, Favorite 125 Albums of 2023 (and honorable mentions), Favorite Singles/Tracks of 2023.

Click Here for Favorite Shows, Concerts & Live Music Events of 2023, Complete List of Shows, Concerts & Live Music Events attended in 2023, and Complete List of Music Artists seen in 2023.

The covers appearing on “The Line” in 2023:

Our Articles in 2023:
We appreciate everyone who took the time to read our articles and view our photo collections in 2023. Amanda Donald, Cary Laine, Drew Howard, Ghalia Volt, The Nervous Tics, and Summerlyn Powers were some of the music artists featured in this year’s articles. We also paid tribute to Jimmy Buffett in September.

Most read articles of 2023:
1. “My List of Favorite Recorded Songs by Bruce Springsteen As Compiled in 2023” by Johnny Cole
2. The Southland Music Line Remembers Jimmy Buffett in Photos (commentary by Johnny Cole)
3. “Camden Town: Exploring London’s Music Scene” by Deborah Chatham
4. My List of Favorite Songs Recorded by Tina Tuner by Johnny Cole
5. “Summerlyn Powers Takes to the Road with New EP: The Hive” by Johnny Cole
6. “Mississippi Blues Trail Series – Po’ Monkey’s” by Deborah Chatham
7. “Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2023” by Johnny Cole
8. “Amanda Donald’s Album Release Show: An Exciting Evening of Music at Callaghan’s in Mobile, Alabama” by Deborah Chatham
9. “The Return of The Cathead Jam Music Festival” by Johnny Cole
10. “Chasing After One of “The Runaways” by Deborah Chatham

Click Here  for our complete list of articles in 2023.

The Photo Albums appearing on “The Line” in 2023:

Most viewed photo collections of 2023:
1. “The Southland Music Line Remembers Jimmy Buffett in Photos”
2. “Cathead Jam Music Festival at Cathead Distillery in Jackson, MS”
3. “Sunny War at The 100 Men D.B.A. Hall in Bay St. Louis, MS”
4. “All Along The Pontchartrain Concert Series VIII in New Orleans, LA”
5. “Cedric Burnside at 100 Men D.B.A. Hall in Bay St. Louis, MS”
6. “Grayson Capps Band at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS”
7. “Corky Hughes Trio at Jack’s by the Tracks in Pascagoula, MS”
8. “Myron Elkins with special guest Garrett Howell at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, AL”
9. “Abe Partridge’s Album Release Show for Love in the Dark at the Alabama Contemporary Art Center in Mobile, AL”
10. Sweden Returns to the Mississippi Songwriters Festival in Ocean Springs, MS”

Click Here for “ALL” the photo collections by Stephen “Andy” Anderson in 2023 and previous years.

2023 Monthly Music Spotlight (January – December):

▪︎ Jan – Strays – Margo Price
▪︎ Feb – This is Why  – Paramore
︎▪︎ Mar – Songs of Surrender
︎▪︎ Apr – Rat Saw God – Wednesday
▪︎ May – Seven Psalms – Paul Simon
︎▪︎ June – Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart – Lucinda Williams 
︎▪︎ July – Sticks and Stones – Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real 
▪︎ Aug – You’re the One – Rhiannon Giddens 
︎▪︎ Sept – Relentless – The Pretenders 
︎▪︎ Oct – Hackney Diamonds – The Rolling Stones
▪︎ Nov – Rockstar – Dolly Parton 
︎︎▪︎ Dec – I/O– Peter Gabriel 

Click Here to visit our Spotlight Music of the Month Archives.

Callaghan’s owner, John “J.T.” Thompson with Summerlyn Powers, who performed at Callaghans while on tour promoting her latest EP “The Hive.” Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, AL received the most votes in our 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards for Favorite (Indoor) Music Venue.

Music Fans of the Month in 2022:
︎︎▪︎ Jan. – Christina Turner Rhodes (Mobile, AL)
︎▪︎ Feb. – Ron Martin (Mobile, AL)
▪︎ Mar. – Cheri Rhea (Mobile, AL)
︎▪︎ Apr. – Lori Long (Alabama Gulf Coast)
︎▪︎ May – Edee Jones (Lander, WY)
︎▪︎ June – Joey Cole Street (Tampa, FL)
︎▪︎ July – Joel Dinerstein (New Orleans, LA)
︎▪︎ Aug. – James West (Mobile, AL)
︎▪︎ Sept. – Teresa Hudson (Vancleave, MS)
︎▪︎ Oct. – Hannah Brewer (Milton, FL)
▪︎ Nov. – Dawn Arends (Daphne, AL)
▪︎ Dec. – Ed Havens (Point Pleasant, NJ)

Click Here for review of all our Music Fans of the Month.

The Southland Music Line thanks all of the fine folks who granted us access to shows, events, and festivals or even saved us a seat. We look forward to sharing more good times with you all in 2024.

This year’s review is dedicated to the memory of Kennon Barton (pictured above). He truly was one of the nicest guys who treated everyone with genuine kindness. It was Kennon who originally suggested to us about doing a website in 2013. Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to his family, his many friends, bandmates, his students and everyone fortunate enough to have known this incredible young man. Kennon was 41.

Johnny’s Music Awards, Favorite Albums, Singles and Album Tracks.
 Johnny’s Favorite Concerts, Shows, and Live Music Events of 2023; Johnny’s Complete List of Concerts, Shows, and Live Music Events of 2023; Johnny’s Complete List of Music Artists Seen in 2023
 2023: A Year in Photos
● 2023 Music Artist of the Year

Page Designed & Edited by Johnny Cole

Additional Editing by Deborah Chatham
© The Southland Music Line. 2024.
All rights reserved

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: We welcome requests for permission to use content from The Southland Music Line website and Facebook page. Any shared articles or photos may not be altered, edited nor cropped and must include the appropriate copyrights of The Southland Music Line.

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