An Annual Celebration of Readers, Writers, and Books
Historian Ben Wynne is a native of Florence, Mississippi, and currently serves as professor of history at the University of North Georgia (Gainesville campus). He is the author of a number of works on the American South including Something in the Water: A History of Music in Macon, Georgia, 1823-1980 (Mercer University Press 2021), The Man Who Punched Jefferson Davis: The Political Life of Henry Stuart Foote, Southern Unionist, In Tune: Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers and the Roots of American Music, ), Mississippi's Civil War: A Narrative History, and A Hard Trip: A History of the 15th Mississippi Infantry, C.S.A. He edited and annotated The Personal Observations of a Man of Intelligence': Notes of a Tour in North America in 1861, by Sir James Fergusson (The True Bill Press, 2009) and has written new introductions for several works in the Barnes and Noble Library of Essential Reading series.
Something in the Water
"Macon, Georgia's history has an exceptional soundtrack, and Something in the Water provides a lively narrative of the city's musical past from its founding in 1823 to 1980. For generations, talented musicians have been born in or passed through Macon's confines. Some lived and died in obscurity, while others achieved international stardom. From its pioneer origins to the modern era, the city has produced waves of talent with amazing consistency, representing a wide range of musical genres-country, classical, jazz, blues, big band, soul, and rock. As the book points out, the city's influence stretches far beyond the borders of Georgia, and its musical imprint on the United States and the world is significant. The story of music in Macon includes a vast, eclectic cast of characters, such as the city's first music "celebrity" Sidney Lanier, entertainment entrepreneur Charles Douglass, jazz age divas Lucille Hegamin and Lula Whidby, big band singers Betty Barclay and the Pickens Sisters, rock and roll founding father Little Richard Penniman, rhythm and blues icons James Brown and Otis Redding, local country star Eugene "Uncle Ned" Stripling, Capricorn Records founders Phil Walden and Frank Fenter, and the Allman Brothers Band, one of the most popular groups of the rock era. The book also offers a treatment of Macon's leading entertainment venues, both past and present, like Ralston Hall, the Grand Opera House, and the Douglass Theater, along with local institutions such as Wesleyan College and the Georgia Academy for the Blind, both of which trained generations of music students"