Word of [South], a festival of literature and music is a unique blend of writers and musicians and an exploration of the relationship between the two disciplines. The festival features authors who write about music, musicians who also are authors, authors and musicians appearing together, and everything in between.
Jason Reynolds is an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author. Jason’s many books include: Miles Morales: Spider Man, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor, and Look Both Ways, which was a National Book Award Finalist. His collaboration with Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, is forthcoming in March 2020. Jason has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS This Morning. He is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing for Young People MFA Program and lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.
Ross Burach is an author and illustrator with a degree in fine arts from the University of Massachusetts. Ross has focused on designing characters and backgrounds for animation studios within children's media. He has always loved combining words and pictures to create humor and has since found the perfect blend for a career in children's books.
Ross hopes to one day have a pet giraffe. There's a Giraffe in My Soup is his first book and it's been followed by The Very Impatient Caterpillar, I Am Not A Chair!, Truck Full of Ducks, and others.
One of the most admired, genre-bending artists to breakthrough in the last decade, June’s music blends southern sounds, African rhythms and ambient atmospherics into something altogether futuristic and new. Her 2017 release The Order of Time appeared on numerous ‘best of’ lists and received near universal acclaim from a broad array of international media including: Rolling Stone, New York Times, NPR, The Guardian, Vice Noisey, New Yorker, ELLE, Nylon, Garden & Gun, Okayplayer, MOJO, UNCUT, Entertainment Weekly, GQ, Exclaim!, Newsday, Afropunk, CLASH, Glide, Financial Times, American Songwriter, MTV News and many more. Her solo tour features both brand-new songs and fan favorites. She is currently working on her highly anticipated new album.
For singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalists Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins, the Watkins Family Hour has long been an oasis from the rigors of the road, a laboratory where they can try out new material or master beloved cover songs. Their monthly show at L.A.’s famed venue, Largo, has been hailed as a convivial, communal event where they welcome an impressive array of musician friends old and new. While it’s true that fans who aren’t lucky enough to be in L.A. and score a coveted ticket can check out the proceedings via YouTube or on the podcasts the Watkins siblings have created, the fun of these evenings is really in being there as the unscripted show unfolds. The Watkins Family Hour is always full of surprises, unexpected guests, one-of-a-kind match-ups; serendipity plays as much of a role as virtuosity. Fiona Apple often joins them, and recent guests have included Dawes, Jackson Browne, Nikka Costa, Booker T. and actor-singer John C. Reilly, as well as comedians Paul F. Tompkins, Nick Kroll and Pete Holmes.
Now Sara and Sean have decided to take their Family Hour format on the road -- a kind of musical pop-up shop, if you will -- to clubs and concert halls around the country. To mark this undertaking, this summer they are releasing the first-ever Watkins Family Hour LP on their own Family Hour Records imprint. The album, recorded live over three days in the studio of their friend and producer-engineer Sheldon Gomberg, beautifully captures the freewheeling spirit of the shows. It features Apple and the stellar players who have become a de facto house band: drummer Don Heffington, pedal steel and dobro player Greg Leisz, bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and keyboardist Benmont Tench, each of whom take a vocal turn at the mic. The Watkins Family Hour is an all-covers affair; tracks include Sara doing Lindsey Buckingham’s “Steal Your Heart Away,” Sean essaying Roger Miller’s wistful “Not In Nottingham,” from Disney’s 1973 animated Robin Hood, and Apple singing “Where I Ought To Be,” originally performed by Skeeter Davis.