Archive for January, 2018

What’s New

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Scott Gould (right) interviews Bertis Downs at Downs’s office in Athens, Georgia, on January 6.

“Something that used to be something else has evolved into something better than anyone could have possibly imagined,” Scott Gould writes in his feature story on Bertis Downs, manager and advisor for the band R.E.M. Gould is referring to an aspect of Athens, Georgia, where Bertis lives and where R.E.M. formed and took root in the city’s glorified music halls in the early 1980s. Gould’s sentence struck me in a broader way, too. The same could be said for the South as a whole—at least for its effort to renew itself while keeping intact its best traditions and cultural values.

For this issue, we set out to present exceptional Southern cities. But, as often happens during the process, we were led to new insights and more complex views. The stories we found tell a greater one about the experience of the places in which they are set, and, collectively, they exemplify the South’s quintessential ability: reinvention. The South does a lot of things well, but it may be best at transformation—not only becoming something different, but becoming something exceptional.

This happens when the right mix of talent and opportunity is in play. Former mills become luxury apartments; gas stations become hip restaurants. Sleepy college towns become the breeding ground for famous musicians. A Virginia capital becomes a mecca of style and design. A former seafood shack becomes, well, a better seafood shack. It’s a potent cocktail of chance, of being “at the right place at the right time,” and it just so happens that the South enjoys its fair share of strong drinks.

It is difficult to see what could be while you’re dealing with what is. But the South seems to have the gift of prophecy and a stubborn streak—and what has been is now better than ever before.

Blair Knobel, Editor-in-Chief

Twitter / Instagram: @LBKNOBEL

That’s a Start

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photo by Chelsey Ashford

Many of us wish away January into warmer days and spring flowers, dismissing it as too bleak, too boring, too sad.

But I sing the song of winter. I want it to last just a bit longer. I crave the deep blue sky at dusk, the sun burning down in a streak of red, the bend of sinewy branches against the dim. I demand a log fire, Netflix by candlelight, misty mountains, and breath in the cold. I have a January romance. There is nothing like winter to ground you, wake you, bring you back to this moment. To remind you, quite sharply, that you are alive.

January offers a pause, an opportunity to reset our minds and intentions for the year, to reflect on the people who influence us, the desires that drive us, the objects that surround us.

For the Pinner family, objects are the crux of their new year and business venture Broaden Goods, born of their travel to Morocco and a collective desire to personally connect with its artisans and bring their wares to an online marketplace (see “Faraway Home,” page 86). From textiles and basketry to leather and ceramics, like the beautiful Fassi Heritage Bowl on our cover, Broaden Goods are hand-made and imbued with a sense of place, history, and culture. The Pinner brothers, Nathan and Brian, and their wives, Katelyn and Tessa, chose Broaden as the name, which is more like a directive: to look beyond your world, widen your view, and gain a better understanding of your own life with a renewed perspective.

January stuns with crisp-clear clarity: brilliant sunshine; an unexpected snowfall; steam curling from a mug. Be thankful for this month—its beauty and silence, and its opportunity to reflect, whether outside or in.






Blair Knobel, Editor-in-Chief

Twitter / Instagram: @LBKNOBEL


Jivan and Kathryn Davé styled and photographed our January cover. “A wide, open bowl spilling over with satsuma oranges—the picture of openness and abundance felt like the perfect salute to a new year.”