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Word of South 2021

Strand of Oaks

Strand of Oaks is the rock project by songwriter and producer Tim Showalter. Hard Love, Showalter’s latest release as Strand of Oaks, is a record that explores the balancing act between overindulgence and accountability. Recounting Showalter’s decadent tour experiences, his struggling marriage, and the near death of his younger brother, Hard Love emanates an unabashed, raw, and manic energy […]

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Minton Sparks

Minton Sparks travels extensively, performing at various universities, clubs, and music, poetry, and storytelling festivals to share her unique brand of performance poetry and creative writing workshops with audiences nationwide. This past year, Sparks appeared at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series alongside Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash, and was a featured performer at the Jonesborough International Storytelling Festival. Ruckus Films recently featured Sparks in the provocative, brilliant, one-woman show, Open Casket, alongside world-class musicians: veteran […]

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Ben Sollee

Kentucky-born cellist and composer Ben Sollee likes to keep moving. He kicked off 2014 with the release of his score for the documentary film Maidentrip. If you’ve seen him perform, you know it’s not to be missed. Over the six years following the release of his debut record, Learning to Bend, Sollee and his rugged cello, Kay, […]

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Chef Art Smith

Chef Art Smith loves the idea of bringing people together through food. It’s partly what made him the success he is today. He is the executive chef and co-owner of Blue Door Kitchen and Garden, Art and Soul, Southern Art and Bourbon Bar, LYFE Kitchen restaurants, 1500 Southat the Naples Bay Resortand his latest restaurant […]

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Shovels & Rope

Shovels & Rope is an American folk duo from Charleston, South Carolina composed of husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. Combining threads from their individual solo careers, Shovels & Rope blends traditional folk, rock and roll and country rock. Their fifth album, “Little Seeds,” was released in 2016. […]

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Bob Shacochis

Bob Shacochis is one of America’s most provocative and accomplished writers. His story collection Easy in the Islandswon 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 […]

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Nic Stoltzfus

Nic Stoltzfus is a writer and photographer at Live Oak Production Group. A graduate of the Florida State University Communication Program, Nic has always appreciated the art of storytelling.  His first script, Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida’s Emerald Coast, was nominated for a Suncoast Emmy in the writing category and won People’s Choice for the […]

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Safari Man

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 […]

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Mary Jane Ryals

Mary Jane Ryals won a Florida Book Award and a President’s Book Award with Florida Publishers Association for her 2010 novel Cookie & Me. As well, she won the Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets in 2006. She’s currently working on a second novel in a series of mysteries set in the Florida Panhandle and teaches at […]

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