A Good Read, A Good Listen, and A Good Drink: Sloane Spencer, Countryfriedrock.org

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.


If you’ve ever been sitting around listening to your favorite under-the-rader musicians play the tunes you love and thought, man, I wish I could listen to these people play this stuff on the radio, guess what, YOU CAN.

All you have to do is adjust your dials so that Country Fried Rock is coming in clear. Or you can download a podcast or several, if that works better for you. Your reward will be hot tunes and intelligent conversation.

But what I really want to draw your attention to today is the two compilation records they have put out in support of Nuci’s Space, a non-profit health and music resource center in Athens, GA.

The aim of the organization is to prevent suicide by providing obstacle free treatment for musicians suffering from depression and other such disorders as well as to assist in the emotional, physical and professional well-being of musicians.

Volume One was released in May 2012, and featured songs from a broad variety of artists, including The District Attorneys:
 

 
And Stephanie Fagan:
 

 
Volume Two, featuring never-released songs from Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy (former Drive-By Truckers), Centro-Matic, Drivin N Cryin, Hillbilly Frankenstein (Jeff Walls of the Woggles and Guadalcanal Diary’s 1990s band), Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, Belle Adair, Doc Dailey, Matt Hudgins, Adam Klein, Old Smokey, Norma Rae, Rebecca Morning, Burning Angels, & Jack Logan and Scott Baxendale, is due at the end September 2013.

Also included will be Skyline Dream by The Blue Dogs:
 

Blue Dogs SKYLINE DREAM Dock St Theater Charleston

 
And Don’t You Want To Love from MaryJaneDaniels
 

MJD – Don't You Want to Love

 

The proceeds from both of the records go entirely to Nuci’s Space.

And now, without further ado, here is Sloane Spencer, host of Country Fried Rock, to share some of her favorite book(s), best-loved music and a most delicious non-alcoholic drink:


I love to read. When I was in elementary school, I decided that I would read every single book in my school’s library by the end of 5th grade, which I did. Sadly, as an adult, my reading is often limited to The Onion & Mental Floss, technical reading for work, and an unhealthy amount of celebrity gossip websites – the latter of which makes me feel much more normal every day than I probably am! That being said, I tend to re-read some of my favorite books.

A Good Read

I love Southern literature. I like the contrast of what the South really is and what it thinks it is, how we see ourselves and how others see us. I can appreciate my great-grandparents who were uneducated cotton sharecroppers in South Carolina who sent my granddad to The Citadel (the first and only one of that part of the family to finish college) as much as I can the other side of my family that has been Ivy League college-educated for 6 generations.

For some reason, this is why Ferrol Sams’ trilogy that begins with Run With The Horsemen and Whisper of the River really appealed to me. (Note: I don’t really like the third book in this series.)

Some of my own philosophy of “never let the truth get in the way of a good story” comes from these books, not so much in themselves, but in how Sams weaves a tale. The books on re-reading are a little (lot!) sentimental, but the appreciation for a sense of place, family, and how life will always continue to change, whether we are ready for it or not, shows a Southern world-view that I understand, even if I am not exactly like that.

A Good Listen

It’s funny – whenever I am asked about music I like, I always go for whatever is new-to-me and emerging. I’m not nostalgic or sentimental in general, but something about the books I just mentioned and the drink I like to make in the summer have me in a frame of mind that just oozes this album: the original Landslide Records issue of Space Wrangler by Widespread Panic, in its entirety, beginning to end.

I don’t “follow” Panic and never did, but this record is gorgeous – Southern, jangly, groove, lush, contradictory in its forward motion and reflective attitude. I just want to sit in the hammock, re-read one of those books, and drink my slushy.
 

Widespread Panic – Space Wrangler (Live From Austin TX)

 
A Good Drink

I don’t drink alcohol. I’m not Baptist, I’m not against it, and I’m not an alcoholic. Let’s just say that I have a large, extended network of friends and loved ones for whom Southern brown liquor has not been an asset to their lives. I was in college when I realized that most people don’t hide their liquor under the guest room sink and pretend they don’t drink it.

In solidarity for the struggles they have had, I just decided in my early 30s that it was not going to be part of my life any more. I have no problem with anybody else’s choice to enjoy good drinks. Besides, I’m hilarious without alcohol.

So, you really need to make my summertime watermelon slush.

Watermelon Slush

Large, ripe watermelon, seeds removed

Fresh key lime juice, if possible, or bottled if you can’t get key limes

Agave nectar or stevia to taste (not too much – it should be tart)

Ice

It’d probably be pretty good with some clear liquor in it, too, but not too much to make it sicky-sweet or take away from the tart taste of the key lime.

Chop watermelon into cubes and fill a blender. Whiz until slushy consistency. Add ½ C key lime juice and some sweetener to taste.

Whiz. You may want to add a few ice cubes and whiz for a slushier consistency.

Drink immediately. It will separate if you let it sit. You can just stir it back up w/ a spoon or re-whiz in the blender. If you have one of those slushy maker machines, it might work, too.

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